Policy engagement fund

Policy Leeds is looking to support researchers within the University of Leeds to build deeper policy relationships and more innovative and impactful collaborations through our policy engagement fund.

The fund will support researchers and policy partners to:

  • Build new or enhance relations with policy-facing partners at local, regional, national or international levels 
  • Kick-start policy engagement activity, matching areas of research excellence at the University of Leeds with current or anticipated policy needs 
  • Develop skills and capacities for effective policy engagement within the University, in particular widening the equality, diversity and inclusion of researchers involved in policy engagement 

Funding modes

You can apply for funding via our two funding modes: 

  • Rapid response mode – to support researchers to respond quickly and tactically to urgent policy opportunities. Awards up to £3,000
  • Small grant mode – to support larger or longer policy engagement projects to establish new areas of engagement or take existing engagement to the next level. Awards up to £7,000

We intend for the funding to support the development of policy engagement focused activities and not research activities. We particularly welcome projects that are developing innovative approaches to policy engagement.  

Policy engagement activities could include:  

  • Supporting building relationships and networks with policy professionals to maximise routes to impact and facilitate coproduction of future research   
  • Delivering or participating in knowledge exchange activities with policy professionals   
  • Supporting the translation, application, and use of existing research findings or approaches for policy, for example, via a rapid evidence synthesis or demonstrating the value of an approach for a policy context or challenge    

You can apply for the policy engagement fund alongside other funding opportunities, such as Impact Acceleration Accounts, to extend the potential impact of policy engagement activities. 


For the small grant mode, an academic member of staff should led the applications.

For the rapid response mode, we welcome applications from researchers (including postgraduate level), or professional staff whose role involves engaging policy actors with research evidence.

For both modes, applicants should be contracted/registered at the University of Leeds for the duration of the anticipated activity.  

Eligible costs

Policy engagement funding can only cover directly incurred costs associated with the award (ie, it does not cover full economic costs), which may include: 

  • Reasonable travel, accommodation and subsistence costs
  • Consumables directly related to the project
  • Other costs such as external consultancy fees may be eligible
  • Salaries to support fixed-term staff

The following costs are not eligible: 

  • Academic staff time, DA costs 
  • IT or equipment costs 
  • Estates and indirect costs 

Small grants can also request Policy Leeds support in the form of project management, organisational and communications capacity, up to a maximum of 0.5 days per week for 3 months (or equivalent). 

How to apply for funding

For full details about the funding, download the policy engagement fund guidance (Word doc)

To apply, download the policy engagement fund application form (Word doc).

Please return your completed application form to the Knowledge Exchange team at knowledge-exchange@leeds.ac.uk.

If you would like to discuss your application prior to submitting it, please contact Juliet Jopson at policyleeds@leeds.ac.uk.

Awards process

Policy Leeds will assess applications on a rolling basis. As a limited amount of funding is available each year, the number of awards will depend on the size of requests already granted. 

We will assess applications based on the likely effectiveness and targeting of the proposed policy engagement, deliverability of the outlined activity, and potential to lead to research impact.  

For rapid response mode applications, we will aim to give feedback on the result of the assessment within one week of application.

For small grant mode applications, decisions will be made within 3 weeks where possible.   

Once we have approved an application, Policy Leeds will either administer the award or set up a Faculty account for the award-holder (which may take a little time).

In the latter case, the award-holder is responsible for managing and reporting on all expenditure and complying with all University of Leeds Financial Regulations. 

Reporting requirements

We will request a short evaluation one month after the end of the supported activity to enable us to monitor the effectiveness of the funding stream.

For larger awards, Policy Leeds may follow up with the award holders after 12 months to capture any longer term outcomes or impacts.

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