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

SPIN (Secrecy, Power, and Ignorance Research Network)

generator FUND

Awarded: July 2020

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Brett Edwards
University of Bristol:  Elspeth Van Veeren (PI)
Cardiff University: Claudia Hillebrand, Thomas Leahy
University of Exeter: Brian Rappert, Owen Thomas

Project overview

To promote new scholarship, dialogues, policy and improved governance by exploring and deepening understanding of the pervasiveness of secrecy and ignorance (the politics of knowledge (un)making) in contemporary social and political life. 



Project period: September 2019 – June 2019

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Andreas Kyprianou
University of Bristol:  Kate Robson Brown (PI)
Cardiff University: Paul Harper, Irena Spasic, Jonathan Gillard
University of Exeter: Richard Everson

Project overview 
This activity aimed to support the data science and AI collaborations in the GW4 region and extend the successful interactions with the Turing Institute.

Circular economy for affordable, low-carbon secondary raw materials


Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Pete Walker, Stephen Allen 
University of Bristol:  Steve Eichhorn, Rinat Nigmatullin
Cardiff University: Eshrar Latif, Marianna Marchesi
University of Exeter: Raffaele Vinai (PI), Matt Eames, Peter Hopkinson  

Project overview 

The project will focus on materials, processes, technologies and systems to enable up-cycling of industrial waste and agricultural co-products into valuable components, fostering circular economic solutions for sustainable building products. 

GW4 NanoEvade: Smart design of nanoparticle-drugs to evade the immune response


Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads 

University of Bath: Karen Edler
University of Bristol: Ash Toye
Cardiff University: Mark Young, Riccardo Bonsignore, Andreia De Almeida
University of Exeter: Charlie Jeynes (PI), David Richards

Project overview 

This GW4 initiator grant will bring together experts from different disciplines, ranging from nanoparticle chemistry & toxicity to mathematical modelling & immune system biology to address this complex problem.  

Imaging Arthritis Consortium


Project period: February – July 2019 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Elise Pegg, Richie Gill
University of Bristol: Flossie Carpenter, Mike Whitehouse
Cardiff University: David Williams, Cathy Holt
University of Exeter: Ben Sherlock (PI) 

Project overview

The Imaging Arthritis Consortium will leverage leading experience and facilities for musculoskeletal imaging that exists across the GW4 to promote new collaborations in the field of musculoskeletal imaging. 

Recurrence analysis for the characterisation and classification of epileptic patients

Accelerator FUND

Project period: February – September 2019

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Tiago de Paula Peixoto
University of Bristol: Naoki Masuda (PI)
Cardiff University: Jiaxiang Zhang
University of Exeter: Lorenzo Livi

Project overview

We will consolidate the methodology based on “recurrence analysis” and apply it to data recorded from the brain of individuals affected by epilepsy. 

Stratify and Treat – a new horizon for type 1 diabetes after 100 years

Initiator fund

Project period: February – June 2019

GW4 community leads
University of Bristol: Kathleen Gillespie, Alistair Williams, Anna Long 
Cardiff University: Danijela Tatovic, Colin Dayan, Susan Wong 
University of Exeter: Sarah Richardson (PI), Noel Morgan, Richard Oram, Angus Jones, Andrew Hattersley, Bev Shields, Tim McDonald

Project overview

The GW4 Type 1 Diabetes Centre of Excellence will reveal the causes of diabetes leading to improved patient stratification and tailored therapies

Using realistic review methodology to investigate digital health interventions for managing long-term conditions


Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Matthew Jones, Charlotte Dack
University of Bristol:  Sabrina Grant
Cardiff University: Judith Carrier (PI), Emma Lane, Valerie Sparkes, Roser BeneitoMontagut 

Project overview 

Digital health interventions to support people with long-term conditions, what works, for whom, in what circumstances?