The GW4 Building Communities Programme aims to build research 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 Award (Round 3) Funding Call

CLOSED The third round of the Generator Fund closed in February 2022. Applications for the fourth round of the Generator Fund will open again in November 2022. For more information, or to be informed about when applications open again, please contact the GW4 Building Communities Manager (Harriet Mills) at

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

The GW4 Value of Death Network


Project period: September 2018 – January 2019 

GW4 community leads 

University of Bath: Malcolm Johnson
University of Bristol: Jane Blazeby (PI) 
Cardiff University: Jenny Kitzinger
University of Exeter: Katrina Wyatt & Robin Durie 

Project overview 

This GW4 Network will address the global challenge of the critical relationships between medicine, living well, dying and death. It will examine how the process of dying is being medicalised and the implications of current practices for different populations. 

Transformative history education: Learning from creative practices in Cambodia, Colombia and Iraq


Project period: September 2018 – April 2019 

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
Working with partners in Cambodia, Colombia and Iraq, we explore creative practices that enable young people to learn about the violent past and contribute towards constructing a better future. 

Ecologies of mental health


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: James Gregory  

Cardiff University: Valerie Walkerdine  

University of Exeter: Joel Krueger (PI), Aliette Lambert  

Project overview 

This project will develop an interdisciplinary GW4 community (philosophy, psychology, sociology, and consumer culture theory) to investigate how our cognitive, cultural, and technological “ecologies” shape mental health and wellbeing. 

Materials and systems to improve occupant health and the built environment


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads 

University of Bath: Richard Ball, Chris Bowen (joint PIs) 

University of Bristol: Valeska Ting  

Cardiff University: Robert Davies, Diane Gardner  

University of Exeter: Yanqiu Zhu, Meiling Zhu 

Project overview 

We will identify opportunities to develop and apply the next generation of technologically advanced ceramic materials and systems to improve the environmental impact and occupant health and wellbeing in the built environment. 

Microfluidics and modelling for investigating cellular heterogeneity


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: David Tosh

University of Bristol: Craig McArdle  

Cardiff University: Xin Yang  

University of Exeter: Stefano Pagliara (PI) 

Project overview 

This network will develop capabilities to study individual cells and identify cells that are rare but play a key role in antibiotic resistance, immune response or hormonal regulation. 

Network for critical engagement with the defence establishment


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 Community Leads 

University of Bath: Paul Higate 

University of Bristol: Tim Edmunds  

Cardiff University: Victoria Basham (PI) and Huw Bennett  

University of Exeter: Owen Thomas 

Project outcomes
Our network will foster dialogue on how dissenting voices on defence and security are articulated in Britain, and on how that dissent can be received productively by policy-makers and the wider public. 

Physical, Chemical and Biological Impact of Increased Lightning Strikes due to Climate Change


Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Martin Fullekrug 

University of Bristol: Dudley Shallcross 

Cardiff University: Daniel Mitchard (PI) 

University of Exeter: Timothy Hill 

Project overview

This project will bring together experts from atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, geography, engineering and physics within GW4 to explore the impact of lightning on the environment, centred on the only university-based lightning research facility within Europe, in partnership with the Met Office and the CTR Wilson Institute for Atmospheric Electricity (CTRWIAE). 



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.