Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Create a national research facility for epitaxy

Apply for funding to support the creation of a national research facility for epitaxy.

You must be a UK resident based at a UK institution eligible for EPSRC funding.

EPSRC will support the facility with a five-year grant, which will undergo a mid-term review at the two and a half to three-year stage. Funding will not cover the full costs of the facility.

Up to £12 million of funding is available. You will need to demonstrate in your application that the facility will be:

  • able to earn some income from non-UKRI sources
  • financially sustainable at the end of the funding period.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are a UK resident and either:

  • employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above
  • on 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
  • hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • 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.

These eligibility requirements must be met by all principal investigators and co-investigators named in the funding opportunity.

Institution eligibility

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.

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

Equality and diversity

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.

Learn more about equality, diversity and inclusion support.

What we're looking for

EPSRC is looking for a research facility with epitaxy capabilities that, with funding support, can be developed into a national research facility (NRF) for epitaxy.

The facility will need to provide services that offer associated expertise to support novel and exciting research in the engineering, biological and physical sciences.

You should aim to begin the project in July 2022.

EPSRC convened a specification panel for the facility. A ‘statement of community need’ was used to develop these detailed requirements, which your facility and service will be expected to meet.

Key requirements for service

Purpose of the facility

The facility will need to be capable of providing:

  • epitaxial wafers over a range of materials, primarily using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and metal-organic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE)
  • the UK with state-of-the-art quality and reproducibility in epitaxial materials
  • characterisation details that allow the quality and reproducibility to be assessed
  • advice, guidance and training or education to the community
  • leadership in knowledge exchange with industry, including signposting
  • leadership and advocacy in the UK for epitaxial capabilities, including horizon scanning.

The facility should also have procedures in place to maintain the confidentiality of all parties involved.

Instrumentation and technical capability

The service must be able to offer the following technical capabilities:

  • MBE or MOVPE growth of epitaxial materials, or both
  • calibration of growth rates through in situ and ex situ characterisation and post-growth characterisation
  • delivery of wafers, or parts of wafers, to end users together with paperwork detailing available characterisation data from the requested material and related calibration layers
  • details of wafer testing that would be available to end users on request prior to wafer shipping, for example, a photoluminescence or Hall effect measurement.

Equipment location

The building housing the facility will need to meet equipment manufacturers’ recommended technical specifications.

The facility and site should be easily accessible to staff and users.

Technical, scientific and training support for users

It is expected by EPSRC that the facility will give all users access to expert advice and support including, but not limited to:

  • support by email, including data interpretation and advice regarding results
  • face-to-face or remote advice in layer sequence design, experimental design and feasibility
  • support in understanding calibration data supplied
  • help with sample preparation and storage.

Staff should be willing to educate the community to understand MBE and MOVPE growth processes, as applicable.

Operational considerations

The service should aim to provide:

  • fair and transparent access to UK researchers
  • timely responses to user requests
  • a balance between established and new materials, reflecting user demand
  • flexibility of services over the lifetime of the facility, according to the community needs
  • an efficient maintenance schedule to minimise downtime and maintain optimised materials quality.

Website, engagement and publicity

The facility should be capable of providing a dedicated website with full details of:

  • the technical capability of the facility
  • the leadership team
  • service level agreements to the academic and industrial communities in the UK and abroad
  • training and development opportunities
  • an environmental plan
  • a health and safety management plan
  • equality and diversity policies.

You will need a communication and engagement plan to advocate epitaxy to industry and Her Majesty’s government as well as wider engagement plans for community outreach to the academic semiconductor community.

The facility will also need a plan for providing consultancy and contract research.

Remote access

The website will need to provide information about the facility and remote access to data, including:

  • raw, in situ and ex situ data
  • monitoring and characterisation data
  • chamber conditions during growth
  • expert advice.

Diversification of the user base

The facility is expected to grow and diversify the user base over the lifetime of the grant to bring in:

  • new universities
  • new research organisations
  • different research communities
  • new industrial users.

Maintenance, upgrades and servicing

EPSRC expects that the proposed facility will be financially and academically sustainable. You will need a plan in place detailing how the capability of the facility and the related storage, preparatory and ancillary equipment would be maintained.

Any requests for significant capital expenditure for equipment upgrade must be fully justified and costed in the proposal.

User access

It is essential to EPSRC that the proposed facility can be accessed for the full period of the contract by students, post-doctoral researchers and academic researchers in the physical sciences, biological and engineering communities in the UK.

It is important to EPSRC that access to the proposed facility is fair and transparent for all potential users.

Usage statistics

The service must be capable of collecting usage statistics in line with relevant regulations and grant conditions.

The service must be able to report quarterly on individual users, recording:

  • what equipment and services they used
  • the number of growths carried out
  • whether they obtained the data they sought.

The usage data should inform decision-making regarding user engagement, service improvements and future provision. This should include:

  • materials classes, including new materials
  • the proportion of a growth system’s time that is used by the NRF
  • turnaround times per growth machine, and by customer and delivery partner
  • engagement metrics for activities including:
    • training
    • education
    • conferences
    • advocacy
    • industry connections
  • pump priming versus grants access
  • number of grants following on from pump priming
  • commercial income generation.

Contribution to the research community

You should consider how the short and long term impact of the facility, and its contribution to the research community, will be measured. You will need to demonstrate the added value of the facility over the duration of the funding.

You will need to be able to demonstrate at least yearly that the facility has met the community need and the diverse needs of the user base. This could be via case studies published on the facility website.

Data management policy

The facility must have appropriate and robust systems and procedures to ensure data protection during collection, storage, processing, remote access and secure downloads of research data. This includes:

  • IP sensitive results
  • confidential access to data
  • secure downloads.

People and management arrangements

The team

The facilities must be led by an excellent team which is capable of:

  • community building
  • assessing community scientific needs
  • managing the operational aspects of a facility to meet user and staff requirements
  • gaining the confidence of the community as experts in epitaxy or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), or in their respective operational roles.

The team will need to work constructively with multiple stakeholders and funders

For grant purposes, your application will need a named eligible principal investigator, with other team members listed as co-investigators.

Technical or operational director

There must be a nominated technical or operational director who will manage and lead the delivery of the service. This may or may not be the same person as the nominated principal investigator.

Governance structure

The governance structure will need to include:

  • a management board, including:
    • the facility director
    • the technical or operational director
    • others as appropriate
  • an independent steering committee that reflects the user community.

The independent steering committee should include external advisors, international representation, and industry representation. A member of EPSRC must also form part of the committee. The remit of each such body, and their membership and duration of office, are to be published on the facility webpage.

The panel will discuss any specific governance requirements for this facility. This will be monitored for the subsequent grant.

Support and development of professionals

The facility is expected to provide ongoing support and development for research technical professionals and postdoctoral research assistants involved in the running of the facility. UKRI recognises these people as core to the successful running of the facility.

Complaints and feedback

The facility must have a process in place for complaints and for monitoring user satisfaction. Users should be able to raise a request, complaint or issue about any aspect of the service. There should be an acknowledgement of the communication within five working days and a resolution within 10 working days.

Leadership

EPSRC expects the service to take a leadership role in the physical sciences, life sciences and engineering communities.

Leadership in this context might be:

  • demonstrating uniqueness of service, where there is no equivalent elsewhere internationally
  • working with others outside the facility
  • demonstrating the value of the service to the research community in terms of meeting user needs and high usage
  • working closely with others

Future roadmaps

EPSRC expects the facility to take a leadership role in the community, supporting the development of future roadmaps or strategy and to work with other bodies in the community to facilitate this as a key contributor.

The facility should retain knowledge of the international landscape, where they sit within it, and how this feeds into the facility strategy.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs)

The expectation of EPSRC is that as a result of this funding opportunity, any grant awarded will include KPIs and SLAs that the facility will aspire to meet. KPIs and SLAs could be based on:

  • the number of users of the facility broken down by expert and non-expert or returning and new users
  • the department and university profile of users and number of industry users
  • the number of samples processed, with a broad indication of time
  • usage figures for different instruments as a percentage of working hours and 24/7, as appropriate
  • user satisfaction average scores
  • the number of complaints
  • list of papers and highlights published
  • the number of grant applications submitted and the success rate
  • the costs recovered via grants.

Cost sharing and sustainability

EPSRC is committed to providing cost-effective services. You need to give thought to the case being made for the resources requested.

You will need to consider realistic approaches to cost recovery and how it could be applied from the outset and in tandem with the UKRI funding. Different types of user and different costing models should be considered. Any risks to usage of the service need to be mitigated. Thought should be given to how requests submitted by users will be prioritised.

In addition, applicants should address the following points in their proposal regarding longer term funding and sustainability of the service.

A vision for the long-term future sustainability of the service should be presented. This should describe how continuous provision would be achieved if future funding were not available.

If, following peer review, EPSRC considers that insufficient effort has been made to detail a cost-effective facility, it may, in discussion with the principal investigator, alter the profile of a successful grant to return maximum value to UK research users.

The facility should aim for a target by year five that EPSRC’s direct support of the NRF is 50% of the total contribution. In line with other NRFs, EPSRC will not fund the entirety of the facility and requires a proportion (%) of the recurrent (resource) costs for the facility operation to be recovered each year through charged usage.

For the avoidance of doubt, in this context, recurrent costs mean operational expenditure that is not equipment spend. This target must not preclude proof-of-principle and first-time usage.

EPSRC considers the suggested targets below to be reasonable minimum cost recovery targets for an NRF over a five-year funding period.

You may wish to propose alternative targets and are welcome to describe how further savings might be made and used to fund enhanced facility activities and capabilities. These should be reflected in the proposed grant payment profile that will need to be provided as part of the grant application.

Year EPSRC contribution to recurrent costs Cost recovery
One 80% 20%
Two 80% 20%
Three 70% 30%
Four 60% 40%
Five 50% 50%

Progress towards increased sustainability will form a key KPI of the successful grant and will be reviewed by the independent steering committee and at the mid-term review.

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 using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

The principal investigator and all co-investigators will need Je-S accounts. Please ensure sufficient time to create accounts for those who do not currently have one.

When applying, select ‘new document’, then:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • call/type/mode: ICT national research facility for epitaxy

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 this between submitting your proposal and the closing date.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 13 April 2022.

What you must submit

In addition to the Je-S application form, you should also upload the following documents to the system:

  • case for support (up to 20 pages)
  • justification of resources (up to four pages)
  • work plan (one page)
  • grant payment profile
  • CVs
  • equipment business case
  • proposal cover letter.

Case for support

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

The overall page length will be up to 20 pages. You should use single-spaced Arial 11 font or a similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Your ‘case for support’ document must include the following sections:

  • track record of applicants
  • service description
  • operational details
  • people and management
  • governance plan.

Below are details of what to include in each section.

Track record of applicants

This section should be no more than two pages.

For grant purposes, your application will have a named eligible principal investigator, with other team members listed as co-investigators.

You need to identify who will take the technical or operational director post and provide evidence of their ability to accomplish their role.

Track records are needed for:

  • the principal investigator
  • the technical or operational director
  • all co-investigators
Service description

Use this section to:

  • describe and detail the service you propose to provide covering the elements detailed in key requirements for service
  • demonstrate that the facility and site are easily accessed and clarify how you would support user needs in an equitable manner to provide a positive user experience
  • include details of your long-term vision for the facility and describe how it fits within the national and international epitaxy infrastructure landscape.
Operational details

Use this section to:

  • detail how you will meet the operational considerations
  • provide a clear transition plan to cover the period between the end date of the current epitaxy facility which runs until 30 June 2022, and the transition to a new facilities provider enabling a smooth transition and continuity of service
  • provide a clear communication and engagement strategy with sufficient detail for assessors to understand how:
    • information about the available capabilities and access to the service will be disseminated using the website, user meetings, outreach events and dissemination materials
    • you will reach new user communities
  • provide the following information about diversifying the user base to:
    • explain how the facility would assess the current and future size of the user base
    • detail the growth you expect to achieve in the user base
  • provide an equipment, maintenance and servicing plan, detailing how the capability of the facility and the related storage, preparatory and ancillary equipment would be maintained including:
    • details of agreements with the appropriate equipment manufacturer for upgrading and developing the equipment and facility
    • basic details for routine servicing, for example, daily, weekly, and monthly
    • basic details for quarterly and annual preventative maintenance
    • justification for significant capital expenditure for equipment upgrade where applicable
  • describe the formal procedure for accepting and prioritising applications from those wanting to use the facilities, with details of the quality assessment of the applications for all access routes
  • provide details of any options for a percentage of the facility to be open to researchers in areas beyond EPSRC’s remit, for example interdisciplinary researchers and business customers
  • give details about how the facility will be positioned on the national and international research landscape, and how it would engage with the rest of the research community
  • give details and justification for expected facility usage with reference to your cost sharing strategy where applicable for:
    • the expected proportion of facility use by user type for:
      • novice, experienced, expert
      • those from your organisation and those outside it
      • industrial users
      • those from application areas, for example EPSRC or other UKRI council remit
  • detail and justify with reference to your cost sharing strategy, where applicable:
    • the range of time durations for experiments on specific instruments, including:
      • a target for percentage utilisation in working hours and 24/7 use, as appropriate
      • time required for instrument maintenance and calibration
    • a target for time, from request for access to carrying out an experiment
    • the capacity allocated to the NRF
    • the capacity of the whole facility
    • the minimum of number of wafers expected per annum across MBE and MOVPE across a range of materials
    • the balance between wafers delivered to users and calibration wafers, per materials system
  • present a data management policy that is compliant with UKRI open data policy and extends beyond the duration of the grant.
People and management

Use this section to:

  • detail how you will meet the people and management arrangements
  • provide an organogram of the proposed organisational structure for the facility showing lines of authority, responsibility of key posts, and details of any identified deputies
  • fully justify requested principal investigator time with respect to duties to be performed
  • outline the recruitment policy and procedures
  • justify the number and allocation of staff
  • provide plans for staff development and training
  • detail arrangements for career progression for staff
  • provide information about how changes in key service staff will be handled, for example, continuity plans, short-term cover and contingency plans for unexpected loss of key staff
  • provide details of the risk management strategy which you will have in place
  • provide details of your proposed user training provision, including the expertise and experience of those involved in training different user groups, for example:
    • post graduate or doctoral researchers
    • academic researchers
    • industrial users
  • explain how the service will engage with future generations of researchers, including the Centres for Doctoral Training.
Governance plan

You should use this section to:

  • provide details of this structure, including an independent steering or advisory committee, composed of independent or external representatives from relevant communities to review and advise on provision, performance, and strategy
  • define the process for identifying and approving the independent steering committee membership
  • give an indication of the background and expertise of the proposed steering committee and management board members
  • identify a comprehensive set of KPIs that the service will aspire to meet
  • identify the process in place for complaints and monitoring of user satisfaction, providing details of:
    • the proposed feedback processes
    • how feedback will be used to implement improvements
    • the escalation procedure for user complaints, indicating who to contact in specific cases, which would be set out on the facility webpage.

Justification of resources

This is a mandatory document of up to four pages.

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

EPSRC recommends that you follow the ‘cost to the proposal’ headings used in the application form.

For more information on what to do, see how to write a justification of resources.

You are expected to have considered cost savings where possible to bring down the total costs. You may wish to provide cost recovery options, which could request different amounts of funding from EPSRC, with the maximum being £12 million. More space in the justification of resources can be provided to accommodate these alternative options.

Work plan

This is a mandatory one page document.

The work plan should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as a programme evaluation and review technique or Gantt chart.

Grant payment profile

This is a mandatory one page document.

You must provide a grant payment profile that details your cost sharing strategy and planned expenditure against each recurrent or resource and capital cost heading over the lifetime of the five-year grant.

The panel will favour cost recovery plans which are maximised and realistic.

The final payment profiles and percentages awarded are subject to negotiation with EPSRC.

CVs

CV should be included where appropriate. Each CV can be up to two pages long.

CVs are required for key named personnel, for example:

  • director
  • deputy director
  • technical director
  • facility or service manager.

You should submit CVs as separate attachments using attachment type ‘CV’ in Je-S.

Equipment business case

This is only required if your application includes 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. You are applying for a grant which has an interview assessment stage, so you should use this letter to 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, the applicant 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:

  • a 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. You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors.

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

Read our 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.

EPSRC guidance can be found under ‘additional information’.

How we will assess your application

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

Following this, an expert panel will interview applicants.

You will be scored against assessment criteria for the:

  • proposal
  • peer postal 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 interview panel.

Standard assessment criteria

We will use standard and additional funding opportunity specific criteria to assess your application due to the nature of the programmes of work to be funded.

We also wish to highlight that due to the increased importance of appropriate management and governance procedures for a national research facility, the secondary major criterion is resources and management, not national importance.

Quality (primary)

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

  • the ambition, long-term vision, and transformative aspects identified
  • the appropriateness of the proposed approaches and fit to the key requirements for service and operational conditions sections
  • the quality of the science enabled
  • 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 and cost recovery plans are maximised and realistic
  • an unsatisfactory governance plan and KPIs, which may result in a delayed start for a successful proposal until the plan has been updated
  • any resources requested for activities to either increase the impact on the research and broader community, for public engagement or to support responsible innovation.

National importance (secondary)

Drawing upon what you have said, assessors will be asked to comment on how the proposed facility:

  • contributes to, or helps maintain the health of other research disciplines
  • contributes to addressing key UK societal challenges or  current or future UK economic success
  • enables future development of key emerging industries
  • the extent to which the facility proposed has the potential to meet national strategic needs by establishing or maintaining unique world leading research activity, including areas of niche capability
  • fits with and complements other UK research funded in the area or related areas, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio and our stated strategy.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary)

Assessors will be asked to comment on the:

  • appropriateness of the track records 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 group will be advocates for the engineering and physical sciences. You should specifically address how you will influence policy makers in this space 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 interview.

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 our guidance for reviewers.

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

As such, reviewers are requested to comment on the quality of the potential research enabled by having such a facility in the UK. Within the quality field, reviewers should comment on how the proposed facility meets the key requirements of the facility including technical, operational and management aspects.

Read our guidance for reviewing standard grants.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

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.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Maryam Crabbe-Mann, Portfolio manager, ICT

Email:  maryam.crabbe-mann@epsrc.ukri.org 

Simon Crook, Senior Portfolio Manager, Infrastructure

Email: simon.crook@epsrc.ukri.org

Include ‘Epitaxy NRF Call’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within three to five working days.

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

EPSRC NRFs are defined as research facilities that provide resources that are of limited availability to UK researchers.

They are beneficial because:

  • of the high cost of the equipment and the supporting infrastructure required
  • dedicated equipment and supporting infrastructure is not required in every university
  • they provide the particular expertise needed to operate the equipment or interpret the results
  • progress is enhanced by sharing information or software.

EPSRC initiated an annual funding opportunity for statements of community need to identify community requirements for NRF in 2020. The statements of community need were prioritised by an expert panel. This process assessed the:

  • quality
  • usage
  • national importance
  • strategic case and context
  • impact
  • justification for an NRF
  • sustainability
  • charging and access of the submitted ‘statements of community need’.

This grant will have been funded under the NRF scheme and forms part of a portfolio of facilities. In line with the purpose of EPSRCs national importance criteria, investigators and researchers associated with this grant are expected to promote the aims of the associated research programme and be advocates for EPSRC.

Additional grant conditions

Grants will be subject to the standard UKRI grant conditions. However, the following additional grant conditions will be added to this funding opportunity.

Purpose of grant funding

This grant has been funded under the NRF scheme and forms part of a portfolio of facilities. In line with the purpose of EPSRC’s national importance criteria, investigators and researchers associated with this grant are expected to promote the aims of the associated research programme and be advocates for EPSRC.

Monitoring

EPSRC will nominate a member (or members) of UKRI staff (the project officers) who will be your primary point of contact with the research councils. The project officers will ensure that the project is being run in accordance with the terms and conditions and in line with financial due diligence.

The project officers should have access to all documentation of governance and reporting bodies, in so far as it relates to the administration and application of the grant. As funding administrators, all UKRI staff have agreed to maintain the confidentiality required by all parties involved in research council funded research.

Research governance

This grant must establish and run an Independent Advisory Board, or equivalent body, to oversee the day to day running of the project and provide advice on the strategic direction and activities of the project.

The terms of reference of this group should be agreed with EPSRC and it should have at least 50% independent membership and an independent chair. The project officers will also be expected to attend and participate in Advisory Board meetings (and other appropriate meetings) for the duration of the grant.

Accountability

The grant holder should establish an appropriate management structure, which must incorporate independent membership and clear lines of responsibility and authority. This should be in place within six months of the start date of the grant.

The terms of reference and membership of any committees established must be agreed in advance with EPSRC. The project officers will be EPSRC’s main contact with the project, and must receive all meeting minutes of the committees. EPSRC reserves the right to attend any meetings.

Project review

The grant holder must agree to comply with requests for additional financial or non-financial information outside of the stated reporting cycle. Regular monitoring will be conducted through the project officer, who will act on behalf of UKRI.

In addition to the requirements set out in standard UKRI grant conditions, EPSRC and UKRI reserve the right to instigate a review of all or part of the grant at any stage during the lifetime of the award, as well as after the grant has finished.

A mid term (year three) review of this grant will take place to assess the performance of the grant in line with the peer reviewed body of work, published scheme assessment criteria and key performance indicators.

EPSRC will give the grant holder due notice of the date of any review and will provide details of the terms of reference and documentation required. Any review will be conducted by an expert panel, which will make recommendations to EPSRC for the grant’s future.

Progress reports

In addition to the requirements set out in the standard UKRI grant conditions, the grant holder is responsible for providing six month progress reports against non-financial performance metrics. A detailed list of performance metrics and instructions for reporting will be agreed with the grant holder upon commencement of the grant.

Sanctions

EPSRC reserves the right to suspend the grant and withhold further payments if the performance output metrics requested are not provided by the stated deadlines or determined to be of an unacceptable standard by the EPSRC project officer(s).

The research organisation will be formally notified in writing if a suspension occurs. Any costs incurred during this period, irrespective of source, will be incurred at risk with subsequent EPSRC payments being withheld, should any discrepancies remain unresolved.

Grant expenditure

At the start of the grant, the financial spend profile will be agreed by UKRI.

In addition to any reporting requirements, the grant holder must immediately notify the EPSRC project officer(s) of any accumulation, slippage or variation in expenditure greater than 5% of the annual profiled funding. EPSRC reserves the right to re-profile the grant if required.

Any deviation from the agreed allocation of funding and profiled costs must be negotiated and approved through written consent by EPSRC, acting on behalf of UKRI. The approval of profile changes should not be assumed and will be dependent on spend across all associated grants.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 757KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.