The Eastern Arc Fund facilitates collaboration between two or more of the Eastern Arc partners.

We are currently developing our strategy for the second phase of  Eastern Arc, which will run between 2020-25. The intention is to broaden its remit so that we can work collaboratively towards meeting the wider aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

SDGs are relevant to a very broad range of research and innovation activity, in both developed and developing countries. They act as a focus for developing a better and more sustainable future for all, and tackle issues as diverse as poverty, inequality, climate, prosperity, and peace and justice. They are as relevant to the UK as they are to the rest of our global community.

The Eastern Arc Fund has been established to support the development of collaborations between the three partners in support of this. It is intended to be light-touch, flexible, transparent and swift.

The Fund is not intended to be either large-scale or comprehensive. Instead, we intend it be the spark that lights the fire for further collaboration and bid development.

Activities funded

Proposed activities should have a primary research and innovation focus. However, this can include activity that supports the broader development of research and innovation, or the use of the outcomes from it. If you’re uncertain whether your ideas would be relevant, speak to Phil Ward first.

The activity must involve two of the three Eastern Arc partners. It doesn’t have to involve all three, although this would be preferable.

The following will be the primary activities supported by the Fund. Note that the totals given are limits and not targets. Value for money will be a criterion.

Pilot projects (up to £10k)

External funders are increasingly risk averse, and are raising the lower limit for applications. This results in there being fewer places where daring, radical, and experimental work can be funded. We aim to support work that addresses the SDGs by providing funding for earlier, more uncertain work. By so doing, it will demonstrate the worth of an experimental project, by testing hypotheses and gathering of pilot data, thereby providing a platform from which to launch bids for further funding and additional work.

Exchanges and visits (up to £2k)

The Eastern Arc is on the North Sea rim, a region rooted in the land but shaped by travel, trade and migration, resulting in a mindset that is outward looking, accepting of change and welcoming of external influences.

We want to replicate this movement and openness within the Consortium, to aid understanding, to share best practice, and to accept new knowledge. Exchanges or visits should be between two or more EARC partners, and for a minimum of two days, but there is no maximum duration, as long as costs are kept within the total grant limit.

Workshops and other events (up to £3k)

In its first five years, Eastern Arc facilitated over sixty workshops, seminars, conferences and sandpits. These provided fertile ground for academics and researchers across the Arc to come together and find common cause. We wish for this activity to continue, but for the focus to be on activity that has the potential to meet the SDGs. There is no restriction as to the length, timing or format of these events beyond the total costs requested.


The EARC Fund is open to all academics, researchers, postgraduate research students and professional service staff (who work in areas relevant to research or innovation) based at any of the three universities.


There are no set deadlines. You can apply at any time.

How to apply

To apply, you must briefly explain why you need the funding. Note that the fund will only cover the direct costs of your activity. An application form is available here: Application Form 2019-20 (Word).

In preparing your application, discuss your plans (and your proposed costs) with your research and innovation office. They are:

Applications should be sent as an attachment to Phil Ward.

Assessment process

It is important that the outcome of the application is known quickly. As such, the assessment process will be light touch.

The application will be seen by at least two members of the EARC Advisory Panel. The panel comprises:

  • The associate or deputy deans for research and innovation
  • The deans (or equivalent) responsible for postgraduate students

Assessment criteria

The panel will use the following criteria:

  • Eligibility of the applicant.
  • Fit with the vision of the Eastern Arc, which is to put the UN’s Strategic Development Goals at the heart of our collaboration for the benefit of our regional, national and global communities.
  • Likelihood of success. This is, of course, not an exact science, but this assessment will be based on the Panel’s knowledge of the applicant’s track record, the area in which they are working, and the proposed activity.
  • Value for money.

Where possible, feedback will be given to unsuccessful applicants.

Award of the grant

The grant will be given to the principal applicant’s school or department or, in the case of UEA, via RIN. It will be up to the individual school or services to manage it, not the Eastern Arc secretariat. The funding must be spent by the end of each university’s financial year (31 July).

Reporting on the project

The applicant will be asked to provide a short report on the project, and the cost incurred. Any underspend must be returned.