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



Project period: January – March 2018

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Dr Maria Garcia (PI) 
University of Bristol:  Dr Clair Gammage
Cardiff University: Dr Jo Hunt
University of Exeter: Dr David Thackeray

Project outcomes 
The project seeks to facilitate knowledge exchange between the region’s academic and business communities and to help map regional needs and a regional strategy in response to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and future trade policy. 

The GW4 PuP Community: Performance under Pressure Understanding Occupational Stress: Performance, Health, and Well-Being in High Pressure Environments


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Rachel Arnold (PI) 
University of Bristol:  Peter Turnbull
Cardiff University: Andy Smith
University of Exeter: Sam Vine 

Project overview 

The proposed community brought together academic experts to tackle the health, well-being, and productivity challenges in performance domains, to produce world-leading, interdisciplinary research on occupational stress.

Transformative history education in conflict-affected countries


Project period: September – November 2017 

GW4 Community leads 

University of Bath: Lizzi Milligan, Peter Manning
University of Bristol: Julia Paulson (PI) 
Cardiff University: Kate Moles
University of Exeter: Catriona Pennell & Kelsey Shanks (now University of Ulster) 

Project overview

Our network brings together GW4 educationalists, historians and social scientists with expertise in conflict and social memory to develop conceptual thinking around transformative history education. 

Health inequalities in older people: a plan for action


Project period: August – October 2017 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Nikki Coghill (PI) and Jessica Francombe-Webb
University of Bristol: Demi Patsios
Cardiff University: Shantini Paranjothy
University of Exeter: Katrina Wyatt 

Project overview

The focus of this project was to identify new approaches and ways of addressing inequalities in health among older people living in low income / economically disadvantaged communities. 

Applied Volcanology @ GW4


Project period: July – October 2017 

GW4 community leads

University of Bristol: Ryerson Christie, Alison Rust, Kathy Cashman
Cardiff University: Wim Degruyter
University of Exeter: James Hickey (PI) 

Project overview

Across the GW4, we have the expertise to promote the welfare of people in DAC countries by improving their resilience to volcanic eruptions. 

Global Challenges in Energy and Healthcare


Project period: February – May 2017 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Janet L. Scott (PI) 
University of Bristol: Paul Harper
Cardiff University: Kersty Hobson
University of Exeter: Stephen J Eichhorn 

Project overview

The primary goal of the Building Communities activity proposed here is to develop GW4 capacity, particularly within the “Sustainability” and “Healthy Living” themes identified in the GW4 5-year Strategy (2015), to respond quickly and effectively to anticipated RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) 2 calls in 2017. 

Systems approaches to antimicrobial resistance in different environments


Project period: Feb – April 2017 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern
University of Bristol: Katy Turner (PI) 
Cardiff University: Tim Walsh
University of Exeter: Will Gaze

Project overview

The community aims to explore and develop projects for future collaborative funding opportunities focused on using systems approaches to understand and tackle the problem of AMR in different environments and communities. 

Data Intensive Research


Project period: January 2017 – June 2017 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Jonathan Dawes, Mike Tipping
University of Bristol: William Browne (PI), Dave Cliff
Cardiff University: Stephen Fairhurst, Jonathan Gillard
University of Exeter: Susan Banducci, Richard Everson 

Project overview

Developing capacity for research and development in data science is a major national priority. The clearest evidence for this was the announcement in the March 2014 UK Budget speech of £42M funding for the establishment of the national Alan Turing Institute (ATI). Despite none of GW4 universities becoming part of ATI at the time of this award, each has well-established research strengths in many aspects of data science and is in the process of establishing their own research institute in data science and related topics.