*Grant applications have now closed*

The British Science Association’s (BSA) vision is a future where science is more relevant, representative, and connected to society. Science is more than a body of research, people working in a lab or even the wider industry that surrounds that. It’s also a way of asking questions, making decisions, and understanding the world. We believe that science is a tool that everyone could and should be able to use and for us to grow as a society, it’s essential we all do. 


In 2020, the BSA launched our pilot Community Buddies Programme, supported by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation). From speaking to our community organisers, we noticed that they rarely had access to researchers. They had a desire to work collaboratively with science role models who lived locally and who they could build into their engagement activities. In response to this, we designed the Community Buddies Programme to match community leaders working with communities who are under-represented in science with researchers who live in their local areas.

The Community Buddies Grants Programme aims to support community leaders and researchers who have been part of the Community Buddies Programme to further develop their existing relationship and to co-create a project that is mutually beneficial and responds to a local need. The grant programme furthers the main Community Buddies Programme aim of shifting traditional power dynamics such that researchers and community leaders share power and decision making and establish long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

Programme outcomes:

  • Communities feel more confident to engage with research in their work.
  • Communities who were not already very confident in engaging with researchers before participating in the project report an increase in confidence engaging with researchers.
  • Researchers who were not already very confident in engaging with communities before participating in the project report an increase in confidence with engaging communities.
  • There is a positive impact on researchers and communities in terms of skills, knowledge and attitudes towards research.
  • Model tested for how to best support community groups and researchers working together.

What funding is available?

Grants of up to £4,000 are available for individual Buddy pairs to run projects between July – December 2023. Activities must take place by 31 December 2023. Please be mindful that there is a finite pot of funding, so it is possible that not all projects will receive the maximum funding. When estimating project costs, please try to be as accurate as possible.

Grant money can be used for the following:

  • Project specific staff costs – salaries or fees for people who are essential to the project and whose salaries aren’t already covered by another grant
  • Researcher costs – salaries or fees for researchers that aren't already covered by another grant
  • Materials and equipment
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Room hire and catering
  • Publicity
  • Speakers and trainers
  • Reasonable volunteer expenses
  • Other costs of activities associated with the grant
  • Overheads – these can only account for a maximum of 10% of your grant. These are the indirect expenses of running your project, sometimes called “core costs”.

The grant cannot be spent on:

  • Costs incurred before your proposed project starts
  • Activities/partnerships outside the UK
  • Emergency, top-up or maintenance funding
  • Continued delivery of existing activities
  • Loans, investments or capital costs
  • Delivery of frontline services, such as healthcare services or interventions

 Please note, evaluation will be coordinated by the BSA, you do not have to include costs of evaluation within your proposed budget.

What are the criteria?

To be eligible for a grant, the application must come from the Community Leader (rather than the researcher) from a buddy pairing. The grant money will go to the Community Leader’s organisation.

The project must:

  • Be co-created between Community Leaders and researchers. We define co-created as anything that has been equally driven by the Community Leader and researcher and that has a shared agenda.
  • Be developed as a result of an ongoing relationship between buddy pairs.
  • Respond to a local need and benefit the community.

The programme is designed to support a Community Leader applying with the researcher they were paired with as part of the Community Buddy Programme. If that is not the case, please get in touch before applying.

We will prioritise applications from Community Leaders and researchers who have an established relationship and where we are confident proposals have been developed by both parties together.

What type of activity/project could you run?

As long as it meets the above criteria, the project that you propose is up to you. We are open to considering any project that you have developed as a result of your ongoing buddy relationship. The project does not need to be strictly science focussed. It can span the breadth of the research sphere including humanities, social sciences, maths, etc.

When developing your project, please consider how working with the researcher from a community perspective, and working with the community from a researcher perspective, are doing something different from your usual engagement activities.

Examples of the types of activities we could fund with this scheme include (but are not limited to):

  • A buddy pair working together to incorporate research into the Community Leader’s engagement efforts
  • A buddy pair co-creating a research-based project for their local community.

What are the evaluation processes?

Successful applicants will be asked to distribute a short feedback form (provided by the BSA) to your event/project participants and return the completed forms to the BSA. You may also be required to complete an evaluation feedback form and to take part in a short phone call about your experience.

Evaluation will be coordinated by the BSA, so you do not have to include costs of evaluation within your proposed budget.

What will we ask for in your application?

You will be asked to provide the following information in your application:

  • A brief description of your organisation, including the audiences/users the Community Leader works with. (200 words maximum)

Proposed project

Please provide details about your project, including the following:

1) Your project objectives.

2) How it will respond to a local need and benefit your community.

3) How it involves both the Community Leader and researcher.

  • This does not need to be a complete, fully formed plan, but an overall idea of what form the project will take and how it will run.  (300 words maximum)

Project co-creation

  • Please describe how you and your researcher buddy have co-created the project together, including how many times you have met and what you both bring to the partnership. (300 words maximum)

How will you know your project went well?

  • Tell us how you will know if your project has gone well. What changes do you hope to make with this project? How will it develop the skills of the community leader and researcher? (300 words maximum)

Approximate date(s) and timeline of your activities

Budget outline

  • Please provide a budget outline (ideally in bullet points) of costs associated with the project and how the grant funding will be used. (200 words maximum)

Please be mindful that there is a finite pot, so it is possible that not all projects will receive the maximum funding. When estimating costs, please try to be as accurate as possible.

  • Details of the bank account which the grant will be paid into at the time of applying for the grant, including the account name, number and sort code.

Financial information is stored on a secure cloud-based service and will only be used to pay successful grant applicants. Unused details will be deleted. Providing your account details at this stage allows us to pay successful grant applicants immediately, making it easier to start planning your projects.

Please note, if the bank details supplied in your application are incorrect, this will significantly delay the payment of your grant and may result in the grant being withdrawn. Please ensure that you have the correct bank account details before applying.

As part of our grant due diligence process, we confirm the bank details of some grant recipients. If you receive an email requesting confirmation, you must respond and confirm your bank details within 5 working days.

Deadlines and payments

The deadline for applications is Monday, 15 May 2023, at 5pm.

All successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of May. If successful, payment of the grant will be made directly into the nominated bank account. Payments will be made in mid-June. 

If you wish to start planning your event in advance of knowing the outcome of your application and require funding to do this, please note that the BSA is not liable for any lost deposits or payments if your grant application is unsuccessful.

If you have any questions or require any assistance while preparing your application, please get in touch on [email protected].

How to apply

All applications should be made online via the grant application form.

When completing the application form, please ensure that all email addresses, telephone numbers and bank account details given are correct. Any mistakes in these will delay payment of the grant. As we will communicate with you primarily by email, please ensure you give an email address that is checked regularly by the person who applies for the grant.

We understand that this type of activity planning may be a new experience or different to your remit of work. If so, do not hesitate to contact the British Science Association team if you have any questions regarding the application procedure. Please email [email protected] if you’d like to discuss any of your ideas before you submit the application.

Terms and conditions of the grant

  1. By submitting an application to the British Science Association, the organisation named in the application (referred to as ‘you’ in these Terms and Conditions) agrees, if awarded a grant, to:
    • hold the grant on trust for the British Science Association (referred to as ‘we’ or ‘us’) and use it only for your project as described in your application or otherwise agreed with us, and only for expenditure incurred after the date of the grant award;
    • hold your activities before 31 December 2023. If for whatever reason you are not able to run your activities during this time, the grant money will have to be returned to the British Science Association. For these reasons, you will have contingency plans in case of illness or unforeseen circumstances;
    • comply with any evaluation procedures outlined by the British Science Association. For example, throughout the project grant recipients may be invited to share their experiences of how their projects are progressing. With permission, these may be developed into blogs or case studies that will feed into a wider piece of work around sharing learnings, published on the British Science Association website and shared by our funder UKRI;
    • provide us promptly with any information and reports we require about the project and its impact, both during and after the end of the project;
    • act lawfully in carrying out your project, in accordance with best practice and guidance from your regulators, and follow any guidelines issued by us about the project or use of the grant;
    • correctly acknowledge UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the British Science Association in any press releases or marketing material. Please contact the British Science Association for additional information; 
    • use the UKRI and the British Science Association logo on any marketing materials produced, either in print or online. You should receive these in your grant acceptance email;
    • immediately return any part of the grant that is not used for your project or constitutes unlawful state aid;
    • where your project involves working with children, young people or vulnerable adults, adopt and implement an appropriate written safeguarding policy, obtain written consent from legal carers or guardians and carry out background checks for all employees, volunteers, trustees or contractors as required by law;
    • comply with data protection laws and obtain the consent of your beneficiaries for us and you to receive and process their personal information and contact them;
    • keep accurate and comprehensive records about your project both during the project and for seven years afterwards and provide us on request with copies of those records and evidence of expenditure of the grant, such as original receipts and bank statements;
    • allow us reasonable access to your premises and systems to inspect project and grant records;
    • The British Science Association publicising and sharing information about you and your project including your name and images of project activities. You hereby grant us a royalty free licence to reproduce and publish any project information you give us. You will let us know when you provide the information if you don’t have permission for us to use it in this way; and

  2. You acknowledge that we are entitled to suspend or terminate the grant and/or require you to repay all or any of the grant in any of the following situations. You must let us know if any of these situations have occurred or are likely to occur:
    • You use the grant in any way other than as approved by us or fail to comply with any of these Terms and Conditions.
    • You fail to make good progress with your project or are unlikely in our view to complete the project or achieve the objectives agreed with us.
    • You fail to comply with the BSA’s evaluation processes.
    • You have match funding for the project withdrawn or receive duplicate funding for the same project costs as funded by the grant.
    • You provide us with false or misleading information either on application or after award of the grant, act dishonestly or are under investigation by us, a regulatory body or the police, or if we consider for any other reason that public funds are at risk or you do anything to bring the British Science Association or UK Research and Innovation into disrepute.
    • You enter into, or in our view are likely to enter into, administration, liquidation, receivership or dissolution.

  3. You acknowledge that:
    • the grant is for your use only and we may require you to pay us a share of any proceeds from disposal of assets purchased or enhanced with the grant;
    • we will not increase the grant if you spend more than the agreed budget;
    • If the provided bank account details including account name, account number and sort code, are incorrect, your grant payment may be significantly delayed or your grant offer may be withdrawn;
    • the grant is not consideration for any taxable supply for VAT purposes;
    • we have no liability for any costs or consequences incurred by you or third parties that arise directly or indirectly from the project, nor from non‑payment or withdrawal of the grant, save to the extent required by law;
    • the British Science Association will not be held responsible or liable for any consequences, whether direct or indirect to any loss or damage, personal or otherwise, injury or death however arising in grant-funded events and activities. Grant recipients are responsible for taking out any public liability or other insurance necessary to cover the activities;
    • these Terms and Conditions will continue to apply for one year after the grant is paid or until the project has been completed, whichever is later. Clauses 1.4, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13, 3.5 and 3.6 shall survive expiry of these Terms and Conditions; and
    • if the application and grant award are made electronically, the agreement between us shall be deemed to be in writing and your online acceptance of these Terms and Conditions shall be deemed to be a signature of that agreement