Added on 7 August 2019

The UK National Archives is making available funding focused on empowering archives to use creativity and innovation in developing ideas and solutions, and on encouraging the work of networks, leading to outcomes that will make a real difference to archives in the UK.

The Collaborate and Innovate funding programme consists of two schemes: the Archive Testbed fund and the Networks for Change fund. Both schemes support a drive towards innovative practice, the development of new ideas, and collaborative approaches to problem solving.

Archive Testbed Fund

The Archive Testbed Fund provides micro grants of up to £5,000 to archives who want to test, explore, pilot or evolve an innovative new idea that may lead to positive change and improvement for the individual archive and the wider sector.

Networks for Change Fund

The Networks for Change Fund provides grants of up to £15,000. Grants will be awarded to groups of archives wanting to:

  • develop a new archives network or partnership
  • strengthen an existing network or partnership in order to develop into robust and sustainable bodies able to collaborate effectively and deliver shared interest projects
  • undertake a development project within an existing network, leading to positive change for the archives, the network and the wider archive sector.

Aims of Collaborate and Innovate

  1. To empower archives to use creativity and innovation to develop ideas and solutions, especially for the key themes of digital capacity, impact and resilience
  2. To enable grantees to undertake pilot projects which might not ‘succeed’ in the traditional fashion and to share the learning outcomes of all projects funded
  3. To increase resilience, efficiencies and collaboration through the development of strong archive service networks
  4. To help archives build fundraising skills and confidence through the application process.
  5. To manage the fund in an objective and transparent manner.

Outcomes of Colloborate and Innovate

  1. Innovative, creative approaches will be piloted and tested.
  2. The learning outcomes of pilot projects will be made freely accessible to the entire archive sector.
  3. New networks will be created where they are most needed and beneficial to the sector.
  4. Existing networks will be strengthened, developing robust and sustainable bodies capable of delivering shared interest projects.
  5. Archivists and sector professionals will have the confidence to advocate for innovative projects and secure new funding to further support such projects.


Please see FAQs for answers to the most popular questions about the Collaborate and Innovate programme.

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