UNIC Seed Fund

Supporting Collaborative Engaged Research Initiatives

Applications Open Soon

This UNIC Seed Fund Initiative aims to support collaborative "Engaged Research" initiatives across our partner universities, sparking new ideas for tackling societal challenges in post-industrial cities.

On this page, you can learn about what Engaged Research means, what qualifies for seed funding, and how to apply. Timelines, application forms, and the fine print are all below. You can find additional information in downloadable PDFs. If you have further questions regarding the call, please reach out to UNIC coordinator(s) in your host institution.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101035801.

↓ Download the full Seed Fund Call details (ZIP, 2 MB)

↓ Download the Engaged Research information pack (PDF, 1.1 MB)

↓ Download the Local Engaged Research Roadmap (PDF, 1.9 MB)

What is UNIC?

The European University of Post-Industrial cities (UNIC) is an alliance of ten universities impacting education, research, and community engagement to develop post-industrial cities. The UNIC Alliance is located in transitory economies and places that constitute a shared socio-economic environment of post-industrial transformations. Our universities are expected to play a key role in the transition of their cities to become centres of knowledge concerning transformations by engaging with research into the very processes and learning on resilience, adaptation, co-creation, etc.

UNIC researchers tackle societal challenges by involving and engaging citizens, civil society, public/city authorities, and private businesses in research and innovation activities. Engaged Research offers an interdisciplinary approach and method for systematic knowledge production not only for society but also together with society.

The Seed Fund Mechanism

In order to increase the amount of collaborative engaged research initiatives within the UNIC consortium and provide support to researchers to coordinate those initiatives, seed funds are allocated to the members of the Alliance.

Collaborative UNIC engaged research initiatives relates to the societal challenges of post-industrial cities in transition. Initiatives are recommended to touch upon a challenge defined by our UNIC Cities. These challenges are related to e.g., Diversity & Inclusion, Green Cities & Sustainability, Urban Resilience & Transformation, Health & Well-being, Aging Population, Digital Transition through engaged research and aims to co-create knowledge through engaged research.

Call for Collaborative

“UNIC4ER Seed Fund” offers small-scale support for engaged research collaboration and project development across all disciplines. This support should be considered as:

— A complementary resource to coordinate a collaborative project/initiative (such as an application for external funding for Research, development, or innovation project)

— An initial resource to implement an activity aimed at establishing a new collaborative initiative among UNIC partner universities that will help to develop a novel and solid research path, which could also be supported by an external grant afterward.

The seed fund program is open to all UNIC faculty and research faculty members (professors (of all levels), postdoctoral researchers, and Ph.D. candidates).


Approved proposals will be supported for at most 12 months with a budget according to the additional information provided by your university.

  • Next Call round opens: Spring 2023
  • Submission deadlines and project start dates will be announced soon.

  • Depending on local holiday times, the deadlines might vary slightly. Please ask your UNIC Engaged Research Officer.

    → One of the aims of this fund is to enhance inclusivity and diversity within the UNIC consortium. Accordingly, a particular share of the fund is explicitly allocated to non-traditional scholars including junior researchers, first-generation academics, scholars with a migrant background, etc. Therefore, they are strongly encouraged to apply.

    → For information about non-financial support mechanisms like mentoring, trainings, workshops provided under UNIC, please contact your local UNIC Engaged Research Officer and Research Support Offices.

    Initiatives must include at least two UNIC universities, and can include one or more institutions outside of UNIC consortium.

    How to Apply

    We recommend first contacting the UNIC coordinator in your host institution for local guidance. In general, the following documents should be submitted as a single PDF file:

  • A one-page proposal summary (about 500 words)
  • Collaborative Initiative Proposal Form in English (Download templates (↓ DOCX, 55 KB)
  • Budget Table (Download templates (↓ XLS, 17 KB)
  • CVs of the PIs: 2 pages / person + selected project/publication list
  • A Gender Equality Plan (GEP), if applicable.

  • → UNIC offers local guidance for applications from specific alliance universities. Please follow the pages below if you are based in these institutions:

  • University College Cork: Resource Page for Engaged Research
  • University of Liège: Call for Engaged Research Initiatives
  • Ruhr University Bochum: Call for Engaged Research Initiatives
  • University of Oulu: Call for Horizon Europe proposals

    Application packages should be submitted to your institution's UNIC officer, or to info@unic.eu. For full call conditions and other fine print — download the call documents as a ZIP file below.