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The Research Culture Enhancement Fund will provide funding to any activity which aims to improve research culture in the University. Proposals may be for new initiatives or may aim to accelerate or complement existing research culture or Equality, Division and Inclusion (EDI) activity across the University.

Improving research culture covers a wide range of areas but has the ultimate goal of ensuring that researchers across the University have an equally positive experience of working in their role at the University, regardless of subject area, department, background or characteristic. This includes equality of access to career development opportunities and progression, training and support within an inclusive, supportive and respectful environment.

Proposals must present activity that will be able to start quite rapidly and that will end by 31 March 2023, due to restrictions on the source of the funding. All spending must be complete by 31 March 2023. No extensions beyond this date will be possible.

Budget from the Fund is drawn from the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF). As such, projects must look to address one or more of the 12 Key Themes of improving research culture outlined in the Wellcome Research Culture Townhalls Report dated December 2020. These are summarised on the application form as:

  1. Career progression and contracts
  2. Bullying and harassment
  3. Pressure and competition
  4. Management practice
  5. Mental health and wellbeing
  6. Working hours and conditions
  7. Equality, diversity and inclusion
  8. Research integrity and handling of complaints
  9. Early career challenges
  10. Reward and recognition
  11. Balancing work and home life
  12. Other

There is no minimum application amount and applications are generally expected to be for less than £25,000, although larger amounts will be considered for exceptionally strong cases. Applications for more than £20,000 must have the written support of a relevant central service (Research Staff Hub, POD, Careers Service, EDU, etc.) to avoid duplication and ensure synergy with central initiatives. Applicants can contact the Fund Managers before Wednesday 06 October for guidance on which central service may be able to support their application.

Alternatively to applying for funding to complete their own project, applicants from departments/units within the Medical Sciences Division may apply for some capacity from the new Research Culture Facilitator post-holder, who will shortly be recruited to MSDO. Applications requesting support from the Research Culture Facilitator must describe and justify the duration of support and FTE requested from the post-holder.

Applications will be reviewed by the Wellcome ISSF Committee with additional input from experts/stakeholders in enhancing research culture. Applications will be prioritised for funding based on:

  • Fit to the remit of the scheme for enhancing research culture
  • Potential impact of the project in either breadth or depth (not simply the number of researchers impacted)
  • Availability of other potential sources of funding for the project
  • Fit to the budget available to the Fund