Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Building a Secure and Resilient World: Research and Coordination Hub

Apply for funding to coordinate activity across the Building a Secure and Resilient World strategic theme. The successful award will catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation.

Taking a human-centred systems approach, the hub will strengthen societal and economic resilience and enhance security across virtual and physical environments.

The project will run for five years and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will contribute funding of up to £5,500,000 for coordination hub applications.

Please note the application submission window will open on 9 May 2023.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

This is a UKRI funding opportunity led by AHRC. It is open to the research and innovation communities of all UKRI research councils and Innovate UK.

Standard UKRI eligibility requirements will apply. To host the award your organisation must be:

  • a UK academic higher education institution
  • an independent research organisation recognised by UKRI
  • a government or third sector organisation with capacity to undertake and manage research
  • a UK registered business that can demonstrate the capacity to lead and manage a significant research and innovation project

To ensure that the project is suitably interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, the core team leading the hub should include representatives from across UKRI’s research and innovation communities.

In addition, the project team will be expected to demonstrate close collaboration with relevant third sector organisations.

In line with UKRI’s technicians commitment, named project staff and investigators may include technicians contributing to the intellectual leadership and management of a project.

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

Scope

UKRI’s strategic themes offer an innovative and exciting new approach to funding interdisciplinary, policy relevant and co-originated research and innovation to tackle major global challenges.

Building a Secure and Resilient World (BSRW) will take a systemic approach that is human-centred, aimed at strengthening societal and economic resilience, and enhancing security across virtual and physical environments, by improving awareness of risks and threats, preparedness, informed decision-making and response. It will work towards change being understood as a force for good.

The Research and Coordination Hub is a significant opportunity to shape this theme and make a major and lasting contribution to developing the UK’s resilience and security framework.

The hub will coordinate and maximise the impact of the range of activities commissioned by UKRI ensuring an integrated approach throughout. It will be expected to lead, plan, deliver and manage a multidisciplinary programme of research and devolved funding opportunities in identified areas of knowledge and evidence gaps within the scope of the theme outlined above.

This will require the hub to build strong connections with a variety of stakeholders across central and local government, devolved administrations, internationally and the general public. These devolved awards will generate a rich and diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research and innovation that directly engages with the priorities and subthemes of the BSRW programme:

  • global order in a time of change
  • technologies for resilience, security and defence
  • resilient and secure supply chains
  • behavioural and cultural resilience
  • strengthening resilience in natural and built environments

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.

Aims of the coordination hub

The principal investigator of the proposal should have a collaborative mindset, and excellent leadership and management abilities. The leadership of this hub will be expected to engage closely with academic, government and third sector stakeholders.

The hub is expected to:

  • establish and maintain a research community around the BSRW strategic theme by developing relationships and improved connections between a variety of relevant stakeholders
  • work with the grain of government policy such as the integrated review and the UK government resilience framework
  • build multi and interdisciplinary capability, leverage existing partnerships and establish new ones
  • deliver a multidisciplinary programme of devolved funding activities, develop and run open opportunities for research projects that will directly engage with the priorities and themes of the BSRW programme
  • assess and determine what the UK needs in terms of research, research infrastructure and skills to support the development of this strategic programme
  • ensure through collaborative and consultative public engagement that people from across the UK, from different regions, backgrounds and beliefs, are represented in future planning and preparedness
  • ensure that global security and resilience and the needs of all countries are considered in planning, and approached through equitable partnering
  • co-design elements of the project with UKRI during the initial stages of the hub, incorporating any relevant research and policy inputs
  • develop, publish and maintain a set of policy recommendations, drawing in expertise from relevant disciplines and providing thought leadership in the programme’s subthemes
  • identify research challenges, opportunities and priorities for the programme with users, academia, government and third-sector stakeholders that need to be addressed over the lifetime of the coordination hub
  • represent and promote the UK academic and research community in interactions with key stakeholders around the BSRW programme
  • develop communications, knowledge exchange, public engagement, coordinated networking, and wider stakeholder engagement plans, in order to co-create activities, widely disseminate findings, improve alignment of research, policy and innovation and increase coherence across the programme
  • establish an appropriate management and governance model with effective monitoring and evaluation, develop a clear equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan, and support early career researchers

EDI

The hub must demonstrate a commitment to building an inclusive leadership and management team that reflects the wider diversity of the research and innovation community.

You must ensure that proactive EDI measures are built into the structure of the hub at a fundamental level. This commitment to promoting EDI includes both the management and core research teams, as well as the design and delivery of the devolved funding activities run by the hub. The hub should be an EDI role model for the community.

Multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity

You should adopt a broad disciplinary approach to the development of the hub. UKRI would like as many of its research and innovation communities represented within the hub as possible.

Ideally applications should include representatives from across a range of research council remit areas within the hub’s leadership and research teams. In addition, you are encouraged to ensure that the hub includes representation from business and industry.

Sustainability

You should demonstrate how you will approach issues of environmental sustainability within your project. Wherever possible, projects should take a proactive approach to reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Duration

The duration of this award is five years.

Projects must start on 1 February 2024.

Funding available

UKRI has allocated £5,500,000 for this funding opportunity.

The devolved funding strand (a minimum of 40% of total budget) should be costed at 100% of the full economic cost (FEC), other (non-exceptions) costs should be costed at 80% FEC in line with standard UKRI terms and conditions.

Note: projects can be costed to include the full £5,500,000 available from UKRI, in addition to the standard research organisation 20% contribution required for all non-exception costs. As such, the FEC of your project may exceed £5,500,000, provided all costs meet UKRI’s FEC and transparent approach to costing guidelines.

Guidance on costs for non-academic organisations is available the UKRI website.

See also Innovate UK terms and conditions for further details of expectations for non-academic organisations.

We recognise that some applicants or partners may be employed by a government-funded organisation. You must therefore avoid the double counting of public funds in the costings.

Devolved funding

At least 40% of the hub’s funds must be devoted to planning, delivering, and managing a multidisciplinary programme of devolved activities. Flexibly conceived, these opportunities can cover a wide variety of activities (such as research projects, feasibility studies, reports and policy briefings, workshops and webinars) intended to generate a rich portfolio of research and innovation that directly engages with the priorities and themes of the BSRW programme.

Devolved funding activities can be costed as ‘Exceptions’ at 100% FEC.

Please ensure that all costs related to devolved funding are marked or prefaced with the initials ‘DF’ so that these costs can be clearly distinguished from funds related to direct funding of the hub.

The hub is expected to demonstrate a commitment to open and inclusive engagement with relevant expertise and capabilities, as well as responding to opportunities to expand networks and collaboration as appropriate opportunities arise.

International collaboration

Applications can include international project partners and co-investigators (for example international organisations, businesses, and government organisations).

International co-investigator and collaborator costs can be funded as ‘Exceptions’ at 100% FEC.

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit Trusted Research for more information on effective international collaboration.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

How to apply

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

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

If you do not already have an account with the UKRI Funding Service, you will be able to create one by selecting the ‘start application’ button at the start of this page. Creating an account is a two-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.

If you are a member of an organisation with a research office that we do not have contact details for, we will contact them to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every UKRI Funding Service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit applications

Research offices that have not already received an invitation to open an account should email support@funding-service.ukri.org

Submitting your application

Applications should be prepared and submitted by the lead research organisation but should be co-created with input from all investigators, and project partners, and should represent the proposed work of the entire consortia.

To apply:

  1. Select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page.
  2. This will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a two-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘How to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers.
  4. Once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.

As citations can be integral to a case for support, you should balance their inclusion and the benefit they provide against the inclusion of other parts of your answer to each question. Bear in mind that citations, associated reference lists or bibliographies, or both, contribute to, and are included in, the word count of the relevant section.

Deadline

UKRI must receive your application by 27 July 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

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

General text on processing personal data

UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

General text on outcomes publication

AHRC will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at: Board and panel outcomes.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance

Summary

In plain English, provide a summary that can be sent to potential reviewers to determine if your proposal is within their field of expertise.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • its context
  • the challenge the project addresses and how it will be applied to this
  • its aims and objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits

Word count: 500

Applicants

List the key members of your team and assign them roles, for example:

  • principal investigator
  • business partner
  • co-investigator
  • researcher
  • technician

You should only list one individual as principal investigator.

Section: Vision

Question: what are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • will impact world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment
  • will catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation through a systems, human-centred approach to strengthening societal and economic resilience
  • enhance security across virtual and physical environments by improving awareness of risks and threats, preparedness, informed decision-making and response in an integrated manner
  • will become an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) role model, actively promoting EDI in the research and innovation community

Within the vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

Word count: 500

Section: Approach

Question: how are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work
  • will coordinate and maximise the impact of the range of activities commissioned
  • will lead, plan, deliver and manage a multidisciplinary programme of research and devolved funding opportunities in identified areas of knowledge, and evidence gaps within the scope of the theme
  • delivers strong management and governance structures that have EDI considerations built in at a fundamental level
  • will build strong connections with a variety of stakeholders across central and local government, devolved administrations, internationally and the general public

Word count: 3,000

Section: Data management and sharing

Question: how will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Word count: 500

Section: Your organisation’s support

Question: provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a statement of support from your research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed. The committee will be looking for a strong statement of commitment from your research organisation.

UKRI recognises that in some instances, this information may be provided by the research office, the technology transfer office (TTO) or equivalent, or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or research office, or both
  • office address or web link

Word count:1,000

Section: Project partners: contributions

Question: provide details about any project partners’ contributions using the template provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you do have project partners, download and complete the project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB) then copy and paste the table within it into the text box.

Ensure you have obtained prior agreement from project partners that, should you be offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the template.

Word count: 500

Section: Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Question: upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the table in the previous ‘contributions’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you have named project partners in the previous ‘contributions’ section, enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box below.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project (letters must be signed, dated and on headed paper)
  • clearly explain the value, relevance and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

Please do not provide letters of support from host and co-investigator’s research organisations.

Unless specifically requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Word count: 5

Section: International co-investigator head of department letter (or email) of support (if applicable)

Question: upload a single PDF containing signed and dated letters of support (on headed paper) from the head of department for each international co-investigator

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any international co-investigators, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If you have named international co-investigators in the applicants’ section, enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

Each letter you provide should:

  • explain what the international co-investigator is bringing to the project and why they are best placed to conduct the research
  • state how they will deliver the project’s objectives
  • describe how their institution will support them during the lifetime of the project
  • provide assurances that their contract will be in place for the duration of the project
  • be no more than two sides of A4

Unless specifically requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Word count: 5

Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Question: why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team (investigators, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You can enter N/A for any you think irrelevant, and will not be penalised for doing so, but it is recommended that you carefully consider the breadth of your experience:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
  • additions (you can use this heading to provide information which provides context to the wider application, such as detail of career breaks – it is not a requirement)

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

Word count: 1,000

Section: Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Question: what are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?  If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the text box, demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations, and how you will manage them.

You should provide safeguarding and risk assessments of all researchers, partners and collaborators, including provision of psychosocial support for researchers or participants where appropriate, and considerations of differing international research contexts.

If you are collecting or using data you should identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies taken to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which study will be compliant

Word count: 1,000

Section: Resources and cost justification

Question: what will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Download the full economic costings (FEC) template (DOCX, 92KB), complete it and then upload it as explained.

Using the text box, demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

This section should not simply be a list of the resources requested, as this will already be given in the detailed ‘costs’ table. Costings should be justified on the basis of FEC of the project, not just on the costs expected from UKRI. For some items we do not expect you to justify the monetary value, rather the type of resource, such as amount of time or type of staff requested.

Where you do not provide adequate justification for a resource, we may deduct it from any funding awarded.

You should identify:

  • all devolved funding costs, which must be clearly marked ‘DF’ in order to distinguish them from funds related to the direct funding of the hub
  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange, to support responsible innovation or both
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure, procurement of equipment or both
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money

Word count: 1,000

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Assessment panel

Following an office check stage to ensure each application meets eligibility and funding opportunity requirements, a panel of subject and sector specialists will collectively review your application against the criteria and rank it alongside other applications. The top ranked applicants will then be invited to an interview stage.

Interview

For shortlisted applications an expert panel will conduct interviews with applicants, after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held in October 2023.

UKRI will then make the final funding decision, and you will be notified of outcomes in November 2023.

Feedback

We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

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 UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment criteria

The criteria we will assess your application against can be found in the How to apply section under ‘What the assessors are looking for in your response’.

What we are looking for

Section: Vision

Have the applicants demonstrated how the work they are proposing:

  • will catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation through a systems, human-centred approach to strengthening societal and economic resilience
  • enhance security across virtual and physical environments by improving awareness of risks and threats, preparedness, informed decision-making and response in an integrated manner
  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • will impact world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment
  • will become an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) role model, actively promoting EDI in the research and innovation community

Section: Approach

Have the applicants demonstrated that they have designed their approach so that it:

  • will coordinate and maximise the impact of the range of activities commissioned
  • will lead, plan, deliver and manage a multidisciplinary programme of research and devolved funding opportunities in identified areas of knowledge and evidence gaps within the scope of the theme
  • delivers strong management and governance structures that have EDI considerations built in at a fundamental level
  • will build strong connections with a variety of stakeholders across central and local government, devolved administrations, internationally and the general public.
  • is effective and appropriate to achieve their objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how their, and if applicable their team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the proposed work

Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Have the applicants provided evidence of how they, and if relevant their team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and their approach to develop others

Section: Resources and cost justification

Have the applicants demonstrated how the resources they anticipate needing for their proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Section: Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Have the applicants identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations, and how they will be managed.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

We aim to respond to emails within two working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

The webinar took place on 6 June 2023.

To find out more about the Building a Secure and Resilient World theme and hear the questions asked about the application process, watch the webinar recording.

Passcode M7A9S6C%

Supporting documents

BSRW theme and subtheme overview document (PDF, 213KB)

Webinar slides: BSRW theme (PDF, 220KB)

Webinar slides BSRW funding opportunity (PDF, 373KB)

BSRW frequently asked questions and additional guidance (PDF, 92KB)

UKRI policies and standards

UKRI terms and conditions for research grants

Costs guidance for non-academic organisations

UKRI guidance for equality, diversity and inclusion

 

Updates

  • 13 June 2023
    Added new supporting documents to the 'Additional info' section: webinar slides: BSRW theme; webinar slides: BSRW funding opportunity; frequently asked questions and additional guidance.
  • 8 June 2023
    Webinar recording added. See 'Additional info' section.

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