The Community Led Research Pilot is putting communities at the heart of their own research process – inviting them to develop and deliver their own research project – by working with a researcher.

The pilot is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and co-created with the British Science Association, the University of Reading, community partners in Reading and Slough, and communities that are new to or are traditionally underrepresented in research.

Before applying for the full Community Led Research Grant (of up to £9,200), there is tester activity funding and support available to community groups to test out their research project idea and develop their application. These guidelines provide information for community groups interested in applying for the tester activity grant.

Please complete the tester activity application form by 17:00 on Monday 12th June 2023. 

Application form

A PDF of the application form questions can be found here.

Please note, this is a closed application process specifically for community groups and organisations already actively engaged through the Reading and Slough community partner teams.

If have any questions that aren’t answered in these guidelines, or you need information in different formats, please get in touch [email protected]

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Key information about the tester activity grant

Before you apply for the full Community Led Research project grant, there is tester activity funding and support available to run activities to test out your project idea and help with the Community Led Research grant application process.

From June to September 2023, our local teams in Reading and Slough can provide support to help you test out your project idea in a small way: 

  1. From June to mid-August 2023, community groups can run some activities to test out a possible research project idea to see if there is community interest to run a research project and explore how your group might run it. We have small pots of between £500-£2,000 available to support the ‘tester’ project activity. 

  2. After testing out your project idea, some groups may decide to put in an application for the full Community Led Research Grant.

What can I use the tester activity grant for?

We know that limited capacity and resources can be a barrier to community groups when applying for grant funding. This activity testing stage aims to help you and your group explore and test if your idea can develop into a research project.

You may have a great research project idea relevant to your group and wider community but how will you know if your research project will work? 

The activity testing money is available for local and community groups to:

  • Run small activities to test out their research project ideas.
  • Check if there is enough wider community interest to be part of the research project.
  • Understand what research questions or themes have the potential to be explored.
  • Explore what local communities and groups priorities have enough interest to be developed into a community led research project.
  • Support you in preparing the full Community Led Research project application form.*

*The application form for the Community Led Research project grant (up to £9,200) will include how you will deliver the project, who will be involved, where the project will take place, and a clear idea of the priorities you want to gain further information on through research. The activity testing should inform your application.

Below are suggestions that your activity testing might cover:

  • Run sessions to directly involve community participants and explore desired research project themes or questions set by the community.
  • Run activities to agree on the different roles and responsibilities e.g. volunteers who might support your project.
  • Identify and engage with networks and individuals who could be part of the Community Led Research Project.
  • Help identify the resources that are needed for your research project.
  • Reasonable staff/volunteer/community leaders’ expenses. This can be staff time:
    • To run activity testing.
    • To prepare the Community Led Research Project application.
    • Travel and subsistence related to activity testing.
    • Printing, and photocopying for the proposal development activities.
    • Room hire and catering for activities connected with the activity testing.

What community groups are eligible to take part? 

We especially want to hear from grassroots communities in Reading and Slough.

To be eligible for a grant, the application must come from a representative of a community group (rather than a researcher). Groups must be community-based and work with people who are traditionally underrepresented in science and research, including:​

  • people from minority ethnic groups;​
  • communities living on low incomes;​
  • those experiencing inequalities in accessing education and work; and​
  • people who are neurodiverse or are considered to have a disability.

Things to consider as a group or organisation before you apply. You will need to have the following:

  • A Community group leader or key person who can lead on the grant and research project delivery for their group and ensure they have the support of their group including key decision makers.
  • Identified ideas or themes that can be developed into questions for a research project. Possibility of wider engagement with community members/participants.
  • Be a grassroots community organisations rather than an activity provider or service provider.
  • Interest in and have the capacity** to possibly run your own research project.

**This should include having a person/people who are able to take a lead within a group, as well as enough experience in community engagement to run a project, even if there is no prior experience in research.

What type of research project could I run?

A key aim of the Community Led Research Pilot is to support local people and community groups to feel that research and science are more accessible, and to highlight the value communities can bring to research by improving both its quality and relevance.

Community led research puts communities in the ‘driving seat’ – allowing communities to develop their own research questions and decide what the focus will be.

You don’t need a fully formed project at this stage to be able to apply although your research project or activity idea should reflect themes and explore a research question that matters to your community and has a broad link to science.

For inspiration, below are some examples of different types of community led research projects/activities:

Browse Community led research project examples here

These are only examples but should help give an idea of how a potential theme could turn into a research question, that then forms the basis of a project.

The examples show how the community groups have worked with a researcher, and how their projects link to science. You’ll be able to see how our definition of science is broad and could include traditional science subjects as well as social sciences, psychology, sociology, geography, economics, science and the arts. 

How do I apply for the tester activity grant?

Please complete the tester activity application form by 17:00 on Monday 12th June 2023. 

Application form

A PDF of the application form questions can be found here.

Is your question unanswered?

Get in touch at [email protected].

For more information please visit:

Community Led Research: Activity testing terms and conditions 

Community Led Research Grant: Guidelines 

More information about the Community Led Research Grant 

Visit the Community Led Research Pilot main webpage