Assessment criteria

Concept notes will be assessed according to their relevance to the call, the quality of the submission and the selection criteria.


Concept Note submissions to the IOP Challenge Fund must be all of the following:

  • innovative and demonstrate potential for sustained national impact;
  • supported by credible evidence;
  • responsive to the aims and ambitions set out in ‘Unlocking the Future’ in new ways or at a scale not currently supported by existing funding streams; and
  • accessible, inclusive and seek to increase participation from under-represented groups.

The IOP will determine the strength of each submission according to the areas above and decide if the proposal will progress to the next stage. Details of individual assessment stages will not be shared with applicants and feedback cannot be provided, however below are specific details on the assessment for each of the stages.

Assessment criteria for concept notes

The purpose of the Concept Note is to provide an outline of your idea and for the IOP to assess whether it supports the aims of our strategy.

Criteria for assessing the Concept Note considers:

Eligibility of delivery partners

Rationale: this is to determine that the lead organisation and any delivery partners are located within a country that does not contravene UK sanctions.

Relevance: does the proposal tackle an ambition or challenge which aligns with those set out by the IOP within the Call to Bid?

Rationale: the objective of the Concept Note should be clearly identifiable against the IOP’s three challenges, six aspirations and/or the priorities identified in the Call to Bid.

Does the proposal identify a feasible and/or achievable approach?

Rationale: At the Concept Note stage, the approach outlined will be assessed to ensure that the level of funding requested, the activity plan and other resources required are realistic and proportioned.

Assessment criteria for full applications

Assessors are looking to determine that your proposal aligns with the priorities of the IOP, as outlined in the Call for Bids.

Proposals should set out clear and achievable objectives which will result in innovative, meaningful, and sustained impact.

Proposals which have potential for wider societal impact that demonstrates sustainability in the longer term are highly desirable.

When assessing the quality of your application, assessors are looking to determine:

  • That the methodology proposed is appropriate and proportionate.
  • That work packages are well planned and considered.
  • That sufficient consideration has been made of the resources required.
  • That risk has been considered and mitigated against.
  • That the project team has the required skills and expertise.

Finally, applications with a strong consideration for equality, diversity and inclusivity will be prioritised.  

If you have further questions, please view the FAQs or contact the Challenge Fund team.