Charity Impact Funding Panel

This week, our series of blog posts focus on the internal funding panels. Today’s post shares some insights from the Charity Impact Funding Panel.


About the Charity Impact Funding Panel


The Charity Impact Funding Panel was established in Spring 2019 to support the development of collaborations with charities and associated impact development as documented in the BU2025 Research Principles.


Over 30 projects have been awarded funding during this time where the purpose of the funding is to:

  • Increase engagement with charities in order to further the impact of BU’s research
  • To increase the amount of research undertaken collaboratively with charities
  • Encourage future funding bids with charitable partners.


The Panel is Chaired by Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, with Dr Fiona Cownie as Deputy Chair.


Funded Projects

The Charity Impact Funding Panel have funded a wide variety of projects including small scale travel budgets to visit charity partners.


Here are excellent examples of research in action with charity partners from funded projects:


  • Catherine Gutmann Roberts (FST) and her team created a report titled “Fish movements in the River Severn basin, a multi species approach in an era of restoration”. This report was sent to the charity partner, Severn Rivers Trust. The report brings together movement analysis of 5 fish species that has been carried out by 3 PhD students over the last 5 years. The funding enabled Catherine and her team to hire one of the post-PhD students to create code to analyse all 5 species and to format the large datasets into a comparable format. This was the first collaborative grant that Catherine had managed with both internal and external partners and she learnt about leadership during the process. Due to Covid-19 and the shutdown of campus at a critical time in the project, the team were not able to deliver the digital animations that they had hoped BU students would create. However, they have since secured external funding to carry this out.


  • Dr Anna Feigenbaum (FST) adapted her original project plan due to Covid19 and with complementary Research Impact funding, Anna and her team delivered a number of projects including; Care in the time of COVID-19. This project produced a series of graphics with design partners, community partners and academic partners.


  • Professor Amanda Korstjens (FST) and her team completed a project titled Monitoring Tropical Forest Wildlife Recovery. The project changed a lot due to the pandemic, however despite this, the team still delivered excellent outcomes, including working in partnership with a charity partner to develop acoustic recording systems suitable for high quality bioacoustics recordings under the demanding conditions of the Indonesian Forest. Hardware & software details have been published open access.


Future of the Charity Impact Fund

The Panel are expecting to launch an open call in the 2021/22 academic year subject to funding. The planned open call for this year was unfortunately postponed due to Covid19 delays, however if you do have an idea of working with a charity and want to develop this further before the summer, please do contact us to discuss your idea as it may fit in with the HEIF small fund.