EPSRC mathematical sciences small grants scheme

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Applications to the mathematical sciences small grants scheme must focus on original research projects or feasibility studies for research projects. EPSRC is looking to support grants in the region of £10 -80,000 at full economic cost (FEC, total amount up to £100,000) and up to 12 months in duration. Full proposals can be submitted at any time and will be considered by EPSRC on a rolling basis.

This scheme will follow a non-standard format for submission and assessment, with standard EPSRC eligibility and assessment criteria being applied. Applicants as principal investigators or co-investigators can only hold one small grant at any one time.

Any submissions to this call will not count towards the repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

Who can apply

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Small 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.

Read the guidance on institutional eligibility.

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

  • are 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 (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.

Read further information about our standard eligibility rules (EPSRC website).

There is no limit to the number of submissions from a single institution. However, applicants as principal investigators or co-investigators can only hold one small grant at any one time.

Applications are driven by ideas, and as such may involve either single or multiple applicants. Interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary collaborative research is permissible, and must be in majority mathematical sciences remit.

Applications to this call will not preclude applicants from schemes that include holding previous awards as an eligibility factor (for example, new investigator awards, , but these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and any enquiries over NIA eligibility should contact the Maths inbox).

Submissions to this call will not count towards the repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

Please ensure sufficient time to create Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) accounts for investigators who do not currently have one.

What we're looking for

Background

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on 27 January 2020 of up to an additional £300 million for mathematical sciences, EPSRC can now announce a scheme specifically aimed at providing freedom to grant small amounts for initial research and early-stage idea generation.

The design of this scheme has taken into account steer from the mathematical sciences community including consultation through the mathematical sciences strategy workshop held in March 2019, the Mathematical Sciences Strategic Advisory Team, learned societies, and the Advisory Group for the additional funding for mathematical sciences programme.

More information about EPSRC’s portfolio and strategies.

Scope

Small grants are a mechanism for supporting mathematical sciences research which does not require funding at the level generally seen within standard research grants.

Projects must be focused on original research projects or feasibility studies for research projects. Proposals focused purely on networking or community building are not appropriate (and can be supported by other funding routes).

This scheme is for research, therefore proposals better suited to the workshop, network or overseas travel grant schemes will be rejected.

Requests for equipment over £10,000 in value should not be made.

Funding available

It is expected that proposals will be:

  • up to 12 months in duration
  • costed at between £10,000 and £80,000 (EPSRC provides 80% value of the full economic costing, total cost up to £100,000).

Grants costed higher than this will be permissible but applicants are asked to consider the spirit of the scheme and the impact a larger request will have on the number of grants EPSRC will be able to fund when applying.

In the first instance, a rising funding level of up to £2 million per annum will be allocated to this initiative however, this will be reviewed and may be subject to change.

Please ensure you account for adequate resources to enable the delivery of your proposed plans.

Equipment over £10,000 in value (inc. VAT) is not available through this call. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘Directly Incurred – Other Costs’ heading.

More information on equipment funding.

How to apply

You should prepare and submit your proposal using the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

When adding a new proposal, you should go to documents, select New Document, then select:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: Standard/Outline/ …
  • on the ‘Project Details’ page you should select the ‘Mathematical Sciences Small Grants Scheme’ call.

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.

As well as the Je-S application form the following documents must be submitted:

  • case for support: four pages – including evidence of an ability to deliver the proposed research. This may involve the type of information usually included in the track record or any information deemed helpful to highlight at this point. There is no strict requirement regarding the length of each individual section within the document. We would recommend splitting the case for support to be able to demonstrate the assessment criteria for the proposal in the most appropriate way. The assessment criteria can be found under the ‘How we will assess your application’ tab below.
  • justification of resources: one page
  • letters of support from all project partners included in the Je-S form: no page limit – Must be included from all named project partners. Must be on headed paper, and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date. The letter should detail the Project Partner contribution (including any cash and in-kind contributions, which can include staff time, access to equipment in your organisation, provision of data, software or materials – expressed as cash equivalent greater than £0/1). Must not be included for non-project partners. Further information on project partners can be found on the EPSRC website.
  • host organisation letter of support: This document type should only be used where a secondment is being supported, or (optional) to confirm contractual arrangements and/or detail specific support (for example, cash and/or in-kind contributions) that might be relevant to the application.
  • CVs: up to two A4 sides each, are mandatory for named research staff (including researcher co-investigators) and visiting researchers. CVs are not required for principal or co-investigators.

Advice on writing proposals.

Please note that 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, typeface or font size. If you are using software such as LaTeX please ensure you take extra care when converting to PDFs.

EPSRC reserves the right to reject proposals that do not meet EPSRC formatting guidelines (for example, correct font size, typeface and/or margins) or where documents have been assigned to the incorrect attachment type. Where non-required documents have been attached or where mandatory documents are missing applications will be rejected.

Further information on EPSRC formatting guidelines.

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. Further guidance on completing the Je-S form. EPSRC guidance can be found under additional information.

UKRI is implementing a standard method for inputting overseas costs on Je-S from 1 July 2021. This will enhance UKRI’s ability to report on overseas funding to:

  • BEIS
  • the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD)
  • HMG
  • other government departments.

It includes any costs incurred by organisations outside the UK, including:

  • staff salaries
  • travel and subsistence
  • equipment
  • overheads.

The ‘Other-DI Costs’ document is to contain the following data in the description box in this exact format: ‘Organisation; Country; Cost Category; Cost Description’.

For example: ‘University of Nairobi; Kenya; Other Directly Incurred Costs; Subcontracting of the production of samples’.

How we will assess your application

The small grants scheme will have a single submission stage for full proposals.

Full proposals will be batched and assessed by a panel drawn from the mathematical sciences community. Due to the nature and timescales of this scheme, there will be no postal peer review and no right to reply.

In the event of this scheme being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

This scheme will be kept under regular review and dependent on demand and timing of applications, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

Standard criteria

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 multi-disciplinary 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 and/or contributes to future UK economic success and development of emerging industry(s)
  • meets national needs by establishing/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.

Feedback

Detailed feedback will not be provided on submitted proposals.

Key dates

There are no deadlines for a submission to the scheme. Proposals can be submitted at any time and will be considered by EPSRC on a rolling basis. These proposals will be assessed by a panel drawn from the mathematical sciences community. Please be aware we cannot guarantee applications going to specific panels. Proposals will be batched up for assessment four times a year, with panels held shortly after.

Contact details

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.

Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to:

Any enquiries related to this scheme should be directed to:

Additional info

Background

On 27 January 2020, the Prime Minister announced additional funding of up to £300 million for mathematical sciences. The additional funding of up to £300 million will more than double the current funding for the mathematical sciences delivered by EPSR), part of UK Research and Innovation.

This new investment will be for research projects, fellowships and doctoral awards where the research focus is in mathematical sciences as well as providing additional funding to increase participants at the Isaac Newton Institute (Cambridge) and the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Edinburgh), and additional support to the Heibronn Institute for Mathematical Research.

More information on the additional funding for mathematical sciences programme.

More information about EPSRC’s portfolio and strategies.

Further Information

Please use the links below to see specific guidance on:

Supporting documents

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