The Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund aims to support the strategic growth of excellent research units and departments across England. To expand excellence, E3 focuses only on units and departments within higher education providers (HEPs) where:
- they are operating at a limited scale of activity
- demonstrable research excellence already exists
- they do not have the internal resources to support strategic investments
At the expression of interest stage we also expect units to be able to summarise:
- what makes their proposal distinctive
- the potential for the activities to have local or regional impact
- how they will deliver on their capacity building
- how they will achieve a sustainable footing
Owing to the range of disciplines and institutions eligible for funding we are not setting a minimum or maximum threshold for awards.
By way of example, in round 1, the 13 successful units received between £900,000 to £8 million over 3 years of funding.
We expect E3 funding in the final year of the award (academic year 2028 to 2029) to taper as the funded units achieve a sustainable footing, aligned with additional institutional financial support.
You can apply for 100% of the full economic cost and these costs will be met should the unit be successful. The requested budget must be realistic, matching the scale of activities planned to reach a critical mass and taking account of the wider inflationary environment and the timescale of the award (5 years).
To achieve the sustainable growth of research units, the E3 fund can be used flexibly to include the following types of spend:
- staff recruitment (research, technical and professional)
- activities related to conducting research and creating a conducive research environment, for example including (but not limited to) training, PhD stipends, conferences, workshops
- capital investment (refurbishment, new build, equipment over £10,000)
We expect most of the requested budget to be resource in nature, focused particularly on staff contracts and developing a talent pipeline.
Your award can last up to 5 years.