UCL Public Policy


Expert Engagement Small Grants 2018/19


The aims of the UCL Public Policy small grants scheme are:

  • To support policy-focused activity which may not otherwise occur
  • To increase opportunities for UCL researchers to engage with external policymakers and policy professionals 
  • To improve the engagement of external policymakers with UCL research 
  • To create and enhance networks between research staff and students with external policy professionals and policy-focused organisations 
  • To build UCL’s capacity for public policy engagement and encourage research staff and students at all levels to be involved 
  • To enhance UCL’s external profile amongst policymakers
  • To evaluate, learn from and share UCL’s approach to public policy engagement, internally and externally
How to apply

What proposals should seek to do

The small grants scheme is designed to support research staff, students and academics at UCL to increase their engagement with public policy, improve engagement with external policymakers through research expertise, and/or enhance the public policy impact of their research. We encourage applicants to think creatively about how to achieve greater policy engagement and impact, including about possible outputs from their work.

Proposals should include some degree of collaboration with an external policy professional or organisation. If an external policy partner is not included in the application, it will normally be expected that proposals should identify such a partner and state how the applicant(s) will work with them.

Proposals may be for an entirely new piece of work, or for a project as part of an existing activity. If the latter, the proposal should aim to enhance the policy engagement or impact of existing work beyond what may already have been planned.

Applicants are welcome to discuss ideas with UCL Public Policy staff in advance of making their application. It may also be helpful to consult support available from UCL Enterprise, UCL Public Engagement, and other knowledge exchange and impact supporting units. You can see previously funded small grants on our website.


Funds must be spent by the end of the 2018-19 UCL financial year (31 July 2019), but activities may be part of a larger ongoing project. Funds may only be used to cover direct costs. The funding is not intended to be used for equipment or travel unless there is a clear and specific contribution to policy engagement arising.

Completing the application form

  • Please be as succinct as possible and focus on directly responding to the questions
  • Please ensure the short description of your proposal is written with a non-specialist, non-university audience in mind
  • Please state how your proposal will meet one or more of the aims of the funding scheme
  • Please be as specific as possible in terms of the planned activities, outputs and outcomes of your proposal, including your stated objectives and how success in meeting these will be evaluated
  • You may also wish to consider how the proposal fits with the UCL 2034 strategy and UCLPublic Policy’s strategy.
  • If your application is successful, the award will be transferred to a Project Task Award (PTA) in your department and your departmental finance manager will be responsible for managing the award. At the point of submission, you will need to provide the details of the finance manager and confirm they are happy to do so.

Reporting and Evaluation

UCL PP asks applicants to commit to a multiple-stage, light-touch, evaluation of the outcomes of their proposal if funded, comprising a mid-project progress report, an end of project outcomes and impact report, and a follow-up outcomes and impact report 12 months after the end of the project. This information will be shared on the UCL PP website and in UCL PP reports, and UCL PP will endeavour to promote events and activities relating to small grants awards throughout the project life.


‘Expert Engagement’ applications will be assessed by a panel including UCL Public Policy, academics and policy professionals, following an initial shortlisting by the UCL PP team. Assessment criteria will include:

  • The extent to which the proposal will support public engagement with policy questions or processes
  • The potential for delivering additional policy engagement and/or impact from UCL research
  • The scope for collaboration with external policy and other partners