Funding bright research ideas
In the Policy and Research team at Nesta we like to fund new ideas and different approaches. But we’re conscious that we don’t have the capacity to put in place a major programme in every interesting area of research. That’s why in January we opened a call for grants of up to £10,000, to explore great new ideas relating to innovation and innovation policy based on rigorous research, analysis and argument.
We were looking for projects that developed a new idea about how innovation happens, examined a new innovation or technology, or proposed a policy related to innovation. This was an experiment by us to solicit and fund new ideas from people and organisations that we don’t usually work with. We wanted it to lead to interesting insights in its own right, and perhaps in due course to some larger research projects. So what response did we get?
We had wealth of interesting applications proposing innovative and exciting projects. In total we received 136 applications, the majority from the UK, with a few from other countries including India, Kenya, Uganda, Italy, Canada, US and The Netherlands. Applications, which came from around the UK:
We had asked for applications to fit within a number of themes where we were hoping to fund research. A number of proposals identified more than one theme, but in terms of the main theme they related to, we received applications right across this spectrum:
|Adoption of innovation in public services||32|
|Development and application of innovative methods for understanding innovation||20|
|Innovation in emerging economies||14|
|Mapping and analysing new trends in social, business or technological innovation||29|
|Public policies to promote innovation||16|
|Using big data or open data to understand innovation||8|
|Did not comply with any theme||17|
We encouraged applications from academics, research organisations, think tanks, charities, companies and consultancies and we had applications led by a really good range of these types of organisations. In total there were 269 researchers involved in the proposals, with an average of two per team.
Who was successful?
We are excited to announce that we are grant funding the following six projects:
- University of Manchester/ University of Lausanne - Cryptomarkets: the darknet as online market innovation
- Common Capital / Meanwhile Space - Innovative temporary land use: analysis and public policy approach
- Lighthouse - Speculative futures of digital fabrication and healthcare provision
- GALOS - Market scoping study to map how cleanweb technologies are emerging
- Glasgow School of Art - Becoming Awesomestow - profiling investments in cultural assets and creative quarters in British towns and their impact on regeneration
- Judge Business School, University of Cambridge - How can entrepreneurs use emotions to find funding for innovative ideas
Read more about the projects (PDF).
The next round of the Bright Ideas Fund
We’re also delighted to announce the next round of the Bright Ideas Fund. All the details of what we are looking for and how to apply you can find on Nesta’s Get Funding page and the timeline for the review of applications is below:
- 6 June 2014 - Call closes at 12 noon
- 23 June – 27th June 2014 - review and shortlist applications, interviews with shortlisted teams
- 7 July 2014: Decision on funding, contracting begins and inception calls take place.
- End July 2014: Projects start
We expect the project to conclude within a year of its start.