Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: Accelerating research outcomes to deliver a prosperous net zero

Apply for to build on existing engineering and physical sciences research outputs to accelerate economic, societal, policy and environmental benefits and impact. The proposed benefits must contribute to delivering EPSRC’s Engineering Net Zero (ENZ) priority.

Applications must build on prior Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £800,000. We will fund 80% of the FEC. Projects may be up to two years in duration.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

EPSRC standard eligibility rules apply. For full details, visit EPSRC’s eligibility page.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

You may only make one application to this opportunity as a project lead. You may be part of no more than two applications, in any role.

There is no limit to the number of outline applications that a research organisation can submit. However, we will take a place-based portfolio approach to balance outcomes as we wish to fund projects across the UK.

International applicants

Under the UKRI and Research Council of Norway Money Follows Cooperation agreement a project co-lead (international), previously co-investigator, can be based in a Norwegian institution.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Aim

This opportunity aims to accelerate our progress towards the realisation of a just, prosperous, sustainable, and resilient net zero transition by accelerating the exploitation of outputs and outcomes of prior EPSRC-funded research to directly benefit society. We are looking to provide follow-on funding to projects that are ready to move beyond fundamental research but are not yet ready to be taken up as a solution by users. This funding will ‘bridge the gap’, ensuring that the benefits from EPSRC research can be truly realised to drive forward the transition to net zero.

This follow-on funding opportunity is a pilot for EPSRC. We will conduct review and evaluation activities during and after the opportunity.

Scope

Engineering and physical sciences research is critical to the discovery, development and deployment of the solutions needed to create a sustainable future, and the scale and urgency for these solutions is growing. Our Engineering Net Zero priority aims to address this by increasing the speed of deliverability of net zero and shifting us to more sustainable and circular industries and processes. This includes pioneering new technologies and the rapid scaling and evolution of current technologies, as well as driving the realisation of a just, prosperous, sustainable, and resilient net zero transition. This is a wide-ranging challenge that will require contributions from many different disciplines and research areas to realise.

This follow-on funding opportunity is open to applications from all EPSRC disciplines and research areas, provided they can demonstrably deliver benefits aligned to the opportunity aim. Applications will be expected to reference a current or previously funded EPSRC project and describe why this follow-on funding is the most appropriate route to exploit the outcomes and breakthroughs of that project.

Applications should clearly demonstrate how they will enable research outputs to be further developed beyond fundamental research into practical applications to deliver benefits and impact relevant to Engineering Net Zero. You should consider a broad range of possible benefits, including economic, societal, policy and environmental benefits. Your project should involve appropriate users and beneficiaries to deliver the proposed impact.

We would not expect to see significant new fundamental research in your proposal; instead, applications to this scheme should have a primary focus on the translation of research or knowledge, or both, to deliver defined benefits, making projects focused solely on delivering training, new research or extending an existing research grant ineligible.

This follow-on funding sits alongside a suite of other impact driven funding that EPSRC supports, for example the Impact Acceleration Accounts and flexible funding delivered via EPSRC hubs or centres. This follow-on funding opportunity is intended to complement, not duplicate, other sources of support, so we would not expect to see applications that would be more appropriately funded through other EPSRC funding routes, or that are at a stage where they could already be funded by commercial partners or Innovate UK.

The opportunity will support a wide range of activities, from early-stage projects aimed at de-risking innovative ideas, to later-stage projects that encompass significant translational milestones.

Duration

The duration of this award can be up to two years.

Funding available

The FEC of your project can be from £100,000 up to £800,000.

EPSRC will fund 80% of the FEC.

We are keen to support a broad portfolio of projects and value for money will be a key consideration. As such, we encourage applications of different sizes, across the full range of funding available, and do not expect all funded projects to be awarded the maximum allowable budget. You should apply for the minimum amount of funding required to achieve your objectives.

What we will fund

This opportunity will award follow-on funding for activities to take a project from the fundamental research stage onto the next level, where it could then be picked up by users. These activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • knowledge exchange
  • commercialisation or proof-of-concept
  • public engagement
  • active dissemination

The follow-on funding can also be used to enable engagement between researchers and a variety of user communities, including business, third sector, public policy, voluntary and community groups, and the public, to deliver greater benefits from the prior research. The follow-on funding should build on any existing impact activities, taking them in a new direction or engaging new audiences, rather than extending previous or current activities.

The activities must deliver benefits aligned with supporting the transition to net zero.

What we will not fund

Applications to this scheme should have a primary focus on the translation of research or knowledge, or both, to the next stage. The following would be ineligible:

  • projects focused solely on delivering training
  • new research or extending an existing research grant
  • applied or contract research conducted on behalf of commercial organisations
  • applications outside of our remit
  • supporting the direct costs associated with applying for intellectual property (IP) protections, for example patent filing
  • projects not built on prior EPSRC research
  • projects at a stage where they could already be funded by commercial partners or Innovate UK

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

Full details will be provided when the opportunity opens.

Deadline

We must receive your outline application by 16 May 2024 4:00pm UK time.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your outline application at an outline panel meeting comprised of a mixture of academic and user experts with relevant expertise. Applicants who are successful at the outline stage will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Full proposals will be assessed by an expert panel. The panel will be offered an opportunity to ask you questions for clarification in advance of the panel meeting. Should they do so, you will be invited to prepare a written response. Panel members will then assess the quality of your application and response and rank it alongside other applications, after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

In the event of this funding opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact Details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact manufacturingandce@epsrc.ukri.org quoting ‘ENZ FoF’ in the subject line.

Enquiries can be sent to this email address. However, we will not be able to provide additional information about this funding opportunity in advance of its publication.

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

You can also find information on submitting an application here: improving your funding experience.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please contact tfschangeepsrc@epsrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Background

Engineering Net Zero

EPSRC’s world-class impacts objective was published in our strategic delivery plan 2022-2025 and aims to deliver advances in four mission-inspired, interdisciplinary challenges, including Engineering Net Zero.

Engineering and physical sciences research is critical to the discovery, development and deployment of the solutions needed to create a sustainable future. EPSRC’s plans in Engineering Net Zero align to the UKRI Building a Green Future strategic theme, as well as the UK’s Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework and the British Energy Security Strategy. We will take a whole systems approach to developing the technological solutions needed to deliver a just transition to net zero for all.

Throughout the Engineering Net Zero challenge, we aim to:

  • strike a balance between supporting the evolution of current systems and transformational next generation solutions
  • increase our resilience and adaptability to the known and anticipated effects of climate change
  • facilitate partnership working to maximise the economic benefit to the UK

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a one-hour webinar on 25 March 2024 at 1:00pm UK time. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions. Please hold this time in your calendars if you wish to attend, and a zoom webinar link will be included in the outline information released the week before.

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