School of Health in Social Science

Step One Seed Fund

*** The Step One Seed Fund has been paused, pending review. Further details will appear here when they are available. ***

The Step One Seed Fund is a new fund to help kick-start research projects in the School of Health in Social Sciences which are intended to lead to larger externally funded project. The Step One Seed Fund is available to all Health in Social Science researchers in their first year of employment with the School.  Awards are generally of no more than £5,000 and are for to help lay the foundations for larger, externally-funded research projects.

Applicants can apply for up to £5,000 to fund activities that provide the evidence/partnerships needed to form the basis of a larger funding application. We are interested in applications for a range of different activities but all applications should clearly show how the funds will underpin a future programme of research and ‘de-risk’ applications to other funders.

Please contact with any questions about the process or with questions about your research.

Example activities

  • Conducting pilot or exploratory work to provide some primary data
  • An initial study or piece of stand-alone research that supports the development of a new project or line of research 
  • Undertaking a systematic review or literature review
  • Establishing or developing research networks

Funding is not available to cover the costs of staff, attending conferences, or events that aren’t hosted by the PI for the purpose of establishing or building a research network.


Applications are open to members of staff who started in the School after the November preceeding their application and have a research component in their role. However, priority will be given to those under a Grade 9 and after that, those within 5 years of PhD award. PIs must have a contract of employment that outlasts the length of the grant.  

Applications must be aligned with the research priorities of one of the School’s Centres  or research groups. You will need a signature from the Director of the Centre or research group you’re aligning your work with, and you’re strongly encouraged to speak to them before submitting your proposal.  

Guidelines and general terms and conditions

  • All funds must be spent (either claimed, invoices paid, or purchase orders raised and approved) by 30 June of the award year.
  • Funds will not be carried over the financial year
  • Ineligible costs:
    • Salaries/buy-out time for core members of staff
    • University overheads
    • Equipment
    • Payments to overseas partners
  • Costs for research assistance are permitted but only for a named RA. Applications requiring an open recruitment process will not be accepted.
  • Applications requiring ethics approvals (external or internal) that are not already in place will not be considered due to time restraints.  

Assessment process and criteria

Following the annual call for applications, submit your application via email to It will be checked for eligibility and to ensure it adheres to the terms and conditions above and any applications not in line with the guidelines will not progress to the assessment panel. Eligible applications will be reviewed by a sub-panel of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee and you’ll hear the outcome shortly after.

Applications will be judged on the quality and feasibility of the proposal and its potential for underpinning and informing future research.

How to submit your application

Submit your application by email to