Research and knowledge exchange

Research Development Fund

The Research Development Fund is designed to develop activities enabling substantive external research proposals. Normally this would take the form of a pilot study or proof of concept research.

The deadline for Round 10 has now passed. 

The RDF is intentionally flexible, recognising that different disciplines have different requirements for research development. This initiative is not intended to underwrite conference hosting, attendance or dissemination, nor should it be used as a bridging fund for current staff on short-term contracts. Interdisciplinarity is not a requirement but interdisciplinary applications are encouraged.

For this particular round of the RDF, applications for pump-priming projects aimed at generating preliminary data for future Global Challenges Research Fund bids are particularly encouraged as the RDF panel will have access to a portion of the University’s GCRF QR allocation. In order to be funded from the GCRF QR, RDF applications must meet Official Development Assistance principles which state that only research directly and primarily of benefit to the problems of specific developing countries may be counted as ODA eligible. Please note that this is not exclusionary and pump-priming applications for any external sponsor are still welcome.

Duration: Projects would normally be expected to begin within 2 months of notification and normally run for a maximum of 6 months. Applicants whose projects are expected to take longer than 6 months before an external grant application can be prepared will have to explain the special circumstances which justify an extended pump-priming period. A project can take no longer than 12 months in any circumstances. All funded projects must end by 31 March 2020 at the latest.

Funding: Applicants can apply for projects ranging from £5k - £30k but projects towards the higher end of this scale would have to have an especially compelling rationale to be successful. Cost sharing with Schools is encouraged. Funds could be used for example to support lab based work, work related to clinical trials, archival research, scoping activities, or web based research. If bidding for research assistance, applicants should indicate clearly what their work would include.

Ineligible costs: This initiative is not intended to underwrite conference hosting, attendance or dissemination. Teaching relief and equipment (including laptops) are not eligible costs under this initiative. Funds should not be used as a bridging fund for current staff on short-term contracts.The RDF will not fund costs incurred by collaborators at other institutions. If other institutions are involved there is an expectation that their institution will also contribute to the pump-priming costs.

Eligibility: The RDF is open to faculty from all disciplines. In accordance with the University’s Athena Swan objective of addressing gender equality, the RDF scheme welcomes bids from applicants returning from parental leave. Members of faculty on fixed-term contracts may apply if they will be employed at Sussex during the RDF funded project period and also during the proposed externally funded project(s) which would occur after the RDF pump-priming activity. Staff on teaching-only contracts and research students are ineligible to apply to the RDF.



If you would like to discuss your application please contact Debbie Foy (ext 3812) 

If you need help costing your proposal please contact Taryn Collins (ext 7447)


Examples of some of the RDF's success stories can be found here

See our FAQs page for more information on how to apply

Read our Tips for applying to Sussex Research Internal Funding Schemes.