The Keele Key Fund

The Keele Key Fund provides student opportunities, funded by alumni and other friends of the University, that support, maintain and enhance the Keele experience, both now and in the future.

Applications for 2023 have now closed.

The Keele Key Fund brings together the goodwill and generosity of Keele alumni to financially benefit the university and its students. It invests annually in creative, innovative and extraordinary projects that have a positive impact on the student community.

Thanks to the generosity of donations to the Keele Key Fund, in excess of £345,000 has supported over 98 innovative projects that have made an immediate impact on the student and staff experience at Keele.

The Keele Key Fund disbursement is open to all academics, Professional Services staff and students to bid for a share of the fund to support innovative projects that have a positive impact on the student community, teaching, and our campus.

Candidates must fill in the application form and provide proof of the approval from the person in charge of your budget, and the Director of Estates if your project will impact the University's estate.

As a general guide, most previous successful applications have been in the range of £500 - £2,500. However, if you have an exceptional project, other amounts will be considered.

Applications to support a larger project will be considered, provided that it’s clear which aspects of the project the Keele Key Fund will contribute to, and that you clearly explain the impact of not receiving the funding.

 Applications are then considered by a panel comprising the following representatives:

  • Chair (Vice Chancellor)
  • Staff representative
  • Advancement Team representative
  • Supporter representative (donor)
  • SU representative
  • KPA representative
  • AU representative

Please see information about this year's timeline for applications below.

All successful applicants will be asked to provide a thank you message to our donors and a full report of their completed project. Recipients of funding will also be invited to our next Philanthropy Day to talk to donors about their projects.

To be considered for funding, your project must clearly demonstrate that it:

  • Cannot be funded in any other way
  • Is new and/or innovative and may provide the basis for future activity
  • Supports the University’s strategic priorities
  • Is student-led (if not an application from Academic and Professional services)
  • Is not a core Directorate, School, Faculty or University requirement
  • Has a positive impact on charitable giving from Keele alumni and friends, and promotes a positive view of the University as a charity
  • Offers a unique opportunity to enhance the campus, teaching, or students' and staff academic activities, and enriches the student experience
  • Is of benefit to the student community (including extra-curricular, academic and pastoral activities)
  • Has a staff advocate (if student-led)
  • Has the support of the person responsible for the budget for your area (and Head of Estates for any bids that impact on the University's estate)

If you have an idea but are not sure whether it fits the criteria, please give us a call and we will be happy to help!

  • This money has been charitably donated to the University by alumni and supporters, therefore all projects funded must reflect the spirit of this generosity and the ethos of the University
  • Funding cannot be used to support research trips, cover travel expenses, catering or alcohol
  • Only one application will be funded per individual
  • Except in exceptional circumstances, it is not possible to fund the same project in consecutive years
  • We reserve the right to consider the likely expectations of charitable donors about the use of their donation and will not fund projects that could negatively impact on our future fundraising. We would not, for example, usually fund proselytising activities (i.e those which attempt to convert someone from one belief or opinion to another).
  • Funding cannot be used with the sole aim of directly supporting another charitable cause
  • If a project was unsuccessful in receiving funding, we are not able to accept subsequent applications for the same project

Student-led project applications must provide proof of approval from a Staff Advocate.

Who is my staff advocate?

  • Every application must have the support of a member of staff at the University, regardless of the amount requested
  • SU-affiliated groups – please list your advocate as a member of SU staff
  • Athletic Union / Sports affiliated groups – please list your advocate as a member of AU / Sports staff
  • Non-affiliated groups or individuals – please discuss your application with a member of staff who is either linked to you or your project. For example, this could be your academic mentor, your research group lead, staff from Careers & Employability or the Chaplaincy, etc. They must be known to you and must be prepared to endorse your project!

As a staff advocate you will:

  • Be able to provide a supporting statement only if the application is for more than £2,000
  • Be a University budget holder and signatory
  • Hold any successful grants in your budget element 2 code
  • Oversee and authorise expenditure
  • Provide your Finance Scheme code once funding has been allocated. The funds will be made available to you in a distribution account under your local Scheme code - any unspent funds will be removed automatically at the end of the financial year.
  • Be responsible for ensuring the project meets University health and safety requirements and risk regulations, and University financial regulations

You will receive an email notifying you of the outcome after the panel meeting.

If you’re notified that your application for funding is successful, you will need to supply the Advancement Office with the relevant details for the payment arrangements (e.g. providing a University finance code for the payment of the grant).

Please note that grants not spent within six months of being made will no longer be available unless a prior arrangement has been made.

All successful applicants will be asked to provide a thank you message to our donors and a full report of their project. Recipients of funding will also be invited to our next Philanthropy Day to talk to donors about their projects.

We're happy to help...

For advice and support with your application, please contact the Advancement Team who will be happy to help. Get in touch at or 01782 732978. 

We are also running drop-in sessions throughout the application window to help with applications and answer any questions, please see key dates at the top of this page.