Bayes Centre

Bayes Centre News: Bayes Centre Opens AI Interdisciplinary Bid Development Seed-Funding Call

The Bayes Centre is announcing the opening of an AI interdisciplinary bid development seed-funding call.

As part of the University’s AI Strategy, which will be announced soon, and thanks to the Scottish Funding Council Covid-19 recovery funding to the University, the Bayes Centre has been allocated up to £30,000 for small grants, to support staff at the University to convene and support interdisciplinary groups that develop major funding bids in AI application areas, with a focus on areas linked to University strategic themesThis call supports the activity of the Data-Driven Innovation programme, and is intended for internal University of Edinburgh staff only.

The Bayes Centre takes a broad view of AI that encompasses methods that allow computers to perform tasks we would consider as requiring intelligence, such as perception, communication, planning, learning, and decision making. Crucially, for this call, we expect activities to involve interdisciplinary collaboration with other disciplines and a focus on using AI for the benefit of one or more disciplines and application areas.

To comply with Scottish Funding Council funding rules, the bids developed using this seed funding must help promote job security, creation and retention within universities and economic or social recovery from the pandemic across the wider Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Region.  

The aim of the call is to support the development of major funding propositions, rather than deliver new research. 

Example activities:

Some examples of appropriate activities we would seek to fund are: 

  • Employing a project manager to convene interdisciplinary groups and organise grant-development activities/workshops 

  • Employing a grant writer to assist with bid development activities 

  • Employing a researcher to carry out pilot work needed to de-risk funding application 

  • Covering the costs of  workshops or market/competitor research. 

In line with SFC funding conditions, all funding awarded must be spent by the end of December 2021. While the general expectation is that funds would be spent internally, it is possible to pay for services provided by organisations outside the University, provided standard procurement rules are followed. The Bayes Centre will provide additional in-kind contribution to funded projects in the form of business development, administrative and financial management support. 

Selection criteria:

Funding decisions will be based on the following selection criteria:  

  • Interdisciplinary topic and applicant team with relevant track record and clear articulation of use of AI techniques. 

  • Clear plans and commitment to funding opportunities that will be pursued with an emphasis on scale and appropriate risk-reward balance. 

  • Clear articulation of activities and deliverables of the development project (e.g. preparation of bid documents, case studies, publicity assets, events, reports). 

  • Appropriate resourcing plan and level of resources leveraged in-kind, demonstrating commitment from all contributing individuals and their units. 

  • Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion objectives, and the University’s Strategy 2030. 

  • Consideration of ethics, research integrity, equality and diversity. 


Applications can be submitted by any member of academic staff as long as the project team includes academics from at least two Schools or Institutes.

The normal maximum amount awarded is limited to £5,000, though we may be able to award up to £10,000 in exceptional cases, if this is justified by the scale of the opportunity the seed funding can unlock. 

We are only able to cover direct costs (not FEC or any overheads), and would normally expect projects to start on or before 1st September 2021. 

We ask applicants to seek approval from the lead applicant’s Head of School/Institute and to confirm this in writing at the time of application (a brief e-mail will suffice). We will take submission as confirmation that costings provided have been confirmed by the relevant finance/research support office.

Please provide a breakdown of costs in the template provided, as part of your application. 


The deadline for applications is 3pm on 2nd August 2021 and we will accept applications through the online application form provided. We appreciate this period overlaps with summer school holidays, but the SFC funding horizon unfortunately requires that these projects must start very soon to provide enough time for completing substantial amounts of work by the end of the year. Application outcomes will be notified within 10 working days.  

For more details on the bid development seed-funding call contact: 

Miguel O. Bernabeu, Deputy Director, The Bayes Centre ( 

About the Scottish Funding Council  programme 

The Scottish Funding Council has provided £75m funding to boost the Scottish university research, to contribute to the mitigation of effects of Covid-19 pandemic. The University of Edinburgh received £23.2m of these funds. One of the goals set by Scottish Funding Council to fund translation of research into action, to support our region’s recovery. The University of Edinburgh has allocated £4m fund for this purpose, to be coordinated as part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative. 

You can preview the questions on the application form here



Apply now