Expanding Excellence in England (E3) Fund

The Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund is designed to build the capacity and quality of research in departments and units within English universities where excellence exists at a small scale.


Submissions to the E3 fund have now closed. The outcomes of this funding call are expected in Spring 2019.



The Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund aims to support the strategic expansion of excellent research units and departments in HEIs across England. In order to expand excellence, E3 focusses only on units and departments where there is demonstrable research excellence already, and limited scale of activity.

This is a competitive scheme and £75m is available through the fund to be distributed between the successful unit/department(s) over three years (AY 19/20, 20/21 and 21/22). Awards will be for the three year period, allowing successful bidders time to scale up activity and build quality. Funding will be primarily resource in nature, although bids that make the case for capital funding as part of the proposal will be considered.

Aims of the fund

  • Strengthen the contribution of English HEIs to our society, pushing the frontiers of human  knowledge, delivering economic impact and creating social impact by supporting our society and others to become enriched, healthier, more resilient and sustainable;
  • Build the capacity and quality of research in departments and units within English universities where excellence exists but at a small scale with potential for growth;
  • Contribute towards the delivery of government strategy, including the Industrial Strategy, the GCRF strategy and local priorities by supporting sustained improvements in research capacity across England while maintaining the principle of funding excellence wherever it is found;
  • Enhance the skills base and build talent in areas of research excellence where there is untapped potential;
  • Stimulate strategic partnerships between HEIs and other organisations outside of Higher Education.


The Expanding Excellence Team

How to apply

The call for the Expression of Interest of the 2019-22 (1st) Round of the fund has now closed. Only those institutions who were shortlisted to apply at full bid stage are now eligible for the 2019-22 funding round.

Shortlisted institutions should send their full bid submissions by email only, to the Expanding Excellence Team by noon on 21 January 2018.

Shortlisted institutions will have received this guidance document along with further particulars as outlined in this publication. If you were shortlisted for the final bid but do not believe you have received the necessary documents as outlined in this publication to progress your application please contact the Expanding Excellence Team.

At any point, shortlisted institutions may ask about the criteria, and the feedback on their EOI form the expert panel, but no feedback can be given on the relative strength of their full bid. The panel will take an independent decision on the quality of the bids as outlined in this document.

E3 Panel

Professor Sir Ian Diamond (Chair)

Professor Sir Ian Diamond (Chair) is Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen until July 2018 and current chair of Plan International. Sir Ian was previously Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council and Chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group. Sir Ian has chaired a number of important higher education committees including Universities UK’s Research Policy Network, Universities Scotland’s International Committee, Funding Policy Group and Efficiencies Task Force.

Professor Siladatya Bhattacharya

Professor Siladatya Bhattacharya is the new Head of the School of Medicine at Cardiff University. Prof Bhattacharya serves on several national and international committees relating to reproductive medicine.

Professor Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown is Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art in London and was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Brighton. He currently chairs a panel in the Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise 2020 [arts] and before this was chair of Main Panel D in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014. His work for other organisations has included being chair of the Portuguese Government’s Fundação para a Ciência ea Tecnologia Research Grants Panel [arts], membership of a panel convened by the Austrian Science Board to make recommendations on the developments of arts universities in Austria and membership of an OECD review on national provision in arts and culture higher education in Portugal. He is an editor of Design Issues Research Journal published by the MIT Press.

Professor Roger Goodman

Professor Roger Goodman is Chair of the Council of the Academy of Social Sciences and Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies and Warden of St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford where he was previously Head of the Social Sciences Division. As a social anthropologist, Prof Goodman’s research over the past thirty years has been mainly on Japanese education and social policy.

Professor Karen M Holford CBE FREng

Professor Karen M Holford CBE FREng is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University and previously Pro Vice-Chancellor for Physical Sciences and Engineering. Prof Holford’s engineering career spans industry and academia. Karen is a member of STFC council and of EPSRC SAN.  She was a panel member for the recent “Reid Review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales”.

Professor Lin Foxhall

Professor Lin Foxhall is Rathbone Chair of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology and Dean, School of Histories, Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on material culture, landscapes, agriculture and gender in the classical world.

Professor Frank Kelly

Professor Frank Kelly is Professor of the Mathematics of Systems at the Statistical Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Prof Kelly’s main research interests are in random processes, networks and optimization.

Professor David Maguire

Professor David Maguire is Vice-Chancellor at the University of Greenwich. Prior to this he was PVC Research at Birmingham City University and Chief Scientist at Environmental Systems Research Institute. He originally trained as a Biologist and Geographer, and has spent most of his career working on computer mapping and geographic information systems. He was a member of the Stern REF Advisory Board. Currently he is Chair of Jisc and the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site. He is a UUK Board member and co-leads research policy for the University Alliance.

Professor Mona Siddiqui

Professor Mona Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, and Dean international for the Middle East at the University of Edinburgh. Prof Siddique’s research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and Christian-Muslim relations.

In establishing the panel we have sought a diverse membership, aiming to retain balance across a broad spectrum of discipline areas, who will provide established and insightful experience of HE research. To ensure independence the majority of members are from outside of the English HE sector and from institutions in receipt of sizeable QR funding (and therefore unlikely to be E3 applicants). In constructing an effectively sized panel with the Chair, we have made efforts to appoint a diverse and independent panel but we cannot cover all disciplines and backgrounds.

To support the panel with their decision making we will be seeking the input of our colleagues in the research councils and peer review colleges.