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Matching funding requirements

THIS PAGE WILL BE COMPLETELY REVISED IN APRIL 2017. However, information on these pages will remain valid for applications for up to £60k in support of a research project (or up to £30k for a bridging grant) and the Easter Term round will proceed as usual. But there will be no round for larger Strategic Grants this summer - potential applicants should contact the Director for advice.


In general, the Trust attaches great importance to a project's ability to gain external funding, in order to attract such funding to the University, and as an indication of project quality. Though Trustees are senior academics and the Trust’s processes are rigorous, it does not claim to match the specialist expertise on which many funding agencies can draw. It relies on the judgments of these other funding agencies to a large extent. Thus applications with a major component of external funds from a competitive peer-reviewed source are comparatively easy for the Trust to assess, as long as applicants can show that the Trust is the only body available to make up the balance of funding.

In principle, therefore, Trust grants are conditional upon raising funds from sources outside Cambridge of at least the amount of the grant.

The Trustees are willing to vary or even set aside this condition in some cases, such as where the Principal Investigator is an early-career academic without access to external funding. The Trust is also aware that on some occasions it will not be possible for academics to apply for external support for their projects in time, or an application may have been rejected by an external agency despite convincing evidence of its merit. However for applications without external funds the Trust will expect the Department to make a significant contribution from its own funds (normally 50% of the total cost). Trustees will also take into account the fact that some subjects and Departments have better access to external funding than others.

In other words, the Trust favours applications where there is a pressing call for its support and clear evidence of external validation of the project. It is willing to fund applications where this external validation is lacking, but only if there is a Departmental contribution testifying that the application is an outstanding priority case, and if the Department can show that it cannot afford the whole cost of the project.

Departmental matching funding will only be recognised if it is directly for salary components or for essential consumables to be used in the project.  Departmental provision of infrastructure and other overheads may be mentioned in the text but should not be included in the Financial Summary.

External funding must normally be truly external to the University and must relate to the specific project applied for; it cannot be retrospective. Funding left over from previous separate projects, and past earnings from Cambridge Enterprise or similar channels, do not qualify as external.

Although it is helpful if applicants have secured matching funding before making an application to the Trust, this is not a requirement. However applicants who are intending to apply for external funding must give details of the name of the proposed external funding body, the likelihood and extent of support, and the timetable for a decision. Where matching funding has not been secured by the time of application, any grants made by the Trust will almost always be contingent on receipt of evidence that matching funding has been secured.