Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Become the UK director of the EMFL partnership

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Apply for funding to become the UK Director of the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) partnership.

You must be:

  • a member of the UK magnetics community
  • based at an organisation eligible for UKRI funding.

In the role, you will:

  • liaise with the EMFL on behalf of UK academia
  • grow the vibrant user UK community
  • co-ordinate with the EMFL to ensure that UK academia is engaged with EMFL and the opportunities available.

The full economic cost of the role can be up to £150,000. EPSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for up to five years.

Who can apply

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Check if your institution is eligible for funding.

For information on the eligibility of organisations and individuals to receive EPSRC funding, read the EPSRC guidance for applicants.

This funding opportunity will not count towards the EPSRC repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

You can apply if you are resident in the UK and meet at least one of the criteria below:

  • you are employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above
  • you hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project, and the host research organisation is prepared to give you all the support normal for a permanent employee
  • you hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • you hold fellowships under other schemes.

Please contact EPSRC to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to apply for an EPSRC grant.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In line with the UKRI diversity principles, equality and diversity must be embedded at all levels and in all aspects of research practice. We are committed to supporting the research community in the diverse ways a research career can be built with our investments. This includes:

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

With this in mind, we welcome applications from academics who:

  • job share
  • have a part-time contract
  • need flexible working arrangements
  • are currently committed to other longer, large existing grants.

Read our guidance on equality, diversity and inclusion.

What we're looking for

The UK membership of the EMFL has now been approved for a further five  years by EPSRC and will enable the UK community to access a well-established facility for research with high magnetic fields.

The aim is to develop new capabilities and to secure the direct involvement of the UK in long-term, large-scale projects that require international co-operation. For example, by integrating high magnetic fields with neutron and synchrotron sources for which a large user community exists in the UK.

Research interests

A host of research interests will be represented due to the nature of high magnetic fields as multidisciplinary, merging concepts from:

  • physics
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • engineering.

The UK community includes chemists, physicists and material scientists working in the fields of:

  • magnetism
  • superconductivity
  • semiconductors
  • strongly correlated systems
  • topological insulators
  • graphene
  • organic electronics.

The UK community makes use of a wide range of experimental techniques, such as:

  • thermal and electrical transport
  • thermodynamic characterisation
  • magnetisation
  • optical spectroscopy
  • magnetic resonance.

Requirements

This funding opportunity enables activities and ideas which address the following requirements:

  • to maintain and grow the vibrant current user UK community already in place from the current subscription to the EMFL
  • to coordinate with the EMFL to ensure that UK academia is engaged with EMFL and the opportunities available
  • to represent EPSRC on the EMFL council
  • to support the UK community in working with EMFL to make optimum use of the research facilities available
  • to further develop a roadmap for research with high magnetic fields that aligns with the strategy of EPSRC to retain the capability to tackle future challenges, capitalise on new opportunities, avoid duplication of effort and co-ordinate the use of research infrastructure. The proposed facility will support and expand research programmes on:
    • graphene
    • strongly correlated electron systems
    • quantum coherent phenomena and technologies
    • magnetism in a nanoscale system
  • to enable the exchange of information between high field user groups, the high field facilities and other potentially interested scientific communities
  • to report on the status of interactions to EPSRC through the annual review process and attend annual director meetings and other Zoom meetings as required.

Standard full economic cost conditions apply.

You should aim to begin the project on 1 July 2022.

How to apply

You should ensure you are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Applying through Je-S

You must apply through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

When applying, select:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • call/type/mode: UK National Research Facility Director EMFL Partnership.

After completing the application, you must ‘submit document’ which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration.

Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process. You should allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the funding opportunity closing date.

EPSRC must receive your application by 25 May 2022 by 16:00.

You should use the Je-S application form to address the funding opportunity specifications. The following documents must also be submitted.

Case for support

This is a mandatory document. The primary supporting document will be of a longer format than those submitted for standard proposals.

The overall page length will be up to eight pages, and must include the following sections in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Track record of applicants

Up to a maximum of two pages.

Service description

You should use this section to:

  • describe and detail the service you propose to provide covering the elements detailed in key requirements for service
  • include details of your long term vision and must describe how it sits within the national capability landscape.

Operational details

You should use this section to provide a clear communication and engagement strategy. You must provide sufficient detail for assessors to understand how information about the available capabilities and access to the service will be disseminated.

You should also detail in this section:

  • how to engage by a website
  • information on user meetings
  • ideas on outreach events
  • how to involve and engage the community.

People and management

You should use this section to detail how you will meet any people and management arrangements.

This should include how the service will engage with future generations.

Additional documents

In addition to the case for support, you must provide the following.

Justification of resources

This is a mandatory document, with a longer format of up to four pages.

The justification of resources should explain the necessity of your requested resources for service provision, including implementing the impact activities. This helps reviewers make informed judgements about whether the resources requested are appropriate and justified.

Workplan

This is a mandatory one page document.

The work programme should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as a Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or Gantt chart.

Equipment business case, where appropriate

Required for any items or combined assets with a value above the Official Journal of the European Union limit.

Proposal cover letter

Including a cover letter is optional.

You can use the proposal cover letter to set out any other information you feel is relevant to your application. As applicants could be applying for a grant which has an interview assessment stage, they should inform EPSRC of any personal circumstances for EPSRC to consider.

This letter will only be seen by EPSRC and will not be sent to peer review. For sensitive information, you should state clearly whether the information is confidential.

The proposal cover letter should also be used to highlight anything that has been discussed and agreed with EPSRC staff beforehand. For example:

  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record
  • conflicts of interest for EPSRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection.

Other documents

If you wish to attach any other document that does not fit the above types, please submit it under ‘other attachment’. This will not be seen by reviewers or panel members.

On submission to EPSRC, all non-PDF documents uploaded onto Je-S are converted to PDF. Therefore, the use of non-standard fonts may result in errors or font conversion, which could affect the overall length of the document.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors.

Read EPSRC’s advice on writing proposals.

Ethical information

EPSRC will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for.

All relevant parts of the ethical information section must be completed. Read further guidance on the ethical information section of the Je-S form.

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria will be the standard grant criteria. However, applicants should note the nature of the role representing a national research facility when considering quality.

Each proposal will be initially assessed by postal peer review by at least three reviewers. You will then be invited to respond to the reviewers’ comments.

Following this, an expert panel will interview applicants and score the applicants against the following assessment criteria, using the:

  • proposal
  • reviews
  • principal investigator response
  • responses at interview.

The interview panel will make the final recommendations to the EPSRC theme lead. EPSRC will aim to inform applicants on the decision outcome within eight weeks of the panel.

Standard assessment criteria

Applicants should note that the assessment criteria differ slightly to the standard EPSRC criteria due to the nature of the programmes of work to be funded.

Quality (primary)

Assessors will be asked to comment on the excellence of the application, making reference to:

  • the quality of the potential research enabled by having such a facility co-ordinator in the UK. In considering quality, applicants should comment on how the proposal meets the key requirements of the funding opportunity as detailed in the ‘requirements’ section
  • the ambition, long-term vision and transformative aspects identified
  • the appropriateness of the proposed approaches and fit to the key facility requirements and operational requirements sections
  • engaging and adapting to the needs of a diverse user community.

Resources and management (secondary major)

Assessors will be asked to comment on:

  • the effectiveness of the proposed planning, management and governance and the fit to the people and management arrangements section
  • whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified
  • any resources requested for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement.

National importance (secondary)

Drawing upon what the applicant has said, assessors will be asked to comment on:

  • how the proposed director contributes to, or helps maintain the health of research disciplines, contributes to addressing key UK societal challenges, contributes to current or future UK economic success or enables future development of key emerging industries
  • the extent to which the directors proposal has the potential to meet national strategic needs by establishing or maintaining unique world-leading research activity, including areas of niche capability.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary)

Assessors will be asked to comment on:

  • the appropriateness of the track record of the applicants to deliver the facility
  • balance of skills of the project team, including collaborations.

Funding opportunity specific assessment criteria

Advocacy for engineering and the physical sciences (secondary)

Your proposal must demonstrate how the Director will be an advocate for the engineering and physical sciences. You should specifically address how they will influence its policy makers on the importance of engineering and physical sciences.

Advocacy through public engagement activities can also be considered, as long as these activities are directly related to the programme of research applied for. This criterion will be solely assessed at the interview stage.

Feedback

Feedback on the decision will be given by email after the panel meeting.

Nominating reviewers

As part of the application process, you will be invited to nominate up to three potential reviewers who you feel have the expertise to assess your proposal. Please ensure that any nominations meet the EPSRC policy on conflicts of interest.

Guidance for reviewers

For more information about the EPSRC peer review process, read the guidance for reviewers.

A standard reviewer form will be used for this funding opportunity, however reviewers should be mindful of the nature of a national research facility when considering quality.

Read the guidance for reviewing standard grants.

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity

Dr Simon Crook

Email: simon.crook@epsrc.ukri.org

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