Funding Opportunities for KEI

LSE has a dedicated KEI fund to support knowledge exchange activities based on LSE research and/or LSE expertise. This fund combines the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) allocations received by the School.

Supporting knowledge exchange throughout the research lifecycle

Below are the current calls open for knowledge exchange, public engagement and research impact activities.

From time to time the School also receives specific funds used for discrete activities, for example, the IAA Global Challenges Research Fund, the UKRI Innovation Fellowships (IAA), and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Please see Staff News or contact Research Division for details on any open calls. 

KEI Fund

What is the KEI fund?

The Knowledge Exchange Framework Strategy Committee (KEFSC) has a budget to support various opportunities for knowledge exchange at any point throughout the research life-cycle – not just exploitation and dissemination at the end of a project. Success in KEI can be achieved in a number of ways, including: 

  • Engaging and communicating with non-academics about your research
  • Going beyond existing networks and relationships to create new opportunities to share your research
  • Building on opportunities to use novel and innovative approaches in sharing your research
  • Thinking broadly and creatively about who you want to engage (beneficiaries), how you want to engage them (methods and activities), and how you will know about and measure the effects of your engagement activities (metrics and indicators).

Thematic Priorities

KEFSC particularly welcomes applications in the following areas:

  • Cross-disciplinary collaboration including (where appropriate) cross-institutional collaboration with STEMM researchers (e.g. but not limited to, health, climate change, data science, time-series and decision-making).
  • New relationships with the corporate sector (e.g. but not limited to, developing potential Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs))
  • Innovative public engagement (e.g. but not limited to, citizen social science (including engagement with schools) and developing local knowledge hubs)

Funds available

KEFSC welcomes applications of any size up to £100k for a maximum of 3 years. As a guide:

  • Small bids of up to £10,000 for short-term or immediate KEI activities
  • Medium bids of £10,000 - £50,000 for longer term KEI activities including, but not limited to, inter-disciplinary and/or collaborative activities
  • Large bids of £50,000 - £100,000 which are likely to be inter-disciplinary and/or collaborative in nature 
  • For bids over £100,000, pre-approval by the Chair of KEFSC (via an outline proposal - see below) will be required.

Selection criteria

KEFSC will consider applications in line with the following: 

  • Applications can be for any KEI activities including public engagement but must relate to research undertaken at LSE.  
  • Potential for a future REF impact case study will be of interest to the Committee.
  • Interdisciplinary and inter-departmental applications are encouraged.  
  • KEFSC will be particularly interested in applications where there is potential to commercialise research. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss potential commercialisation opportunities with the KEI Integrated Service.
  • Applicants will be asked to identify the potential audiences/ beneficiaries and the likely reach (global, European, regional/local).  

Who can apply?

Applications can be considered from any member of academic or research staff but KEFSC are particularly keen to receive applications from individuals or departments/centres which have not previously received School funding for KEI. All applications must be supported by the applicant’s Head of Department or Centre Director.  

Application procedure and submission

Prospective applicants should discuss their proposal with the Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager, Rozia Hussain and Senior Communications Manager (Research and Knowledge Exchange), Louise Jones and liaise with the KEI Awards Manager, Marie Copperwaite on the budget (e.g. staff costs). 

Please read the Application Guidance Notes before completing the form.

For very small (<£2k) or very large (>£100k) projects, please contact Marie Copperwaite for the relevant forms.

There is no deadline for submission. Applications are considered by KEFSC on a monthly basis (on the 1st of the month) to allow applicants time to develop their proposals with the guidance of the KEI team. 


You will be informed of the outcome of your application within 3 weeks of submission to KEFSC, which will be on the 1st of the month following submission of your finalised application.

KE funds for Departments

In August 2018 £10,000 will be awarded to each LSE academic Department, for use to support any form of knowledge exchange with non-academic audiences. Potential uses may include - but are not limited to - activities supporting public and community engagement or the development of new relationships or partnerships with (for example) schools, local agencies, or the private, cultural and heritage sectors. They may also be used to develop colleagues’ KEI-related skills and capabilities.

The funds are intended to provide flexible, responsive support for departmental KE activities.  The sorts of things they could be used for include, but are not limited to:

  • Events held at LSE for non-academic audiences
  • Social media campaigns
  • Seed-funding for larger KE activities
  • Travel to and/or from LSE to facilitate engagement with non-academics
  • Any other activity directly engaging with stakeholders and/or end-users of research
  • Matched funding for KE activities that have attracted external support
  • KE training events and/or materials to develop skills and capabilities within Departments

Departments may allocate the funds at their discretion. Where possible, they are encouraged to support activities led by colleagues without previous experience of Knowledge Exchange.

Funds will be allocated at the start of the 2018-19 academic session (1 August 2018) and must be spent by March 2019 to allow the School to report back to the ESRC on the use of the funds.


Departments are free to allocate funds in whatever way they deem most conducive to supporting engagement with their research.  The only stipulation is that the funds must facilitate engagement with people or organisations beyond academia.

Each Department should nominate an academic contact who should meet with the KEI Integrated Service to discuss effective KE and public engagement activities and what support for these can be provided centrally.  Please contact Louise Jones in the first instance to arrange that meeting.  A Professional Services contact should also be appointed to support the financial management of the funds via Converis.

Funds can be used by anyone conducting research at the School, including PhD students.

A short report will be required in March 2019 setting out how funds have been spent.

REF Impact Fund

The REF Strategy Committee (REFSC) has a budget to support various aspects of the School’s preparations for the next REF, to take place in 2021.  Part of this budget has been set aside to assist individuals to enable them to produce 4* impact case studies who would otherwise struggle to achieve this. 

Applications up to £25,000 will be considered but smaller applications are also encouraged.  REF impact support may take the form of:

  • Support for travel and subsistence in order to collect and/or corroborate impact evidence from research users;
  • Provision of research assistants including occasional research assistants to collect impact evidence;
  • Costs of undertaking impact evaluation where this can help to demonstrate the reach and significance of the potential impact case study.
  • Exceptionally, buy-out of academic time, using the School’s existing internal formula, with the agreement of the Head of Department.

All of the above must be genuinely expected to lead to the production of 4* impact case studies for REF 2021 which would otherwise be difficult for the individual(s) to produce and which are not already supported by other forms of funding.

Download the full guidance and application form.

Applications should be emailed as a Word document to Jo Hemmings.

ESRC Early Career Researcher Industry Secondments

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) invites ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) to apply for funding towards activities that support Early Career Researcher (ECR) secondments to industry in areas aligned to the Industrial Strategy.

This is part of ESRC’s investment in ECRs funded through the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) as part of the government’s investment in research talent. Secondments can build on research already undertaken, expand existing relationships to include social science or help scope new areas of partnerships/research with business.

The proposal must include the following:

  1. What ECR secondment activity is being proposed including:
    - how it is aligned to the Industrial Strategy
    - how it addresses an industry need
    - how you will/have secure(d) industry partner(s)
    - how KE will be embedded in the activity 
  2. What the added benefits of the secondment will be to ECR skills development and the industry partner
  3. The timescales for the secondment
  4. The costings of the secondment activities
  5. Details of the ECR – their name, discipline, years post PhD, and nationality

Examples of activities that are not eligible for these schemes include: 

  • Studentships or internships for DPhil students
  • Primary research or research consultancy 
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

Other considerations:

  • The ECR should be supported/mentored by an established academic in a permanent role who should apply as the Academic Lead
  • ECRs are defined as within 4 years of submission of their DPhil/PhD (unless exceptional circumstances). Those who have submitted their thesis but are awaiting their Viva can apply.
  • Activities must be based at least 50% within the ESRC social sciences remit.
  • Secondments do not have to involve full-time working with an external organisation; one day a week over a period of three-six months may be appropriate, or a few shorter intensive visits spread over a longer period, depending on the needs of the project. It should be made clear in the application what time will be spent at the external organisation and how the project will be managed when not on site.
  • Applicants are expected to demonstrate in their proposal that there is a genuine commitment from project partner organisations. Clear details of any combination of cash or in-kind contributions to project costs is desirable although not essential.

The spend of ESRC IAA NPIF award must be completed by 31 MARCH 2019. 

How to apply

Proposals should be submitted to Rozia Hussain by 16.00 (UK time) on Friday 9th March 2018