Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: EPSRC discipline hopping in ICT, May 2023: responsive mode

Discipline hopping in ICT grants are for researchers based at an eligible UK research organisation.

You may either:

  • have a background in ICT and propose to use your research skills in a new discipline
  • have other expertise and wish to learn ICT research skills and apply them in your home discipline

You must be ‘hopping’ into or from one of the ICT research areas covered by this funding opportunity.

We will award 80% of the full economic cost (FEC) of the project.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

EPSRC standard eligibility rules apply. For full details, visit EPSRC’s eligibility page.

Resubmissions

We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI or any other funder.

Find out more about EPSRC’s resubmissions policy.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Aim

This is an opportunity for ICT researchers to use their expertise in other disciplines, or for researchers from other fields to apply their expertise to ICT. You can apply for a discipline-hopping in ICT grant in any field of research relevant to the UKRI remit.

In order to be eligible to apply for funding through this funding opportunity, you must be “hopping” into or from one of the ICT research areas covered by this funding opportunity.

You should have a proven track record of research in your home discipline and demonstrate how you would develop skills and collaborations with other disciplines or users.

You must show how you will use interdisciplinary research and collaborative development to benefit the ICT research community.

You could carry out a discipline hop to:

  • gain skills and knowledge to open up a new cross-disciplinary research area or answer a specific cross-disciplinary research question
  • explore the feasibility of working with other disciplines on a project
  • learn a new technique, tool or method that you can apply to your own research

Duration

Your period of discipline-hopping could last between three and 24 months, and the pattern of work could vary. For example, you could:

  • work in another university department at your home institution for one day a week for 12 months
  • travel to a different research institution or company in the UK or go abroad for three months full time
  • re-skill or train in a relevant area over a longer period of time

Your pattern of work should be appropriate for the research being conducted and outlined in the application. We expect you to immerse yourself in the discipline, for example, by a move of location or department.

Funding available

We will award 80% of the FEC of the project, with your organisation covering the remaining balance.

What we will fund

We will fund:

  • salary of the project lead (previously principal investigator)
  • travel and subsistence while away from the home institution
  • training courses or development opportunities, including those for commercialisation and knowledge exchange
  • a project co-lead (previously co-investigator) at the host institution to provide the necessary training and guidance
  • consumables to carry out the research
  • spending on broadening the impact of the discipline-hop and maximising collaborative work between ICT and other disciplines

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • replacement salary costs at your home institution
  • project co-leads or project partners from overseas or in industry (although overseas and industry collaborators can be part of your application)
  • equipment over £10,000

Supporting skills and talent

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

International collaboration

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

How to apply

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

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

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

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

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.

Submitting your application

Collaborative applications should be prepared and submitted by the lead research organisation through a single application on the Funding Service. The content of the application should be co-created with input from all investigators and project partners and should represent the proposed work of the entire consortium, however, you should only add a single project lead (previously principal investigator) to the application.

To apply:

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

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

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

EPSRC will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity.

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

Deadline

The closing date for the first responsive mode round on the Funding Service will be 28 September 2023 at 4pm

We must receive your application by this date. You should ensure that you are aware of and follow any internal institutional submission deadlines that may be in place.

The subsequent responsive mode round on the Funding Service will open on 2 October 2023.

We will not be returning applications for amendment. If an application is withdrawn prior to peer review or office rejected due to substantive errors in the application, it cannot be resubmitted to the same round.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance

Summary

Word count: 550

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

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

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

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

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

Applicants

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician

You can only list one project lead.

Find out about UKRI’s new grant roles.

1 Section: EPSRC theme area alignment

Question: Select the primary EPSRC thematic area your application most closely aligns to.

In the text box, copy the letter corresponding to your selected theme:

A. artificial intelligence (AI)

B. digital security and resilience

C. energy and decarbonisation

D. engineering

E. healthcare technologies

F. information and communication technologies (ICT)

G. manufacturing

H. mathematical sciences

I. physical sciences and advanced materials

J. quantum technologies

Additional guidance:

This is for administrative purposes to help the initial application processing. We will check your choice and make a final decision on which theme will lead the peer review of your application.

2 Section: Vision and Approach

You should upload the Vision and Approach document as a six page PDF, plus an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan. The document must have single line spacing, margins of at least 2cm and be typed using Arial 11pt, or another ‘sans serif’ font with an equivalent size to Arial 11pt.

Question: What are you hoping to achieve with and how will you deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

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

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable, your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure or equipment to deliver the proposal
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines

3 Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word count: 1,500 (1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions)

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

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

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Additions: Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences or outputs, but any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

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

4 Section: References

Word count: 1,000

Question: List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should include all references in this section of the application and not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application. If linking to web resources, to ensure the information’s integrity is maintained include, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers.

You must not include links to web resources in order to extend your application.

5a Section: Project partners: contributions

Word count: 1000

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

A project partner is a collaborating organisation that is contributing to the application and will have an integral role in the proposed research. Project partners cannot normally receive funding directly from the grant. Two exceptions to this are:

  • where a project partner is providing services or equipment that will go through a formal procurement process audited by the host research organisation
  • the project partner 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 and fully justified in the application

5b Section: Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word count: 10

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • refer to the EPSRC’s guidance on project partners letters of support for further information Project partners letter of support – UKRI

Unless specifically requested, do not include any personal data within the attachment. Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

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

Do not provide letters of support from host and co-project lead research organisations.

6 Section: Facilities

Word count: 250

Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter N/A into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you will need to use a facility, you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Where prior agreement is required, ensure you obtain their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

In the text box, for each requested facility you should provide under the following headings:

  • facility name: the name of facility, copied and pasted from this list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • usage: the proposed usage time or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on that list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required – copy the following text: ‘I confirm that I have contacted the facility and their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on my project for the usage specified.’

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

7 Section: Sensitive information

Word count: 10

Question: Is there sensitive information you need to share with UKRI that you do not want shared with assessors?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have anything to share, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, enter the words ‘email sent’ in the text box.

Then email the Funding Service helpdesk on support@funding-service.ukri.org. You must include in the subject line: <EPSRC responsive mode, sensitive info, Funding Service application number>.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

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

8 Section: Resources and cost justification

Using the costs table within the resources and cost summary, provide details of the total funding required under each fund heading. You should include high-level costs only, not a detailed breakdown of individual items. You should use the textbox for the justification of resources to provide further details on what is being requested and why it is needed to deliver your proposed work.

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

Word count: 1000

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

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

You should identify:

  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure or procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your partner organisations and how that enhances value for money

Reviewers and panels may acknowledge the impact of university support but will not consider the level of matched university funding as a factor on which to base funding recommendations.

9 Section: Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word count: 500

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) will be included in the Funding Service. These will ask about numbers, species/strain and justification about:

  • genetic and biological risk
  • research involving the use of animals
  • conducting research with animal overseas
  • research involving human participation
  • research involving human tissues or biological samples

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite at least three peers to review your application independently, against the published criteria (areas of assessment) for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for your application. Expert reviewers will continue to be selected by EPSRC.

UKRI are monitoring the requirement for applicant nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new UKRI Funding Service.

You will be able to respond to reviewers’ comments if your application gains enough support.

Panel

If your application gains enough support from reviewers, your application, reviewers’ comments and your response will go to the most appropriate prioritisation panel. Using this information, the panel will score it against our assessment criteria (areas of assessment) and rank it with alongside other applications.

EPSRC responsive mode panels are structured as follows:

  • mathematical sciences
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • engineering
  • physical sciences

Panel membership for each panel is taken from across the disciplines to cover the breadth of proposals considered in each panel.

Areas of assessment

The criteria against which your application will be assessed directly relates to the core responsive mode application questions:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Further detail on what the assessors are looking for is available in the questions in the how to apply section.

Timescale

Panels are expected to be held during spring and summer 2024.

Feedback

No further feedback beyond the reviewers’ comments will be provided after the panel.

Principles of assessment

UKRI supports the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognises the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Contact details

Get help with your application

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

Ask about this funding opportunity

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
We aim to respond to emails within two working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

Additional info

Supporting links

Equality impact assessment (DOCX, 82KB)

Webinar for potential applicants

We will held a webinar at 1:00pm on 21 June 2023. This provided information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Watch a recording of the webinar

Webinar passcode: B7V+gWct

Webinar slides (PDF, 918KB)

Updates

  • 21 December 2023
    Expected panel review timescale added under How we will assess your application.
  • 28 September 2023
    New closing date added.
  • 13 July 2023
    4 Section References: word count updated from 250 to 1,000.

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