Circle U. Seed Funding Scheme

The objective of the Circle U. seed funding scheme is to foster new collaborations across institutions in the Circle U. alliance. It is a mechanism that provides academic and research staff and students with opportunities to develop projects across the alliance, to strengthen the alliance and to drive bottom-up initiatives.


The 2022 call for applications is open to students, academics and research staff from all disciplines and levels.

Lead applicants for education and research projects, should be employed as full-time or part-time academic and research staff within any of the Circle U. member universities, with the employment contract lasting for the full length of the proposed project. Applications may include administrative/professional services staff, as we expect them to support lead applicants in the development and implementation of the proposed projects.

Lead applicants for student-led projects, should be enrolled or working at any of the Circle U. member universities.

Projects should involve staff or students from at least three partner universities.

Application and timeline

  • Call opens: 1 October 2022
  • Call closes: 30 November 2022
  • Results announced: 19 December 2022
  • Funding period: 1 January 2023 – 30 September 2023
  • Impact report submitted: 30 October 2023

Submit your application

Examples of activities that can be funded

The Circle U. seed funding scheme aims to support the developmental stages of a project or projects at an early stage. Therefore, seed-funded projects fit under a wide variety of definitions.

Student-led projects:

  • study visits to other student democracies across the alliance,
  • information sessions and events for students,
  • online seminars and modules with teachers,
  • cultural events, music festivals, sports events, podcasts, photo contests, etc.

For academic and research projects:

  • conducting surveys, creating a database, developing research materials
  • conducting preliminary research activities
  • organizing workshops or seminars or any other teaching/learning activity
  • organizing public lectures
  • organizing seminars, workshops or conferences, for PhD students and early career researchers
  • organizing winter or summer schools
  • developing joint courses or programmes
  • preparing joint large-scale project proposals to be submitted to European (or other) calls

The Circle U. seed funding scheme aims to support the developmental stages of a project or projects at an early stage. Therefore, seed-funded projects fit under a wide variety of definitions.


The total budget available for the 2022 call for application is EUR 125.000. The budget is assigned in the following way:

  • Budget allocated to academic and research projects: EUR 110.000
    • Up to EUR 10.000 per project
  • Budget allocated to student-led projects: EUR 15.000
    • Up to EUR 5.000 per project

Funding will be transferred as a lump sum by the Circle U. Secretariat to the lead applicant or a nominated person who will have the responsibility to manage the project and the budget.

Non-exhaustive list of eligible costs:

  • temporary staff or consultant recruitment to support the project’s activities (creation of a database, benchmarking specific to the entity, conducting surveys, etc.);
  • preliminary research activities;
  • material promoting the project and its activities (e.g., digital brochures, videos, etc.);
  • awareness-raising material for the alliance;
  • travel expenses and/or costs of living for teaching or research activities that cannot be covered by Erasmus+ funding

Non-eligible costs:

  • hiring of contractual administrative, research or academic staff
  • travel expenses and/or costs of living for teaching or research activities eligible under Erasmus+
  • equipment costs
  • conference fees

Selection process and evaluation criteria

A Seed Funding Selection Committee (SFSC) consisting of five to ten academics from the nine partner universities will be in charge of:

  • Evaluating proposals
  • Informing the Circle U. Management Board of the selection of projects to be funded in order to secure the Board’s final approval. The Management Board is the ultimate decision-making body for alliance operations.
  • Assessing project completion reports from projects which have been funded

Applications need to clearly outline how they fit into the scope of the Circle U. seed funding scheme and how they match the vision, mission and objectives of Circle U.

The SFSC will give particular attention to the following criteria:

  • Academic quality
  • Stating a clear pathway for impact and for further supporting long term collaborations within the Alliance
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Proposals focusing on diversity and inclusion as a whole
  • Involvement and benefits for students
  • Supporting mobility of staff and students
  • Engagement of external stakeholders and associated partners

Once established, the SFSC reserves the right to add selection criteria according to the quality of the applications received.

In addition to the members of the SFSC, student-led projects will also be assessed by a student committee consisting of three student representatives as proposed by Circle U. Student Union (CUSU).

Frequently asked questions

How can I find project partners in other Circle U. universities?

In order to find suitable partners for the project, please check ORCID, contact academic chairs or CU project coordinators at home university. For student initiatives, please contact CUSU or your “local” student union.

From which universities should the project partners come from?

Projects should involve staff or students from at least three partner universities from the Circle U Alliance (at least 2 other Circle U. partner universities, plus yours).  Please have in mind that it is possible to include other external partners (including other universities), that do not necessarily have to be alliance partners themselves.

Could my project involve administrative staff only?

The call is open to students, academics and research staff from all disciplines and levels. But, please have in mind that either education or research projects, or student-led projects will be funded. We expect that academics are involved, in order to make an impact on education or research. Finally, if the project fits the scope and objectives of the call, the project should be proposed to the selection committee.

What travel and subsistence costs are eligible?

Travel expenses and/or subsistence costs for teaching or research activities covered within Erasmus+ program are not eligible. If you need more information about what format/type of mobility is funded, please contact the CU project coordinators of your universities.

How detailed should be the provisional budget?

It is extremely important to list all various costs linked to the different activities foreseen in the budget. Therefore, the provisional budget should not be automatically of the maximal amount.

What implies a lump sum approach for the grant payment?

There is no obligation for the grantee/awardee to report on the actual costs but on the provisional budget for the project. In addition, please have in mind that the 80% of the total budget will be paid at the beginning of the project and the remaining 20% based on the final project report, including budgetary information.

I would like to prepare the application with the partners, where can I find a “paper” version of the application form?

The application form is in the annexe of the call. You can download the PDF or Word version.

Circle U. Seed Funding

Download and read the complete call: