The Eastern Arc Fund

Due to the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not accepting further applications to the Eastern Arc Fund. This is because the anticipated timeframe for the coronavirus to clear, and for meetings and other activities to return to normal, will not allow time for applications to be assessed, grants to be awarded and projects and workshops to be undertaken before the end of the financial year (31 July 2020).

The Fund will be revised in 2020/21 to align to the objectives of the new Strategy 2020-25, with a particular focus on risk-taking research. More details will follow. 

In the meantime, here are details of the projects the EARC Fund supported in 2019/20. 


The Eastern Arc Fund has been established to support the development of collaborations between the three partners in support of the Strategy 2020-25. 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 direct costs of your activity. An application form is available on request.

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 Delivery Group or their nominees.

Assessment criteria

The panel will use the following criteria:

  • Eligibility of the applicant.
  • Fit with the vision of the Eastern Arc, which is to deliver real and tangible change through a close collaboration to address pressing issues of sustainable development..
  • 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. It will be up to the individual school or department to manage it, not the Eastern Arc secretariat. The funding must be spent by the end of the 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.