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).

NOW CLOSED – 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.

This call runs annually and has now closed. For more information and to be alerted when the call opens again, please 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

Flood Resilience for the TRANsport Sector (FR-TRANS)


Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bristol: Maria Pregnolato (PI),
Cardiff University: Reza Ahmadian, Man Yue (Arthur) Lam
University of Exeter: Barry Evans, Albert Chen, Slobodan Djordjevic

Project overview

The project aims at establishing a community around urban resilience to climate, looking at addressing current gaps in assessing and reducing flooding impact to transport networks.


generator FUND

Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Philip Regan (PI)
University of Bristol: Daniel Whitcomb
University of Exeter: Jonathon Witton

Project overview

Investigating the potential of ultrasound stimulation as a regulator of neuroimmune function.

GW4 Menstrual and Mental Health Research Community


Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Melanie Channon
University of Bristol: Gemma Sharp (PI)
Cardiff University: Arianna Di Florio
University of Exeter: Anna Murray

Project overview

This research community will explore how the menstrual cycle interacts with mental health.

New drugs to tackle AMR


Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Maisem Laabei
University of Bristol: Seána Duggan, Jonathan M. Tyrrell
Cardiff University: Michaela Serpi (PI)
University of Exeter: Tobias Bergmiller, Remy Chait

Project overview

In this project, we will develop novel antimicrobial compounds to treat Gram-positive bacterial infections combining our expertise in drug discovery, organic synthesis, microbiology and molecular microbial ecology and evolution to enhance the ability of the agents to kill bacteria and interfere with biofilm formation.

Rhetoric and Practices of Green Recovery in Cities


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


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.


accelerator FUND

GW4 community leads
University of Bristol: John Iredale (PI), Jeremy Tavare
Cardiff University: Paul Morgan 
University of Exeter: Tamsin Ford

Project overview

By creating a vibrant cohort of young talented clinical academics across GW4 we will significantly enhance our collective abilities to translate our basic biomedical and population health research into an impact on patient care. 

Climate Change Education Network


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.