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The purchase of items of equipment is not a high priority for the Trust, however, Trustees are willing to consider applications for contributions to urgent equipment needs in the following categories:

1) purchase or hire costs of new equipment forming essential and integral to a specific research project and dedicated to that project;

2) funding required to meet the access costs of a researcher using existing equipment within the University or Cambridge or elsewhere; the following criteria apply

  • usage is charged at the 'internal' rate (where such exists);
  • such costs are excluded from  the applicant's grant funding;
  • the applicant's Head of Department makes a strong case as to why the usage cannot be subsidised in full by the Department (as might be hoped for early career researchers lacking their own grant funding for this purpose)

3) purchase of major new equipment that may be required for a specific project, but which will form a shared resource for a wider community of users

The following criteria will apply:

  • The equipment is of major strategic value to the University or new equipment for teaching
  • the equipment will have multiple uses, for more than one lab and be available for use by other departments in the University
  • is not otherwise available in Cambridge
  • at least two-thirds of the cost has been secured from other sources
  • there will normally be large-scale external funding and
  • there is an internal contribution, normally from the department(s) concerned (this required may be waived for applications in the Arts & Humanities).

The Trust understands that researchers often have to make up multi-funder packages to secure a purchase of a major piece of equipment and is therefore willing to consider applications that include an additional loan element in cases where applicants can be confident that the loan can be repaid from future external grants and/or usage charges (this should be spelled out in an access plan - see below). Loans are repayable within 5 years.

The Trust does not encourage applications for equipment grants in connection with projects that are funded by the Research Councils (applicants should instead apply to the University Capital Fund).

How to apply

Requests for funding up to £50k for categories 1) and 2) should be included in a standard research grant, with a statement from a supplier of the cost of the equipment; the usual requirement for matching funding will apply to the whole cost of the project.

Requests for a contribution of up to £50k to the costs of such equipment in category 3) should be submitted as an equipment grant application. No referees  will be needed for applications in category 3). However,  applicants should append a statement of the costs and an access plan that confirms that the equipment will be available to researchers outside the department making the application. Trustees intend that the extent of the Trust's contribution to the equipment can be matched by the extent to which the equipment is available to members of other departments of the University.

Equipment Grants FAQs

Is there a cap on the amount I can apply for?

Trustees expect to contribute no more than one third and have not  normally made grants of more than about £50k where the purchase price is £200k+

Do I need to send in a quote from the manufacturer for items to be purchased?

If you have one, please send us a copy with your application. Trustees are especially pleased if you have managed to negotiate a discount.

Who owns the equipment purchased? If I move away from Cambridge, can I take it with me?

All Trust research grants are made to a Department or Institution of the University and any equipment purchased (so far as the Trust is concerned) becomes the property of the Department/Institution and therefore stays in Cambridge. However, we understand that in all cases there will be multiple funding bodies involved, so please contact the Director to discuss you situation.