FAQs on the Activate Fund

What is the purpose of the Activate Fund?
The Activate Fund supports Churchill Fellows to activate or accelerate projects based upon their Fellowship findings, in the crucial first ten years after their Fellowship has been awarded. It does so by providing funds and non-financial support to projects that offer a significant public benefit in the UK and that can benefit from this type of assistance.

What does the Fund offer?
Full details are here.

How do I apply?
Full details are here. Applications will open in October 2020, for grants in 2021. 

Who can apply?
Full details are here.

I have not received a link to an application form, what shall I do?
Only eligible Fellows are sent a link to an application form. Eligibility details are here. Requesting a resend of your link is here.

Why is it that only the last ten years of Fellows can apply?
The Fund aims to support Fellows to activate or accelerate their projects in the key period when they start to make change happen. We have chosen ten years as a cut-off point because our surveys indicate that it takes most Fellows between three and five years to start implementing their findings, and because we see the first ten years as a crucial time for implementation.

How soon after returning from travel can I apply for these Funds?
You must have completed your Fellow's Report, and had it published on our website by WCMT staff, at least six months prior to the application opening date. In addition, you cannot apply until one year after your original Fellowship award (this is to allow time for your travels, Report and post-return planning).

What if progress in implementing recommendations from my Fellowship has been slow?
As part of the due diligence process for this Fund, we want to see what you have done to implement findings from your Fellowship. We are interested not only in what has been achieved, but also what has been attempted, in terms of your implementation. We will assess on the potential for wider and lasting public benefit, the financial need, and a clear and compelling implementation plan.

If I am unsuccessful, can I apply again?
Yes, if eligible (see eligibility criteria). If you reapply, we would want to see what progress you have made in the period between applications.

Could you explain what you mean by ‘calculated on a rolling basis’?
As mentioned above, to be eligible, you must be a Winston Churchill Fellow from the last ten years. This means that 2011 Fellows will be eligible for 2021 Activate Fund grants, but will not be eligible in subsequent years.

Will this be open to all Fellowship categories?
In the first year it was open to Fellows in all categories. However, this is a pilot scheme and we will use the learning from year one to inform future years of the Fund, which may mean a more thematic approach in the future.

You mentioned that award-winners will receive additional support. What type of support will we receive?
Full details are here.

How does this Fund relate to the Fellowship?
This is a complementary fund, aiming to support Fellows' post-travel activities. It will therefore not support further overseas travel. We are piloting this to see whether it becomes a permanent supplement to the Fellowship.

If I have been awarded a £500 Post-Travel Grant, can I apply to this Fund?
Yes you can. We view the £500 Post-Travel Grant as a support in the initial dissemination of your project. The Activate Fund aims to help you go further in activating or accelerating your project, in ways that may well be based on those initial dissemination activities.

If I already have funding for my project, but need more, can I still apply to The Activate Fund?
Yes, we welcome bids from Fellows who require match funding for their projects.

What if the impact of my work does not look as impressive as other Fellows’ work?
We respect and understand that people’s trajectories will look very different, and that Fellows’ projects will be at different stages. We will account for this when balancing the potential for impact next to the need for additional funding. We will also be drawing on expert opinion from our Trustees and Advisory Council to assess applications. However, if you would like to discuss this further, please contact the Activate Fund Manager, Derek Bardowell, on 0207 799 1669 or [email protected] on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

What is the application process?
Full details are here.

How can I submit an application in audio format?
Audio submissions can be submitted on a dedicated page of the online application form. There you can upload a pre-recorded audio statement. In this, you will need to respond to all ten questions in the online form, and ensure that the audio recording is clear and completed within seven minutes. Audio uploads have a 25 MB limit. We would suggest, for audio submissions, that you say your name first, then tell us in a sentence what you are seeking funding for. You should then respond to the ten questions. Supplementary information, such as the budget and partners involved in your project, can be submitted separately online.

I am worried about how I would measure the impact of my work?
The Activate Fund Manager, Derek Bardowell, will be able to provide support around measuring impact. At this stage, we are primarily concerned with clear implementation plans that set out how you will go about achieving your goals.

Twelve months is not a long time to demonstrate impact, what type of ‘impacts’ will you be looking for?
It is not up to us to define specifically what the impact of your work will look like. That will very much depend on your project, the context and the outcomes you wish to achieve. However, we want to see genuine progression over the 12 months. So it is important that you state your end goal (the change you would ultimately like to see) and to set it in context. For example, if you are aiming to contribute to changes in teacher training, you may not achieve those aims within the timeframe of this grant; but you should provide plans that are realistic and achievable, with concrete activities and success measures that enable us to know how you are progressing towards that end goal. Such indicators might include: reaching more/different audiences, commissions, citations from policy makers, public speaking engagements in influential spaces, creating events or setting up a charity/enterprise.

Are collaborative bids from Fellows welcomed?
Yes, we welcome bids from Fellows who have decided to work together towards a common goal. Please note, a multi-person application will still be restricted to the grant maximum, which is £20,000.

If I want to find out more about the Fund, who can I talk to?
If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Activate Fund Manager, Derek Bardowell. You can reach him on 0207 799 1669 or [email protected] on Mondays and Tuesdays. We will also be hosting online advice webinars, dates to be announced.