Enabling Connections Fund


Enabling Connections Fund

The purpose of this fund is to strengthen public engagement links within our research consortium. Funded activities will involve multiple Darwin Tree of Life consortium partners sharing knowledge, resources, and skills – coming together to deliver engagement in ways that we could not individually.

This Connections fund is all about developing cross-consortium networks and teams for public engagement – so all projects will be expected to evaluate both their activities and any new networks or ways of working together, and share learning across the consortium. Projects can be new or related to existing engagement activities. The funding process is a little slower than the Community Fund, but the amount you can apply for is greater.

Fund Specifications

Applicants must involve staff/students from at least two DToL consortium members.

Applicants for this fund can request up to £3000. In special cases applicants may apply for larger sums, however applications for larger amounts will be expected to provide additional planning, budget, and evaluation information. Larger Connections Fund projects are also expected to involve a greater number of consortium partners.

Applications to this Connections Fund must be made to specific deadlines (see below), and applications will be judged after each deadline to allow for the fairest allocation of resources.This fund has a total budget of £15,000 and we expect to fund 5-8 activities.

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 (jm58@sanger.ac.uk). Include a few sentences describing your idea, and some available slots in your diary, to arrange a time to talk.
  2. Once you are ready, download and fill in the Connections Fund Application Form below, and submit it for review.
  3. After the deadline for applications, your project will be reviewed by a panel of public engagement professionals within the DToL consortium. You will receive feedback on your application, and will either be granted the requested funding, granted a smaller amount of funding, or will be invited to reapply in the next application phase.

There will be two funding phases, structured to allow for the fair allocation of connections funds.

Phase 1 Deadline: 30th September 2021. Will allocate up to £12k of funding.

Phase 2 Deadline: 31st March 2022. Will allocate a minimum of £3k, and remaining funds not allocated in Phase 1.

Funding Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by how they:

Strengthen cross-consortium networks. Who are the people and what are the skills that your project will bring together? How can this benefit those involved, and enhance the public engagement they deliver?

Expand what is possible. How does your project build on the consortium network to deliver something different to what partners would or could deliver individually?

Increase engagement capacity. Does your activity share skills and expertise in public engagement across the DToL consortium? Will it encourage and equip people to become involved in public engagement who haven’t done so before, or in new ways that had not been open to them previously?

Priority will be given to applications that include:

  • Activities led by consortium members not currently involved in engagement projects;
  • Projects that link with established science engagement events such as science festivals;
  • Expanding current projects to include more partners, particularly where this means an increased engagement capacity (e.g. spreading engagement geographically, or improving accessibility); or increased engagement legacy after the funding period ends (e.g. training / materials for independent delivery of activities by teachers).

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

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

Enabling Connections Fund