Funding Opportunities for KEI

LSE has a dedicated KEI fund to support knowledge exchange activities based on LSE research and expertise

The KEI fund comes from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) allocation 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. Subscribe to Research Briefing or contact the KEI Integrated Service for details of any open calls. 

KEI Fund

What is the KEI fund?

The Knowledge Exchange and Impact Steering Group (KEISG) 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).

Funds available

KEISG welcomes applications of any size up to £100k to run up until 31 July 2021. As a guide:

  • Small bids of up to £10,000 for short-term or immediate KEI activities
  • Medium bids of £10,000 - £35,000 for longer term KEI activities including, but not limited to, inter-disciplinary and/or collaborative activities
  • Large bids of £35,000 - £100,000 which are likely to be inter-disciplinary and/or collaborative in nature 

Selection criteria

Essential prerequisites

  • The project or activity must focus on non-academic engagement or benefits
  • You must explain why the project or activity cannot be funded from other sources
  • Staff costs must be justified
  • The project must have the support of your department or centre
  • The lead applicant must be on the LSE payroll. 
    Seniority of lead applicant has no bearing on assessment of applications.
  • The project or activity must clearly involve or include LSE research
    This does not discount inclusion of non-LSE work and there is no requirement for a link to specific research output(s)

Core assessment criteria

  1. Clarity and feasibility of objectives
    Assessed through responses to sections  B, D, H & L of application form
  2. Clarity of anticipated benefits to non-academic groups, organisations or individuals
    Assessed through responses to section D of application form
  3. Evidence of buy-in from proposed partners (that is, any external groups/organisations/individuals with whom you intend to work)
    Assessed through responses to sections C & F of application form
  4. Effectiveness of engagement plan
    Assessed through responses to sections B, D, F & L of application form
  5. Clarity of link to LSE research
    Assessed through responses to section E  of application form
  6. Clarity of roles and responsibilities of all project participants; extent to which this justifies staff costs
    Assessed through responses to section J  of application form
  7. Significance to School
    Assessed through responses to section F  of application form, plus Committee’s consideration of School strategic priorities

Who can apply?

Applications can be considered from any member of academic or research staff but KEISG 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.  

PhD students

PhD students may apply for up to £2k of funding for KEI activities. Download full details of the process and the application form. Please get in touch with for more information.

Application form and procedure

Prospective applicants should discuss their proposal with the Senior Communications Manager (Research and Knowledge Exchange), Hayley Reed and liaise with the KEI Awards Manager, Marie Copperwaite on the budget (e.g. staff costs). Please email

Applications for small bids (<£35k)

Small bids are considered by KEISG in monthly rounds, except when the termly large bid round is taking place. The Fund is closed during August.

Applications for large bids (£35k and over)

These are considered by KEISG on a termly basis. We encourage you to get in touch to discuss your large bid application at the earliest possible opportunity. Applicants will be given the opportunity to answer questions on their bids at the termly meeting.

Deadlines 2019/20

The first draft of your application and budget must be sent at least three weeks before the application submission deadline, you must respond to feedback in a timely fashion and send a final version at least three working days before the deadline. 


Application Submission 

Decision from KEISG




<£35k bids

Fri 23 Aug

Wed 11 Sep

Term meeting 
>£35k bids

Mon 23 Sep

Mon 14 Oct

<£35k bids

Fri 25 Oct

Wed 13 Nov

<£35k bids

Fri 22 Nov

Wed 11 Dec

<£35k bids

Mon 16 Dec

Wed 15 Jan

Lent Term meeting 
>£35k bids

Mon 13 Jan

Mon 3 Feb

<£35k bids

Fri 21 Feb

Wed 11 Mar

<£35k bids

Tue 24 Mar

Fri 17 Apr

<£35k bids

Thu 23 Apr

Wed 13 May

Summer Term meeting 
>£35k bids

Mon 11 May

Mon 1 Jun

<£35k bids

Tue 23 Jun

Fri 10 Jul


You will be informed of the outcome of your application within 3 weeks of submission to KEISG (for smaller bids) or of the KEISG meeting (for larger bids). Successful applicants will receive their funding shortly after this time.

KE funds for Departments

In June 2019 £10,000 was awarded to each LSE academic Department, for use to support any form of knowledge exchange with non-academic audiences during 2019/20.

Potential uses 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 could 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 were used for in 2018/19 included:

  • 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 are able to allocate the funds at their discretion, but are encouraged to support activities led by colleagues without previous experience of Knowledge Exchange.


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 had to facilitate engagement with people or organisations beyond academia.

Each Department is required to nominate an academic contact to meet with the KEI Integrated Service to discuss effective KE and public engagement activities and what support for these can be provided centrally.  A Professional Services contact also has to be appointed to support the financial management of the funds. Funds can be used by anyone conducting research at the School, including PhD students.

Projects must be completed by 31 July 2020. A short report setting out how funds have been spent is required to be sent to in August 2020.

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.