International agreements


Lead agency opportunity with the NSF

Through UKRI we work in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, to encourage and support proposals that involve international collaborative teams. We now have in place a lead agency opportunity between:

  • EPSRC’s engineering, ICT and manufacturing the future themes and the NSF Directorate of Engineering (ENG), Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET), Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) and the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS).
  • EPSRC’s mathematical sciences theme and the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS).

Applying for funding

To apply for funding under the EPSRC-NSF lead agency opportunity, you must submit a single joint proposal to EPSRC from eligible applicants in both countries. EPSRC processes applications following its standard procedure.

NSF-nominated experts may be involved in the peer review process, considered on a case-by-case basis by EPSRC and NSF.

Funding decisions are made by the appropriate EPSRC theme lead in consultation with NSF, following the recommendation of the EPSRC panel.

Expression of interest

Before making a funding application, you must submit an expression of interest at least 60 days before. This is to ensure that you meet your funding organisations’ eligibility requirements. Include in the expression of interest a short summary of the proposed research and its objectives, together with indicative costs for both the EPSRC and NSF components. We will contact NSF to ensure that the US component meets their eligibility requirements. This is a two-way opportunity, only one expression of interest should be submitted, to either EPSRC or NSF, depending on where the largest proportion of the research lies.

Submit an expression of interest.

Wait to hear from EPSRC before submitting the joint proposal through the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

Joint proposal format

  • Except where indicated otherwise, joint applications should follow standard EPSRC format. Additional pages are not permitted.
  • The title of all applications submitted through Je-S should begin ‘CBET-EPSRC’, ‘CMMI-EPSRC’, ‘ECCS-EPSRC’ or ‘DMS-EPSRC’. Include the scientific case for the US components of the project in the case for support.US collaborating research organisations should be added as project partners to the Je-S form, and the funding totals by US research organisations should be included as project partner contributions.
  • The justification of resources attachment should include a clear summary and justification of the US costs sought from NSF, as well as the funding sought from EPSRC.
  • A detailed breakdown of the funding requested from NSF should be submitted to EPSRC through Je-S as a document under ‘other attachment’. This document will be shared with NSF to verify the eligibility of the costs requested.

Reviewers’ comments and the principal investigator response to reviews will be shared with NSF once the funding decision has been made.
Guidance for submissions

You will find more details about the submissions process in the guidance for applicants or on the NSF website.

Last updated: 19 April 2022

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