About Bath Beacons

The Bath Beacons initiative is being launched in order to empower our research community to build our research profile by tackling major research challenges through large funding bids.

It draws inspiration from the bottom-up activities that were successfully launched by several of the University’s Research Centres during the first period of lockdown, but is aimed exclusively at building teams for large funding bids.

The scheme will work by aligning national priorities and specific funding opportunities with existing and emerging areas of research strength, adopting an inclusive and bottom-up approach to building interdisciplinary research teams through the use of sandpit-style events.

The support will follow through the grant preparation process to obtaining institutional support for developing and running the largescale research activities that will be proposed.

An important part of Bath Beacons will be the Steering Group, made up of individual academics who can combine enthusiasm for the scheme with appropriate knowledge and expertise, and drawn from across the career stages.

The Steering Group

The Steering group will work alongside the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Associate Deans (Research) to guide the development of the scheme. Membership of the steering group and the participation in the scheme are entirely independent of one another, although members of the Steering Group can still be participants in the scheme.

The Bath Beacons scheme is being established for a preliminary period of one year, as a pilot. Over the year, we anticipate that the Steering Group might meet up to ten times, for meetings of one or two hours. The role of the Steering Group and the criteria for identifying membership are described below.

We are inviting members of academic staff, at career stages ranging from newly-appointed lecturers to eminent professors, who might be interested in being a part of the steering group to express their interest by email to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research). Email: j.c.knight@bath.ac.uk.

The closing date for EoIs to the Bath Beacons Steering Group is Monday 25 January 2021.

More information on expressing your interest, along with the role of the Steering Group, the criteria for membership and our expectation of the group as a whole can be found below.

Benefits of being involved

You will get to work with some interesting people from across a range of career stages and spanning the research base of the university. Like you, they will be motivated to tackle the big challenges that we face, and to work across disciplinary boundaries.

We will all learn more about building interdisciplinary research teams, and will think about how me might contribute ourselves. We will also learn a lot more about major funding bids - what research areas are current, what one should consider when building a team, what the bids should look like and what should be in them, working in partnership with other organisations, how the funding works for major grant proposals, and how to access institutional support for bids.

This is an opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership in research.


  1. EoIs submitted to Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) by email. EoIs should consist of a (roughly) half-page expression of interest and be accompanied by a CV. Deadline Monday 25 January 2021.
  2. Draft membership to be drawn up by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) in consultation with Associate Deans (Research), based on application of the criteria below.
  3. Membership to be agreed by University Executive Board.
  4. Outcomes to be communicated by mid-February.

Role of the Steering Group

  • Providing guidance to the development of the Bath Beacons programme over the first year
  • Ensuring that there is an appropriate match between the areas developed through the scheme, existing research strengths, and external funding opportunities
  • Working to support engagement of the breadth of the academic community with the Bath Beacons initiative
  • Monitoring and assessing the information on funding opportunities provided by Research and Innovation Services (RIS), to ensure that the information provided is appropriate and comprehensive, and a balance of opportunities is being developed through the Bath Beacon programme
  • Assessing the emerging research teams, offering feedback on their composition and assessment of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Ensuring appropriate assessment of specific bids as they are developed, and supporting their submission to the University as appropriate • Representing the interests of the University in advancing the Bath Beacons - acting across themes and across disciplines

The Associate Deans (Research) will also be members of the Steering Group. Their role will be to ensure that the Bath Beacons acts in ways that are cognizant of the Faculty/School priorities. The Director of Research and Innovation Services will also be a member of the Steering Group, with Research and Innovation Services providing support for the activities of the Group.

Criteria for Members

  • Enthusiasm for contributing through Bath Beacons
  • Experience of interdisciplinary research as appropriate to career stage
  • Research track record as appropriate to career stage, providing credibility to peers
  • Demonstrated leadership as appropriate to career stage
  • Knowledge of and interest in external funding environment
  • Experience of large funding bids as appropriate to career stage and discipline
  • Track record and interest in research impact as appropriate to career stage
  • Coverage of the University research theme areas of Sustainability, Digital and Healthy


  • A balance of career stages represented
  • At least two members from each Faculty/the School
  • Representation of the diversity of research at the University
  • Representation of the richness and diversity of the University workforce
  • Number of members flexible but will be at least 8 + PVC-R + ADRs