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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Up to £25,000 funding for Cambridge University researchers pursuing innovative applications of AI, in research or real-world contexts.

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  • Deadline: 9th September
  • Funding: up to £25,000
  • Support: administrative and organisational support for conferences, workshops, or other events
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Location: University of Cambridge

The Accelerate Programme in collaboration with C2D3 is offering small grants for Cambridge University researchers pursuing innovative applications of AI, in research or real-world contexts. Funding can support a variety of activities, including events, workshops, teaching, software development, or research, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration.

Successfully deploying AI to tackle real-world challenges requires effective interdisciplinary collaboration. Developing these collaborations requires time and resources to bring together potential research partners, investigate the different ways of framing a challenge, and co-design potential solutions. Scaling successful interventions might require new ways of convening, innovations in training, or novel software tools. Often this work falls outside the scope of routine funding calls.

Accelerate Science’s funding programme will help fill this gap, offering small grants that can be deployed flexibly to start or scale interdisciplinary collaborations in the use of AI for research and innovation.

Introducing the funding call, Professor Neil Lawrence said: “There’s an enormous amount of excitement about what the Cambridge University research community can achieve with wider adoption of AI. To support the collaborations vital to successfully deploying AI, Accelerate Science is providing seed funding for innovative projects that bring researchers together across disciplinary boundaries to advance the application of AI in research or real-world contexts.”

This call is open to researchers from across disciplines at the University of Cambridge wanting to use AI to accelerate their research, and who would benefit from a small amount of funding to kick-start their work or catalyse new collaborations. Applications are invited via the form at this link: by 17:00 on 9 September 2022. For further details, check out the FAQs below, or email

What support or funding can I apply for?

This is a trial initiative, and as part of that trial we’re hoping to learn what scale of funding is useful. We hope to be able to support a number of successful applications, of up to £25,000. The amount of funding awarded will depend on the quality of the application and the number of applications received. We would encourage applications that cost less than this. If your idea costs more to deliver, it is likely better to get in touch before applying, so we can informally advise on feasibility: we have a limited budget and large funding requests will limit our ability to support other projects.

As part of developing your proposal, the Accelerate team can offer assistance via Accelerate’s Machine Learning (ML) Clinic in sense-checking technical feasibility, offering informal guidance on any machine learning-engineering aspects of the work. The ML Clinic can also provide assistance for longer-term projects where machine learning or software engineering advice would be helpful. If you’d like to access help from the Clinic please email Ahmad Abu-Khazneh ( outlining the nature of your query. Please leave sufficient time before the funding deadline to enable response (minimum 48 hours).

As part of this funding scheme, C2D3 can offer administrative and organisational support for conferences, workshops, or other events. This could include venue arrangements, catering, hosting a webpage, delegate registration, or other operational aspects of event delivery. Depending on the nature of the project, C2D3 may also be able to offer support in the design and delivery of teaching activities.

Over what timescale should research be carried out?

This funding is particularly suited to activities that can be initiated in the near-term, with the aim of scoping, setting-up, or scaling-up interdisciplinary activities. Funds should be spent within approximately six months of award (to be confirmed as part of award agreements), and un-spent funds should be returned to the Accelerate Programme.

How can I apply?

To apply, please submit an application form by 17:00 on 9 September at: To log in to the form, you will need to use your email address and Raven log in details. If you are having issues accessing the form, please make sure you are first logged out of any other Google accounts (after inputting your email, you should be redirected to a Raven log in page; if this does not happen, it may be the case that you are logged into another account).

Depending on the amount of funding requested, successful projects may be asked to submit an X5 before funding can be confirmed.

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Originally published by the Accelerate Programme and C2D3: