Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Seed Fund

TUM and Imperial College London have decided to join forces in the strategic topic of Zero Pollution, and to set up a joint Zero Pollution Network including a dedicated seed fund to initiate new collaborative projects. The Zero Pollution Seed Fund is meant to accelerate the most innovative ideas and technologies that offer ‘disruptive impact.’ The seed fund is meant to be a stepping stone to future, more comprehensive collaborative projects, e.g. by involving additional stakeholders in the London and Munich ecosystems, or by leading to new science and to future applications for external funding.

Currently, it is not possible to submit applications for the Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Seed Fund.

Objective       ǀ

Eligible costs        ǀ


What is the objective of the Zero Pollution Seed Fund?

The call is open to any Imperial-TUM research project that falls under the thematic area of Zero Pollution. The theme of Zero Pollution means moving us away from pollution in all its forms (including, but not limited to, carbon) and toward a sustainable zero-pollution future. The Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Seed Fund encourages cross-disciplinary projects from across our two institutions, including fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking. Projects might focus on, but are not limited to, urban ecosystems, sustainable resources and zero waste, zero pollution mobility, or sustainable energy and materials. We also want to work with key stakeholders to make sure that our research is translated into effective policy and solutions for industry and benefits across society.

What can the Zero Pollution Seed Fund be used for? 

A total of £50,000 is available for Imperial and TUM researchers, with equal funding from both institutions. Funding can be applied for to support, for example, one or more of the following activities:

  • Outward and Inward visits for Research Staff, Students and Project Partners to investigate the potential for, initiate, follow-up, or work on a collaborative project or training opportunity, and for other stakeholder engagement
  • Student support costs, e.g. student assistant costs at TUM/ student bursaries at Imperial 
  • Research Sandpits, Hackathons, Virtual Workshops or other collaborative day or week-long networking events involving staff and students from both institutions to foster new links or strengthen existing collaborations
  • Professional services fees including facilitation fees for online workshops, or other expenses associated with developing virtual engagement and programmes
  • Exploratory research, travel costs and other activities that often do not receive financial support at the earliest stages
  • Funds can also be used to support small-scale experiments or the development of prototypes
  • Set up of new networks to promote the exchange of ideas, best practice, and other research goals 

What kind of costs are eligible for funding?

Budget requests are not expected to exceed a total of £ 8,000 (equivalent to roughly € 9,000 per project. The resources of the Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Seed Fund may only be spent on activities that meet the purpose of this call. Applicants are asked to itemise their budget using the tables in the application form and to include further descriptions and rationales as necessary. 

Cost Imperial 
eligible / not eligible 
eligible / not eligible 
Student support costs 
(e.g student assistant costs at TUM / student bursaries at Imperial)
eligible  eligible (except PhD students)
Project related consumables eligible eligible
Travel and subsistence 
(maximum 20% of the budget)
eligible eligible
Project related equipment eligible eligible
Professional services fees  eligible eligible
Indirect and estate costs not eligible not eligible
Salary costs (staff) not eligible not eligible


If unsure whether your request fits into this category, include a justification in your financial summary component of the application, so this request can be considered with respect to its relevance to the project. If there are other costs not listed above, please include these in the ‘Other’ section of the application and provide an explanation for them. 

Who can apply for the Zero Pollution Seed Fund?

At TUM, only professors are eligible to apply. At Imperial, only permanent members of academic staff are eligible to apply. 

How will the proposals be selected?

All eligible applications will be considered for funding by a TUM-Imperial review group, chaired by TUM’s Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation and Imperial’s Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise).  

Proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria: 

  • Goals and feasibility of the project
  • Complementarity of the research partners/team and how this benefits the project
  • Engagement of/added value for students and young researchers
  • Sustainability of proposed activities, action points for extension of cooperation, potential identification of follow-up funding
  • Interdisciplinary aspects of proposed project/activity
  • Potential strategic value of the partnership (including potential to further TUM-Imperial strategic collaborations and potential to leverage European or other external funding)
  • Impact the award would bring to the applicants, based on their career stage and any existing networks or support.