UNIC Seed Fund

Supporting Collaborative Engaged Research Project Development

Open Call

This UNIC Seed Fund Initiative aims to support collaborative "Engaged Research" initiatives across our partner universities, sparking new ideas for tackling societal challenges in post-industrial cities.

On this page, you can learn about what Engaged Research means, what qualifies for seed funding, and how to apply. Timelines, application forms, and the fine print are all below. You can find additional information in downloadable PDFs. If you have further questions regarding the call, please reach out to UNIC coordinator(s) in your host institution.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101035801.

What is UNIC?

The European University of Post-Industrial cities (UNIC) is an alliance of ten universities impacting education, research, and community engagement to develop post-industrial cities. The UNIC Alliance is located in transitory economies and places that constitute a shared socio-economic environment of post-industrial transformations. Our universities are expected to play a key role in the transition of their cities to become centres of knowledge concerning transformations by engaging with research into the very processes and learning on resilience, adaptation, co-creation, etc.

UNIC researchers tackle societal challenges by involving and engaging citizens, civil society, public/city authorities, and private businesses in research and innovation activities. Engaged Research offers an interdisciplinary approach and method for systematic knowledge production not only for society but also together with society.

The Seed Fund Mechanism

In order to increase the amount of collaborative engaged research initiatives within the UNIC consortium and provide support to researchers to coordinate those initiatives, seed funds are allocated to the members of the Alliance.

Collaborative UNIC engaged research initiatives relates to the societal challenges of post-industrial cities in transition. Initiatives are recommended to touch upon a challenge defined by our UNIC Cities. These challenges are related to e.g., Diversity & Inclusion, Green Cities & Sustainability, Urban Resilience & Transformation, Health & Well-being, Aging Population, Digital Transition through engaged research and aims to co-create knowledge through engaged research.

Call for Collaborative

“UNIC Seed Fund” offers small-scale support for engaged research project proposal development across all disciplines within the UNIC consortium and beyond. This can be a Horizon Europe, JPI Urban Europe, AMIF, Digital Europe, Interreg, or similar national or international project proposal based on or inspired by our UNIC Cities’ challenges and opportunities collected in the Local Engaged Research Roadmaps (file provided at the end of the page).

The seed fund program is open to all UNIC faculty and research faculty members (professors (of all levels), postdoctoral researchers).


  • Call opens: 5 May 2023
  • Deadline for Submission of a Letter of Interest: May 31, 2023 (23:59 local time)
  • Project Proposal Submission Deadline: July 28, 2023 (23:59 local time)

  • Depending on local holiday times, the deadlines might vary slightly. Please ask your UNIC Engaged Research Officer.

    → One of the aims of this fund is to enhance inclusivity and diversity within the UNIC consortium. Accordingly, a particular share of the fund is explicitly allocated to "non-traditional scholars" including junior researchers, first-generation academics, scholars with a migrant background, etc. Therefore, they are strongly encouraged to apply.

    → For information about non-financial support mechanisms like project proposal consortium building, mentoring, trainings, and workshops provided under UNIC, please contact your local UNIC Engaged Research Officer and Research Support Offices.

    How to Apply

    We recommend first contacting the UNIC coordinator in your host institution for local guidance. In general, the following documents should be submitted as a single PDF file:

  • Expression of Interest (template is provided in Appendix 1) before May 31, 2023.
  • Project Development Proposal (template in Appendix 2) before July 28, 2023
  • Budget Table (template in Appendix 3) before July 28, 2023.
  • CVs of the PIs: 2 pages per person plus selected project/publication list (max. 15 most important titles) before July 28, 2023.
  • Applications will be evaluated and accepted on a rolling basis.

  • → UNIC offers local guidance for applications from specific alliance universities. Please follow the pages below if you are based in these institutions:

  • University of Liège: email a.mazzola@uliege.be
  • University of Oulu: email sari.hirvonen-kantola@oulu.fi (only for Horizon Europe and Digital Europe proposal coordination costs; UNIC Seed Funds at UOULU)
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam: See here. Email unic4er@eur.nl
  • Koç University: email unic@ku.edu.tr
  • University of Zagreb: See here. Email koraljka.modic.stanke@pravo.hr, marko.juric@pravo.hr and mrajter@unizg.hr
  • University of Deusto: email unic4er.seedfund@deusto.es
  • Ruhr University Bochum: email unic@rub.de - only travel costs support possible; more information: UNIC Seed Funds (ruhr-uni-bochum.de)

  • Download Call Documents

    Application packages should be submitted to your institution's UNIC Engaged Research Officer. Download the call documents as a ZIP file below.

    UNIC has established a UNIC Ethics Committee to uphold the ethics principles set out on the UNIC projects.

    All personal data collected by partners through UNIC4ER initiatives will be treated in full compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).