Funding opportunities

Funding opportunities

ERA skills community fund

ERA Community Fund provides up to £2,500 to design, develop, and deliver energy and/or net-zero-centric events.

This is a great opportunity to apply for a small grant which will look fantastic on your CV.

The aim of the ERA Community Fund is to provide monies to design, develop, and deliver energy and/or net-zero-centric events that provide researcher development opportunities (predominately for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers). Alongside funding, a package of support will be provided by the ERA team to ensure a high-quality event is produced including training and mentoring.

Who can apply

Organisational eligibility

Eligible are those that are part of the Midlands Innovation group of Universities (Aston University, University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Keele University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, and University of Warwick) plus the British Geological Survey.

Applications are welcomed from both single and multi-institutional teams.

Individual eligibility

The principal investigator must be from the lead organisation for the application. Approximately half of the funding pot will be ringfenced for projects where the PI is a doctoral researcher. However, we welcome proposals from post-doctoral researchers, academics, research technical professionals and professional research and investment strategy managers.

Doctoral researchers must have approval to apply from their supervisor.

What we’re looking for


Applications must:

  • Be centred within ERA’s research and training remit and have an energy and/or net-zero link.
  • Provide researcher development opportunities for a minimum of 12 researchers.
  • Involve doctoral and/or post-doctoral researchers in the design and implementation of the project.
  • Be open to researchers from all ERA institutions.
    • It is not envisaged that all funded events will attract students from all nine ERA partners but the opportunity to participate must be made available to them.
  • Include in-kind or cash contributions from the PI institution.
Funding Available

We anticipate c£5,000 will be available for this funding opportunity, we expect this to support between two and four projects that will deliver one, or a series of, energy related activities or events. Maximum award per application is £2,500 but we anticipate that the majority of applications will be less than £1,000.

Additional support and leverage

All applications are expected to include matched funding from their institution. Matched funding may be in the form of an in-kind contribution (for example room hire or staff time). You do not need to get costings for the application. Approximate amounts can be calculated using the costs provided below:

  • Senior Academic £100 per hour
  • Academic £75 per hour
  • Post-Doc £35 per hour
  • Support Staff £35 per hour
  • CEO Industry £150 per hour
  • Senior Industry £100 per hour
  • Junior Industry £50 per hour
  • Room Hire £25 per hour
  • Printing £0.05 per A4 side
  • Colour printing £0.10 per A4 side
Equality, diversity, and inclusion

Successful applications will be required to develop an equality, diversity, and inclusion plan. These plans will not be assessed at the application stage. To reduce the burden of proposal development and assessment the ERA team will work with successful applicants to develop these plans at the post-award stage. If appropriate you may include costs of delivering these plans in your application.

How to Apply

You must apply using the on-line Microsoft application form. A copy of the form including guidance can be downloaded here.


The form must be submitted by Monday 13 November 2023 at noon.

How we will assess your application

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to researcher development in an area of relevance to ERA. Specific criteria that will be assessed are outlined below:

  • Clearly articulated how the award will support development of the applicant.
  • Quality and relevance of the training/skills development proposed for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers.
  • The proposed impact and outcomes of the event.
  • The level of host organisation support.

2023/24 Funding timetable

  • 11 September 2023 Funding opens.
  • 8 November 2023 Funding closes.
  • December 2023 Review panel(s) and funding decision.
  • December 2023 – May 2023 Mentoring and delivery period.
  • June 2023 All funded event/activities taken place.

Access up to £2,500 funds to design, develop, and deliver your events

Key dates



Round 2 now closed.

Round 3:

Expected to open in summer 2024

Guidance notes



Why Apply



“Organisation of the summer school provided an excellent opportunity for early career researchers at the University of Birmingham to develop as leaders, gaining vital experience for their future career progression. I would strongly encourage other academics to support PhD students to apply for this opportunity in the future!”

Dr. Daniel Donaldson (Lead Academic Birmingham Decarbonisation Summer School).