UCL Human Resources


Researcher-led Initiative Awards: could we fund your light-bulb moment?

5 December 2018

Take your initiative and make it happen: UCL Organisational Development is hosting the Researcher-led Initiative Awards. This is an opportunity for UCL researchers to apply for small grants to fund the design and delivery of innovative professional development activities.

Three of our previous winners

What funding is available?

There are 20 awards available for postgraduate research students and another 20 open to early career research staff. For each group, there are 10 awards at £1,000 and 10 at £500.

Who can apply?

The awards are open to our second year (or above) post-grad research students (you must be fully-registered and your study status in-progress, this includes anyone who is in “Completing Research Status”) and early career research staff (on grades 7 and 8).

Why apply?

The Researcher-Led Initiative Awards aim to support and promote your professional and career planning skills.  

“This is a great opportunity to contribute to researcher development at UCL. Last year we piloted the scheme and saw a range of excellent initiatives unfold, from writing retreats to training in new open source software” Rochelle Rowe, Academic Development Lead.

What are we looking for?

These awards support short-term and well-defined initiatives to deliver the transferrable skills, training experience and/or resources to your peers across all UCL research departments.

UCL Organisational Development encourages applicants to be collaborative, innovative and creative.

How to apply

Applications must be made electronically via the link below by 5pm on Thursday 10 January 2019.

There are four award categories and applicants must state clearly which award category they are applying for on the application form. The categories are:

  1. Promoting the development underrepresented groups in academia
  2. Careers beyond academia
  3. Academic career development 
  4. Professional development of researchers in the Arts, Humanities and/or Social Sciences

Hear from a previous judge

Dr Mark Freeman, a judge from the previous year’s panel - soon to reprise his role commented how the calibre of the initiatives submitted by 2017’s applications were ‘diverse’ in subject.

 “The Researcher-led Initiative Awards gave doctoral researchers across UCL the chance to lead and develop new projects. They enhanced the research environment and promoted engagement both within and beyond the university”. He continued, that following the award event; “Successful applications brought a diverse range of external and internal participants to events and workshops organised by members of our large community of researchers. We look forward to seeing a similar range and quality of applications in the current round.”

Hear from previous winners

Harvey Wiltshire, a previous winner of a Research-led Initiative Award launched an event initiative; PhD/ECR Forum. This provided an occasion during which current UCL research students could hear from former UCL research students about their Early Career experiences and individual routes into full-time academic positions.

Harvey wrote that; “As an RLI Award holder, the impact of organising my event has been an invaluable experience to me” he added that; “composing a successful small grant application enabled me to build new professional relationships with research students from across UCL, to share my experience of organising the PhD/ECR Forum, and to learn from others developing their own initiatives”.

Yolanda Ohene, another successful applicant stated that “the opportunity to run ‘Organising the Minorities in STEM Symposium’, from the beginning to end has vastly improved my organisation skills’. She added that ‘this is because, I knew that I had to plan everything with lots of lead time, as inevitably not everything can go as expected.”

Where can I see more examples of previous award winning ideas?

Previous successful awards can be found on UCL Doc Skills website. Examples of initiatives that we would welcome include: workshops, events, conferences and networks.

Apply now