The UK is at the forefront of addressing global societal and economic challenges that have engineering and physical sciences at the heart, including:
- climate change
- cyber security
- long-term sustainable growth
Consequently, as part of our 2022 to 2025 delivery plan we will provide opportunities for our research and innovation base to connect with international leaders and facilitate joint working between the UK research community and their preferred global partners.
This funding opportunity forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The ambition of ODA-funded activities is to focus on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.
Proposals must make it clear that its primary purpose is to promote the economic development and welfare of a developing country or countries. Applicants should:
- seek to investigate a specific problem or seek a specific outcome which will have an impact on a developing country or countries on the DAC list
- provide evidence as to why this is a problem for the developing country or countries
- address the issue identified effectively and efficiently
- use the strengths of the UK to address the issues, working in collaboration with others as appropriate
Applications will be assessed with ODA eligibility being a criterion for approval. Panel members will be provided with this guidance and asked to comment on ODA compliance.
Grant additional conditions (GAC)
Grants are awarded under the standard UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant terms and conditions. As an internationally collaborative grant particular attention should be paid to standard conditions 2.6.1 and 2.6.2.
The following additional grant conditions will also apply:
GAC: ODA compliance
The funding opportunity is part of the UK’s ODA. Its aim is to support cutting-edge research that addresses challenges faced by developing countries.
You must ensure the research that is undertaken as part of this grant is compliant with ODA rules and regulations as set out by the OECD. In the event that the research is deemed to no longer comply with ODA rules and regulations We reserve the right to terminate the grant and recover funds spent on non-ODA compliant activities.
Read further ODA guidance (PDF, 331KB)
In addition to the requirements set out in RGC 7.1, any proposed changes to the award that could affect the ODA compliance of the research must be reported to us at the earliest opportunity via the grant maintenance facility in the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S). We will then consider whether such changes are permissible and inform you of their decision.
Changes that should be reported include but are not limited to:
- any proposed changes to the field or other study sites within OECD DAC list country or countries
- country of focus
- the potential graduation of a country of focus from the OECD DAC list
GAC: government support
This award is dependent on continuing government commitment for this initiative. In the event that this support is withdrawn, we reserve the right to terminate the award.
GAC: grant extensions
Notwithstanding grant conditions RGC 6, due to ODA financial constraints, grant extensions will only be considered under circumstances (in line with the Equality Act 2010) and will require our agreement on a case-by-case basis.
You remain responsible for compliance with the terms of the Equality Act 2010 including any subsequent amendments introduced while work is in progress; and for ensuring that the expectations set out in RGC 3.4 are met.
GAC: ethical requirements for research being undertaken overseas
Research must meet the UKRI research governance requirements outlined in RGC 3. For clinical studies involving human participants and, or, patients, appropriate consent must be obtained. Additionally, any research undertaken outside the UK must have both UK and respective country ethical approvals.
When collaborating with other laboratories, or where animal facilities are provided by third parties, researchers and the local ethics committee in the UK should satisfy themselves that welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation (for example the American Society for Public Administration) and set out in this guidance are applied and maintained.
Find our more about ethics
You must be prepared to furnish us with a copy of the ethical approval, and any correspondence with the committees, if requested by us. You must notify us if a regulator or a research ethics committee requires amendments that substantially affect the research question, methodology or costs to the extent that the project is no longer the same as that approved for funding by us.
GAC: collaboration agreements
In addition to RGC 12, where the grant is associated with more than 1 research organisation and, or, other project partners, the basis of collaboration between the organisations, including the allocation of resources throughout the project and ownership of intellectual property and rights to exploitation, is expected to be set out in a formal collaboration agreement.
Collaboration agreements with all identified partners must be in place within the first 6 months of the grant start date. The terms of collaboration agreements must not conflict with the UKRI terms and conditions.
GAC: ODA transparency
The UK government is committed to transparency in reporting ODA spending, through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) open data standard. In line with this, information about this award will be made available via the IATI registry.
You must have policies and procedures in place to safeguard research participants, their communities, direct beneficiaries and research staff from all forms of exploitation, violence, abuse or harm as a result of their association with the project or with project staff, associated personnel, volunteers or visitors.
You are responsible for ensuring that research is conducted in a way that ensures the health, wellbeing, human rights and dignity of the research participants and their communities and is fair and free from exploitation and abuse.
All relevant safeguarding legislation and good practice recommendations must be adhered to. We particularly draw your attention to child protection legislation and the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
1 or more overseas partner organisations based in lower middle income, low income or least developed country or countries on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients, including universities, research institutes, non-governmental organisations, charities and industry collaborators, are a requirement for proposals to this opportunity.
Overseas partners from China and India do not count towards this criteria. Subcontracting costs may be requested for these partners where necessary for the project and suitably justified in the application.
Co-investigators may only be named from international research organisations based in partner lower middle income, low income or least developed countries. These partner organisations will receive funding through the UK lead research organisation; they cannot act as the lead organisation.
Co-investigators based in the UK are permitted if the grant crosses disciplinary boundaries and it is demonstrated they are from a different discipline to the principal investigator, as per standard New Investigator Award guidance. If you have any queries in this regard, please contact us before applying.
It may be appropriate for some lower middle income, low income or least developed country organisations to be project partners in the usual EPSRC sense, in that they are offering their own resources to the project, either cash and, or, in-kind, rather than requesting funding from EPSRC via the UK lead university. Project partners in this sense do satisfy the opportunity requirement for lower middle income, low income or least developed country partner organisations.
Collaborators from upper middle income countries on the DAC list of the OECD may be included on the proposal as project partners but EPSRC will not contribute to their associated costs.
Please note that overseas costs should only be applied for where they cannot reasonably be covered by existing funding. For example, an overseas co-investigator’s salary may be fully covered and no UK contribution is required to recompense their time in carrying out the project.
In such a case the total number of hours to be charged to the grant over its duration should be shown as zero on the Je-S form, although the hours per week they undertake to contribute to the project should be entered on the form as normal.
The UK research organisation awarded the grant is responsible for the conduct and administration of the grant. It is accountable for the effective use of public funds, and must therefore ensure that all grant monies are subject to proper financial management processes.
It is the research organisation’s responsibility to ensure that expenditure on collaborations in the UK and abroad is subject to robust controls to ensure value for money and propriety; all costs should be fully vouched and maintained for possible inspection and checks by, or on behalf of, EPSRC.
If research resources are subcontracted to a partner organisation the UK lead research organisation must undertake due diligence checks to ensure that the funding will be appropriately used. The lead UK research organisation must confirm to EPSRC that it has undertaken suitable due diligence checks within 3 months of the start of the grant.
Permissible overseas costs are described below. These apply only to costs associated with collaborators from research organisations in lower middle income, low income or least developed countries. Collaborations with other countries are permitted, but are subject to standard EPSRC funding rules:
- salary costs for overseas co-Investigators and any locally employed researchers or technicians, meaning percentage contribution of actual salary should be entered under the appropriate investigator or staff section of the Je-S form. In each case these costs must be marked as an exception. EPSRC contribution of 100% of the full economic cost
- travel and subsistence for overseas co-investigators and, or, researchers. These costs should be entered under directly incurred costs as usual but marked as an exception. EPSRC contribution of 100% of the full economic cost
- other directly incurred costs charged by the overseas organisation and associated with the research, for example, consumables, field work, etc. These costs should be entered as usual but marked as an exception. EPSRC contribution of 100% of the full economic cost
- other directly incurred indirect and estates costs at the overseas organisation: we will pay a contribution to these costs, which should be calculated as 20% of the overseas research organisation’s staff costs only, including investigators, researchers and technicians. This total should be entered as a separate item under other directly incurred costs and marked as an exception. EPSRC contribution of 100% of the full economic cost
- travel and subsistence (including bench fees) for UK-based researchers going abroad to undertake work. This does not include costs incurred directly by the overseas organisation when the UK researcher is active in that country. EPSRC contribution of 80% of the full economic cost
EPSRC is fully committed to develop and promote 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.
Frequently asked questions and webinar questions (PDF, 420KB)
Webinar slides (PDF, 2.9MB)
Equality impact assessment (PDF, 228KB)