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Internal Research Funding

Research Development Fund (RDF, formerly RETF) Open Call

The University Committee for Research and Innovation (UCRI) invites proposals to the Research Development Fund (formerly RETF) Open Call for ambitious and strategic research projects led by academic staff. The call funds projects of up to a maximum of two years, with a range of funding for each project between £10,000 and £50,000.

The purpose of the open call is to support ambitious projects that have the potential to lead to larger projects and associated funding bids.

Proposals must meet all of the ‘core’ RDF criteria and at least one of the ‘strategic’ criteria.

 a) Core RDF criteria

Applications must meet all of the following:

  • Support research excellence at Mid-Career stage;
  • Deliver value for money with potential to leverage external funding; develop partnerships or public engagement; or translate into products or services;
  • Align to strategic priorities of the University and/or Research Theme.

b) Strategic RDF criteria

Research proposals must address at least one of the following:

  • Demonstrate ambition to achieve growth measured in terms of, for example, research income, scale, methodologies, partnerships, reputation, audiences, etc.;
  • Enable high-risk research, for example providing proof of concept to inform external grant applications;
  • Support innovation and the translation of research into products and processes, for example through supporting pilot projects.


Costs: Eligible costs include salaries (and on-costs) for research, technical and professional staff, and/or teaching replacement as buy-out for academic staff to complete the project. For further information on costings, please contact colleagues in Research Services (RES) via  Please ensure all costings for submissions have been reviewed and confirmed by RES prior to submission.  Please note that applicants are expected to adhere to the researcher concordat, particularly with regard to employing PDRAs on short-term contracts.

Applicants should demonstrate that funding for the proposed project is not available from other sources, and/or they should specify the match funding from internal or external sources or equivalent in-kind contribution from an external partner/third sector. If such contribution is not available, applicants should explain why.

Deadline for applications: 5pm on Friday 26 April 2024. Proposals will be considered by UCRI on 04 June.

Guidance: Applications should be submitted using the following form: Spring 2024 Application Form.  to assist in completing the application form a PDF version of the Research Development Fund Open Call 2024 is available to view.  Information on preparing an application can be found in the 2024 Call Guidance document and information on how to complete the questions and sections can be found in the 2024 FAQs document. 

Any queries may be sent to


Research Collaboration and Impact Fund (formerly REKEC)

The University of Reading offers a number of internally-managed funds to support research, impact, engagement, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities across the remit of the University from individual endeavours to strategic interventions.

Internally-managed funding is often allocated through internal competitive processes and is supported by various funding streams including institutional awards, endowments and commercial income.

See the Research Collaboration and Impact Fund page for further details.


Research Travel Grants

Grants are available to assist with the cost of presenting a paper or poster at external conferences and seminars. All academic staff below professorial level zone 2, and all other members of research staff and PhD students whose funding does not cover conference travel are eligible to apply. The application form and guidance for Research Travel Grants provides information on how to apply, (password protected).


Research Infrastructure Fund

Every year, the University makes funding available for research infrastructure that will have a transformative impact on research capability and quality within a defined area of existing or potential research excellence. The fund considers investments of £250,000 or more in the sciences, and £50,000 or more in arts, humanities and social sciences.

An annual call is issued by the University Committee on Research Infrastructure in the late autumn.


NIRD Funding

The National Institute for Research into Dairying (NIRD) Trust Fund is providing approximately £2million per annum until 2024/25 to support research into agriculture and food. This funding will be disbursed as part of existing University funding competitions (e.g. RETF Open Call, Annual Research Infrastructure Fund call), where applications are within the NIRD Fund remit and are of sufficient quality. Alternatively, proposals that have the potential to confer significant strategic gains at national or global level may be submitted direct to the NIRD Trust Steering Group via the Head of School.  Further details on applying for NIRD funding are available.


AHRC Impact Accelerator Account Funding

Impact Project Fund

The University of Reading Impact Accelerator Account (IAA) funded by the AHRC aims to expand the impact of its research in the Arts and Humanities, relating to both local contexts and national and international imperatives. Part of Reading’s IAA award is the Impact Project Fund. The objective of this fund is to invest in early stages of work in the impact pipeline to facilitate understanding of the challenges groups are facing, and investigate how the University of Reading’s research can help to address those. It is designed to allow us to rapidly respond to emerging needs and new opportunities to develop impact. Successful applications to the Impact Project Fund will enable researchers to enhance the impact of their research, to undertake impact and engagement activities, and develop partnerships with external stakeholders. For more information see Reading’s AHRC IAA and the Impact Project Fund page.


Annual Research Infrastructure and Equipment Fund (ARIEF) 

The 2022/23 Annual Research Infrastructure and Equipment Fund (ARIEF) considers major investments of values of £100K or more in science disciplines, and £40K or more in the non-science disciplines, which will either have a transformative impact on research capacity and quality within a defined area of existing or potential research excellence within the University, or which funds the replacement of strategically important equipment or infrastructure, without which our capacity to conduct research would be negatively impacted.

Applications can be made via a Microsoft Form to the ARIEF

Please read the guidance at the top of the form and note the point about supporting statements. Do allow enough time to obtain any supporting statements as your RDL may have several requests to deal with.  

Applications that are recommended for funding may be required to consult further with professional services such as Estates, Health and Safety, Procurement, DTS, etc. before funding is released in order to ensure that all factors relevant to the purchase, installation, maintenance and disposal of the equipment have been considered in advance of placing an order.

The deadline for applications will be announced for December 2023.  Late applications will not be accepted.


Health Innovation Partnership (HIP)

There will be opportunities for collaborative funding arising from the Health Innovation Partnership. Please check the HIP website for the latest information.


Studentship Schemes

Details of a variety of studentship competitions can be found on the Doctoral and Researcher College website.


Other Internal Funding

There are potentially other internal funding opportunities depending on external allocations and details will be posted on this page when relevant.

Previously these have included:

  • Research England: In previous years, we have been allocated Research England funding in specific areas, including Policy Support and Participatory Research.
  • Impact Development funds
  • HEIF proof of concept projects.
Further Information

For general information related to RETF and NIRD,  please contact Dawn Cobbold, Executive Administration Manager (Vice-Chancellor’s Office)

For information related to Research Travel Grants, please contact Eleanor Saxon, Senior Governance Officer

For Information related to Studentship Schemes, please contact Elena Bedisti, Director of Doctoral and Researcher College Services