The GW4 Building Communities Programme aims to build research and innovation 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 FUND OPEN Call

The GW4 Generator Fund is an open research call offering up to £20K to support collaborative research and innovation communities across the four GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. Now in its fourth year, this initiative supports both the creation of new GW4 communities and the development of the strongest ideas emerging from our existing communities.

Applications across all areas of research and innovation are invited. Applications from Early Career Research (ECR) communities are particularly welcome and supported. Generator funding can be used as a stand-alone award or, in conjunction with other sources of funding. Communities are encouraged to use the scheme as a step towards applying for external funding.

The deadline for applications is 6 February 2023.
Read the GW4 Generator Fund Guidance here (.pdf)  and apply via the application form. For more information contact the GW4 Building Communities Manager by emailing

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

Paramagnetic Species for Catalysis and Materials Applications


Project period: May – July 2014

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Mike Whittlesey (PI)
University of Bristol: Robin Bedford
Cardiff University: Damien Murphy

Project overview

The community brought together investigators from GW4 with overlapping, yet wide-ranging interests that relate to paramagnetism, in order to tackle big-scale, high-risk high-reward problems in the field. 

SynBio Showcase and Strategy Meeting


Project period: May – July 2014

GW4 Community Leads

University of Bath: David Leak
University of Bristol: Paul Race
Cardiff University: Dafydd Jones
University of Exeter: Thomas Howard (PI)

Project Overview

This project brought together GW4 researchers and key stakeholders in a showcase and networking event, and established a GW4 Synthetic Biology Strategy Group for leading future cross-institute collaborations. 

The Impact of Offshore Windfarms on Marine Organisms


Project period: May – July 2014

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Phillipe Blondeli
University of Bristol: Andy Radford, Daniel Robert
Cardiff University: Roger Falconer
University of Exeter: Rick Bruintjes (PI), Steve Simpson, Darren Croft, Matt Witt, Phillipp Thies

Project overview

The community aimed to bring together an interdisciplinary team of GW4 researchers capable of substantially advancing knowledge of the impacts of offshore renewables.