Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Digital manufacturing

Apply for funding to support novel research into how digital approaches can be applied to improve manufacturing processes, manufacturing systems or both.

You must be:

  • a UK resident
  • based at an eligible research organisation.

EPSRC will provide up to £7 million to fund a number of projects at 80% of the full economic cost. If you intend to request more than £1 million, you are strongly advised to discuss this with the funding service before applying:

Projects can run for up to 36 months.

This outline stage runs on the new UKRI Funding Service. The ‘how to apply’ section contains the questions and guidance. For specific information on how to answer each question, you’ll need to create an application.

Who can apply

Applicants

Applicants must be resident in the UK and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above
  • 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
  • hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • hold fellowships under other schemes. Email support@funding-service.ukri.org to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Holders of post-doctoral level fellowships are not eligible to apply for this opportunity.

As this opportunity is running on the new UKRI Funding Service, we recommend all applicants watch the recording of our ‘Manufacturing the Future’ webinar.

Answers to questions that were raised during that session can be found in the ‘additional information’ section.

For full details on the eligibility of individuals to receive EPSRC funding, see EPSRC eligibility of investigators.

Research office professionals

You cannot apply for this opportunity on our Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. It’s one of the opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

We’ll contact research offices at organisations whose members have not previously applied through the Funding Service. This is to create a UKRI Funding Service account, with administrator status. This will give:

  • oversight of every funding service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit applications, which must be received by 16:00 UK time, 3 February 2022.

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation applying for this opportunity, and have not already received an invitation to open an account, email support@funding-service.ukri.org.

As an administrator, you’ll be responsible for the final submission of the application to UKRI. Make sure internal deadlines are made clear to applicants from your organisation. Watch the webinar we ran for research offices from organisations with potential applicants which explains everything.

What we're looking for

Synopsis

The vision for EPSRC’s manufacturing the future theme (MtF) is one of a prosperous and productive UK, supported by a thriving research and knowledge-led manufacturing base. To enable this, our mission is to create and capture the benefits of basic research for UK manufacturing industries.

This opportunity seeks to support that aim by contributing to the delivery of the MtF digital manufacturing priority. Grants are expected to be:

  • in line with the size of usual standard research grants
  • within 10% variance of the total funding request indicated at outline stage.

Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is not available through this opportunity.

Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) can be included as part of the outline costs section of the application.

Scope

The scope of this opportunity has been developed in collaboration with members of the manufacturing research and innovation community. The topic of ‘digital technology for manufacturing’ emerged as a research priority during the manufacturing futures retreat and community engagement activities (PDF, 12.5MB). This priority was reaffirmed in a manufacturing the future research priorities workshop (PDF, 884KB) in 2019.

Through this priority, MtF aims to support the novel research needed to enable accurate simulation of products and processes through their lifecycle. In particular, this research will seek to understand:

  • how to model complex materials and systems
  • the perturbations, transformations or both that they undergo through manufacturing processes
  • how these insights can be used to:
    • reduce the need for physical prototypes
    • reduce the risk and time to market associated with launching new products
    • improve the accuracy of requirements capture and design specification processes
    • reduce discard rate and improve product quality control
    • enable new product architectures
    • reduce certification time and inspection costs.

Applicants must clearly show how the proposed research constitutes manufacturing research, and how it addresses at least one of these key digital manufacturing research challenges:

  • interoperability of analogue and digital process or legacy systems to support digitalisation
  • design space exploration, design-support systems
  • data challenges influencing modelling capability
  • data integrity and risk management in manufacturing systems
  • data analytics and visualisation
  • human-simulation interaction, people in the loop
  • real time simulation and optimisation
  • tools to support the verification of models, metrology in manufacturing
  • virtual testing, to facilitate non-destructive testing or moving testing online
  • building security, privacy, risk and trust into the manufacturing process and supply chains.

Not all research that can address one (or more) of the above points would constitute manufacturing research. Proposals must demonstrably lie within the remit (minimum 50%) of the EPSRC MtF theme.

To fit within this remit, proposals must focus on fundamental engineering and physical sciences research into manufacturing technologies, the manufacturing process or its design and operation.

Any proposals that EPSRC deems outside the remit of the MtF theme, or the scope of this opportunity, may be rejected without reference to peer review.

Industrial engagement

Applicants are encouraged to consider industrial engagement. For example, building plans to engage with a range of relevant manufacturing companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, throughout the project.

Manufacturing sustainability

The MtF theme recognises the importance of considering the sustainability of manufacturing research across the breadth of the manufacturing portfolio. Therefore, at full proposal stage (stage two) invited applicants will be required to provide a manufacturing sustainability statement.

This requirement will ensure you have considered the wider implications of the research being conducted, prior to applying for this opportunity. This statement will not form a part of the assessment of your proposal.

It’s important to understand that your proposal is not expected to be focused on researching sustainability in and of itself. If you’re invited to stage two, your manufacturing sustainability statement should demonstrate and address:

  • considerations made to the wider environmental sustainability of your approach. For example, where appropriate, have any life cycle assessments been conducted? Is the research method energy and waste efficient?
  • if the research has the potential for positive improvements in environmental sustainability for the manufacturing sector
  • if, and how, the research may contribute to national and global sustainability priorities (for example: net zero commitment, Paris Agreement, industrial decarbonisation strategy and other relevant targets)
  • how you will ensure the research does not have unnecessary negative environmental impacts
  • if potential negative environmental impacts are identified, what is being done to minimise and mitigate against these?

You are not required to provide this statement at stage one (outline).

Responsible innovation

EPSRC is fully committed to developing and promoting responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.

We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation, that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor, and to encourage our research community to do likewise. Therefore, applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.

International collaborators

Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit the Trusted Research website, which offers information and advice on how to get the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.

How to apply

The digital technologies for manufacturing application process takes part in two stages:

  1. Submission of an outline proposal.
  2. Invited submission of a full proposal, if successful at outline stage.

Before you apply for stage one, we strongly encourage you to refer to the ‘additional information’ section. This details what you will need to provide for stage two and how it will be assessed.

Stage one: outline

What follows is a copy of the sections and questions you’ll need to complete and answer for this stage one (outline) application on UKRI’s new Funding Service. You cannot apply for stage one of this opportunity on the Je-S system.

Applicants will need to take the following steps to apply:

  1. Select the ‘Start application’ button toward the start of this page.
  2. This will open the ‘Sign in’ page of the UKRI Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one, a two-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in the ‘How to apply’ section. You can save your work and come back to it later.
  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.

Make sure you get any necessary approval from your organisation in advance and give your research office plenty of time before the closing date.

Please note, if you are submitting a proposal as a joint application, then only the lead organisation should submit a proposal. However, you must provide the details of all intended co-applicants in the applicants section.

1. Details and summary

Application name

This should be the title of your proposed project.

Limited to 20 words.

Add applicants section

Provide principal investigator and co-investigator details.

Start date and duration

Provide the start date and planned duration of your proposed project.

The challenge and your idea

State which of the following digital manufacturing research challenges you’re tackling and briefly describe your idea, providing some context for the specific issue identified and your proposed response to it:

  • interoperability of analogue and digital process or legacy systems to support digitalisation
  • design space exploration, design-support systems
  • data challenges influencing modelling capability
  • data integrity and risk management in manufacturing systems
  • data analytics and visualisation
  • human-simulation interaction, people in the loop
  • real time simulation and optimisation
  • tools to support the verification of models, metrology in manufacturing
  • virtual testing, to facilitate non-destructive testing or moving testing online
  • building security, privacy, risk and trust into the manufacturing process and supply chains.

Limited to 500 words.

2. Case for support

Provide a case for support, making sure to include the information asked for in ‘What the assessors are looking for in your response’.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should make sure you include enough information for assessors to score your application against all the assessment criteria, so they can decide whether to invite you to submit a full proposal.

Structure your response using the four subheadings provided. You can also include up to five images (one of which can be a Gantt chart) and one A4 page of equations, formulae or expressions, in a single PDF, using the file upload function.

Research vision

What is the research vision and how will the research to be conducted support the digital manufacturing priority as described in the ‘What we’re looking for: Scope’ section of the funding finder guidance.

Research challenge

Identify the overall aims of the programme and the challenges to be addressed. Explain why the proposed research is novel, timely and innovative. Explain how the proposed research fits the aims of this opportunity.

Project team

Briefly explain who’ll be involved in the project and what expertise they’ll contribute.

Proposed programme

Describe the programme of research that will be carried out using the funding, showing how the work packages relate to each other. A small diagram may be useful at this point. Outline the methodology to be used in the research and justify this choice.

Limited to 2,200 words.

3. Resources and costs

Ensure your costs accurately reflect the funding you will need. Reviewers will scrutinise them as part of their overall assessment of your application.

Guidance to providing costs

Please note that the overall cost of applications submitted at stage two is expected to be within 10% of the cost recorded at this stage. Although, these costs will not be assessed at this (outline) stage. They are requested for information to inform EPSRC’s planning.

A degree of estimation is expected for some costs, such as consumables and travel, but carefully work out other costs, like staff and equipment.

We recommend that you work with your research office for this part of your application, as they’ll be familiar with the process. Make sure you leave enough time for them to review this section before submission.

Directly incurred costs arise as a direct consequence of your project taking place. They must be actual, auditable and supported by invoices.

Directly allocated costs are incurred whether or not the project takes place and are estimated at project level. For example, technician time and estates costs.

Indirect costs represent the costs of central and distributed services shared by other activities that are not project-specific. For example, human resources and IT.

4. Sensitive information

Let us know if you need to tell us something that you do not want included within the part of your application that can be read by assessors.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • an applicant is unavailable until a certain date
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record
  • conflict of interest for EPSRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection.

For information about how UKRI handles personal data please see UKRI’s privacy notice.

How we will assess your application

This is a two-stage assessment process, with this outline stage one being used to manage demand at stage two.

For the outline stage, we’re looking for applications that are a good fit for the scope of the opportunity. Any proposals not within the scope of this opportunity, or not primarily within the remit of the EPSRC MtF theme, will be rejected prior to assessment.

An independent expert panel will assess applications based on how well the information provided meets the following assessment criteria.

  1. Suitability of the research vision and research challenge:
    • fit to opportunity scope of the applicants’ vision as described
    • extent of the research contribution to the vision of digital manufacturing, either existing or future
    • appropriateness of the consideration of broader issues and challenges relating to the research and its impact
  1. Appropriateness of the proposed team and programme of research to deliver innovative, high-quality research:
    • this particularly includes potential for transformative aspects or significant potential outcomes.

Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal in stage two.

Potential applicants are urged to read the assessment criteria for stage two to help them structure their proposal responses at this outline stage. This is outlined in the ‘additional information’ section.

Feedback

At stage one, brief feedback may be given to unsuccessful applicants as directed by the panel.

At stage two, reviewers’ comments on full proposals will be made available to all applicants who are invited and submit a full proposal. A rank-ordered list from the full proposal prioritisation panel will be available after the panel. The prioritisation panel may provide specific feedback if deemed necessary, but this will not be given as standard.

Changes to the assessment process

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

Contact details

Get help with the Funding Service

If you have any queries, difficulties creating an account or signing in, or need any other help with the UKRI Funding Service, contact us.

Ask a question about this funding opportunity

For queries relating to the scientific content of the opportunity or remit, please mark these for the attention of the EPSRC digital manufacturing opportunity leads Tochukwu Ajare and Stephanie Williams.

Additional info

Background

The EPSRC MtF theme has recently refreshed its research priorities, with input from numerous members of the manufacturing research and innovation community. The topic of ‘digital technology for manufacturing’ has emerged as one of the theme’s updated research priorities.

In 2018, MtF held a strategic retreat to explore the future manufacturing research and innovation landscape and examine future strategic opportunities.

The outputs were further developed through a series of community engagement activities, forming the basis of a MtF strategic priorities workshop in 2019.

During the 2019 workshop, the importance of ‘digital technologies for manufacturing’ as a priority area for future manufacturing research was reaffirmed.

This was envisioned to cover novel research required to enable accurate simulation of products and processes through their lifecycle. Subsequent discussions with the MtF strategic advisory team and input from the Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research, and a community digital manufacturing workshop, developed this opportunity.

Find out more about the manufacturing futures retreat 2018.

Read the workshop report on EPSRC MtF regional meetings 2018 to 2019 (PDF, 12.5MB).

Read the report on MtF research priorities workshop (PDF, 884KB).

Supplementary information

The Made Smarter review (2017) set out a vision for growth and increased productivity across the manufacturing sector by unlocking the potential of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs). This opportunity hopes to continue UKRI’s focus on research and innovation elements of Made Smarter in the form of manufacturing specific standard mode grants that focus on key challenges in the area raised by the community.

Stage two applications (full proposal)

Stage two will probably need to be submitted via the Je-S system.

At stage two, applicants will need to provide:

  • workplan: illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as programme evaluation and review technique (PERT) or Gantt chart
  • case for support: a description of the proposed research and its context
  • justification for resources
  • CVs: for named and visiting researchers, and researcher co-investigators only
  • project partner letters of support: applicants must provide a letter of support from all named project partners. The letters must be on headed paper, and signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date
  • letters of support: in exceptional circumstances a maximum of three letters can be submitted
  • additional documents: applicants will also need to provide a manufacturing sustainability statement.

We’ll give successful applicants more detailed guidance at stage two.

Assessment process

Applicants who are successful at stage one will be invited to submit a full proposal at stage two. This second stage will probably be conducted using the Je-S system. Stage two applications will be assessed by postal peer review against the stage two assessment criteria below.

Quality (primary)

The research excellence, making reference to:

  • the novelty, relationship to the context, timeliness and relevance to identified stakeholders
  • the ambition, adventure, transformative aspects or potential outcomes
  • the suitability of the proposed methodology and the appropriateness of the approach to achieving impact. (for multidisciplinary proposals please state which aspects of the proposal you feel qualified to assess).

National importance (secondary major)

How the research:

  • contributes to, or helps maintain the health of other disciplines contributes to addressing key UK societal challenges or contributes to future UK economic success and development of emerging industry(s)
  • meets national needs by establishing or maintaining a unique world leading activity
  • complements other UK research funded in the area, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary)

The ability to deliver the proposed project, making reference to:

  • appropriateness of the track record of the applicant(s)
  • balance of skills of the project team, including collaborators.

Resources and management (secondary)

The effectiveness of the proposed planning and management and whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified, making reference to:

  • any equipment requested, or the viability of the arrangements described to access equipment needed for this project, and particularly on any university or third-party contribution
  • any resources requested for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement or to support responsible innovation.

Alignment of the research programme to the aims and scope of the opportunity.

Nominating reviewers

As part of the stage two application process via the Je-S system, you’ll be invited to nominate up to three potential reviewers who you feel have the expertise to assess your proposal. Make sure any nominations meet the EPSRC policy on conflicts of interest.

For more information about the reviewer selection process, use the related content links.

Guidance for reviewers

You can find out more about the peer review process by reading EPSRC’s reviewer forms and guidance notes. This includes guidance for reviewing standard grants.

For the opportunity-specific criteria section of the reviewer form, address the opportunity-specific criterion: alignment of the research programme to the aims and scope of the opportunity. Refer to the ‘what we’re looking for: scope’ section to make your assessment.

Guidance for applicants

For advice on writing proposals, read ESPRC’s guidance on what to include in your proposal.

Answers to questions raised at the digital manufacturing webinar

General information about this opportunity

If you missed the ‘manufacturing the future’ webinar, you can watch a recording of it.

Projects can run for up to 36 months; however, there is no requirement that all projects must run for 36 months.

Currently, the new funding service is only being used for stage one, with stage two being run on Je-S. The required additional features are in the process of being built. If they are ready, it may continue on this service, in which case, we will inform applicants in advance.

There is no restriction on the number of proposals from any given institution. If you are making a joint application between two or more institutions, only the lead organisation should submit the proposal and lead the application.

Multidisciplinary projects are welcomed. However, proposals are expected to lie within the remit (minimum 50%) of the EPSRC MtF theme and address at least one of the key digital manufacturing research challenges. At the outline stage, the expert assessors will be expected to assess the suitability of the proposed programme and how well the proposal fits the scope of the opportunity.

Research projects may be in scope regardless of their likely location(s) of impact. However, please note that the stage two assessment criteria include reference to the UK specifically, under the ‘national importance’ section. It is important to consider how well your proposal addresses this criterion.

Irrespective of the scale of the project, applicants should make a robust case against all of the assessment criteria in order to ensure their application will be competitive. This opportunity is run through the MtF theme budget, but we work with each of the engineering themes (as well as information and communication technologies or artificial intelligence) to deliver the appropriate scope for EPSRC, with a manufacturing focus. Should there be particularly high demand meeting the criteria and of sufficient quality, other themes may contribute funds. The barriers in this case should not affect applications.

This opportunity does not have a portfolio balancing assessment process in place so geographic and/or topic spread will not be considered. Instead, decisions will be made in a rank ordered list based on assessment criteria.

Final selection of projects will occur in quarter four of the financial year 2022 to 2023, projects are therefore anticipated to start from March 2023 onwards.

About who can apply

Investigators must be academic employees (lecturer or equivalent) of an eligible organisation.

Post-doctoral (or equivalent) research assistants who are not eligible to apply for a grant in their own right, but who merit appropriate recognition for making a significant contribution to developing the grant proposal and/or whose input is essential to its successful outcome, may be identified as a researcher co-investigator. Check eligibility status.

Please note that researcher co-investigators are not included in the ‘add applicants’ section at the outline stage but should be included as named applicants at stage two and are of course suitable to be included in the ‘project team’ section of the stage one case for support.

Students are not generally eligible to apply for EPSRC grants and PhD studentship costs aren’t eligible for inclusion in standard research proposals (as in this opportunity).

At the outline stage, applicants restricted under the repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy may submit unlimited applications for this opportunity. However, they will only be able to submit one at the full proposal stage (this will count as the one application you can make in the following 12 months). Likewise, applications to the outline stage are not included in the calculation of applicant status, but applications to the full proposal stage are taken into account.

Opportunity wording

In respect of further interpreting the wording in the opportunity document, for example:

  • ‘…virtual testing, to facilitate non-destructive testing
  • …design space exploration and optimisation
  • …the balance between materials modelling and manufacturing process modelling
  • …individual manufacturing processes versus a full production line
  • …recycling and upcycling’,

we cannot do that at this stage.

This is because EPSRC staff do not assess whether applications fit the opportunity’s scope. Instead, this assessment is made by the expert panel and peer reviewers. We would recommend considering whether you can make a strong case that the research you are planning aligns well to the wording in the opportunity document, and then making a clear argument in the proposal for how your research fits the scope. Unfortunately, if we give further interpretation at this stage it may conflict with the assessment of the panel.

Please note that proposals must address a manufacturing challenge in order to fit within the MtF theme remit. In respect of whether simulation can be integrated with a physical process as a verification means (specifically regarding costs of physical infrastructure like a robot) the best approach depends on the challenge you’re addressing. Including a physical process as a verification means may well be a suitable approach. At the outline stage, the expert assessors will be expected to assess the suitability of the proposed programme and how well the proposal fits the scope of the opportunity. We would generally recommend asking an independent colleague to read the scope and your proposal to see what concerns might be raised by an assessor.

About this opportunity’s scope

Proposals must meet the specific scope requirements for this digital manufacturing opportunity, addressing one of the key research challenges identified at the beginning of this guidance. They may address current or future manufacturing processes. Expert assessors may of course take a view on the appropriateness of the subject addressed by a proposal, for example, under the ‘national importance’ criterion.

Proposals are expected to lie within the remit (minimum 50%) of the EPSRC MtF theme and address at least one of the key digital manufacturing research challenges. At the outline stage, the expert assessors will be expected to assess the suitability of the proposed programme and how well the proposal fits the scope of the opportunity.

There is no set requirement to connect your proposal and other significant EPSRC investments, such as ‘materials made smarter’. If you wish to connect to other investments in the landscape, that is always welcomed, where appropriate. As long as the new application is not a resubmission, it can be a standalone project.

Software engineering usually fits within the remit of EPSRC (fundamental engineering and physical science). For this opportunity, proposals must also fit within the remit of the MtF theme. Therefore, proposals must focus on fundamental engineering and physical sciences research into manufacturing technologies, the manufacturing process or its design and operation.

TRL1-3 expectations

EPSRC supports fundamental and applied research at the earliest stages in the development of any new technology. The TRL1-3 expectation is required due to the nature of EPSRC’s funding remit. We would look for proposals which had a clear intention to develop new/novel technology/processes but appreciate there are more applied elements to manufacturing research. We usually expect at least half of the work packages/proposal to be clearly in EPSRC remit, i.e., TRL 1-3, in this case at least half of the proposal must constitute manufacturing research.

Business and industrial partnerships

Businesses aren’t normally eligible for EPSRC funding but check the webpage as sometimes there are exceptions. However, they are very welcome to contribute to projects as project partners. Find out about which organisations are eligible.

Applicants are encouraged to consider industrial engagement. For example, building plans to engage with a range of relevant manufacturing companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, throughout the project. There is no strict requirement to have a formal industrial partner, but the assessors will be expected to consider the appropriateness of the whole project team, including collaborators. Industrial partners are not entered formally at the outline stage. They will be added formally at the full proposal stage. You can of course mention them as part of your outline as you feel appropriate. An industrial partner may be listed as a project partner.

There are no prioritised industrial sectors in this opportunity. However, project partners’ role and contributions to the project should be detailed in the track record section in the case for support as they are considered part of the research team. Industrial involvement does not need to include cash, it could also be in-kind contribution such as staff time or use of facilities.

In respect of IP issues where an industry partner is involved, we would recommend reading our approach to intellectual assets.

Letters of support and pvc/institutional letters

At this (outline) stage, this information is not required. Letters of support will be required and pvc/institutional letters can be included at stage two (full proposals). You can of course mention your industry partners as part of your outline, as you feel appropriate. If you have a specific issue to raise which you would usually include in a cover letter, you should contact the UKRI helpdesk adding your unique application number to the subject line content.

Funding from companies or for academic partners overseas

If a partner is listed as a project partner, they can receive small amounts of funding from the grant, such as for travel and subsistence to attend project meetings. These will need to be requested by the principal investigator and will need to be fully justified. Read our guidance on including visiting researchers in the proposal. The costs associated with the visit may be included in the grant application.

Companies inside and outside the UK can be included as project partners or subcontractors. Please note that subcontractors will be subject to the procurement rules of the host organisation. Read our guidance on working with business.

Working with partners, for example: NHS hospitals user groups and research institutes

Find out about which organisations are eligible.

Organisations which are not eligible to host principal investigators or co-investigators may be included as project partners. A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include cash or in-kind contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities. A project partner cannot be from the same higher educational institute that is hosting the principal investigator or co-investigator.

About funding and costs

There is up to £7 million available under this opportunity. As projects may vary in size it is hard to predict how many will be funded. The success rate at stage two (by number of grants) is also dependent partly on the size of projects, and the number of high-quality outlines invited to the second stage.

In respect of success rates, we usually aim for higher than 25%, therefore the number of proposals invited to the second stage depends on the size of the proposals submitted. If sufficient quality applications are submitted, we would usually try to invite back around double the amount we have funding available for.

There is no strict upper limit to the amount of money that each project can apply for. However, applicants who intend to request more than £1 million at 80% FEC value (projects with a FEC of over £1.25 million) are strongly advised to contact the UKRI Funding Service helpdesk before applying.

Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is not available through this opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) can be included as part of the outline costs section of the application. Annual renewal of software licenses falls under other costs, so they do not count as equipment.

We recommend that you work with your research office to enter your best estimate of the costs at the outline stage (stage one), as the overall cost of applications at stage two is expected to be within 10% of the cost recorded at stage one. Project partners may be added and/or removed between the two stages. Small changes in other aspects of the application are acceptable, and of course more detail will be added in stage two.

The stage two application should clearly resemble the stage one application, with most of the aims and methodology remaining the same. All stage one (outline) proposals will be considered against the outline stage assessment criteria, and this is likely to be a highly competitive stage. Therefore, EPSRC would not expect to see proposals materially altered between the two stages in such a way that the panel might have come to a different decision, as this would be unfair to the unsuccessful applicants.

Reviewers

Reviewers are selected by preference from members of the EPSRC Peer Review College and their expertise is matched to the particular project they will be invited to review. This pool of reviewers is made up of experts from academia, industry, local and international organisations.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 143KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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