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.

In 2020, we launched Generator funding which awards communities up to £20K for 6 months. 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. 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 late 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.


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

Project period:

1 June 2022 – 30 November 2022.

Community Lead:

Prof. Liana Cipcigan (University of Bristol)

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

Project period:

1 June 2022 – 30 November 2022.

Community Lead:

Dr Rachel Arnold (University of Bath)

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

Project period:

1 June 2022 – 30 November 2022.

Community Lead:

Dr Jennifer Johns (University of Bristol)

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

Project period:

1 June 2022 – 30 November 2022.

Community Lead:

Dr Dhara Malavia (University of Exeter)

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.