The new Community Knowledge Fund is making grants worth between £10k and £100k available to community groups and organisations around the UK to support them to play a stronger role in research and innovation. Funds will help develop and test new ideas and approaches to creating, sharing and using the knowledge held within communities to make progress on local and national challenges. 

Involving communities more meaningfully in research and innovation has many benefits: it encourages conversations and helps spread knowledge, it builds new relationships and ways of working, and it increases understanding of what is important to people.

However, there’s often a disconnect between the institutions leading research, and the people and community groups who are working to create change in their communities. There is work to do to bridge the gap and strengthen the connections between communities and the research and innovation system.

By tapping into the creativity and knowledge that exists within communities, the Community Knowledge Fund will support community groups and organisations to find new solutions to local and national challenges by uncovering knowledge and turning great ideas into action.  Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and delivered by The Young Foundation, the Fund will provide a total pot of £950,000 to support up to 34 grants to grassroots community groups and organisations across the UK.

Communities will be able to apply for grants of £10k to develop their initial ideas, create the right conditions for research and innovation, and begin early testing. They will then be able to apply for additional funding of up to £100k to further test and grow their ideas in Phase 2.

The Community Knowledge Fund is an open fund, meaning we’re interested in hearing what matters to you and what ideas you have. We are also particularly interested in two areas, one is ‘environment and sustainability,’ and the other is ‘community safety and resilience’. These themes were selected by communities across the UK, through work done by The Young Foundation and UKRI to uncover the areas that matter most to people across the country.

To be eligible for the Community Knowledge Fund, applicants should be working to address one of the following themes:

  • Community safety and resilience
    Community safety is about supporting people to feel safe. It is about how local individuals and community groups come together, drawing on their local resources and expertise to support themselves and each other to build resilience in their community. Safety was the single biggest issue that mattered to UK communities – cited by one fifth of participants in the Institute for Community Studies report Safety in Numbers (2020).
  • Environment and sustainability
    Across the UK, there is increasing focus, work and action to promote a more sustainable environment. We’re keen to hear from community groups that are creating knowledge about the social, health, environmental and economic impact of climate change on their communities and how they are using their knowledge to take action to improve their environment in a sustainable way that will improve people’s lives and the planet.
  • Open category
    As an open fund, we invite communities to tell us about the innovative ideas they have that might sit outside our two core themes. Community groups and organisations applying within the open category are invited to tell us why the funding and support package will help them focus on a particular challenge that matters most to them and demonstrate that their idea reflects the ambitions of the fund to build stronger community connections to research and innovation. 

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, says:

“With the Community Knowledge fund, UKRI is recognising that communities themselves can be the source of ideas and knowledge that can help address both local and national challenges. We hope the ideas that we fund as part of this call will show that research and innovation really are by everyone, for everyone.”

Helen Goulden, Chief Executive at The Young Foundation, concludes:

“We know from experience that research is a powerful entry point for making positive social change in communities. Communities who are able to undertake research about the issues they care about create confidence, agency and capacity – not just to initiate change themselves, but to reflect that knowledge back to the many institutions that influence their wellbeing. Through the Community Knowledge Fund, we want to grow a much more inclusive, expansive network of research and innovation in the UK. And I’m genuinely excited about this next step on the journey.”

The expression of interest window closes at 11.59pm on Monday 7 November 2022. Find out more on our FAQ page and apply to the fund. Register here to come along to one of our pre-application workshops in October.  

Community Community leadership Innovation and Investment Social action community groups community organisations innovation Posted on: 21 September 2022


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