Open Call for Projects


We are not currently running the Open Call, but the Institute's Research Software Healthcheck is a similar lightweight service you may wish to consider.

Do you have an idea for software that would help your work, but need help in developing it?

The Open Call is a free service that helps researchers to improve their software and development practices, and to build a community of users and contributors. Researchers can submit proposals for joint software consultancy projects with the Institute, from any discipline.

We will publish the date of the next Open Call as soon as it is available.

How we can help

Our experts can assess your existing software and give advice on how to improve it and make it more sustainable.

They can also advise you on how to develop and use software specific to your area of expertise, how you can use infrastructure to develop or host your code, and how to create a community of users and developers.

Projects generally last between two and six months. Our staff will work alongside your research group and help you to enhance your own software skills and practices, as well as the long-term sustainability of your software.

Who do we work with?

We have worked on over 50 projects since 2010, across disciplines from archaeology to nuclear fusion, and on projects from all funding agencies. We work with both software experts and beginners, with mature projects and ones that are just starting out.

How to apply for the Open Call

Applications are straightforward, through our quick online application form. We also ask that you fill in our Online Sustainability Evaluation questionnaire and include a brief summary of the results in your application. This helps us to understand any broader sustainability issues you may be facing with your software.

If you have any questions about this process before completing the forms, please feel free to contact the Institute’s research software lead, Steve Crouch, using our contact email address:

The assessment process

The next deadline for Open Call applications will be published here as soon as it is available. We review all proposals within a month of the deadline. Further information will then be requested from potential projects.

Proposals are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • How compelling are the desired benefits of the project on UK research (what level of impact will be made on the UK research community)?
  • Will there be an increase in the user or developer community – or the quality of interaction with the community?
  • Does the project show commitment to the proposed work, and is it clear that effort can be assigned to the work?
  • Has a brief summary of results from the Institute's Online Sustainability Evaluation questionnaire been included in the application?
  •  How well aligned is the project with the Institute's goals?
  • Has the project reviewed the assessment deadlines and committed to provide information at appropriate times?
  • Is the project novel?

The ideal project is a collaboration between your research group and the Institute, and sees the transfer of best practices and the development of new capabilities within your group. The long-term sustainability of both software products and team capabilities will also be a key criteria in our assessment.

Further information

If you have any questions about this process, or if you want to discuss any ideas that don’t fit within the scope of the Open Call, please do get in touch at




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