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Catalyst Awards FAQs

How long does the Catalyst application process take? 

It takes approximately three months from application deadline to announcement of successful projects. Please take this into consideration when applying.

When will I know if I have been successful?

You will receive an email from us informing you of the outcome of your application approximately three months after the application deadline.

What happens if I am successful?

If you are successful in receiving a Catalyst Award, then you will receive an email from us to inform you of this approximately three months after the application deadline.

You will then receive your grant paperwork from us in the following couple of weeks, which will include details of your main point of contact within the RSA for the duration of your funding.

For Seed Awards you will receive an agreement, which you will have three months to complete and send back to us.

Scaling Awards will be discussed and agreed with the Catalyst Fund Programme Manager.

You will receive the contact details of a Relationship Manager who will be able to discuss other opportunities for you to engage with the RSA and promote your project through the RSA platforms.

All successful projects from your grant round will be announced via a blog on our website.

What happens if I receive a grant but cannot continue with the project?

If you think that you are no longer able to continue your project, or the project changes in a way that means you will need to significantly change the use of the funding, then please contact as soon as possible. The team will be able to discuss the opportunities available to you.

In the event that you may need to return the funding, the Catalyst Fund Programme Manager can discuss this process with you. If you do have to return your funding, you will still be eligible to apply for further funding in the future.

What happens if my project changes?

It’s natural that your project will change over time. That is true design-thinking. It's the natural evolution of projects and the iteration process. If you need to change how you allocate the funding from your initial application by £250 or more, then please contact

Is there a deadline on when I should spend the funding?

Yes. For Seed Awards, we expect you to have spent the funding within 12 months from the date of being awarded the funding. At this point we will generally send you a Grant Completion Form to report on your project.

For Scaling Awards, the timeline is adapted to your agreed payment schedule (but we generally anticipate awards should be drawn down in full within 18 months). For these larger grants, you will be issued a Grant Completion Form following the final payment of your Award.

Catalyst Awards

The Catalyst Awards programme offers seed and scaling grants for RSA Fellows to test and grow their ideas to achieve social impact.

Can I get any feedback for my application either before or after submitting it?

Prior to application submission: The criteria for all award rounds in published on our website. Please contact,uk if you have any questions. You may be able to speak with the Catalyst Fund Programme Manager about the aims of a specific grant round, but please note that out of fairness to other applicants, we cannot review applications ahead of them being submitted.

After application submission: Once you have received the decision of the panel, you can request feedback on your application by replying to the email. We will endeavour to provide you with feedback, but from time-to-time grant rounds are too popular to deliver this, despite our best intentions. If you have any questions about your application, please email

I want to send additional information/meet with staff to support my application.

We welcome submission of websites and imagery in support of projects submitted. However, please note that due to time available to view applications, we base our assessment on the content submitted to us in the online application form – this is where attention should be focused.

How many times can I apply to Catalyst for the same project?

There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for Catalyst, whether you have been successful or unsuccessful previously. Please ensure you consider the round brief/outline carefully before replying to ensure it fits your project.  

You can apply for the same project more than once. If you have previously been unsuccessful in your application to Catalyst, please refer to the criteria carefully to ensure you are a right fit for this funding.

Can I apply to both Catalyst grants simultaneously for the same project?

It is not advised to apply for both awards simultaneously. If your project fulfils the Scaling Grant criteria then it is unlikely be applicable under the Small Grant criteria, and vice versa. If you have two projects that you are considering that fulfil the separate criteria, then do consider whether you would have the capacity to deliver on both if they were to be successful.

Can I get a copy of my application?

We use an online system which does not allow you access to your application once submitted. We advise you to write your application in another offline document and save this for your own purposes. This is also a good idea so you can check that what you want to say fits the character limits and for any spelling or grammar errors.  

How definite is the character limit? What happens when I go over?

We have built in buffers to our system but cannot guarantee these will accommodate all the information you supply. Please try and stick to the character limit (which includes spaces).

If I meet the criteria, will I receive funding?

Catalyst is very popular. We award grants totalling approximately £100,000 each year, which means we fund between 5-10% of applications we receive each round.

What types of organisation can the RSA support through grant funding? 

For Seed Awards, grants can be paid to individual Fellows based in and outside of the UK. Scaling Awards must be made directly to the organisation delivering the project. 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.

Can I get more information about how Catalyst is managed? Who makes the decisions?

The Catalyst process is managed by the Catalyst Fund Programme Manager working with Service Administrators and other colleagues in the organisation. Decisions are made following reviews by panels comprised of RSA Staff and Fellowship Councillors.

I would like to report a problem or make a complaint about the Catalyst Process. How do I do this?

If you would like to report a problem or make a complaint about the Catalyst process, please email

Contact the Catalyst team

Any questions? Call us on +44 (0)20 7451 6928