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E-mail responses should be sent by noon on Thursday 6 November 2014.

Executive summary


1. This document invites HEFCE-funded providers of higher education to express interest in bidding to the Catalyst Fund in one of three areas:

  • institutions as anchors
  • technical education at higher levels
  • innovative knowledge exchange developments in small, specialist institutions.

2. Criteria and assessment arrangements are set out for each of these three calls, and information given on plans for future calls.

Key points

3. We are announcing three dedicated calls for expressions of interest to the Catalyst Fund on:

  1. The role of universities as anchors in their locale.
  2. Higher education’s (HE’s) potential to meet needs arising from our advanced economy, through innovative activity that will develop technical education in HE and support the Government’s industrial strategy.
  3. Information about innovative knowledge exchange (KE) developments of small, specialist institutions (that do not currently benefit from KE formula funding through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)) to build evidence to inform future policy and funding for knowledge exchange. 

4. We will accept bids of up to £8 million for expressions of interest to the universities as anchors and technical education in HE calls. However, we expect to fund a reasonable number of bids and those bids that deliver high value for more modest sums will have a higher chance of success. For innovative KE projects we are looking for evidence of innovative KE developments, and would therefore expect bids of value commensurate with KE funding levels. We expect to fund a number of bids that deliver a significant amount of activity over a wide range of areas.

5. Individual higher education institutions and directly funded further education colleges can be involved in only one individual proposal and one collaborative proposal in response to any of the three calls.

6. This exercise prioritises projects that will inform our current policy development. During this process the Catalyst Fund will continue to accept proposals that fit within other themes. These will be developed over the usual Catalyst Fund timescales as detailed at, but we ask that institutions prioritise proposals that most closely meet the calls. We are likely to issue further calls for priority proposals in the coming months.

Action required

7. Higher education institutions and further education colleges are invited to complete the expressions of interest response template at Annex A, and e‑mail it to by noon on Thursday 6 November 2014.

Date: 26 September 2014

Ref: HEFCE 2014/21

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Economic impact of research and teaching; Employability, entrepreneurship, workforce development, continuing professional development and skills; Innovation, collaborative and contract research; Knowledge exchange; Regional and local development

Enquiries should be directed to:

Institutional teams