Communities Fund Application


Enabling Communities Fund

The purpose of this fund is to support innovative public engagement with communities outside our research consortium. Funded activities will involve new ways of exploring our science, and new people to explore it with.

This Communities fund is all about testing out, learning from, and developing public engagement ideas – so all projects will be expected to evaluate their activities and share learning across the consortium. This fund aims to nimbly celebrate your brilliant idea, by giving applicants a way to quickly receive funding for small to medium sized projects. Projects can be new or related to existing engagement activities.

Fund Specifications

Applications must involve: one or more DToL science partners; and one or more community partners (for definition of community partner see FAQs page).

Applicants to this fund can request up to £1800. Applications for less than this amount are welcome.

Applications to this fund can be made at any time before 30th Sept 2022, and will be assessed on a rolling basis (i.e. as they come in) to stimulate rapid deployment of engagement projects. Funding will be allocated on a first come first served basis for all suitable projects, up to a maximum allocation of £10,000 in 2021, with all remaining funds allocated in 2022 up to the total fund of £15,000. We expect to fund 10-15 community engagement projects during the programme lifetime.

All spending, engagement activities, and evaluation must happen before the end of January 2023.

Application process

We want this fund to be as open as possible, and easily accessible to those new to public engagement. Applicants can be experienced or new to public engagement. Steps for applying are as follows:

  1. If you would like to discuss your idea or application, begin by emailing the Darwin Tree of Life public engagement coordinator, Jack Monaghan ( Include a few sentences describing your idea, and some available slots in your diary, to arrange a time to talk.
  2. Once you feel ready, download and fill in the short Community Fund Application Form below and submit it for review.
  3. Once submitted, your application will be reviewed by two public engagement professionals within the DToL consortium. You will receive feedback on your application, and will either be granted the requested funding or invited to reapply. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks.

Funding Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by how they:

Build strong community relationships. Does your activity build a relationship with a new community, or strengthen engagement with someone we already know? How robustly connected is your community partner to the groups you wish to work with? How collaboratively will you work with the community to design and deliver the activities?

Provide opportunities for learning / development. Is this a new activity, or does it involve new kit or content? Will you be trialling an established activity with a new audience? What can other consortium members learn from your activity to inform future projects?

Increase engagement capacity. Does your activity enhance skills and confidence in public engagement within the DToL consortium? Does it encourage and equip people to become involved in public engagement who haven’t done so before?

Priority will be given to applications including:

  • Early career researchers or team members;
  • Engagement happening before the end of 2021;
  • Engagement with communities in the Republic of Ireland, or UK regions not currently served by engagement activities (e.g. Wales, N. Ireland, North of England, West Midlands). Online / virtual activities that can engage multiple geographically diverse communities are welcome, though consideration should be given to how dialogue will be established and maintained in areas not already involved in our online activities.

Note: priorities may change during the programme to best serve both our academic community and public engagement goals.

For further guidance on Darwin Tree of Life Enabling Funds, see our FAQs page.

Communities Fund Application