SoSS Community Partnership Fund

What is the community partnership fund?

The Community Partnership Fund (‘CPF’) supports academics and community partners* in the North West of England to co-develop a project that aligns with one of the fiver Social Responsibility (‘SR’) and Civic Engagement Goals of the University: social inclusion, prosperous communities, better health, cultural engagement and/or environmental sustainability.

It is an annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate existing collaborations, as well as the development of new partnerships between academics, civil society, the public sector, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and individual members of the public. The School of Social Sciences (‘SoSS’) CPF aims to support such partnerships, working as a two-way process, involving interaction and exchange, with the goal of generating mutual benefits.

The CPF is very broad in terms of what sort of activities can be funded. Examples include: co-producing research and knowledge exchange activities; co-creating briefings and policy reports; collaborative workshops and training; co-convening meetings, roundtables, and public engagement events; co-developing a larger research or impact acceleration bid; and co-producing innovative teaching practice and student engagement are all in within the scope. We welcome other approaches to co-production and co-creation, including innovative and creative approaches.

A maximum of £10,000 is available per year for the Community Partnership Fund, and no more than two projects are likely to be funded in any funding round. The application form is available by clicking on this link.

*A community partner can be an individual member of the public or an Alumnus, a not-for-profit organisation, a public sector organisation or a business based in the North West of England that collaborates with one or more academics at the University around a shared goal.

Why do we need this new scheme in SoSS?

The Community Partnership Fund builds on and aims to further strengthen the role of the School in championing the Social Responsibility agenda. The CPF provides an opportunity to raise the profile of our teaching and research across the North-west of England and showcase how this is firmly aligned with our Social Responsibility goal.

The scheme complements some of our existing public engagement activities, such as the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, and the pro-bono work of the Justice Hub within the School. It aligns with our Civic University Agreement, together with the role of the University in co-developing opportunities that drive social, cultural, environmental, and economic change in the North West of England.

It also builds on, and will consolidate, our existing collaborations with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (‘GMCA’) and a range of organisations in the North West of England.

Finally, the scheme will contribute to the University’s goal to remain one of the world’s leading institutions in tackling the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and further highlight the pioneering role of SoSS in tackling inequalities, which remains one of the key research beacons of the University.

Who can apply?

  • Applications should be made jointly by a SoSS academic lead from the School, together with the community partner (or one of the partners where there may be more than one).
  • The community partner may be an individual member of the public, a not-for-profit organisation, a public sector organisation or a business based in the North West of England. Where the community partner is an organisation or business, an individual employee should be designated as a ‘lead’ for the project.
  • The academic applicant must be a member of staff in SoSS with an employment contract in place at the point of application that covers the duration of the project. The scheme welcomes applications from early career researchers named as the academic lead, if they meet this criterion.

When to apply?

  • Submission deadline: Friday, 14 July 2023.
  • It is expected that projects will start in August 2023 and must be completed by the end of July 2024.

How to apply?

Applications must be co-developed with the named community partner, clearly setting out the role of all applicants in the delivery of the proposal. The community partner must also send a letter of support.

Applications must be made via an application form, which includes:

  • A short description of the proposal outlining its aims and objectives, including how it embeds co-production and partnership working, and how it will contribute towards one or more of the University’s SR and civic engagement goals of social inclusion, prosperous communities, better health, cultural engagement and/or environmental sustainability;
  • Planned aims, activities, and outputs;
  • Plans for evaluating whether the aims and objectives have been achieved;
  • Plans for sustainability;
  • Spending breakdown of the amount requested (Matched funding is welcome and please provide details of any matched funding, if applicable);
  • A brief outline of how EDI will be embedded in the proposed project.

Application forms and letters of support must be sent to

How will we assess applications?

The funding process and selection criteria are designed to be fair, transparent, practical, and to support competitive applications.

The selection committee will include individuals with different perspectives and expertise and a commitment to equality and diversity. This may include academics, alumni, and students.

Entries will be judged on the following five assessment criteria:

  • Purpose and originality (40%): High quality applications will have considered both the purpose of the collaborative project, including the aims and objectives, as well as the social impact/participants, and have used this to inform the way in which the project is co-developed. The purpose should clearly align with one or more of the five SR and civic engagement goals (social inclusion, prosperous communities, better health, cultural engagement, and environmental sustainability) and clearly state the desired outcomes. We are interested in innovative and creative ways of partnerships working towards a common goal or project that shows originality. Plans and potential for student engagement in the project are encouraged and should also be indicated.
  • Quality and mutual benefit of partnership (20%): Assessors will review the quality and feasibility of the co-production approach and the way in which the applicants will work together. Core to a high-quality application is the idea of mutual benefit. We would expect that the projects involve benefits for all partners involved, as well as clear external social benefit that aligns with one or more of the University’s Social Responsibility goals of social inclusion, prosperous communities, better health, cultural engagement and/or environmental sustainability. Plans and potential for student engagement in the project are encouraged and should also be indicated.
  • Sustainability (20%): Assessors will consider if you have planned for sustainability. This includes thinking about how you will sustain the partnership and collaboration beyond the expiration of the funding provision. The potential for developing new partnerships and/or deepening collaborative relationships should be indicated.
  • Measuring the social impact (10%): High quality applications include clearly defined aims and objectives for social impact and a statement of how the activity will be evaluated and how success will be measured.
  • Project costs (10%): Assessors will review whether the cost of the activity is reasonable, comprehensive and accurate, and whether there is a sound rationale for the costings in line with the intended deliverables.

What sort of costs can be claimed from the Fund?

  • Eligible costs include (but are not restricted to): reimbursement for the time that the community partner puts into the project; paying students a living wage to work on the project, travel and accommodation (for all partners involved), venue hire and hospitality, publicity, and dissemination.

Academic leads cannot unfortunately claim reimbursement for their time spent on the project.

What are the benefits of the Fund for partners involved?

  • This Fund brings a unique opportunity to build on, strengthen and recognise the role of community-academic partnerships in shaping and developing research and teaching agendas, co-creating research and teaching impact, and co-developing knowledge exchange activities.
  • Successful projects will receive support from the External Relations Team of the School in organising and promoting events and disseminating their findings.
  • The community partner(s) will be recognised as an honorary partner of the School. The lead applicant community partner can request to be issued with a university card for the duration of the project and will have access to hot desking facilities across campus. They will be encouraged to become part of the social and intellectual life of the School, and will be supported in disseminating and showcasing the project at the Festival of Social Sciences, and/or other relevant SR activities across the University.