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About

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We want to connect communities with research professionals so they can work together to bring their ideas to life.

The Ideas Fund

The Ideas Fund is a grants programme run by the British Science Association and funded by Wellcome, which enables the UK public to develop and try out ideas that address problems related to mental wellbeing.

We're offering early stage grants of up to £25,000 and larger grants of around £90,000 in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Hull, North West Northern Ireland, and Oldham.

We want to promote diversity and inclusion by supporting great, innovative ideas that focus on improving mental wellbeing - particularly in rural or minority ethnic communities or amongst young, marginalised or socioeconomically disadvantaged people who have been overlooked in the past.

We will help communities tackle the problems that matter to them by connecting them with research professionals so they can work together to bring their ideas to life and both build new skills and relationships.

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Funding for your idea

There are two levels of funding available, depending on the stage your idea is at.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be awarded to help develop ideas that are at a very early stage. Larger grants of around £90,000 will be awarded to support, adapt and expand ideas that have already been developed and tested.

What is an early stage idea?

These projects are small in scale, involving the development of an idea or concept, testing it for the first time, or trialling it with a new group of people or in a new location. The likely length of a project for an early stage idea is six to nine months.

What is a developed idea?

These projects will have already been tested on a small scale and be ready for further testing or expansion across different audiences based on what was learned from previous pilots. The likely length of a project for a developed idea is 12-18 months.

Mental Wellbeing*

1 in 5

UK adults described their mental wellbeing as poor

1 in 4

say having a platform for local people and better awareness of latest research could improve mental wellbeing where they live

1 in 3

UK adults say more community action is needed

The Fund will run from January 2021 to October 2023 and is open to projects that involve communities based in four regions of the UK. These are:

  • The Highlands and Islands of Scotland - communities and activities based in the council areas of Highland Council, Moray Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council, Argyll and Bute Council along with the Isles of Arran and Cumbrae
  • The City of Hull
  • North West of Northern Ireland - specifically the area covered by Derry & Strabane District Council
  • The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham


If you have a brilliant idea that you think could address a particular problem in your community that relates to mental wellbeing, we want to hear from you.

The application form will be on line from mid-April and the deadline for applications is midday on 14 May 2021. In the meantime you can speak to your local Development Coordinator and sign up for our online workshops to hear more about the Fund and ask us any questions.

We encourage everyone to ask... ‘what if’. What if... your experience could improve lives in your community? What if... you’ve seen a connection that others have missed? What if... your idea could make a difference?

* These statistics are from a 2020 YouGov omnibus survey of 2,000 adults (aged 18+) on the subject of "Mental Wellbeing in the UK", which was commissioned by the British Science Association.