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The University has a fund which provides support for large bids. You can find further information on the Large Bid Fund and guidance how to apply here:

The team in the Research Strategy Ofiice can assist you, as we are aware the application process can be time consuming. The RSO can offer support with facilitation, coordination and input into large complex bids, particularly to promote cross-disciplinary grant applications.

Please get in touch if you are interested and we can help.

ARIA funding opportunity - Nature Computes Better - University of Cambridge guidance - closing date 19 February 2024

Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA)

ARIA has opened their first funding opportunity: a seed funding call under the Nature Computes Better programme.

ARIA will fund high potential proposals, with awards between £10k and £500k each, and initially expect to fund up to 10 projects in this space.

The funder is looking for bold ideas that could challenge assumptions, open up new research paths, or provide steps towards new capabilities. More guidance on scope is below:

In Scope:

  • Ideas that sit within the Nature Computes Better opportunity space. Your proposal should show how your idea either aligns with or challenges the assumptions of the Summary, Beliefs, or Observations in the opportunity space document.
  • Ideas that could change the conversation about what is possible or valuable.
  • Ideas that range from early stage fundamental research through to pre-commercial science and technology.

Out of scope:

  • Ideas that relate directly to Suraj Bramhavar’s goal of Unlocking AI Compute Hardware at 1/1000th the Cost, as described in his programme thesis. If you are unsure about whether your idea fits into Suraj’s Programme thesis, ask ARIA by submitting a question using the messaging function within ARIA’s application portal.
  • Ideas that are undifferentiated or that are likely to happen without ARIA support.
  • Commercial or close-to-commercial stage products.


University of Cambridge guidance

Any application hosted by the University will need to follow standard approval processes.

There are two possibilities for submitting to ARIA: i) as an individual ii) through an organisation. It is strongly encouraged that University staff follow the second route (although there may be some cases where people apply for time when not employed by UCAM and using their own resources). 


Round 1 deadline 19 February 2024, 16:00 GMT. Note 'We recommend creating an account on our application portal at least 1 day before applying, or by 15.02.24.'

Restricted call: ESRC New Investigator Grants  (internal selection deadline Midday Friday, 15th March 2024)

Restricted call: ESRC New Investigator Grants  (internal selection deadline Midday Friday, 15th March 2024)

The ESRC have announced their New Investigator Grant scheme. This scheme is suitable for early career researchers who have yet to make the transition to be an independent researcher. Proposals are welcome in any topic which falls within ESRC’s remit, including projects at the “interface with the wider sciences”, provided that social sciences accounts for at least 50% of the proposed research. The ESRC will award grants of between £100-300K (covered at 80%fEC).

University Internal selection

The ESRC expect the University to run an internal selection process to ensure that we submit only bids from outstanding individuals with the potential to become the research leaders of the future. The University may only submit a limited number of applications. To meet these requirements, this call will be overseen by a cross-school Committee, as decided by University’s Research Policy Committee.

There are three internal calls every year (October, March, and June).  Only applicants whose proposals have been approved through the internal selection process will be allowed to proceed with submission of their applications to ESRC.

Interested applicants should submit an online application.   

You will be required to upload the following:

  • Your research project proposal (template provided) 
  • A letter of support from your Head of Department

This letter is very important to the success of the application as it is needed to confirm the details of the departmental support and the applicant’s eligibility. The letter must also specify a department/faculty based mentor, and a reviewer, both of whom have agreed to provide feedback on the full proposal, should the applicant be selected to proceed. The reviewer may be from within or outside the applicant’s department/faculty. Please note that naming a reviewer is an internal requirement, and the reviewer will not be named on the full application to ESRC. The mentor and the named reviewer will be expected to provide feedback on the full proposal prior to submission to ESRC. This will be coordinated by the School Research Facilitator.

  • An X5 PDF report

The report should show the preliminary costing for the project, including the cost of the applicant’s salary and research assistance (if required). The X5 should not be submitted for ROO approval at this stage; the costing is for indicative purposes only, to inform the internal selection. It will be possible to modify it after the internal selection.

If you have any questions, please write to




Restricted call: UK - Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 3 (internal deadline: 16th April, 2024)

Restricted call: UK - Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 3 (internal deadline: 16th April, 2024) 

Innovate UK has announced the UK – Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 3 call. In partnership with The German Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs And Climate Action (BMWK), Innovate is investing up to £4 million in innovation projects. The aim of this competition is to enhance UK and German collaborations and capabilities in emerging fields of technology in our society. These fields of emerging technologies include but are not limited to: quantum, AI, semiconductor applications, engineering biology, future telecommunications, green technologies. There must be a clear route to market within 2 to 3 years of project completion. The UK side of the bid must be led by a UK registered business and the bid must involve at least one German registered small to medium sized enterprise (SME). UK partners' grant funding request must not exceed £500,000 in total. For more on the categories of research and development which Innovate UK fund, see here

For more information about the scheme, please visit the call page.  

University Internal selection 

Institutions can collaborate on a maximum of 3 applications. Therefore, this call will be managed according to the University’s restricted calls procedure.

To take part in the internal selection, please complete our online form by 16th April (NB: if asked to log-in, please use your crsid/Raven details; note that a Form cannot be saved and returned to).  

You will need the following documents and information to complete the Form:  

  • a project summary that demonstrates what makes your project innovative, its impact, and how it fits the scope of the scheme
  • head of department support letter confirming the department is happy to host the grant
  • list of UK and German partners, including the lead UK business and German lead SME. 

Internal Assessment Criteria: 

Please note that the assessment of internal applications will focus on the following core funder criteria: 

  • Criterion 1: Fit to scope: how well does the project fit the scope of the competition? 
  • Criterion 2: Innovation: what is the technological challenge? What approach will be taken? And where will the focus of innovation be? 
  • Criterion 3: Impact:  What impact might this project have outside the project team, economically and socially?

Funder deadline: 3rd June, 2024.  

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us at