Alumni Impact Fund

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, staff, students and friends of the University, £140,000 in funding is now available for innovative projects that will have an immediate impact on teaching, learning, student experience and academic endeavour.

Since 2002, the Development and Alumni Relations Office has distributed almost £2 million to a wide range of initiatives across campus and has made many extraordinary projects possible through this Fund. We invite academic and Professional Services staff to bid for £500-£5,000 in funding for their innovative project.

All bids must demonstrate an immediate impact on campus or activities that will enhance staff and students' academic experience.

Applications are now closed.

If you have an enquiry about your application or would like to know more about the Alumni Impact Fund please email Grace Surman on

How does it work?

The Alumni Impact Fund is a pot of funding generously donated by alumni, students, staff and friends of the University, which is split equally across the Colleges and Professional Services.

Applications are open to all staff, whether you are academic, support, technicians or Professional Services, to bid for a share of the Fund to support innovative projects that have a positive impact on the academic endeavour, teaching and the student experience.

Candidates wishing to apply must fill in the online application form and provide written support of the application from your Head of School/Department, or Head of Estates if your project will impact the University's estate.

As a general guide most previous successful applications have been in the range of £500 - £5,000. However, other amounts will be considered. 

Applications to support a larger project will be considered providing it is clear which aspects the Alumni Impact Fund will contribute to and the impact of not receiving funding is clearly explained.

Applications will be considered by a panel comprising representatives from your College or Professional Service, including but not exclusive to:

  • Head of College
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Education or Research
  • A member of the College Alumni Relations Team (Development and Alumni Relations Office)
  • An alumnus
  • A student

The panel will meet in mid-December to deliberate and successful applicants will be notified in early January.

All successful applicants will be required to provide a thank you message to our donors and a report on their project. This report does not need to be formal but could be a blog-style article, podcast, video, or in any form that best displays the project. These reports will then be shared across the University website and social media, and sent to our alumni donors as part of a thank you message.


To be considered for funding, your project must clearly demonstrate that it:

  • Is new and/or innovative and may provide the basis for future activity
  • Supports the University and College strategic priorities
  • Offers a unique opportunity to enhance teaching, or students' academic activities, on campus and enriches the student experience
  • Presents a positive impact of charitable giving from Birmingham alumni and donors, and promotes a positive view of the University as a charity
  • Is not a core Department, School, College or University requirement
  • Cannot be funded in any other way
  • Has the support of the Head of School/Department, and Head of Estates for any bids that impact on the University's estate
  • Must be completed by 3 December 2018

Terms and conditions

  • This money has been charitably donated to the University by alumni and all projects funded must reflect the spirit of this generosity and the ethos of the University
  • Funding cannot be used to support research trips, cover travel expenses, catering or alcohol unless pivotal to the project
  • We reserve the right to consider the likely expectations of charitable donors about the use of their donation, and will not fund projects that could negatively impact on our future fundraising. We would not, for example, usually fund proselytising activities
  • Funding cannot be used with the sole aim of directly supporting another charitable cause
  • Only one application will be funded per individual
  • All funding must be spent by 1 November 2018 and projects completed by 3 December 2018
  • All successful applicants will be required to provide a thank you and a report on the completed project which will be shared with donors and on the website

Why are you doing it this way?

By ring-fencing equal shares, we will ensure that each of the Colleges and Professional Services as a whole will enjoy significant opportunities to bid to the Fund. All applications will be reviewed and decisions made locally by colleagues in your College and for Professional Services, a small steering group.  

Key dates

Monday 30 October 2017 - Applications open

November 2017 - Two workshops hosted by College Alumni Relations Teams to provide advice and support in the development of your bids:

  • Thursday 9 November, 11:30am-12:30pm, UG10 Murray Learning Centre
  • Thursday 23 November, 1:30-2:30pm, LG14 Murray Learning Centre

Friday 1 December 2017, 12pm - Closing deadline for receipt of bids and supporting documents

Week commencing 11 December 2017 - Panels meet and final decisions made by Friday 15 December 2017

Week commencing 8 January 2018 - All successful and unsuccessful applicants notified

Thursday 1 November 2018 - Spending deadline (funds must have been drawn down and spent on the project awarded the grant)

Monday 3 December 2018 - Reports Deadline

Please note that grants awarded must be spent by 1 November 2018 or risk being withdrawn. Extensions will not be granted unless there are extenuating circumstances.

How to apply

Please fill the application form online and submit it by the closing deadline of 12noon, Friday 1 December 2017.

Please note: this form unfortunately cannot be saved and returned to at a later point. We recommend you draft your applications in a Word document then copy and paste into the form when you're ready to submit.

You will need to attach a proof of the approval of your Head of School/Department. In the application form there is a section where you can upload emails or documents showing this. 

You will also be asked to provide the name of your local Finance Office contact and the element 2 code for the budget account to which funds are to be transferred. If this is not known please ask your School/Departmental administrators who will point you in the right direction. We ask for this so that we can make the transfer of funds to successful projects as smooth a process as possible. The funds will be made available to you in an FSX distribution account under your local element 2 code - any unspent funds will be removed on 3 December 2018.

When filling in your application please be advised to:

  • Fully and realistically cost your project
  • Explain clearly how the money will be used
  • Show how you will measure its success
  • Ensure your Head of School/Department authorises the proposal
  • If you wish to apply for support to refurbish or change rooms, please consult with Estates and ensure they are aware of your intentions and provide formal supporting documentation with your application
  • Explain how you plan to promote the fact that alumni generosity made the project possible

Previously funded projects

Here are just some of the 250+ projects we have supported over the years:

Healthy Ageing Summer School

Inflammation and Ageing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences

Professor Janet Lord received £2,000 from the Alumni Impact Fund to host a two-day Healthy Ageing summer school for 100 trainee health professionals.

The event aimed to challenge perceptions around old age and covered topics such as retirement, spirituality and sexual health. The money also funded eight older adults to take part as small group facilitators and discuss their experiences of old age.

The Institute of Inflammation and Ageing is the only centre in the UK that has brought together, under the same hospital roof, a group of world-leading medical and scientific specialists in all the major conditions caused or exacerbated by inflammation. Their vision is to help more people live healthier lives for longer. Find out more about their latest research here

UoB’s 1st IMechE Railway Challenge

Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) was awarded almost £10,000 from the Alumni Impact Fund to enable them to take part in their first ever Railway Challenge at Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire. 

The UoB team comprised students and young researchers from Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials and Mechanical Engineering. Their task was to design, construct, test and operate a 1:10 scale railway traction unit that that had to be comfortable to ride, have tractive effort and regenerative braking capabilities.

The project allowed students to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice and improve their teamwork and communication skills.

The University of Birmingham is at the forefront of railway traction research, and the locomotive that was constructed received huge media interest. You can read more here.  

Engaging Shakespeare

Shakespeare Institute

Thanks to funding from the Alumni Impact Fund, thousands of students have benefitted from new video and audio recording equipment that was installed within the Shakespeare Institute Lecture Hall. This allows the weekly seminars delivered by internationally recognised Shakespeare scholars to be enjoyed by a wider audience, including part-time and distance-learning students and alumni.

The equipment is also used to record and live stream high profile lectures held at the Shakespeare Institute, as well as important community events, such as the annual graduation party. This has helped to foster new networks of learning and exchange across our ever-growing international Shakespeare Institute community. Find out more about the Shakespeare Institute here.

Academic Stand Against Poverty visit to Delhi

College of Social Sciences

The Alumni Impact Fund paid for five students from Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) to travel to India. This offered them the unparalleled opportunity to experience the work that NGOs were doing in Delhi and gain a deeper insight into poverty issues.

ASAP is an international professional association focused on helping poverty researchers and teachers enhance their positive impact on severe poverty. It does so by promoting collaboration among poverty-focused academics, effective outreach to policy makers and broader public audiences, and by helping academics turn their expertise into impact through specific intervention projects. Find out more here.

Co-founder of ASAP, Joshua Lindsey-Turner, said: 'The highlight of the trip was meeting a group of recent graduates who were working for Indian politicians. I had an unforgettable time, made some wonderful friends and learned more about global poverty than I could have done any other way.'


New ICT facilities at Undercroft

School: School of Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences

A donation of £5,000 from the Alumni Impact Fund, matched with funds from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, has enabled the School of Biosciences to buy 12 new computers and worktops to create a new study area in the Undercroft section of the Biosciences building. 

Hundreds of students and staff are now benefitting from the Undercroft as it is a more vibrant and active place where students and staff can access study spaces and ICT resources, with dedicated areas for individual study and collaborative learning.

Contact us

For advice and support with your application, please contact your local Alumni Relations Teams who will be happy to help:

College of Arts and Law – Becky Mitchell –

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences – Grace Surman –

College of Life and Environmental Sciences – Hazel Burton –

College of Medical and Dental Sciences – Iftikhar Ahmed –

College of Social Sciences – Emma Coldicott –

Professional Services – Becky Mitchell –

Alumni and friends of the University of Birmingham have once again been extremely generous and we would urge you not to miss this opportunity to help make an immediate difference to our students' lives.