Catalyst Awards FAQs

Find out more information about the Catalyst Awards by reading our frequently asked questions, including important information about eligibility, our assessment process and more.

Am I eligible for a Catalyst Award?

The Catalyst Awards provides grants to support social innovation projects in our four strands: skills and employment, education and learning, health and wellbeing, and community participation and decision-making.

You can apply from anywhere in the world, but to be eligible, you must be an RSA Fellow.

If you are applying for our seed grant (£2k), you do not need to apply as an organisation. We award seed grants to individuals as well as unincorporated groups.

If you are applying for a scaling grant (£10k), you must apply as a registered organisation. In the UK, this means a registered Charity, Community Interest Company, or Company Limited by Guarantee with an Asset Lock (that ensures that funds are used for a specific community benefit or mission). Outside of the UK, we will consider any equivalent so long as we can search for the relevant registration.

If applying as an organisation, your annual income must be less than £250k.

For either award, the project must also clearly be for public benefit, as defined by the charity commission.

When is the fund open and how do I apply?

You can apply for a Catalyst grant twice a year in Spring and Autumn.

Funding rounds are open for one month through our application portal. The exact dates are published ahead of each round and located on the Catalyst webpage. The application pack and guidance are updated and made available ahead of time.

After the round closes, we assess applications and announce decisions two-three months after the application deadline. Prospective applicants can find more details on the assessment process in the application pack ahead of each round.

What is the assessment process and how long does it take?

We review all eligible applications against our standard application criteria, which help us find suitable, aligned, and impactful projects. Applications are scored by both a reviewing panel, who score applications, and a community panel consisting of RSA Fellows who decide on the final grantees each round.

It takes about three months from the application deadline to the announcement of successful projects. Please bear this in mind when applying, for example in your activity timeline.

What can the budget be used for?

We fund social innovation projects, by which we mean a distinct intervention with a clearly defined beginning and end, and clearly defined objectives.

This means that the money you get for your project can be used for:

  • Any costs relating to the delivery of the project, for example, staff costs, direct costs (such as equipment, venue hire etc.)
  • Overheads, to cover the ongoing expenses relating to the project.

The money you get for your project cannot be used for:

  • Existing staff posts or organisational costs unless part of the cost of delivering the project.
  • Legal and/or statutory responsibilities, in particular those that you would be liable whether or not you delivered your project.

How likely is my project to receive funding?

We only have the resources to fund around 10% of applications. 

I would like to give feedback, report an issue or make a complaint about the Catalyst process. How do I do this?

If you would like to report an issue or make a complaint about the Catalyst process, please email [email protected] first, or use our complaints procedure if you remain dissatisfied.

Catalyst Awards

RSA Catalyst Awards offer social innovation grants and support to RSA Fellows

Contact the Catalyst team

Any questions? Call us on +44 (0)20 7451 6895