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


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.


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. 

GW4 Neurodevelopmental Neurodiversity Network

Generator Fund

Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Punit Shah (PI), Esther Walton
University of Bristol: Christopher Jarrold
Cardiff University: Lucy Livingston
University of Exeter: Ginny Russell

Project overview

We are an interdisciplinary group – of university academics (e.g., geneticists, psychologists), neurodivergent people, and third sector organisations – working together towards a step-change in understanding and improving the lives of neurodivergent people and those with neurodevelopmental conditions. 

GWPore: Porous materials for energy, healthcare and the environment


Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Asel Sartbaeva (PI)
University of Bristol: Sebastian Rochat
Cardiff University: Timothy Easun
University of Exeter: Yongde Xia

Project overview

We aim to create a network of researchers, GWPore, interested in all aspects of porous materials, across all four GW4 universities. This network will facilitate collaborations, applications for funding, mentoring for ECRs, networking, and equipment sharing between groups.

Moving Through Motherhood


Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Dr Peter Rouse
University of Bristol: Dr Charlie Foster
Cardiff University: Dr Kelly Morgann
University of Exeter: Dr Richard Pulsford (PI), Dr Victoria Salmon, Dr Lauren Rogers, Dr Emma Cockroft

Project overview

The GW4 Moving Through Motherhood Community comprises researchers from different disciplines with a shared interest in supporting physical activity during pregnancy by establishing a regional multidiscipline and multisector network to steer research and resource development.

Plasticity and Robustness: cellular understanding of plant growth and defence

generator award

Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Kit Yates
University of Bristol: Alan Champneys
Cardiff University: Veronica Grieneisen (PI)
University of Exeter: Mike Deeks

Project overview

This project will link the major developmental alterations caused by plant pathogens to the fundamental changes in cellular polarity that underpin all these responses.