Catalyst Awards application criteria
We offer two levels of Catalyst Awards: £2,000 Seed Awards and £10,000 Scaling Awards.
To be eligible, you must be an RSA Fellow. Please find the specific criteria for each grant outlined below.
Seed grants (£2,000)
Seed Awards are grants for: early stage projects in need of a financial boost, to help them develop into sustainable projects with the potential to deliver measurable social impact.
Seed Awards are intended to offer: the opportunity to test an idea, with a view to evaluating their project and actively collecting evidence of proof of concept. By proof of concept, we mean that there is documented evidence that the potential project, product or service can have a positive social impact.
Seed grants can be paid to: individual Fellows or a fundable organisation (see FAQs).
Scaling grants (£10,000)
Scaling Awards are grants for: established projects that have clearly demonstrated their proof of concept to help them scale and grow.
Scaling Awards are intended to offer: a financial boost to help projects become sustainable and/or replicable in order to increase their positive social impact, with strong plans in place to measure and evaluate impact.
Applicants should demonstrate a clear strategy for growth, including a clearly identified market, reasons why this audience will use and benefit from the project, service or product, and a clear understanding of the activities required to bring the project to its next stage.
Scaling Awards can be paid to: a fundable organisation (see FAQs) aligned with the RSA’s charitable objectives, only.
RSA Funding Priorities
We welcome all applications aligned with the RSA’s charitable aims, explored through our Impact Programmes (Future of Work, Regenerative Futures) and projects. More information on our Impact Programmes can be found below.
We will prioritise applications that broadly align with our Impact Programmes and projects, and where RSA support is integral to the aim of the project. By RSA support, we mean our people (Fellows and staff), networks, social media and communication platforms, our research and more.
We prioritise these kinds of projects because we believe that by collaborating and working in alignment, we can best achieve our ambitions of wider systems change. Strong applications will demonstrate the contribution their projects will make towards the broader visions of the relevant RSA projects or programmes.
If your project doesn’t directly align with our current Impact Programmes (Future of Work, Regenerative Futures) or projects, please do not be deterred from applying. We are always looking for strong, timely applications tackling a broad range of current challenges.
Future of Work
Does your project contribute to ensuring good work for everyone, especially in an age of technological change?
By good work we mean work that allows an individual's wellbeing to flourish, enables growth in their capabilities, nurtures their sense of identity, grants them the freedom to live a larger life; and delivers the material security that allows them to participate equally in society.
Many people already enjoy good work – but many do not. If your project tackles barriers which get in the way of marginalised groups or communities in accessing good work, or navigates the challenges and opportunities of automation and AI, you’re likely aligned with our Future of Work programme.
Your project might relate to giving workers a stronger voice in their workplace or empowering workers around the data collected about them. Equally, we are interested in projects that try to build a more resilient safety net for workers and improve their learning opportunities. If your project relates to the Future of Work in a different way, we are excited to hear about your ideas.
See our report ‘A blueprint for good work’ for more information about the RSA’s work in this area.
Does your project contribute to creating a future that enables people and the environment to thrive together?
If your project affirms social and environmental outcomes as interconnected and part of a whole, and sees place, identity, democratic participation, and multiple perspectives as essential to success, you’re likely aligned with our Regenerative Futures programme.
Your project might relate to climate change, circular and sustainable economies, restoring or revitalising communities and places. If your project relates to Regenerative Futures in a different way, we are excited to hear about your ideas.
Read our blog, ‘Regenerative futures’ for more information about the RSA’s work in this area.
Strong applications will consider
At both Seed and Scaling levels, strong Catalyst applications will consider the following:
Social impact: Does your project empower the marginalised and most vulnerable? Does it centre inclusion or ensure the engagement of diverse voices?
Environmental impact: How does your proposal make a positive difference to people and/or the natural world in your chosen context? Have you considered effective/sustainable use of resources including materials and processes?
Systems thinking: What's the bigger picture? How have you considered the root causes of the social issue? How does your idea connect to wider sets of issues? What might be unintended consequences of your proposal?
Read about our Living Change Approach for more information about the RSA’s approach to systems thinking.
Viability: Have you considered potential models for how your proposal could be funded and sustained financially? What are potential barriers? How would you measure success?