This is a pre-announcement of the funding opportunity, which is due to open in June 2023. This funding opportunity falls under UKRI’s ‘creating opportunities, improving outcomes’ strategic theme, which seeks to improve outcomes for people and places across the UK by identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity.
The Creating Opportunities Trial Accelerator Fund is aimed at enabling the research and innovation community to test interventions on the ground, primarily using robust counterfactual impact evaluation methods. In doing so, grant holders will help address gaps and weaknesses in the existing evidence base underpinning the thematic areas covered by the UKRI creating opportunities, improving outcomes strategic theme.
The fund will support ambitious research trials spanning multiple years, which are focused on tackling persistent local and regional inequalities within the UK.
Trials can be conducted at a variety of scales. This includes:
- pilot studies where an intervention is at an early stage of development. Evaluation activity would be focused on developing and refining the approach and testing the feasibility of the intervention. Initial, indicative data would be collected to assess the intervention’s potential to improve outcomes
- efficacy trials where an intervention or programme is tested under controlled conditions. Evaluation activity would be focused on assessing the impact of the intervention on outcomes of interest, supported by an implementation and process evaluation to identify delivery challenges
- effectiveness trials that test a scalable intervention under everyday conditions. Evaluation activity would be focused on assessing the impact of the intervention on outcomes of interest, supported by an implementation and process evaluation to identify the challenges for delivery at scale
This categorisation is based on the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) ‘Pipeline of EEF trials’: Pipeline of EEF trials, EEF.
This is one of two funding opportunities focused on supporting evaluation activity under UKRI’s creating opportunities, improving outcomes strategic theme.
The second funding opportunity is for the Creating Opportunities Evaluation Development Fund, which will be open during the same period. Although both funding opportunities have the same thematic focus, the duration, funding available and requirements differ.
You cannot submit the same or similar proposals to both funding opportunities. Applicants that do submit the same or a similar proposal to both will be withdrawn from the Creating Opportunities Evaluation Development Fund.
The programme objectives are to:
- generate causal evidence on what works to spread opportunities and reduce spatial disparities in outcomes for people and places across the UK
- accelerate the development of innovative and ethical methods for robustly testing and evaluating the impact of interventions related to the thematic areas outlined
- build the capacity of the research and innovation system to forge interdisciplinary collaborations and lasting partnerships with local communities (including those with lived experience) in designing and delivering robust research trials and related evaluation activity
- provide actionable evidence that responds to the needs of decision makers and informs policy or practice at a local, regional, national or international scale
Proposals will be required to address one or more of the following three thematic areas within the UKRI creating opportunities, improving outcomes strategic theme:
- sustainable economic growth and innovation: addressing long-standing regional economic disparities and delivering solutions that focus on sustainable, inclusive growth and innovation
- health inequalities: identifying sustainable and cost-effective solutions to address disparities in population health across the UK
- community connectedness: strengthening civic engagements, relationships, trust, and local pride to reduce the social and economic marginalisation of groups and areas
Proposals should also address the following requirements:
- proposals must clearly identify a specific intervention or series of interventions they intend to evaluate
- proposals should demonstrate how the intervention or interventions and approach to evaluation address an evidence gap for decision makers involved in policymaking or the delivery of services
- to ensure proposals are feasible and grounded in local priorities, you are strongly encouraged to engage community partners and those with lived experience in the development of bids
- where proposals are dependent on other non-academic organisations for their successful delivery (for example to facilitate access to participants and data or for the delivery of the intervention) they should demonstrate that an equitable partnership has been established
- this fund can only be used for evaluation purposes and not for the delivery of the interventions. Therefore, partnerships with non-academic organisations that will be funding or delivering the intervention are likely to be essential to a competitive proposal
- this funding opportunity is primarily aimed at supporting research trials that use experimental methods or quasi-experimental methods
- however, it is recognised that for some interventions it may not be possible to identify an appropriate counterfactual. In these cases, applicants may propose other methodological approaches that enable rigorous impact evaluation (for example, theory-based evaluations). You should explain why an experimental or quasi-experimental approach would not be appropriate
For more information on the background for this funding opportunity, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.
Projects should last for between 13 months and 48 months. Applicants wishing to undertake projects lasting 12 months or less should review details of the Creating Opportunities Evaluation Development Fund.
The full economic cost of your project can range from £1,000,000 minimum to £2,500,000 maximum at full economic cost.
UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
What we will fund
You can request funding for costs primarily relating to undertaking the evaluation activities:
- a contribution to the salary of the principal investigator and co-investigators
- support for other posts such as research, technical, project management, and administration
- research consumables
- travel costs
- data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
- estates and indirect costs
What we will not fund
We will not fund:
- the delivery of the interventions or clinical interventions
- costs for PhD studentships
Team project partner
You may include project partners that will support your research project through cash or in-kind contributions, such as:
- staff time
- access to equipment
- sites or facilities
- the provision of data