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Innovation Fund 2017-18

Application Guidance


Building on the success of the Innovation Fund launched in 2013, we are pleased to be able to continue to offer this internal project funding opportunity in 2017-18.

As Arts Council England Major Partner Museums we are expected to be sector leading organisations, at the cutting edge of new ways of working, innovative in engaging audiences, and resilient and sustainable in our approaches. We are also expected to be proactive in sharing our knowledge and expertise with colleagues within the sector. 

The purpose of the Innovation Fund is to facilitate innovative and experimental ways of working across Oxford University Museums by providing colleagues with seed funding and a mandate to test new ideas, experiment with new ways of working, and deliver work above and beyond our usual activities.

About the Fund

Applications are now open, closing 10 April 2017, and should be for between £500 and £5,000 – a larger award may be considered in exceptional circumstances for truly excellent proposals. 

The Innovation Fund is open to all staff working across the Oxford University Museums.  

Application criteria

Proposals for any projects have to demonstrate innovation and experimentation and we are looking for activity that: 

  1. Tests new approaches to joint working across the museums, or with other key partners within the University or beyond;
  2. Focuses on engaging new, harder to reach audiences and/or responding to the findings of our audience research and evaluation;
  3. Makes a significant contribution to our Arts Council Goals around digital innovation, making collections more accessible, connecting museums and higher education, supporting diversity, community engagement, and knowledge exchange and leadership.

Examples of the sort of projects we funded in 2016-17 include:

  • ‘Celebrating Diversity: An LGBTQ+ Tour of Oxford University’s Museums and Collections’ - a specially commissioned trail highlighting LGBTQ+ experiences written by LGBTQ+ volunteers and allies and operating across GLAM
  • ‘Interactive Sketchbooks’ - digital Interactive Sketchbooks featuring full screen, zoomable images, with individual elements delivered as hotspots layered with additional information.
 The Application Process

Applications to the Innovation Fund should be made by midday on Monday 10 April 2017. We will endeavour to advise successful applicants of their funding before the end of April 2017.  All projects must be completed by end of December 2017, as any funding not spent by this date will be lost.

All applications should be discussed with and approved by line managers and departmental administrators before being submitted to ensure capacity and resource requirements have been fully considered.

While grants endeavour to cover the full cost of projects, the Innovation Fund cannot cover the salaries of existing, full-time staff. Innovation Fund grants can contribute towards funding additional hours for part-time staff, bringing in temporary project staff, or paying for backfill to free up permanent staff time (backfill must be employed during the life of the project, and permanent staff must be able to demonstrate that they are committing the full amount of backfilled time to the project).

Applications should be submitted using the application template form via email - download the application form.

The Oxford University Museums Partnership Team and Chair will make decisions, and will let you know the outcome by the end of April.

We would be very happy for you to run any ideas past us in advance - please feel free to call Lucy or Jess on 01865 613783. 

All successful projects will be required to submit a light touch evaluation report at the end of the project and produce an overview blog for our website focussed on sharing lessons learned with the broader sector. This is a minimum requirement – further suggestions for sharing learning are welcomed and you are encouraged to include these as part of your application.

Applications should be submitted via email to no later than 12pm on Monday 10 April 2017.

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