Follow on Funding for Impact and Engagement
Follow-on Funding Scheme Overview
The Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement Scheme (FOF) provides funds to support innovative and creative engagements with new audiences and user communities which stimulate pathways to impact. Funds will be awarded for knowledge exchange, public engagement, dissemination, and commercialisation activities that arise unforeseeably during the lifespan of or following an AHRC-funded project.
Please note: The scheme does not support supplementary funding for continuation of research activities.
Proposals must clearly demonstrate both a well-defined non-academic need for the work and engagement with potential users and stakeholders in developing their project. Proposed activities must enhance the value and wider benefit of the original AHRC-funded research project, and clearly demonstrate how they will deliver significant economic, social, cultural and/or policy impacts.
The aims of the Follow-on Funding Scheme are:
- to explore unforeseen pathways to impact either within the lifespan of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research project or resulting from a completed research project
- to enhance the value and benefits of AHRC-funded research beyond academia
- to encourage and facilitate a range of interactions and creative engagements between arts and humanities research and a variety of user communities to include, business and commercial, third sector and heritage sector, public policy, voluntary and community groups and/or the general public.
Definitions of Knowledge Exchange
The AHRC has specific interpretations for knowledge exchange, dissemination, public engagement and impact. Further information can be found on our Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships page.
Scheme, limit and duration
The Follow-on Funding Scheme offers awards of up to £100,000 (full economic cost (fEC)) for a maximum of 12 months either full or part-time to support emergent or supplementary knowledge exchange, public engagement, active dissemination, or commercialisation/proof of concept activities.
Smaller awards of up to £30,000 (fEC) are encouraged for shorter, higher risk activities, for example testing the feasibility of an idea, exploring new partnerships for knowledge exchange, testing the market or investigating a new business model. Decision making times are reduced for these smaller awards.
This scheme operates without formal deadlines and you are able to submit proposals at any time of year. There are no restrictions on how long ago the original project was funded, but the case must be made as to how the new proposal is appropriate and relevant if a significant amount of time has elapsed.
Applications over £30,000 fEC:
We aim, where possible to complete the assessment process within 14-16 weeks and the earliest start date for a project should be no earlier than five and no later than nine months after submission. If the start date is not as adhered to as above, if the proposal is successful you may be asked to change the start date.
Applications under £30,000 fEC:
We aim where possible, to complete the assessment process within six weeks and the earliest start date for a project should be no earlier than three and no later than nine months after submission. If the start date is not as adhered to as above, if the proposal is successful you may be asked to change the start date.
The focus of the FOF scheme is on impact generating activities and engagement with new user communities and non-academic audiences.
Types of activity supported by this scheme:
- knowledge exchange, interactive public engagement, or active dissemination activities. These must engage new user communities and audiences
- commercialisation or proof of concept
- activities that build upon knowledge exchange and pathways to impact already undertaken but which take those activities in a new direction and to new audiences
- conferences and seminars for a policy/practice audience
- pursuit and development of new user contacts
- feasibility studies to test the potential application of ideas emerging from the research in different business, policy or practice contexts
The Follow-on Funding scheme include:
- Cannot be used to support pathway to impact activities that have already been taken into account in the original proposal.
- Cannot be used to extend an existing grant or award or to continue similar or existing activities or conduct further research.
- Cannot be used to support resource enhancement activities or to develop or extend and existing website or resource.
- Does not cover research leave type activities or primarily fund staff time.
- Cannot be used to support principally academic outputs (such as an academic paper, conference or a publication).
If any of the above appears to be the case the proposal will be deemed ineligible.
The AHRC has specific interpretations for knowledge exchange, dissemination, public engagement and impact. Further information can be found in the Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships section of the website.
The AHRC FoF scheme has been developed to support innovative and creative engagements with new non-academic audiences and user communities, which stimulate pathways to impact. This is the primary criterion for funding support. Proposals must:
- be based upon either previous or current research directly funded by the AHRC (with the exception of research conducted under Masters, Doctoral or Collaborative Doctoral (CDA) and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)).
- be based upon research that has been co-funded with another UK Research Council, funded entirely by another UK Research Council, or funded under RCUK supported schemes such as the HERA Joint Research Programme, but only where the FoF proposal genuinely falls within the AHRC’s remit. In such cases strong justification is required for why the FoF project is directed to the AHRC, together with supporting evidence and previous proposal.
- support innovative pathways to impact opportunities that could not have been foreseen at the original proposal stage and/or that have not already been taken account of in the original award. Proposals need to demonstrate clearly how it will add significant value to pathways to impact activities that were already identified within the original award.
- exploit creative and innovative ideas rather than repeating, continuing or extending existing activities or conducting substantively new research projects.
- be focused towards non-academic audiences and relevant user communities. You should demonstrate engagement with potential users and stakeholders throughout the project’s definition and development processes
- be led by the original PI from which the project derives. However, where it is more appropriate to the nature of the proposed activity another member of the original research team may lead the FoF project. In such cases the original PI would be expected to be named as CO-I at least in an advisory capacity. This would need to be justified in the Case for Support. See the Case for Support section regarding more information about this document.
If a research group within an RO wishes to exploit a piece of research in the absence of the original PI then permission should be sought from them (and where possible they should be involved in an advisory role) and the RO must ensure any continuity issues including IP or copyright are addressed.
The AHRC does allow international researchers to act as Co-Investigators on Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement proposals. Detailed information about eligibility, costs and application guidance can be found within the relevant sections of this guide.
In addition to the information in the Application Guidance section, the following also applies:
- Universities, colleges, further education institutions, related departments, or spin-out companies may not participate as non-academic partners.
- University museums and galleries, however, may participate as project partners provided that they are working with a Research Organisation (RO) other than or in addition to the RO with which they are formally linked.
Where appropriate, non-academic partners are required to commit to a financial or in-kind contribution (this will not constitute part of the full economic cost of the project). There is no minimum contribution; however, value for money will be considered in the assessment of proposals.
Non-academic partners should submit a Letter of Support as an attachment to the application and this should detail the reasons, motivations and commitment to participating in the project. If there is more than one non-academic partner then each should provide a Letter of Support. If appropriate, the Letter of Support also provides an opportunity for non-academic partners to state their financial and/or in-kind contributions to the project.
Follow-on-Funding – Case for Support headings to be used
Please use the headings below for your Case for Support.
- Aims and Objectives
- Proposed activities
- Project Management
- Outcomes and impact
You should describe the aims and objectives of your proposal and explain the specific targets to be achieved at milestones as well as by the end of the award.
You should explain how your proposed activities demonstrate impact, innovation, creativity and engagement as this is the principal criterion for support. Proposals that fail to demonstrate this will not be considered for support, no matter how high the quality of the original research.
You should describe the context for your proposed activities, clearly identifying the existing piece or body of research the proposed activities are based on and how the FoF proposal will strengthen the impact of that research.
You should provide evidence that the completed research is of direct relevance to the wider audience(s)/organisation(s) that you intend to work with. Ability to demonstrate that there is a well-defined need and that you have consulted and involved potential users and/or stakeholders in developing the proposal is an important requirement.
Where your proposal is for an emergent activity within the current lifespan of a grant, you should explain how this opportunity has arisen, why it wasn’t foreseeable at the application stage, the timeliness of the activity and how it will enhance the impact of the research.
Please provide a clear and concise description of the activities to be undertaken. The proposed work should be fully explained, taking into account the scheme criteria. Justification should be provided for the chosen approach/methods. If you are seeking travel, subsistence or event costs then you should describe their purpose and why they are relevant to the programme of work. If you are proposing a feasibility study or shorter, higher risk activity you should identify specific risks and explain how they will be managed.
Describe the timetable for the project, including appropriate milestones and dates for when outcomes/outputs of the project will be completed.
You should describe the respective roles and responsibilities that you, your host RO and the project partners or stakeholders will undertake and the process by which a shared understanding of this has been reached. How will the project be managed on a day to day basis and how will it be monitored to review progress and ensure delivery against the aims and objectives.
Where appropriate, detail the partner organisation(s) that you are working with, their role in the project and how you will work together to develop and deliver the outcomes. It is vital that the project responds to a well-defined non-academic need and that there has been a joint or consultative approach to its development. Where you are not working with a named project partner detail the methods used to consult with relevant stakeholders and user communities to formulate the project.
If you have an existing working relationship with the partner(s) briefly describe the nature of that relationship. How will this project enhance that relationship? If you are seeking to establish a working relationship with a new partner then please describe the steps you will take or have taken to make that happen.
The reviewers will want to know that you and your partner(s) have considered any relevant issues of ownership/intellectual property arising from the project.
Describe how this project meets the FoF scheme aims and eligibility criteria especially in terms of delivering pathways to impact by developing creative and innovative engagements with new audiences and user communities. Who will benefit and how and why does it matter? How will you ensure that outcomes and outputs can be disseminated as widely as possible to maximise the value and reach of any impact generated? How do you intend to capture information about these anticipated benefits and how will you demonstrate success in meeting the specified aims and objectives?
You should also consider the longer-term sustainability of the proposed activities and the likely transformative effects of any outputs on the target audiences and user groups, or within an organisational or policy context. What do you envisage will happen after the end of the funding period?
Assessment and Peer Review
Proposals over £30,000 fEC will be subject to two specialist peer-reviews by members of the AHRC’s Peer Review College followed by a PI Response stage. The proposal, reviews and the PI Response will be moderated by a review panel who will make funding recommendations to the AHRC. Applications under £30,000 (fEC) will be reviewed directly by the panel and will not be offered a PI response.
In addition to the general criteria outlined in Assessment Criteria and Peer Review section, the following will be taken into account for the Follow-on Funding scheme for Impact and Engagement scheme:
Quality and importance
- the extent to which the project responds to a well-defined non-academic audience / user community need.
- the timeliness and duration of the proposal.
- the level of engagement with existing and potential user communities and non-academic audiences in defining that need and the developing the proposal.
- the potential of the activities to enhance the value and impact of the original research.
- the extent of engagement with new target audiences and users.
Management of the project
- the feasibility of the project, given the planned timetable, resources and project management.
- how partners will work together to achieve the aims and objectives.
Value for money
- the potential and appropriateness of the proposed activities to enhance the value and impact of the previous research.
Output, dissemination and impact
- social, economic and/or policy impact potential of the research on which the FoF is based.
- longer-term sustainability of activities, pathways or potential impacts beyond the award period.
- level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in the proposed activity and outcomes.
- suitability and reach of engagement and dissemination activities.
Principal Investigator Response
The Principal Investigator response process applies for proposals over £30,000.