Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: UKRI cross research council responsive mode pilot scheme

Apply for funding for interdisciplinary ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI research council funding.

This pilot scheme will support breakthrough or disruptive interdisciplinary ideas not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes.

Awards will be potentially transformative for the participating disciplines or lead to the creation of new disciplines.

The full economic cost of your project can be between £200,000 to £1.2 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost. We expect to make around 36 awards.

Funding is available for up to 2 years.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

More information will be available on this page in March 2023.

Who can apply

Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI approved independent research organisations

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

You can apply:

  • if you are a resident in the UK
  • if you are employed at the submitting research organisation
  • as a consortium, based in a single institute or across a number of institutions, your team must be interdisciplinary

You may be involved in any number of applications in provided you have the capacity to meet these commitments.

You may be the lead investigator on only 1 application to this funding opportunity.

What we're looking for

This funding is designed to support new interdisciplinary ideas emerging from the research community outside current disciplinary boundaries.

We will support projects that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines, involving different knowledge and methodological spheres.

This is a new scheme that we are piloting over 2 rounds of funding, allowing us to assess demand, and test and refine our processes. We will run an outline stage ahead of inviting full applications. We expect research organisations to ensure applications from their institution fit the scheme’s objectives.

We anticipate making around 36 awards in this first round and ask that research organisations are mindful of this number.

We encourage research organisations to prioritise diverse and distinctive ideas that tread new ground, and to help support a diversity of applicants to the scheme.

Scheme objectives

This funding is to support interdisciplinary research, including to:

  • unlock new research, new approaches or new methods that would not emerge from established disciplinary thinking
  • demonstrate reciprocal research benefits through the involvement of distinct disciplinary perspectives and spheres of knowledge
  • support breakthrough or disruptive ideas and collaborations
  • incentivise new and unexpected types of interdisciplinary research not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes
  • encourage speculative, early-stage and high potential interdisciplinary research proposals, embracing new concepts, techniques, or technologies

We are seeking:

  • high quality, and creative ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span research council remits
  • new, unexpected and novel projects that have the potential to lead to breakthrough ideas and collaborations
  • research that can only be addressed through interdisciplinary collaboration
  • projects combining disciplines to create new approaches to a research question, new methodologies or new ways of working
  • reciprocity across the disciplines, with the disciplines involved being changed or transformed by working together
  • projects that catalyse new interdisciplinary research through co-creation and design
  • ideas with no clear ‘lead’ UKRI research council for responsive mode funding including applications that significantly span 2 or more research council remits

We are not seeking:

  • applications where there is a clear alternative research council responsive mode scheme (see below) including interdisciplinary research that fits within a single research council remit
  • projects where the programme of work appears siloed and where interdisciplinary research outcomes are limited – for example, where work packages are discreet and discipline specific rather than integrating disciplinary knowledge
  • projects where there is an imbalance of the intellectual content and some disciplines appear ‘bolted’ on

Existing UKRI funding mechanisms for interdisciplinary research

The existing research council responsive mode schemes remain open for a wide range of interdisciplinary research applications, both within council boundaries and across council boundaries through the Cross-Council Remit Agreement.

Find out more information about existing schemes and research councils remits.

You should carefully consider:

  • the degree to which your proposal meets the criteria set out for this new scheme
  • whether it could be accommodated through existing council-led responsive mode funding opportunities and submitted to a ‘lead council’ through the Cross-Council Remit Agreement

Interdisciplinary research applications that fall within a single research council boundary are ineligible for this scheme.

A small proportion of applications might be suitable for both this funding opportunity and existing responsive mode schemes via the Cross-Council Remit Agreement. You must determine which scheme to make your submission to. Duplicate applications are not permitted.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be between £200,000 to £1.2 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Costs can cover:

  • staff time
  • international collaborations where suitable collaborators in the UK do not exist or where this adds significant additional value
  • travel and subsistence
  • other costs including equipment and consumables

This is an opportunity for research projects. Applications focused on capital requests for research infrastructures are not eligible.

Individual items of equipment above £10,000 can be included if both of the following apply:

  • the equipment is essential to the proposed research
  • no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed

Additional justification of the requirement for individual items of equipment above £10,000 must be provided.

Fees or stipends associated with Masters and PhD studentships are not eligible under this funding opportunity.


Your project can last up to 2 years.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Cross council responsive mode team


This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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