Activation Partners

Clarification questions

Answering your questions

If you have questions related to Activation Partners, please reach out to

We’ll update this page twice a week with answers.

Nb: clarification questions should be submitted no later than 4 days prior to the relevant deadline date. Clarification questions received after this date will not be reviewed. 

I am looking for funding for a research project that I am working on. Can I apply to the Activation Partners call?

We are not looking to fund research projects through this request for proposals. Instead, we are looking for Activation Partners who will work alongside ARIA to help drive momentum in the research areas we are exploring. If you are interested in submitting an application for research funding, please visit What We’re Working On page to find more information on our current opportunity spaces and live funding calls.


We are preparing an application for the activation partner call. A member of our team has a brother who works at ARIA, we wanted to check we are still compliant with the following clause: *ARIA staff and/or their family members are ineligible to apply for any ARIA funding.*

This only applies where the family member is applying as an individual, or is a person of significant control, part of the executive or a board member for the org applying. Not where they are a normal employee or an employee who may hold a small amount equity.


Is the Activation Partners call open to applications from U.K. government agencies or entities (or, in the alternative, whether you would be open to applications that feature U.K. government agencies or entities as a collaborator but not the application’s originator).

Depending on the UK government agency/entity there may be some complexities in funding the agency/entity, we’d need to know which UK government department/entity you are referring to to give a more definitive answer. That said, in principle we would not rule the above out but would assess the merits of proposals against the outcomes/objectives we’re looking to achieve as detailed in the call documentation.


We are an international organisation that would be setting up operations in the UK to execute if awarded. Would partnering with a UK based institution, such as a university, be something that would be evaluated positively, negatively or in a neutral manner?

We’d view partnering with a UK based institution in a positive to neutral manner but would ultimately assess the merits of proposals against the outcomes/objectives we’re looking to achieve as detailed in the call documentation.


Are universities eligible to apply to the Request for Proposal for Activation Partners?

Yes, universities are eligible to apply.


We are assuming funding will be for Operational Expenditure (OPEX) and NOT any form of investment/co-investment. Have we understood this correctly?

Yes we will only fund OPEX for ARIA activity, we will not fund investment capital or the incorporation costs of establishing an entity in the UK.


I note that you don’t mention “people” in your opportunity spaces. Are ARIA interested in the people behind the innovation and investment?

We’re interested in the track record of translating science into impact which may include the people behind the investment and innovation and we welcome this being highlighted in the proposal. That said, we will ultimately assess the merits of proposals against the outcomes/objectives we’re looking to achieve as detailed in the call documentation.


Would running and funding a fast grants program be within scope?

We have an existing mechanism for opportunity seeds which are similar to fast grants. Whilst we would not want to replicate this exactly with Activation Partners we would consider fast grants that were differentiated from seeds.


It would be helpful to understand this piece in the section better: “However, where funded activity results in a standalone brand identity, ARIA shall own any resulting IP such that it could operate the project independently of the partner if required.” Please could you share some examples?

Depending on the type and nature of the activation partner we can envision a scenario where we co-create a standalone brand identity that becomes synonymous with ARIA, in these instances we would want to own any resultant IP and have the rights to operate independently once the initial contract with the activation partner has naturally ended. Depending on the applications we receive there may be other scenarios, the exact detail will be refined and agreed prior to contract agreement.


The university (and partners) are likely to also want to apply for programme funding across the opportunities spaces, particularly the one we are interested in being an Activation Partner for – Scoping our Planet. Are there restrictions that will limit our opportunities to engage in the research funding if we are chosen as the Activation Partner?

Being an Activation Partner will not limit the universities ability to apply for programme funding, we may however require you put in place processes and procedures to ensure that university applications for our programme funding do not gain a competitive advantage by virtue of association/access to information provided to the Activation Partner.


Can you clarify your definition for ‘at scale’?

We’re open to a wide range scales from small to the most ambitious proposals. Applicants can send in multiple submissions for different scales and part of the review process will involve discussions that could cover this.


What is ARIA’s perspective on leverage funding?

Our funding should be used to catalyse self-sustaining activities that will aim to outlive our funding term. This could be through complementation of our support with match funding and/or activities to enable other funders to come in alongside or after us.


What is ARIA’s perspective on industrial partnerships?

We welcome industrial partnerships.


Approximately, how many researchers does ARIA work with in its programmes? 

We have 7 programmes currently being shaped/launched across 7 opportunity spaces. Each programme will fund a portfolio of projects. There is no fixed number of projects per programme, but this could be upwards of ~10 projects per programme, with a range in researcher/team size. Each opportunity space may also fund opportunity seed projects, which sit within the opportunity space but outside of programmes.


Would you want the activation partner to run fairly autonomously, or very collaboratively?

We’d like partners to work in close collaboration with ARIA and also between the other Activation Partners. However, we appreciate the level of autonomy will differ between partners so this will be on a case by case basis, based on how partners feel the outcomes can be best achieved. We’ll be led by your instincts.


What are the volumes of solutions you’d be looking to support each year?

We haven’t run this before so we will be shaping this alongside the partners, including aspects like how much support will be provided each year.


What is your view on how accelerators can support the objectives and brief?

Accelerators are one type of organisation we highlight with our objectives stated in the RFP. We are open to applicants leading us to how best they see our aims being driven towards by their proposals. 


Are the solution areas fixed, or can others be proposed?

The solutions are not fixed and others can be proposed.


This ~5-8 partners over 3 years with a budget of 30m to 50m — is that number per year or over the entire 3 years?

The number of partners and budget guidelines are anticipated to be over the 3 years, however, the ultimate funding allocation will depend on the proposals received. Funding awards will vary in size and these figures are meant to serve as general guidelines – we encourage you to request the resources you need to carry out the project, don’t hesitate to be ambitious.


Please can you explain what ‘helping drive momentum in the research areas’ means in the broader context please?

One thing we mean by this is to “cultivate entrepreneurial and translation-focused momentum within our opportunity spaces.” This will look different based on the expertise of each partner and hence we don’t want to be too prescriptive, but our success metrics in the RFP outline how we envision momentum to be driven.