Brigstow Ideas Exchange Funding 2021 Full Call Details

This call is now closed. Deadline: 25 February 2021, 12 noon

  • Do you have an idea for new research but need some time from partners and some money to take it forward?
  • Do you need support to develop a network, either in the UK or globally?
  • Have you met some people at a Brigstow event and want to carry on the conversation?
  • Do you need to develop and discuss ideas before you apply for research funding (from Brigstow’s seedcorn fund, for example!)?

Ideas Exchanges

It takes time to develop research ideas. This is particularly true when research involves interdisciplinary and/or co-produced methods. Ideas Exchange funding enables the right people to get in the (virtual!) room together to learn from each other and identify shared research interests. The funding is designed to support emerging, interdisciplinary networks and partnerships that are co-designed and co-run with external partners. Up to £1000 is available per Ideas Exchange, although applications up to £2000 will be considered if the proposal is for more extensive activity or, for example, to extend the collaboration beyond the UK (although we do not envisage much travel taking place). We expect to fund between 5 and 10 this year. 


We welcome applications for Ideas Exchanges on any topic broadly within the theme Living Well in the 21st Century. Given this focus on human experience/living well, we expect to see arts/humanities researchers and/or social scientists having a key role in interdisciplinary research teams.

Alongside an open call we welcome applications in this round for teams interested in exploring the following themes:

Research and the Creative Industries: This could be of interest to researchers (particularly early and mid-career researchers) who have never worked with partners in the creative industries before, or for an individual or organisation in the creative industries wanting to connect with university researchers. The Ideas Exchange could be used to fund the time of the creative industry partner(s) to enable wide-ranging and exciting conversations that might lead to further research.

Covid and Structural Inequalities: This could be of interest to researchers and community organisations interested in bringing different disciplinary and methodological approaches together to critically interrogate structural inequalities highlighted by the pandemic and explore solutions driven by the communities most affected. We are particularly interested in proposals for Ideas Exchanges that engage researchers from both the Arts and Social Sciences who bring their distinctive methodologies to the research.


Each project team will need one University of Bristol researcher (who needs to be a member of academic staff) to be the budget holder for the project. We particularly welcome applications from colleagues who have not yet been a PI on a research grant.

What funding is available and what can the funds be used for?

The funds can be used to buy in expertise (for example, you may need to pay an artist or community partner for their time), pay for researchers (both within and external to the university and including research associates and students), hardware costs, consumables (such as the costs for your project team meetings if allowed in person) or travel needed to work together (again if this is allowed). If you are a part-time member of academic staff you might want to cost your time in, although you will not be eligible to manage the budget.

Unfortunately, the funding cannot be used to buy out full-time academic staff time.

What is the application process?

  • We will require one to two sides of A4 outlining:
  • Who is/are the main applicant(s) and budget holder?
  • What is the aim or idea?
  • What is the activity you need support for?
  • Who is involved? How does this support ongoing partnership development? Who are you also aiming to involve? 
  • How does it address the central Brigstow theme of living well in the 21st century?
  • Please identify if you are applying under one of the two themes, Research and the Creative Industries or Covid and Structural Inequalities
  • How much money do you require and why do you need it?
  • What do you expect to happen at the end/what might the outcomes be? For example, an event drawing together a range of people to discuss, or use making to explore, a particular topic; solidifying a research question and approach for a research funding bid; a critical analysis of what additional knowledge and skills might be required for a research project; or a literature review involving a number of disciplines to identify a gap in the research.

What are the deadlines for applying/carrying out the activities?

Applications should be emailed, with ‘Brigstow Ideas Exchange application’ in the subject line, to by midday Thursday 25th February 2021. We will notify people of the outcomes by Tuesday 2nd March 2021 and funds must be spent by 31st July 2021.

There will be an opportunity to meet and discuss potential projects with Brigstow colleagues at an online afternoon drop-in session on Monday 15th February – book a slot on Eventbrite.

We are also available if you have any questions or want to discuss your idea for an Ideas Exchange and can't make it to the drop-in session. Please contact either Gail Lambourne, Brigstow Institute Manager or Tim Cole, Brigstow Institute Director

A bit about the Brigstow Institute

Brigstow brings researchers from different disciplines together with a range of partners across the city and beyond to experiment in new ways of living and being. Our research is underpinned by a commitment to a distinctive way of working that foregrounds inter-disciplinary, co-produced research with – and not just for – external partners, and an emphasis on ‘critical making’ as a research methodology. Further examples of the projects that Brigstow has funded so far can be found at on our project pages.


  • Interdisciplinary research (or trans-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary or omni-disciplinary research) brings together people with different knowledge, expertise, skills and ideas. We are particularly interested in bringing university researchers from different schools or faculties together for the first time to undertake seedcorn projects (for example literary scholars and mathematicians in Maths Poems, or vets and social scientists in Poo Patrol).

  • Co-produced research values that knowledge takes many forms and lies within different areas and people. With co-produced research, the framing of the research question is driven equally by the needs of the external partner and university partners. It recognises that multiple expertise is necessary to undertake research, and that this is especially the case within the ‘Living Well’ remit that characterises Brigstow. Here lived knowledge is as important as academic knowledge (for example social and literary historians and a community arts charity in Telling Stories about Learning Difficulties, or public health researchers, sociologists, medical educationalists, community groups and individuals in How do you Move?).

  • We like critical making because it moves beyond talking together, to making together as a process in the research project. It invites people to think creatively and value the process of making over and above what is made. Don’t underestimate the value of using an object or space to elevate beyond language and to communicate ideas within and beyond the project group.

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