Hack the arc ideas fund


PLEASE NOTE - HACK the ARC is now closed for applications. Many thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal. A summary of the five hacks to receive funding can be found below.

Conceived to encourage grassroots ideas to enhance connectivity within the ARC, with wider campus and external communities, the inaugural HACK the ARC ideas fund attracted an exciting range of proposals from right across the University.  The five ideas to receive funding represent a mix of themes, methods, audiences and delivery teams.

ARC Discovery Trails

Photo of the Advanced Research Centre, looking upwards towards the research floorsDavid Hughes, Knowledge Exchange Associate from the College of Science and Engineering, will pilot a series of self-guided trails around the ARC, encouraging residents and visitors to explore the building. The trails will feature stories about research, the building and vignettes inspired by the views and surroundings. Incentives will encourage participation while the use of QR codes will facilitate interaction while capturing engagement.

St Mungo’s Community Campus

Photo of some people dancing wearing colourful outfits in the University of Glasgow's St Mungo SquareZara Gladman, Public and Community Engagement Manager from Research Services and Kevin Leomo, Community and Engagement Manager for the College of Arts & Humanities, will co-lead a 6-month design process to explore civic engagement with the outdoor spaces around the ARC, in particular St Mungo Square. The project aims to build bridges between teams, disciplines, and the local community, to consult on the future of this exciting new space for engagement.

Curating collaborations on climate change

Museum exhibit containing bugs with a panel explaining the effects of climate changeJeanne Robinson, Curator of Entomology at the Hunterian will team up with Alice Sharp, Artistic Director of the Art and Climate organisation Invisible Dust to pilot a 3-month programme of workshops and networking for a Glasgow artist and ARC-based researchers. Using the Hunterian’s collections as a creative stimulus and climate change as an overarching theme, one ambition is to form a new cohort of interdisciplinary research champions, helping advance the ARC’s mission to cultivate and grow interdisciplinary research practice.

Find out more or get involved

The Hacker’s ARK

AI generated cartoon of people making things in an ARK shaped boatHessam Mehr, Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry, will promote the concepts of ‘tinkering and making’ to nurture creativity and connectedness amongst users of the ARC and visitors. The idea is to create a series of multi-purpose portable makers kits which can be deployed in different spaces throughout the building, with an aim to create an active, self-sustaining maker community representing diverse audiences, interests, and skillsets.

Find out more or get involved


Photo of scientist and musician Gill Higgins performing on a stageGill Higgins (Curlew), musician and postgraduate researcher in the School of Molecular Biosciences, will work with colleagues in the Colleges of Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities to develop and trial three musical performances each involving University performers and offering a window into different areas of research. A goal will be to evaluate the researcher and audience engagement with the series and explore its sustainability as a new research-led artistic addition to the ARC’s annual public programme.


Welcome to our new ideas fund to encourage creative interventions to make the Advanced Research Centre an even better place to work, visit and enjoy. Through this initiative we are keen to foster experimentation and encourage a positive hacking mindset to try out new approaches that enhance one, or both, of the following priority areas:

  • 'Spaces in Between' - ideas to amplify and enrich connections between individuals, research teams and disciplines in the ARC
  • 'Enhancing Porosity' - ideas that build bridges between the ARC and the wider University and/or external communities, particularly those currently under-represented.

Proposals can request funds of up to £2,500 and the call is open to postgraduate researchers and staff across the University of Glasgow. Proposals may be submitted by individuals or teams in which case we ask for a lead applicant to be nominated. 

Hacks may take place over a few days, weeks or even months. The precise timing and duration will depend on the nature of the ideas and the interventions being tested, however we anticipate delivery within the first half of 2024.  

Check out the full guidance notes at the link below. You may also find the recent Auditorium Blog helpful as a general background to the initiative. 

HACK the ARC Ideas Fund - Guidance Notes

Key Information

The funding call (application link at bottom of the page) is live from Thu 16 November 2023 to Mon 8 January 2024 with decisions communicated to lead applicants before the end of January 2024. Successful hacks should take place between February and July 2024 with any spend taking place by 31 July 2024. Each successful proposal will be assigned a hack buddy. This is someone from the HACK the ARC project team who will give support to hack teams throughout the delivery of their idea.

Proposals will be assessed against the details requested on the online application form. Specifically, a 25% weighting will be given to each of the criteria below:

  • Does the proposal satisfy the aim of the HACK the ARC initiative: Specifically, does it address one of the priority areas and reflect an experimental, data gathering approach? 
  • Does the proposal clearly identify the ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘what’ being addressed by the hack?
  • Does the proposal specify one or more outcomes and include a clear plan for data and learning collection to evidence them?
  • Does the proposal represent an activity that is realistic to deliver, given the budget and timescale for the initiative?

Please read the full guidance notes before submitting your application and ensure your proposal fits the ethos of the call. In particular, please note HACK the ARC's aspiration to be a collaborative and open initiative, with the requirement for funded hacks to share and make available key learning. We will support this with tangible mechanisms to enable openness and communication of hack outputs and outcomes.

At-a-Glance Checklist

The following is a convenient checklist to assess suitability for the call. We'll also ask you to confirm these at the start of the online application:

  • I/we are staff or postgraduate researchers based at the University of Glasgow
  • My/our proposal addresses one or both of the following priority areas:
    • Spaces in Between – ideas which amplify and enrich connections between individuals, research teams and disciplines in the ARC
    • Enhancing Porosity – ideas that build bridges between the ARC and the wider University and/or external communities, particularly those currently under-represented
  • My/our proposal is hallmarked by experimentation, testing a new idea, approach or intervention and embeds data collection to show evidence of change
  • I/we can dedicate the necessary time to complete the hack preferably within the first half of 2024 and provide a brief report of the outcomes
  • I/we agree to publicly sharing the hack and its outputs in the spirit of an open research project (support will be available to assist with this). 

What can I expect of the application form?

The online application form is at the link below. As you will need to complete this 'in one go' here are the fields you will be asked to complete:

Part 1 - Applicant details

Q.1a,b & c: Applicant name + email + additional team members

Q.2a: Priority Areas - Tick which apply ('Spaces in Between' AND/OR 'Porosity of the ARC')

Part 2 - Your idea

Q.2b-iWho? Describe the user group / target audience that your hack aims to engage [1,250 chars / ~200 words]

Q.2b-iiWhy? Describe the challenge or opportunity surrounding the ARC you think will benefit from the hack. This should form the motivation for your hack, not the activity itself, which you will describe in the next section [1,250 chars / ~200 words]

Q.2b-iii: What? Tell us about the 'nuts and bolts' of your activity and over what duration it will run. Please note we encourage hacks to be completed within the first half of 2024 and any spend must be completed by 31 July 2024 [2,500 char / ~400 words]

Q.2b-ivData and Outcomes? Outline what a successful outcome for your hack might look like and describe the data and/or learning you'll collect to evidence the degree to which your outcome has been achieved. This is where you might also think about how your hack can be mainstreamed, should it demonstrate a convincing positive change [2,500 char / ~400 words]

Part 3 - Your budget request

Q.3: Outline your requested budget and summarise how the funds will be used. Eligible costs up to £2.5k include: consumables and other miscellaneous expenses; small equipment; printing and graphics; data analysis and evaluation; remunerating public/community participation; catering where directly connected with hack outcomes. 

Any questions or difficulties accessing the form or guidance notes should be directed to the ARC Engage team (please mark your email subject 'HACK the ARC').