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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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We use the Catalyst Fund to deliver our strategic aims for HE and to provide funding for innovation across the sector. 

Can FECs apply?

Yes, FECs can apply to the Catalyst Fund but only for projects specifically to support prescribed courses of HE. 

Case studies
Projects at colleges

Dudley College of Technology 

Furness College

Hadlow College


Catalyst Fund Priorities and Principles

Key priorities

The fund currently has four key priorities for investment. All bids must clearly fit with one of these priorities in order to be successful. 

  • innovations in learning and teaching
  • leadership for new futures
  • efficiency and effectiveness
  • maintaining diversity of market choice

When calls, workshops or sandpits are being run, it will likely mean that we will not take forward any bids in the specified priority areas outside these processes. Please discuss further with your Institutional Team.

Principles of the Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund is used in line with four key principles:

  • Focus on key priorities. As discretionary funding, Catalyst Fund investments must be focused on achieving key priorities, rather than the competitive positioning of individual institutions. The fund’s priorities will change over time depending on the priorities of HE and HEFCE as outlined by Government, to be considered and approved by our Catalyst Fund Panel and HEFCE Board. We will advise bidders of our highest priorities at a particular time.  
  • Exceptional funding. The Catalyst Fund should be used to secure benefits that could not adequately or reasonably be achieved through other means, by HEFCE or by universities and colleges (such as formula funding, information, regulation) or through the operation of the HE system alone. 
  • Delivering public benefit. The benefits arising from Catalyst funding to students, to the public and to universities and colleges as a whole should outweigh those to the institutions receiving funding. This may be achieved particularly in a collaborative project.
  • Consistency. Catalyst Fund investments should be consistent with the Government’s aspiration for a dynamic and competitive system, and which builds upon strength and success.

Key points to consider

How to apply

In the first instance, colleges should discuss their initial ideas with their Higher Education Policy Adviser or Regional Consultant. 

Applying to the Catalyst Fund is an iterative process, and proposals are developed in discussion with institutions. We will provide clear information, advice and guidance. 

More about how to apply


Page last updated 27 July 2017