Funding opportunities

Commissioned Research Programme

A total of £1.35m of funds have been made available for the commissioned research programme, which will be administered through six funding mechanisms.

Systematic Reviews

InterAct will fund six Systematic Reviews (two per year). The purpose of Systematic Reviews is to provide a coherent summary of established knowledge from both academia and practice, on the application and potential benefits of industrial digital technologies in the manufacturing setting. The outputs of the reviews should provide a solid foundation for the future research direction.

Each award will be up to £60,000 and will have up to four months for delivery. The first award was launched in January 2022 and closed in March 2022, the second round will take place in Quarter (Q)4, 2022 and third round in Q4, 2023.

Early Career Researcher (ECR) Fellowships

ESS research can often be inexpensive requiring basic travel and subsistence, survey costs, or support to attend critical conferences and workshops. Lack of funding can prove a barrier to ECRs carrying out ESS research, particularly in a manufacturing context.

As part of the InterAct research programme, we are offering 20 ECR Fellowships of £5,000 to support the development of ECRs. This will be managed as a ongoing provision, with mentoring and a tailored schedule of networking activities. The first round of Fellowship funding is now closed for applications, the second round will open in November 2022.

Storytelling Fellowships

Storytelling Fellowships will be hosted at The Storytelling Academy at Loughborough University. Each Fellow will attend workshops and receive technical support to enable them to create their own digital stories.

Once trained, Fellows will act as advocates in their wider constituencies and run their own workshops. They will be required to gather a minimum of 6 further stories. The stories create a searchable ‘story bank’ of over 180 for access by all members of InterAct. Fellows will also participate in a seminar series directly linked to their work as Digital Storytellers. The Storytelling Fellowship programme is now closed for applications for this cohort.

Impact accelerator fund

The Impact Acceleration Programme (IAP) will be led by the InterAct Impact Manager. It will support 3 cohorts (one each year) of up to 6 projects through a process that enables them to develop an impact map and delivery plan for their project.

Each cohort will start with a F2F workshop but will then benefit from one to one mentoring and access to resources through Emerald Impact Services. Support will also be provided by the Communications Manager to develop high quality outputs in a range of different media. Projects from the Systematic Reviews, Traditional Call and Sandpit would be invited to be part of the IAP in addition to the open commissioned call. The programme is now open for applications until Monday 4 May.

Sandpit projects

A single two-day sandpit is scheduled to take place in Q1, 2023. Up to 40 economic and social science (ESS) researchers will be invited to attend, with a minimum of 30% of places assigned to Early Career Researchers ECR. Four projects with a value of up to £90,000 will be funded. Trans-disciplinarity and leadership by an ECR will be critical to a successful award. All cost associated with attending the sandpit will be covered by InterAct. Projects will be up to 9 months in duration.

Open funding call

The InterAct Open Funding Call is a single Commissioned Research call with a budget of £400,000. There will be up to eight awards. There is no minimum value for a request, but the maximum that shall be awarded to any single project is £62,500 (at 100% FEC), of which 80% will be funded by InterAct (i.e., £50,000 maximum funding for a single project). The maximum duration of any project is eight months.