HIKE Hull Impact and Knowledge Exchange


Hull Impact and Knowledge Exchange

What is HIKE?

The Hull Impact and Knowledge Exchange (HIKE) Acceleration Account is a pioneering funding initiative designed to drive research impact and knowledge exchange from existing research across all fields.

It draws from a total budget of £1.3M funded awarded by 2 awarded UKRI Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA’s) from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) along with some additional QR (Policy & Participatory Research) and HEIF funding.

Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) are strategic awards provided to research organisations to allow them to respond to impact opportunities in more flexible, responsive and creative ways.

The key aim of HIKE is to create a clear, streamlined offering of internal research impact and knowledge exchange funding opportunities and activities, through its single gateway, stimulating research impact and KE across all disciplines.

The overall objectives of HIKE funding are to:

  • Ensure and accelerate the impact and KE of our research, generating social, economic, health, environmental and cultural benefit on a local, regional, national and international scale.
  • Maxim​ise our impact through strengthening the depth and the breadth of our relationships with non-academic users and stakeholders in our research, ensuring they are put at the heart of everything we do.
  • Provide a flexible and responsive approach to support a vibrant culture of research impact and KE among our researchers and external stakeholders.​

HIKE is an all-inclusive fund open to academics at all career stages and offers streamlined internal funding opportunities to help achieve research goals.


HIKE Funding Streams

Funding Stream Award Timescale for decision

Rapid Response Fund


Within 10 days of application

Challenge Fund


4 weeks after deadline

Confidence in Concept


4 weeks after deadline



4 weeks after deadline



4 weeks after deadline

Innovation Sandpits


2 weeks from application

Strategic International

£2k - £5k 

4 weeks after deadline

  • Rapid Response

    The HIKE Rapid Response funding stream is our most expedient application option as applications will be assessed within 10 working ​day​s of receipt of the application form.​

    You can apply for up to £2,000 and as it’s a responsive-mode scheme, it is open all year round, with fixed criteria for ad-hoc and newly-emerging impact and KE-related activities.

    HIKE rapid response aims to support small-scale projects with an activity length of 1 day up to 6 months maximum, allowing researchers to respond quickly to opportunities for impact and KE resulting from their research.

    Funded activities could include meetings, forums and workshops with potential users/stakeholders/practitioners/policy makers; stakeholder focus groups; travel to give evidence to an Inquiry or Select Committee; design and print of evidence/policy briefings and reports and much more…..

    Key asse​ssment criteria for this fund include:

    • Urgency of the activities proposed (Why now?)
    • Likely potential and/or degree of innovative impact and KE (Inc. policy and practice)
    • Links to existing research
    • Suitability of proposed activities to meet external need​

    Our HIKE Delivery Team will be able to advise you whether your suggested activity fits this scheme, and help you develop your application, contact HIKE@hull.ac.uk​.

  • Challenge Fund

    The HIKE Challenge funding stream is multi-faceted, offering a choice of schemes.

    Intended length of activity for challenge fund projects is between 3-12 months, but longer projects may also be considered.

    Key asse​ssment criteria for this fund include:

    • Clarity and feasibility of the workplan
    • Potential and/or degree of innovative impact and KE (Incl. policy and practice)
    • Link to existing research
    • Suitability of proposed activities to meet external need
    • Suitability and involvement of partners
    • Timeliness
    • Evidence of Impact​
    • Project Novelty/Creativity (Daredevil grants only)

    Impact Starting Grants

    Impact Starting grants are a special option designed for early career researchers (ECRs), offering much needed funds to create a step change in developing an independent research impact portfolio.

    We expect projects to be in the range of £1k up to £5k, however requests above this suggested threshold can be made in special circumstances.

    ECRs applying for an Impact Starting Grant should be within 5 years of their PhD, not including career breaks, time spent in industry, long term illness or maternity leave.


    Co-design/production is an important route to impact, as stakeholders and users are engaged with projects from the start and the relationship between academics and stakeholders is seen to be more equal.

    This scheme will fund co-designed/produced research and initial scoping projects up to £25k, with a view that this will result in an immediate uptake of the findings by the external partner involved in the application. It will also support activities that build the basis from which co-produced research can take place, such as sharing of data.

    Wherever possible,​ projects activities should be co-funded with by partner(s).

    External organisations can provide up to 50% matched funding towards this scheme and which this can be in monetary value or in kind, also reflective of affordability and ownership of outputs agreed.

    The public and third sector can receive up to 100% of the costs, though co-funding is also welcomed. though funding for public and third sector partners will be considered.

    Daredevil Grants

    For the academics with unusual project ideas, such as combining unique methods or radical approaches, that could generate more speculative, innovative and creative impact, then this funding stream is most definitely for you!

    The Daredevil funding stream is tailored to suit projects that really push the frontiers of research impact. We are looking for novel projects with proposed outcomes that could be considered high risk but offer high reward, with KE enabled transformation at their heart.

    Funding up to £25k, the expectation is that that University departments/schools and their​ stakeholders (in particular private sector organisations) will provide matched funding towards this scheme, which can be in monetary value or in kind.


    The Challenge Fund includes work that will feed into Strategic Highlight Areas to create a 'Yorkshire and Humber Living Lab' (YHLL). The YHLL is a new idea, a planned virtual co-creative cluster, which will focus on collaboration with a broad variety of regional partners and stakeholders. This aligns to our place-based and civic strategies, driven by external need, and will feature annual priority themes that will enable the greatest positive change, identified by the cluster, including HIKE partners' strategic challenges.

    Please note - projects focused on Policy Engagement and Evidence are encouraged within all our streams and applications from the Arts and Humanities and Medical Sciences are particularly welcomed.

    Our HIKE Delivery Team will be able to advise you whether your suggested activity fits this scheme, and are here to help you develop your application, contact: HIKE@hull.ac.uk

  • Confidence in Concept

    HIKE Confidence in Concept funding is pump-priming scheme specifically designed to support acceleration of the transition from discovery research to translational development, validating concepts to progress technology readiness levels and generate Intellectual Property.

    Funding is available for up to £100k max per award, but most awards are expected to be between £20k - £80k.

    Intended length of activity: between 6 - 12 months, but longer projects may also be considered.

    Selected projects must demonstrate high potential for developing the evidence and supporting data required for substantive follow-on-funding.

    Although this scheme is primarily aimed at projects grounded within the biomedical sciences (MRC)​ and STEM (HEIF), exploring the viability of an approach to enable new products/processes/practices for a range of settings particularly clinical, and for long-term economic/commercial benefit, projects from the Arts & Humanities ​and the Social Sciences will also be considered.

    Key asse​ssment criteria for this fund include:

    • Clarity and feasibility of the workplan
    • Likelihood of progressing outputs to the next step in the innovation pipeline (How does this bridge the gap?)
    • Commercial potential of completed output
    • Link to existing research
    • Suitability and stage of proposed activities to meet external need
    • Suitability and involvement of partners during and after the fund
    • Timeliness
    • Evidence of Impact​

    To maximise this funding opportunity, and help strengthen applications and partnerships for both HIKE and in preparation for follow-on activities e.g. applying for further external funding, HIKE expects that Departments/Schools/Institutes/Centres and their​ proposed external partners/stakeholders (in particular private sector organisations) will provide matched funding towards this scheme, which can be in monetary value or in kind.​

    Our HIKE Delivery Team will be able to advise you whether your suggested activity fits this scheme, and help you develop your application, contact HIKE@hull.ac.uk​.

  • Secondments and Fellowships

    The movement of staff between organisations is particularly welcomed through HIKE and therefore these funding streams offers 2 pathways to help drive a step change in the movement of staff between the University and stakeholder organisations, including industry, public and third sectors, and policy makers in particular.

    The key aim is to strengthen relationships between the University and external partners and to facilitate opportunities to learn new skills and acquire inside knowledge.

    We particularly welcome applications for the HIKE Secondment and KE Fellowship Scheme that focus on the Yorkshire and Humber Living Lab; building and strengthening relationships between the University and external partners/stakeholders around activity and work which has the City or Region as its focus, or where research has clear utility for local and regional partners.

    Key asse​ssment criteria for this fund include:

    • Clarity a feasibility of the workplan
    • Likely potential and/ or degree of innovative impact and KE (Incl. policy and practice)
    • Likelihood of capacity building and/ or skill development for all involved parties.
    • Link to existing research
    • Suitability and involvement of partners​

    If this scheme interests you, it is recommended that before applying for either a Secondment or Fellowship, you discuss your plans at their earliest convenience with your department/school/faculty/institute. We also suggest that you identify and connect with a mentor within the host institution to ensure maximum benefit.

    HIKE expects all proposals to this scheme to have a clear set of objectives and outcomes.


    HIKE secondments offer a needs-based responsive mode to help deepen and broaden existing links between University of Hull researchers and non-academic stakeholders (including strategic partners) through short-term staff secondments, either from the University out to the external partners or vice-versa.

    Awards can be up to £4k max per Secondment and are anticipated to be 1 - 3 months duration, but​ shorter secondments will also be considered

    How the secondments are used should reflect the needs and interpretation of UoH Departments/Schools/Institutes and their external partners.

    We welcome creativity. The scheme could for example fund a secondment between members from non-academic organisations and academic department(s) at the UoH e.g. a member from an external partner organisation might be spending between 1-3 months at the UoH as a fellow (or vice versa or both), or short interchanges of staff between the UoH and partner organisation will also be considered.

    Another option might be for secondments between the UoH and partner organisations (or vice versa) for one or more days a week for a period of up to three months.


    We envisage that HIKE KE fellowships will act as change agents - enabling the free flow of knowledge and expertise between the University and partner organisations, thus accelerating impact for both organisations and the potential to generate IP.

    Awards can be up to £10k max per fellowship and are anticipated to be 3 - 12 months duration, however longer, more strategic fellowships may be considered, particularly in the Arts & Humanities​. ​​​​​​​

    The HIKE KE Fellowship could e.g.​ support a KE or Translational Fellow for research projects recognised for their research excellence and growth through major awards in recent years, and really spearhead the generation of impact from the research. The fellows will be responsible for the sharing and flow of knowledge and expertise between the projects and its stakeholders, partners and/or user communities with the aim of generating impact from their research​.


    The secondment and fellowship awards are the only HIKE awards that will pay for teaching buy-out for departments (non-FEC), and it is expected that UoH and private sector organisations will provide matched (up to 50%) funding towards this scheme.

    This can be in monetary value or in kind. The public and third sector can receive up to 100% of the costs if essential and justified, though co-funding is also welcomed.

    Our HIKE Delivery Team will be able to advise you whether your suggested activity fits this scheme, and help you develop your application, contact HIKE@hull.ac.uk​.

  • Innovation Sandpits

    The HIKE Innovation Sandpits are professionally facilitated workshops where a group of cross-disciplinary and diverse participants with varying backgrounds, including active researchers and potential users of research outcomes, come together to create new projects around a given theme - providing an opportunity to foster innovation and creativity in research, impact and knowledge exchange design.

    HIKE Innovation Sandpits are 1 - 2 day interactive workshops involving up to 30 participants and the funding award is up to £7k, split into:

    • Up to £4k for facilitation costs for the actual Sandpit event
    • A further £3k of pump prime funding for an onward research project/initiative*

    *This research project/initiative must be borne from existing research and will be chosen as it offers maximum impact. Initiatives can be:

    • A single large research project
    • Several smaller projects
    • Feasibility studies
    • Networking activities
    • Overseas visits.

    Preferred projects would include:

    • Validation of our own products.
    • Novel approaches for market readiness and retention of Intellectual Property.
    • Public sector processes or services that have undergone adaptation or transformation and can be scaled up or applied elsewhere. Additionally, we are interested in use case studies that illustrate these adaptations or transformations.
    • Projects which establish strategic partnerships with influential decision-makers, commercial businesses, and other valuable contacts that will bring significant value to the University of Hull.

    This scheme aims to enable flexible approaches to knowledge exchange and impact in cross-cutting thematic areas (mainly driven by the ​University and the HIKE strategic partners) of strategic importance and harmonised across all our HIKE funding streams and in particular the UKRI IAAs.

    Our HIKE Delivery Team will be able to advise you whether your suggested activity fits this scheme, and are here to help you develop your application, contact: HIKE@hull.ac.uk

  • Strategic International

    We are thrilled to introduce an exciting pilot funding opportunity aimed at supporting internationally collaborative research with a significant impact. The primary objective of this funding stream is to enhance our global research and knowledge exchange (KE) networks, fostering fresh avenues for academic collaboration and establishing valuable long-term partnerships with specific institutions.

    We have allocated £25k exclusively for this pilot program and encourage applications ranging from £2k - £5k. However, we are open to considering exceptions for compelling strategic proposals.

    The call for pilot funding is now open and will close on Tuesday 31st October 2023.

    This initiative acknowledges the reality that the world's most pressing challenges, such as climate change adaptation, migration, disease control, post-conflict recovery, and the security of food, water, and energy, transcend national boundaries and necessitate international cooperation.

    Proposals for this funding should focus on substantive workshops, field or archive work, bid-writing, or other active research endeavours and discussions. The main emphasis should be on presenting a high-quality research idea or KE concept. Furthermore, proposals should identify an international partner and demonstrate how they align with the key objectives of the University's International Strategy, as well as the Research Strategy or Knowledge Exchange Strategy, or both.

    It is imperative that proposals outline clear pathways to desired outcomes, encompassing bid-writing, specific project work, joint seminars or conferences, publications, grant awards, industry contracts, and more. The anticipated outcomes may involve a significant leap forward in an established research partnership, and sustainability of the collaboration will be a critical criterion for funding consideration.

    Individuals or groups are welcome to submit proposals, which must be endorsed by the relevant Schools, Institutes, and Faculties. Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged and highly valued.

    Particular emphasis will be placed on proposals that involve collaborators from a selected group of institutions with which the University is actively developing multifaceted connections. These institutions are strategic allies for the University and include:

    • Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India
    • Sri Ramachandra University, India
    • University of North Carolina Wilmington, US
    • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, US
    • University of Tromso, Norway
    • University of Osnabruck, Germany
    • Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia
    • Mariupol State University, Ukraine

    However, applicants are not restricted from proposing international collaborators from other institutions.

    Please note that conference attendance funding is unlikely to be prioritised unless the proposal outlines a clear follow-up plan, supports early career researchers, and demonstrates that no other more suitable funding sources are available.

    Funding award decisions will be communicated to all applicants within four weeks of the deadline.

    It is important to note that all awarded funds must be spent and activity taken place by 31st July 2024.

    Our dedicated HIKE Delivery Team is available to provide guidance on whether your proposed activity aligns with this scheme and to assist you in developing your application.

    Feel free to contact us at HIKE@hull.ac.uk


Applications to all HIKE schemes can be submitted at any time of the year

Submit your application through our HIKE SharePoint Portal

We have 3 designated funding calls* every year (September, January and May) – and our funding call schedule through to 31st March 2025 is as follows:

  • 15 September 2023
  • 17 January 2024
  • 15 May 2024
  • 16 September 2024

*We also may offer additional interim funding calls if the need arises.

All applications, except those to the Rapid Response Fund, will only be considered if submitted before the funding call deadline.

If you want your application to be considered in time for one of the three annual funding panels, please make sure that you reach out to the HIKE team at least 2 weeks before the deadline you are aiming for.

Applications submitted to HIKE by one of the funding call dates above should get a decision within 4 weeks of the funding call deadline.

Rapid Response applications can be received at ANY TIME, and a decision will be made within up to 10 working days of receipt of the application form.

We’d like to think that HIKE offers easy, flexible and responsive funding opportunities which can really make a difference.

Applying is really easy – we firstly require you to submit a brief Ideation about your research project that you wish us to consider for funding.

We will then assign a dedicated HIKE Delivery Team member to support you and work with you to identify the most appropriate funding stream for your project. They will then advise and support you through the full application process.​​​​​​​

Through the various funding streams on offer, HIKE funding will add value towards existing strategic research and impact development pathways (i.e. build on your research) and take advantage of new or unforeseen opportunities to create and deliver non-academic impact, innovation and knowledge exchange.

We highly recommend you read the full HIKE Guidance.

For more details as to what HIKE does and does not fund please click here and for more information on the assessment criteria, please click here.

Submit your application through our HIKE SharePoint Portal.