Frequently asked questions

I am a not-for-profit organisation but I am not a registered charity. Can I still apply to the Archives Testbed fund?

We advise applicants who are a not-for-profit but not a registered charity to talk to us in advance of their application to discuss the eligibility of their organisational governance and operating structure. Please email us at

What if the funded idea does not work?

The National Archives embraces experimentation and believes that failure can be a pathway to success. The development of new and innovative ideas are often interrupted by setbacks, but failure is a learning experience that provides increased knowledge and develops resilience to continue to drive towards improvement.

We do not expect that all funded ideas will deliver a positive result, since we are aware that a negative result can be useful. We also do not expect that all funded ideas will result in a clear output. However, we do expect that a learning outcome will result from the activity, whether the result is positive, negative, or when there is no tangible output. Archives will describe this learning outcome as part of the reporting process for the Archives Testbed Fund.

If, within a few weeks of starting to test the funded idea, the archive realises their idea will not work, then we encourage archives to get in touch with us to determine how to proceed. We would still expect a learning outcome report to be delivered to record the idea and result. It may also be that we can suggest a new approach if this seems appropriate.

Can I make more than one Archives Testbed application?

There is no limit to the number of Archives Testbed awards your organisation can receive. However, you can only be awarded one Archives Testbed grant at a time. You would need to have completed your project and completed the learning outcome form before applying for another Archives Testbed grant.

If I have an Archives Testbed grant, can I also apply for a Networks for Change grant or an Archives Revealed grant?

Yes – you can still apply to the Networks for Change programme or the Archives Revealed programme if you have made a successful or unsuccessful application for an Archives Testbed grant.

Can I get feedback on my application?

Yes, every applicant, whether they are successful or unsuccessful, can request application feedback.