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Apply for Covid-19 Catalyst Grant funding

Award Brief

Applications have now closed and are being reviewed – thank you for your interest. We are aiming to respond to all those who have applied by 14th May.

These are unprecedented times. The RSA is launching a fast-tracked Catalyst Award round for Fellows’ projects responding to Covid-19 and its effects. We are inviting Fellows to apply for Catalyst Seed Awards of £2,000 in support of their proposal. The RSA is an international organisation and must respond to the pandemic as a truly global community - this call is open to all Fellows around the world. 


We are looking for scalable initiatives which ease the social and structural pressures of Covid-19, providing support on the ground now and building bridges to the future. Time and time again our entrepreneurial Fellows have proven themselves to be creative thinkers, working with passion and dedication to alleviate social challenges: we want to support you to maximise the impact of your work at this critical time. 


What we want to see (must have): 

  • We’re looking for innovative projects that provide impactful solutions to social and structural problems arising in connection with Covid-19.  
  • The project should already be operating and in need of a financial boost. In other words, the project should be able to help people with immediate effect and the funding should be seeking to support the project in doing this. 
  • We aim to support scalable projects that have capacity to have a benefit for society and meaningfully grow and replicate, or adapt, beyond the grant period and beyond the immediate pandemic response. 
  • The lead applicant representing the project should be a Fellow of the RSA, and the project should be aligned with RSA values

What we’d like to see (good to have): 

  • Plans in place to evaluate the effect of the initiative and to measure social impact in the longer term.  
  • A clearly apportioned budget breakdown
  • Bids that are underpinned by co-creation and collaboration – where the proposed activity is ‘done with the community, for the community’ and lived experience is valued. 
  • Bids that demonstrate a design-led approach to social change, considering questions that may include: How have you tested and iterated your proposal and activities based on feedback and the evolving nature of people’s needs? How have you considered the root causes of the challenge you’re exploring? How does your proposal connect to a wider set of initiatives and stakeholders? What might the longer-term social and environmental impacts be? What might be some unintended consequences? How would you measure success? 

Please note that: 

  • Grants can be paid to individual Fellows based in and outside of the UK, but where an organisation will receive funds directly, it must be structured as one of our fundable organisations (which include registered Charities, CICs, CIOs). Support for certain companies limited by guarantee is possible, as is support for some registered societies, such as Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies. Internationally, we can pay funds to charitable organisations (listed on the applicable national register). Please note that in all instances of RSA support being provided, governance checks may be required to ensure that financial or in-kind support can be made available. Contact for more information.
  • We recognise the impact of lockdowns and the restrictions these place on daily life – it is critical that applicants prioritise their safety and the safety of others at this time. Funding will be directed toward activities that comply with government guidelines on health & safety applicable to the country in which the project is based.  
  • We are not a medical research charity and are not qualified to adjudicate proposals focusing on medical interventions directly related to treatment of Covid-19. Applications of this nature are unlikely to be successful. 
  • The Covid-19 RSA Catalyst Award is linked to our annual Catalyst Award fund.

The RSA is a signatory to the Covid19Funders statement, standing with the sector to support grant recipients in these changing circumstances.