Impact Acceleration Programme

This programme will help researchers to enhance their ability to generate impact and provide funding to help them turn their research into more accessible outputs.


There are many Economic and Social Science (ESS) insights currently in existence that are not easily accessible to policy makers, manufacturers, and Industrial Digital Technology (IDT) providers. This programme will help researchers to enhance their impact skills and provide funding to help them turn their research into more accessible outputs. An impact acceleration programme has the dual benefit of building impact capacity within the ESS community whilst making the insights more accessible to end users.

We are looking for researchers from the ESS community or other disciplines that can capture human insights into the adoption of digital technologies and accelerate the digitisation of manufacturing, You will take results from your own research and use insights (from peer reviewed research) to turn them into outputs that are more accessible to policy makers, manufacturers, and IDT providers.

We expect applicants to have rigorous and relevant research findings of their own (not necessarily yet peer reviewed) with a potential for impactful outputs that are useful to policy makers, UK manufacturing, and industrial digital technology providers. The outputs from the programme will support these stakeholders in becoming more productive and sustainable, and competitive through innovation and diffusion of digital technology.

We are keen to hear about innovative ideas of how to use IIAP funds and resources (up to £18,000 at 100% of costs) to maximise the impact of your research outputs. This research can have been carried out with or without a manufacturer, policy maker, or IDT provider partner.

  • Actions identified on impact plans should be completed in a final report to us.
  • Applicants should make sure their outputs are aligned to the objectives of the InterAct project, and they should demonstrate this link in their application.

InterAct’s Communications Manager and Impact Manager will support successful applicants in creating a diverse range of impact activities that will facilitate and amplify the outcomes of their research project.

We are excited to announce our partnership with Emerald Impact Services (EIS) who are a part of the Emerald Publishing group.  All InterAct members will have access to EIS’s vast library of impact resources and toolkit. Additionally, all selected candidates will attend a face-to-face impact workshop to help them with their induction on to the project. We hope that the IIAP funding and specialist support from InterAct will support successful applicants to produce novel and practical outputs of use to audiences targeted by InterAct.


Call opensMonday 16 May 2022
Q&A sessionFriday 20 May 2022 – 13:00- 14:00
Closing time and date for applicationsMonday 4 July 2022 12.00 (midday)
Funding decisionWednesday 1 August 2022
Impact Acceleration Programme may begin1 September 2022 (onwards)
End date for Call 1 InterAct Impact Acceleration Programme30 September 2023


All proposals will be checked to ensure compliance with the following eligibility criteria at the closing date.

  • Your ESS research has rigorous and relevant research findings (not necessarily yet peer reviewed) with a potential for actionable insights useful to UK manufacturing, policy makers and industrial digital technology providers.
  • Applicants provide:
    • a clear pathway to an impact plan. This plan should explain how you will deliver your outputs within 12 months of the IIAP start date.
    • Your budget section should explain how you will spend the money within the 12-month duration of the IIAP.
  • Requests will only cover directly incurred costs which can be only non-staff costs (consumables, travel for meetings and events, creation of digital/printed outputs, and expenses). See eligible costs for full details.
  • The funding will not cover new research.
  • The call is open to any organisation that is eligible to receive UKRI funding, typically academic institutions.
  • Every project shall have a named Lead University/Lead Research Organisation. This organisation may apply independently or may include other project partners in its application.
  • Funding shall be awarded only to the Lead University/Lead Research Organisation. Loughborough University will contract with the Lead University/Lead Research Organisation only. Any subsequent distribution of funding to project partners shall be the responsibility of the Lead University /Lead Research Organisation.
  • The award holder may include other stakeholders (project partners) in their project team but should not exceed more than three team members.
  • Each project shall have a named lead. The named lead shall be employed continuously by the Lead University (i.e., their post will outlast the project). The named lead shall be considered the key contact for the award, taking responsibility for delivery, budget, and reporting. The named lead must be from the organisation that will administer the grant. The named lead will take intellectual leadership and manage the impact acceleration fund. All named investigators are responsible for ensuring that successful proposals are undertaken and completed in the manner specified.

Early career researchers (ECRs), (including post-doctoral researchers and new/probationary lecturers) are eligible to participate and are encouraged to do so and may act in role of the named lead. Where an ECR is the primary researcher, it is requested that a senior academic is also included in the project to help oversee the project.  Note no time for the senior academic will be funded. For the definition of an ECR check the eligibility section of this webpage.

Eligible Costs

Funds will be allocated on a competitive basis, through review and assessment of proposals by a panel chaired by Professor Jan Godsell and Professor Jillian McBryde, co-directors of InterAct. An external assessor will be involved in the selection process and an EDI balance will be sought.

Individual allocations will not exceed £18,000 (100% costs). The maximum duration of the project is 12 months. There is no set minimum award, but we expect your request for funding to be proportional to the scale of your proposed outputs. Please note: staff and new research costs are not covered.

We anticipate that we may fund up to six proposals each year, over the course of this three-year project, benefiting policy makers, IDT providers and UK manufacturing.

The following examples are for guidance purposes only and in no way represent an expectation or preference of what we would like you to produce.

For example, we would expect smaller outputs such as reports to be funded at the lower end of the scale, followed by outputs such as videos, interactive platforms, events, commissioned artwork, or drawnalism. Whereas outputs such as an online assessment tools or web repositories could require a higher amount of funding.

Note: Any of the above outputs listed above as examples must consider how they would generate impact relevant to the stakeholder led objectives of MSI (as explained in the section ‘How will InterAct support MSI?’. e.g., Diagnostic tools could be used by industry to bench mark their current position and future ambitions and kick start a journey towards digitalisation.

Applicants are advised that value for money is a criterion in the assessment, so should ensure that their request is appropriate for the scope, ambition and expected impact, and can viably be spent within the maximum twelve months permitted.

  • Travel, accommodation, and subsistence. (Including attendance at InterAct events).
  • Other directly incurred costs: project specific consumables.
  • Predicted costs for any communication, knowledge exchange, public engagement or other impact activities planned throughout the project.
  • Attending impact activities related to the Made Smarter Innovation (MSI) and InterAct objectives e.g., podcasts, storytelling, and events.
  • All successful candidates will be required to attend one face-to-face impact workshop. The duration of this workshop will be 3-4 hours. You do not need to cost for attending this workshop as the travel, subsistence, and accommodation costs (if necessary) will be covered by InterAct.

Ineligible Costs

The following may not be requested under this call:

  • Associated studentships.
  • Any equipment.
  • Any costs for staff time.
  • Costs related to teaching replacements.
  • Staff costs.


  • Provide updates on progress (if requested) and comply with mid and end project requests for reporting (both during the project and post- completion). Reporting requirements will be provided to successful teams. These shall align with UKRI templates and ResearchFish (see ResearchFish website) and include commentary on whether aims have been achieved, methods used, data produced, publications or other outputs, other outcomes, impact achieved and planned, problems encountered, and forward plans.
  • Attend InterAct events, as required. This shall include presentations to the InterAct Board and Annual Conference in September 2023 (date TBC). Promote and amplify InterAct through their own networks. The InterAct Communications Manager will maintain contact with successful teams and those subscribed to receive updates to ensure that important information and announcements are disseminated widely.
  • In collaboration with InterAct’s Impact Manager and other members of the InterAct team, develop an impact plan and agree metrics to monitor the success of the project such as (but not limited to) the number of and type of people engaged in new networks, number of events and attendees, the number of publications and their reach, new connections made by type, and new research partnerships formed by type.

Actions you identify on your impact plan should be completed in your final report to us by 12 months after your project starts.  All successful applicants are expected to attend an in-person face to face workshop on impact before they commence their project.

Selection Process

Important note: InterAct reserves the right to reject proposals that are incomplete and that do not meet the requirements highlighted on the checklist before sending them to reviewers. The checklist can be found in the application form.

Assessment Criteria

There are five primary criteria against which all proposals shall be assessed. Each contains key points, as shown below. All applications shall be assessed against the same criteria, regardless of the size of request. Reviewers shall assess the size of the request solely in the Value for Money criterion. Proposals shall be scored against each of the five criteria on a scale of 0-3, as follows:

0 = sub-criteria not met
1 = sub-criteria partially met
3 = sub-criteria fully met

All eligible proposals will be assessed and ranked by panel members based on essential requirements of having rigorous and relevant research findings (not necessarily peer-reviewed at the time of application)

We are looking for applicants to take insights from their research and turn it into something that is more accessible to policy makers, manufacturers and IDT providers. To help us understand how you intend to achieve this please set out your pathway/s to impact. Your pathways to impact should explain the following five criteria.

1. Background: (500 words)

  Key questions to address  Suggested areas to cover
Is the project based on a strong underpinning academic/knowledge base?  A clear explanation of how the funding will be used to increase impact of your research.Please describe the background research and insights that will be brought to your outlined impact activities.  Note any significant impact already achieved (if applicable).

2. Feasibility (500 words)

  Key questions to address  Suggested areas to cover
Has the overarching need for these activities been clearly demonstrated?Provide strong evidence of market, user and/or industry demand for this project (quantify where possible).State the key beneficiaries/users
Are the objectives, outputs and deliverables clearly articulated, and is the project management described suitable to achieve these objectives?Provide a clear impact plan. State the project milestones, including appropriate stage-gates (e.g., deliverables).Provide a statement of the project’s outputs and deliverables.  

3.  Impact (750 words)

  Key questions to address  Suggested areas to cover
Have potential impacts been clearly identified and described?Provide a concise statement of the economic, social, cultural, and/or environmental impacts that the project aims to achieve.Explain why it is appropriate, timely and necessary to target these impacts through this project.
Is there a good understanding of the stakeholder (UK manufacturers, policy makers and industrial digital technology providers) landscape?  Explain how this project is related to existing research, competitor(s) and likely beneficiaries.State and justify the key routes to reach these stakeholders.Demonstrate the size of the market.
Is there a realistic path to achieve and sustain impact?  Describe the process or ways through which impact will be achieved.Make clear how the approach will be tailored to address different user groups, if applicable. What will happen when funding ends?
 Is there sufficient demonstration of how the project contributes towards InterAct’s objectives? Include a statement about how your project aligns with InterAct’s vision.
Does the dissemination activity demonstrate a route to engagement with external stakeholders?Is it clear how the activity is expected to change practice and create new impact?Does the application detail how the impacts of the activity will be captured and monitored?

4.Value for Money (300 words)

  Key questions to address  Suggested areas to cover
Is there a clear justification for the funding requested?Explain why your request is appropriate given your review scope, ambition etc.
Is sufficient detail provided to justify the specific resources requested?Justify the need for each key item requested (e.g., equipment, travel, consumables, accommodation, event type, design).

5. Breakdown of funding requested

Provide a breakdown of funding requested.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

In line with the UKRI’s policies on equality, diversity and inclusion, InterAct expects that equality, diversity, and inclusion are embedded at all levels and in all aspects of applicants’ impact acceleration proposals.

We are committed to supporting the research community in diverse ways to build research careers. This includes career breaks, support for people with caring responsibilities, flexible working, and alternative working patterns. With this in mind, we welcome applications from researchers who job share, have a part-time contract, need flexible working arrangements or those currently committed to other longer, large existing grants.


  • The deadline for submissions is Monday 4th July, 12:00 (midday) 2022.
  • The completed form and a short (2 page) CVs for applicants should be submitted in pdf format with the applicant name in the document title to this email address:
  • UKRI has commissioned SQW, an independent research consultancy (, in collaboration with the survey company IFF, Frazer Nash and the Institute for Manufacturing (University of Cambridge), to evaluate the programme. The evaluation will continue to 2025.

    SQW will conduct a range of research activity for the evaluation including a survey of companies receiving funding from the programme, interviews with stakeholders and programme participants and analysis of secondary and monitoring data. By submitting an application for this InterAct ECR fellowship, which is part of the Made Smarter Innovation programme, you agree UKRI may share your contact details with SQW. SQW may subsequently contact you to discuss your involvement with InterAct.

    Any information you provide SQW will be treated in confidence and held securely. No information you provide will be attributed to you or your organisation. Aggregated and analysed responses will be used to prepare reports to UKRI. You can find SQW’s privacy notice here

Q&A Webinar

If you still have additional questions, or would like clarification on any of the above information, please register for our upcoming Q&A webinar on Friday 20 May at 13:00.