Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Action Fund Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions that other Action Fund applicants and grant holders have asked, plus our contact details if you need further help.

I was awarded funding last year from the Action Fund, can I apply again this year?

  1. To assure fairness in the distribution of limited funding, we are not able to fund repeat events.
  2. If you received funding for an event from the Action Fund Small Grant scheme and would like to develop that event into a larger event or project, you can apply for the Action Fund Regular Grant to do so.
  3. If you received funding for an event from the Action Fund Small Grant scheme, and you would like to apply again to the Action Fund Small Grant scheme but for a significantly different event, we will consider the application.

I filled in a Microsoft Word document application last year, can I do that again this year?

  1. As of September 2019, we have switched to using Microsoft Forms for all our Action Fund applications, so please apply via the specified link. If the link is not working for any reason, please contact:

I have more questions and cannot find answers on the IAD website, what can I do?

  1. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the Action Fund by talking with you via email, telephone or in a face-to-face meeting. Please contact us initially via or by calling 0131 651 3598, let us know how we can help and/or request a meeting.

I have a great project idea but the one part of it I need funding for is to hire a PhD student to do the research. Can I apply to the Action Fund to pay the student a salary?

  1. No, we cannot fund staff time for any staff or students at the University of Edinburgh. This includes people on guaranteed hour contracts.

I have never created an event budget before, what should I include?

  1. We have added a budget template to our application form so that should help guide you in providing the details that we need to make our funding decisions. Please ensure you review up-to-date catering costs - for example, by checking information provided by the University's Accommodation, Catering and Events department - to avoid underestimated costs.

Should I build a 5% or 10% contingency amount into my budget?

  1. No, we are not able to fund for contingency so please ask for exactly what you need.

Can I use support from the Action Fund to build a website?

  1. No, we are not able to fund the design, build or hosting of websites. Take a look at the Academic Blogging Service which may be able to provide you with a suitable online platform for your event/project.

 I need to purchase an iPad and a 3-D Printer to support the training work we will do in our workshop. Can I apply for money to purchase these from the Action Fund?

  1. No, the Action Fund does not support the purchase of hardware/software/equipment that would normally be expected to be purchased out of School/Support Service budgets. See our Action Fund Guidance for more details about what we can and cannot fund.

I want to buy prizes for my event participants. Is there a limit to what I can offer them?

  1. We can fund small prizes and thank you gifts for events when necessary. Prizes/gifts need to be within reason and should not include alcohol. The types of prizes/gifts we tend to fund are book vouchers. Please contact for more information.

I want to do an event for my students as part of a course I run. Can I use the Action Fund to support this?

  1. No, we cannot fund projects and events that are part of coursework on credited courses. Linked events that you would like to trial or different ways of creatively adding to your course might gain funding through the Festival of Creative Learning – see below.

The Action Fund Small Grant only provides up to £500, and it is past the deadline to apply for the £3000 Action Fund Regular Grant for this academic year. Where can I get the rest of the money I need?

  1. There are various options. You could reduce the size of your event, run a small/pilot version and apply for the Action Fund Regular Grant next year. Or, you could seek out match or additional funding from your school and/or external funders. If you already have some funding in place to support your event, please let us know about this as it shows there is already positive interest in your plan and that you have been thinking widely about your funding options.

I see that you require me to provide finance contact details and codes in my application, but I do not have these details or know where to get them. What should I do?

  1. We recommend that you contact the finance administrator for your school/department, who should be able to advise. We do require this information in order to consider your application and to ensure you receive the funds as soon as possible in order to begin your project/initiative.

Can you pay funding into my personal bank account?

  1. No, we are not able to pay any funding into personal bank accounts. We can only transfer money into University of Edinburgh accounts via internal transfer.

I did not use all of my funding for my event. Can I keep it and use it in other ways?

  1. No, we require that any unused funding be reported and returned to the IAD.

I was unable to put my event on due to illness (or other factors). Can I keep the money and do the event next year?

  1. No, the money must be returned to the IAD before the end of the current academic year. In this case, you are welcome to apply to the Action Fund the following academic year for funding to realise the cancelled event.

What if my event seems to fit the criteria of the Action Fund but has more of a creative/experimental focus?

  1. You might like to consider applying to the Festival of Creative Learning Pop-up scheme. If your event is on a larger scale, you can apply to the Action Fund Regular Grant scheme but specify in your application that your event falls into the category of ‘Festival of Creative Learning Big Grant’.

What if my event is a great success and I want to build on it?

  1. If you have accessed funding from the Action Fund Small Grant scheme and have run a successful event, you might like to apply the following year for the Action Fund Regular Grant to run a larger and more developed version of your successful event/project. If, however, your event was successful and you simply want to run the exact same event again, we are not able to fund in this case. Instead, you will need to contact your School/Support Service to find out if they have funding available, or you might like to try applying to other University funding schemes such as Student Experience Grants or seek out external funding.