The GW4 Building Communities Programme aims to build research communities of scale and capability that will deliver a step change in world-class research that could not be achieved by one of the institutions alone. The Programme has two funding schemes:

  • The annual Generator Funding scheme which awards GW4 communities up to £20K for 6 month projects (launched in 2020). This replaced the Initiator (up to £20K for 5 months) and Accelerator (up to £75K for 8 months) funding schemes, which ran from 2014 – 2019.
  • The Development Awards which support new, and advance existing, collaborations across GW4 by funding single activities or resources with up to £5K. This is a rolling scheme, with no closing date.

More details of both schemes, and how to apply, can be found below.

Building Communities Funding supports both the creation of new GW4 communities and the development of the strongest ideas emerging from our existing communities, and is open to any academic area. To date, the GW4 Alliance has invested over £3.1M in 112 collaborative research communities, which have generated £62.8M in research income. This means that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, GW4 captures an impressive £20 in external research awards.

Research Integrity

The GW4 Alliance has adopted the Russell Group Research Integrity Statement of cooperation in cross-institutional research misconduct allegations, which aims to support the efforts of researcher communities to foster research integrity (also known as good practice in research or the responsible conduct of research).


Building communities generator Award (Round 3) Funding Call

CLOSED The third round of the Generator Fund closed in February 2022. Applications for the fourth round of the Generator Fund will open again in November 2022. For more information, or to be informed about when applications open again, please contact the GW4 Building Communities Manager (Harriet Mills) at communities@gw4.ac.uk.


building communities development awards call

These small awards (<£5K) will support the development and progression of collaborations by funding a single activity or resource. The aim is that communities will use the small awards as a step towards applying for external funding. Applications can come from new or existing GW4 communities.

The awards can be used for a variety of purposes, such as enhancing collaborative relationships (academic, industry or other stakeholders), seminars, community workshops, or public engagement activities. Projects which include external partners are encouraged, although not required. There is no closing date for applications, with awards set to be made throughout the year.

Read the GW4 Building Communities Development Award Guidance here, and apply via this form


Explore our communities

Explore our research communities by award type or activity group. (All communities are also listed below in order of award date with newest first).

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Fund: Accelerator

Fund: Generator

Fund: Initiator

A Pathway to Net Zero for Road and Rail

Generator fund

Awarded: April 2022

Community Lead:

University of Bath: Meng Meng
University of Bristol: Theo Tryfanos
Cardiff University: Liana Cipcigan (PI), Omer Rana, Carol Featherstone, Clarice Bleil de Souza, Bettina Bockelmann-Evans
University of Exeter: Stewart Barr, Christopher Smith

Project Overview:

Pathway to Net Zero for Road and Rail multidisciplinary network vision is to build future of transport and mobility to enable the movement of people and goods through a net zero, resilient, digital, connected, accessible and inclusive system, creating opportunities, promoting innovation and sustainable development, while reducing inequalities at local, regional, and national levels.


GW4 PuP Community: Performance under Pressure

Generator fund

Awarded: April 2022

Community Leads:

University of Bath: Rachel Arnold (PI), Lee Moore
University of Bristol: Peter Turnbull,
Cardiff University: Rob Honey
University of Exeter: Sam Vine

Project Overview:

This community will bring academic experts and external partners together through this and subsequent funding to deliver a step-change in police occupational stress research; produce world-leading, interdisciplinary research; apply collaboratively for grants; and begin tackling the negative effects of stress on police officers’ performance, health, and well-being.


Technology-Enabled Circularity (TEC): Digitalisation and Sustainability in Manufacturing

Generator fund

Awarded: April 2022

Community Leads:

University of Bath: Rick Lupton
University of Bristol: Jennifer Johns (PI)
Cardiff University: Aris Syntetos, Daniel Eyers
University of Exeter: Okechukwu Okorie

Project Overview:

An interdisciplinary network bringing together expertise in digital manufacturing and circular economies to build more sustainable manufacturing futures.


Understanding use of Agricultural Azoles and its Impact on Quality of Waterbodies and AMR

Generator fund

Awarded: April 2022

Community Leads:

University of Bath: Neil Brown
University of Bristol: Susan Conlon, Arleen Kristhel Lezcano
University of Exeter: Dhara Malavia (PI), Ray Chan, Aimee Murray, Andrew Jones

Project Overview:

This project aims to understand use of azole fungicide in arable farmlands in Southwest England and determine its impact on quality of waterbodies and AMR.


Family Care in ME/CFS

generator FUND

Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bristol: Lucy Biddle
Cardiff University: Sharmila Khot
University of Exeter: Siobhan O’Dwyer (PI)

Project overview

This project will develop research on family care in ME/CFS.


Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities

GENERATOR FUND

Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Sophia Hatzisavvidou
University of Bristol: Oscar Berglund
Cardiff University: David Shackleton (PI)
University of Exeter: Jess Britton

Project overview

This collaboration investigates the rhetoric and practices of green recovery in UK cities in the time of COVID-19.


Urban Humanities

GENERATOR FUND

Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Christina Horvath
University of Bristol: Maria Fannin, James Duminy
Cardiff University: Julian Brigstocke, Gary Bridge
University of Exeter: Jason Baskin (PI)

Project overview

Our GW4 community brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars to establish the research area of the Urban Humanities, which is critical, we contend, to understanding the full complexity of urban change in the twenty-first century.


Climate Change Education Network

GENERATOR FUND

Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Elisabeth Barratt Hacking, Lorraine Whitmarsh
University of Bristol: Paul Howard-Jones (PI) 
Cardiff University: Christina Demski, Kat Steentjes
University of Exeter: Justin Dillon 

Project overview 

This project will establish a transdisciplinary network involving researchers across university disciplines working with teachers to orient and provide active support for research on Climate Change Education.