New Investigator Award - EPSRC

Contents

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility

How will EPSRC make decisions on eligibility of the applicant?

Acceptance of the applicant to the scheme will be judged by EPSRC before the application is sent to expert peer review and is made on the basis of the content of the cover letter.

In addition to our standard eligibility checks, EPSRC will use the eligibility guidance to establish whether an applicant is eligible, based on the information in their covering letter. If eligibility is not clear from the contents of the covering letter, or we believe that the applicant is not eligible, we will reject the application.

We expect research offices to advise applicants on eligibility. If multiple ineligible applications are received from a single institution, EPSRC may seek to engage with the university before additional applications are made.

How will EPSRC determine fit of the project resources to the scheme?

Acceptance of the project to the scheme will be judged by EPSRC before the application is sent to expert peer review and is judged on the level of resources requested in the application.

EPSRC staff will use the eligibility guidance to establish the fit of a project to the scheme. If it is decided the project does not fit within the scheme, we will ask the applicant to withdraw the proposal and resubmit as a standard mode proposal.

We expect research offices to advise applicants on eligibility. If multiple ineligible applications are received from a single institution, EPSRC may seek to engage with the university before additional applications are made.

I am on a fixed-term appointment, am I eligible to apply for a New Investigator Award?

Yes, provided the eligibility criteria are met and you are recognised as a full academic by your institution – see EPSRC eligibility of investigators. We would expect this recognition to form part of the host institution letter of support. The grant duration must not exceed the period of your appointment with the university.

I have been employed by more than one UK university. Am I eligible to apply for a New Investigator Award?

Yes, assuming all other eligibility criteria are met.

I have been a co-investigator on a previous proposal. Can I apply for a New Investigator Award?

Yes, if this is your first proposal as a principal investigator.

Am I eligible if I have applied as a principal investigator on a component of a joint proposal?

No, that grant will count as your first application to EPSRC and you would therefore be ineligible to apply for a New Investigator Award. However, if you were a co-investigator on a single, multi-institution proposal you would still be eligible.

I have submitted an EPSRC grant proposal through an outline stage but was unsuccessful, am I still eligible to apply for a New Investigator Award?

Yes, if you were not invited to submit a full proposal you are still eligible for a New Investigator Award. If your outline was successful and you submitted a full proposal that will count as your first application to EPSRC as a principal investigator and you are not eligible for a New Investigator Award.

I previously submitted a proposal to the First Grant scheme but was unsuccessful, am I still eligible to apply for a New Investigator Award?

If your application to the First Grant scheme was rejected and you were not provided with specific permission to reapply, you are not eligible for the New Investigator Award.

I previously submitted a proposal for a New Investigator Award but was unsuccessful, can I reapply?

The New Investigator Award scheme can only be applied to once, whether previous applications were successful or not, but specific applicants may be invited to resubmit an application by the prioritisation panel.

I currently hold a research fellowship. Am I eligible for the New Investigator Award scheme?

Current holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to hold EPSRC research grants. These fellowships include:

  • EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship
  • Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship.

They are also likely to include:

  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship
  • Ser Cymru Fellowship
  • Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship.

If you hold an early career fellowship and your university gives you the same stature as a permanent academic member of staff.  These fellowships include the:

  • EPSRC Early Career Fellowship
  • Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship
  • RAEng Research Fellowship
  • RAEng Industrial Fellowship
  • Royal Society University Research Fellowship
  • Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship.

I have received grant funding from other sources, am I eligible to apply?

This scheme is designed for early career academics in the process of setting up their first research group. As such EPSRC will not permit applications from those who have previously been in receipt of significant grants – usually defined as those which included postdoctoral research assistant time, capital equipment or were in excess of £100,000.

I have previously worked overseas, where I received research grant funding from local sources, am I eligible to apply?

The eligibility guidance is the same for applicants with non-UK based career history.

I have been in receipt of funding from industry, am I eligible to apply?

EPSRC welcomes applications from those who have previously worked in industry and are making a transition to academia. The same eligibility guidance around previous career history will apply.

Which other grants can I hold and still apply for a New Investigator Award?

EPSRC recognises that there are schemes, with a purpose other than funding research in itself, which it may be beneficial to apply to prior to applying for a New Investigator Award.

If you hold or have held any of the following and meet the other eligibility criteria, you may apply for a New Investigator Award:

  • Industrial CASE Studentship
  • Overseas Travel Grant
  • Basic Tech Grant
  • Early Career Researcher Capital Block Grant
  • EPSRC Studentship through doctoral training partnership or Centre for Doctoral Training
  • Workshop Grant
  • Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (CASE) for New Academic
  • New Horizons.

From time to time EPSRC may run calls for grants which will not affect New Investigator Award eligibility. Where this is the case it will be listed within the call guidance.

Can I apply for another grant after submitting my New Investigator Award application?

Yes, you could submit the New Investigator Award application and then submit the different project grant shortly afterwards.

PhD studentships

Is it possible to fund a PhD studentship on a New Investigator Award?

No, we do not support PhD students on New Investigator Awards.

Is it possible to use other sources of funding to support a student alongside a New Investigator Award?

It is expected that part of the developmental aspect of a New Investigator Award will involve support from the university and, where possible, an assigned student. This may be drawn from the doctoral training partnership (DTP) or Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

If a studentship is aligned in this way, it should be clear in the case for support and workplan how the work of the student will both contribute to the project and ensure successful completion of the students PhD.

Universities should pay particular attention to ensure that the new investigator is properly supported and mentored through their supervision of the student, and that adequate attention is paid to the training of both the student and the investigator. We would expect this to form part of the university support letter.

Investigators cannot request DTP or CDT students’ fees or stipend on a New Investigator Award, but a DTP or CDT student may work alongside them on the proposed research project.

Where costs are project specific but involve the student – for example, consumables for completion of the project, travel costs to project-specific meetings – these may be claimed where they would not form part of that which should be provided by the student’s training grant.

Is it possible to use externally funded students on a New Investigator Award?

Externally funded students may work on a New Investigator Award in the same way as a student drawn from the doctoral training partnership (DTP) or Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

If a studentship is aligned in this way, it should be clear in the case for support and workplan how the work of the student will both contribute to the project and ensure successful completion of the students PhD.

Universities should pay particular attention to ensure that the new investigator is properly supported and mentored through their supervision of the student, and that adequate attention is paid to the training of both the student and the investigator. We would expect this to form part of the university support letter.

Investigators cannot request DTP or CDT students’ fees or stipend on a New Investigator Award, but a DTP or CDT student may work alongside them on the proposed research project.

Where costs are project specific but involve the student – for example, consumables for completion of the project, travel costs to project-specific meetings – these may be claimed where they would not form part of that which should be provided by the student’s training grant.

Their funding source should be properly explained within the application.

General questions including assessment and resources

How are New Investigator Award proposals handled at the panel?

Proposals submitted to the New Investigator Award scheme and the standard research scheme will be assessed at a single prioritisation panel meeting.

New Investigator Awards are scored and ranked separately to standard research proposals during the prioritisation panel, since the two schemes have different objectives and assessment criteria.

However, applications should be aware that New Investigator Awards and standard research proposals are funded from the same budget. Accordingly, the number of successful New Investigator Awards depends on the overall quality of all proposals at the panel and the funding available.

Do I need to include a CV from the applicant in my application?

No, this is not a required document for an applicant to the New Investigator Award scheme. You will require CVs for any named postdoctoral research assistants or visiting researchers on the grant.

Am I allowed a co-investigator on a New Investigator Award?

If the grant crosses disciplinary boundaries, a co-investigator is permitted if it is demonstrated they are from a different discipline to the principal investigator.

For example, we would usually not expect the co-investigator to be from the same department as the principal Investigator.

Can I include equipment or instrument development on a New Investigator Award?

Yes, if it is project specific and under the Official Journal of the European Union limit. Please refer to the project outline and resources table for details of what equipment may be applied for.

Can I have project partners on a New Investigator Award?

Yes.

Can I transfer with my New Investigator Award to a different Institution?

Yes, if there is a minimum of six months duration left on the grant. A request to transfer to another host organisation should be submitted via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system grant maintenance and include a host organisation statement from the receiving research organisation.

The host organisation statement should promise a similar or greater level of support than the original statement, and in general should be provided by the head of department. See also transferring grants.

Can my New Investigator Award be transferred to a new principal investigator?

No, a New Investigator Award can only be held by the original applicant.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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