SHAPE Catalyst Application Webinar Recording

Rewatch our application webinar from 27 June 2023 to find out how to apply to the SHAPE Catalyst and catch up on important details from the Q&A

Watch our webinar recording to learn more about how to apply to the new ESRC/AHRC SHAPE Catalyst delivered by the ARC Accelerator and what we are looking for.

The programme runs from 2023-2026 and is open to UK researchers from the social sciences, arts and humanities. It will support researchers within these disciplines to bring scalable and new products, processes, experiences and services to market.

Take a closer look at our slide deck from the application webinar here:

Key details from the Q&A

Are the Discover and Launch stages the same as the ‘SHAPE Pre-Accelerator’ programme that some universities have already organised?
Our new programme replaces the SHAPE Pre-Accelerator and ARC Accelerator versions that were only open to some universities. The new ARC Pathway provides a slightly changed, more coherent curriculum and open to eligible researchers from all UK research organisations.

Does the SHAPE Catalyst cover more business school type research, which can be very social sciences-based?
Yes, social science-based ideas from business schools are in scope. We know that the lines are sometimes fuzzy, so please do get in touch if you are unsure whether your idea is in scope!

I’m part of a team, can they attend?
We positively encourage teams, although we ask for one of them to be the lead person for point of contact. Some sessions are for the lead researcher only in order to keep class size to a minimum. However, we are happy for the rest of the team to attend all other sessions.

How does the time commitment during the ARC Accelerate stage correspond to the funding?
As we are asking for a minimum of 3 days per week commitment during ARC Accelerate, we expect the majority of the budget will go on salary costs for one or more people. Individuals and teams are both welcomed, and we are happy to discuss options for part time working or other issues.

Can the time commitment during ARC Accelerate be shared as a team? 
Yes, the required time commitment can be shared as a team. Please provide a justification and/or outline your reasoning for the split as part of your application.

What is the value of the Award during the ARC Accelerate stage?
Successful applicants will receive up to £62,500, with circa 80% fEC provided by ESRC, in line with its standard funding rules, to fund commercialisation activities.

What can the funding offered during the ARC Accelerate stage be used for?
Funding must be used for commercialisation activities, not further research. As well as salary costs to engage with the programme, this might include budget for market research or to develop a user interface for a product, for example.

Are you able to say how many places will be available as part of this funding scheme during the ARC Accelerate stage?
Between 2023-2026, we have a total of 75 places available for the funded ARC Accelerate stage. There is no fixed amount of places per cohort, so we are to some degree flexible with regards to the specific intake size per year.

Will we be able to engage with the ARC Accelerate stage if the idea is there but the product is not ready yet and maybe won’t be for a couple of years?
Yes, as long as you have a basic idea (i.e. certain hypotheses) or specific parts of your final product that you can test during the market validation process. We know that a lot of ideas require quite a large sum of funding to be realised and we don’t expect you to have a finished product in order to join.

Will there be any additional guidance for Technology Transfer Officers (TTOs)/Professional & Support Staff (PSS)?
Please visit the new Resources webpage to access our TTO/PSS handbook and further resources for academics and Professional & Support Staff.

If you have any other questions about the programme, please reach out via