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University of Edinburgh Big Ideas Accelerator

In this blog post, Al Innes, Research Development Officer in Edinburgh Research Office, highlights the Big Ideas Accelerator, a new University internal seed-funding scheme to support radically interdisciplinary ideas and collaborations that closes on Monday 19 June 2023.

What is it?

The Big Ideas Accelerator is a new University internal seed-funding scheme to support radically interdisciplinary ideas and collaborations that span Colleges. We are looking for innovative and disruptive ideas that require further proof of concept or development, and which would not normally be covered by external funding or existing internal schemes.

Who can apply?

PIs will be salaried members of staff within the University with responsibility for research. Applications are welcomed from PIs at any stage of their career. However, where led by a senior PI, they should consider where relevant how they are involving colleagues at other career stages.

Disruptive Research at the University of Edinburgh

This scheme is looking for ideas that are developing a disruptive new research or innovation idea that spans more than one College, e.g. a pilot or proof of concept project in an area of high risk/high reward with a clear pathway to external funding.

Applications will need to demonstrate that the proposed activity would not normally be funded through existing (external and internal) funding schemes. Building an innovative collaboration across two or more Colleges with the goal of developing major funding bids. Proposals across all areas of research are welcomed, including those fitting the University’s three major interdisciplinary missions:

  • Data, Digital & AI;
  • Future Health & Care; and
  • Climate & Sustainability.

Proposals must demonstrate the strategic importance of the collaboration for the University, and ensure that it is not an area already covered/supported by existing groupings or activity. They should also demonstrate a clear route to external funding. Decisions will be made by a University-level panel, chaired by the VP Research and Enterprise. Applications will be judged on:

  • Originality, significance and quality of the proposed work
  • Potential to underpin significant external funding and/or external partnerships leading to such funding
  • Feasibility of delivery


Requested funds must be spent during the financial year 2023/24 and it is not possible to extend funding into the following financial year. Projects must therefore be designed on a suitable scale for the time available. Projects may begin from 1 August 2023.

  • This seed funding is to underpin the development of major funding bids and/or strategic partnerships leading to external funding.
  • Grants will be typically in the range of £10 – £15k (exceptionally £20k if there is clear justification).
  • We anticipate funding around 15-20 projects (the total fund for 2023/4 is £200k).

For more information on the Big Ideas Accelerator and to apply visit the SharePoint site.

Deadline for applications is Monday 19 June 2023.

Please email if you have any queries about this fund. 



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