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The Fell Fund is keen to support pilot projects to enable researchers to get their research off the ground and leverage external funding (the assessment criteria include excellence and intrinsic merit of research, and potential for long term sustainability and academic impact of the project).

Due to its nature, the relatively modest amounts of funding from the Fell Fund can support pilot projects which may carry some risk, but which often leverage significant external funding and/or other substantial benefits to researchers and the University.


The Fell Fund is keen to support interdisciplinary research across departments and Divisions. If your application includes co-investigators from another division, it will be shared with that division to allow them an opportunity to comment on it.

Networks, conferences, workshops or seminar series

Networks and conferences need to be part of a research programme or intended to lead to new research activities, preferably in collaboration with colleagues in other departments, divisions or institutions. The Division’s review committee tends to prioritise research projects/programmes over other academic activities.

Make sure you provide a robust justification in line with the Fell Fund criteria, i.e. specify the future opportunities the event is expected to lead to, including external funding bids and future research collaborations; the benefits these will bring to Oxford; and why the full cost cannot be met from other sources. 

The Fell Fund would expect that a conference registration fee would be charged to non-university members sufficient to cover venue, publicity and support costs.

Value for money

You should ask for sufficient funds to enable you to carry out the research, but if the reviewers feel that the budget is expensive, your project may not be ranked highly or some items may be removed/reduced. There are also some restrictions on what the Fell Fund will provide funding for, please ensure you check the Fell Fund guidance carefully. You need to ensure that your budget is costed as accurately as possible, so please contact your department in good time about what you want to include in your budget.

Financial details

Please ensure you give sufficient information in the ‘Financial Details’ section of the form to enable reviewers to see exactly what is being requested. For example, for salaries, this should be the type of post, grade and point on the scale, FTE and duration of the post. For travel expenses, give an indication of number of trips, cost per trip etc.


Co-funding is viewed favourably by Fell reviewers and demonstrates your commitment to the project, e.g. your project could be funded in part by an external funder or by college/department research allowances or grants. Please explain briefly the funding sources and the funding levels. If you have applied for some external funding, explain why the funder will not be able to support the full project.

Underwriting ("back-up") bids

It can often be helpful to put the same bid to an external funder and to the Fell Fund at the same time, with the Fell Fund bid acting as a back-up if the external bid should fail. It demonstrates to the Fell reviewers that you have explored other avenues for funding. In addition, underwriting from the Fell Fund shows the external funder that there is institutional commitment to the project.


CVs are not required for senior staff. CVs are required only if the PI is an early career researcher and/or for any named researchers whose salary is requested in the budget. CVs should be one page only per person. If a Co-Investigator is an early career researcher, it is helpful to provide a CV.

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