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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Small Grants Scheme

The scheme for the academic year 11/12 is now CLOSED.

The aim of the WRI's small grants scheme is to promote collaborative research within and beyond Durham University in any field of human health and wellbeing, with the expectation that these collaborations will lead to major research outputs.

Process & Application Criteria

Applications to the WRI Small Grants Scheme may be submitted at any time. There are no deadlines, however it is possible that the fund may become fully committed during the course of the year and the scheme closed until the new financial year starts; applicants should check the Institute web site where notice of the scheme being closed will be placed should this be necessary ( In addition any funding awarded must be fully utilised within the fiscal year it was awarded; it cannot be carried over into future years.

To expedite decisions these will be made within one month of application by members of the the WRI Core team (Dr Mark Booth - Acting Deputy Director, Rebecca Maier - Research and Development Manager, Adetayo Kasim - Research Statistician and Suzanne Sanders - Administrator). Regular review meetings will be held to consider applications (dates can be reviewed here). The criteria for decisions on applications are: multi/interdisciplinarity, feasibility, merit, contribution to the field of study or practice and, if a second application, the extent to which outcomes were delivered from earlier funding. Applications may be submitted a maximum of three times (one submission and 2 resubmissions). All decisions will be reported to the Institute's Management Board. All successful applicants must file an interim expenditure report by 1st June in the year in which an award is made, as well as provide confirmation for the submission of an End of Award report.

Applications should be made on no more than three sides of A4 using a minimum of 11 pt. Attached is a standard application form.  Please complete all the relevant fields including names, titles, departments/schools and status of applicants, and email addresses for correspondence (identify lead applicant).  Applications should be emailed to Suzanne Sanders.

Funding will be available for small projects that involve researchers from two or more Durham departments or with an external partner and for multidisciplinary symposia. Preference will be given to applied research involving non-academic partners or research users such as the NHS, but basic research will also be supported. Funding can be used for purposes such as replacement teaching, consultancy, hiring researchers (including a student to assist with a project, such as over a vacation), travel, equipment purchase or consultancy support. The lead applicant must have an academic, teaching or research post at Durham University and be a Fellow of the Institute. Honorary Fellows can also apply as long as the lead applicant is a Fellow (i.e. a university employee). Fellows cannot be lead applicants in consecutive years to the WRI Blue Skies awards. Applicants can only be awarded one successful "Early Career" award.

Award Categories

There are now 4 categories of award:-

WRI Early Career Awards
Targeted at exceptional postdoctoral researchers (of at least 2 years postdoctoral experience), teaching fellows and early career academic staff (grades 7/8) to fund research time or small research project costs for inter-disciplinary work. Senior staff could be co-applicants. Outputs from these would be REF publications and/or grant/fellowship applications. Applicants need the support of their HoD or Director of Research to show that they would be more returnable under the REF. Applications with matched internal or external funding would be given priority. Up to £2500 per award.

WRI Quick Response Awards
To facilitate successful large inter-disciplinary grant applications the Wolfson can provide support to applications that are already at a fairly advanced stage. For example, if a bid has been shortlisted by NIHR the Wolfson could provide funding for administration to help with the full submission, teaching cover or travel. Funds will also be available for supporting the reworking and resubmission of unsuccessful research applications to alternative funding sources (e.g. alpha level ESRC applications could be reworked for submission to NIHR or MRC). Applicants need to be a named applicant on the grant proposal in question and a copy of the outline or draft proposal would need to be submitted with the Wolfson Small Grant application. Support from the lead applicant's HoD or Director of Research is also required. Applications with matched internal or external funding would be given priority. Up to £2500 per award.

WRI Blue Skies Awards
This fund is for inter-disciplinary symposiums and workshops, research network meetings, and pilot research. We expect significant REF research outputs (e.g. grant applications, co-authored books, special issues of journals, journal supplements etc). Support from the lead applicant's HoD or Director of Research is required as matched funding would be essential (in kind contributions such as staff time would be accepted) from applicants' departments, other URI or external bodies including the NHS, local government and businesses, as well as the voluntary sector. Upto £2500 per award.

WRI Impact Awards
This funding stream will provide small funds to aid the "impact" of our research with the public as well as policy and practice communities. These would need to be tied to the REF "impact" strategy of a department or research group and provide significant impact. Support would therefore be required from the lead applicant's HoD or Director of Research. Examples of activity likely to be funded include post-grant dissemination and engagement activity, media and public engagement activities, open access costs for journal publications, as well as oral presentations at conferences. In terms of conferences, preference will be given to conferences that include a substantial proportion of non-academics in the audience. Further, applications from postdoctoral researchers, teaching fellows and others who do not have access to departmental or grant funding for such activities will be prioritised. Liaison with the Communications Office for the University Research Officer would be expected and a media release is a condition of the award. Upto £1500 per award.

Postgraduate Dissemination Grants

This funding stream is specifically targeted at our postgraduate community to facilitate active participation at national and/or international conferences. Funding opportunities are now open to all PhD students, however alignment with health and wellbeing (within any academic field) is essential. Applicants should have acceptance to deliver an oral or poster presentation before applying for funding and must demonstrate that either limited or no funding opportunities are available from their home department and support of the student's supervisor must be acknowledged. Applicants who entered the Wolfson Research Institute PG poster event in November 2010 will be given priority. Applications must be made using the attached template. Upto £250 per award

Performance Monitoring

All successful applicants must file an interim expenditure report by 1st June in the year in which an award is made, as well as provide confirmation for the submission of an End of Award report. Fellows will be prevented from re-applying as a lead or co-applicant to any of the strands of the scheme until a completed End of Award report for previous funding as a lead or co-applicant is received.

The End of Award report should be between 500 and 1000 words with the following sections: Aims of original award, brief description of activities and their fit to aims, actual research outputs to date, any future research outputs, full expenditure report.
Any further research outputs resulting from the scheme must be reported to the Wolfson Core team.