Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Host an international summer school in quantum technologies

Apply for funding to host a summer school for PhD students in the field of quantum technologies.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

Your summer school should connect with institutions in, and invite PhD students from, the UK and one or more of the following countries:

  • Canada
  • the US.

The PhD students must be studying within the field of quantum technologies.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £100,000, but smaller bids are also welcome. EPSRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

Your summer school must run for one to two weeks in 2023.

Who can apply

Grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UK Research and Innovation-approved independent research organisations
  • eligible public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

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

Submissions to this funding opportunity will not count towards the EPSRC repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

What we're looking for

Scope

This opportunity is for UK academics to host a summer school for PhD students in the field of quantum technologies.

The summer schools should:

  • connect with institutions in the UK and Canada or the US (or both)
  • invite students from Canada or the US to attend (or both), as well as UK-based students.

The purpose is to facilitate international engagement and collaboration between the UK, the US and Canada. It is hoped that this will encourage further future summer schools to be hosted in each of these countries, forming long-term research partnerships in quantum technologies between the UK and North America.

International summer schools are a highly effective way of sharing resources to draw upon a wider talent pool, developing essential skills and knowledge and initiating strong international partnerships, which can form the basis of larger future research programmes.

The summer schools must be in the area of quantum technologies.

Quantum technologies are those that involve the creation, control and manipulation of sensitive and fragile quantum effects within single systems.

Although many current and future technologies are described by quantum theory, the focus of this opportunity is on expanding capabilities focused on the direct exploitation of quantum phenomena, such as superposition or entanglement.

This includes:

  • quantum computing and simulation
  • quantum sensing and timing
  • quantum imaging
  • quantum communication
  • quantum components.

Proposals must be at least 50% within the remit of the EPSRC quantum technologies theme.

Funding available

The funding available for this opportunity is £100,000.

This funding can cover the investigator’s time spent on setting up and managing the summer school, travel and subsistence, workshops and administrative support. All costs must be fully justified.

EPSRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost of proposals.

Summer schools must be for a duration of between one to two weeks and take place in 2023.

Summer school students must be PhD students at the time of the summer school.

Whilst all costs listed below are eligible claims, it is expected that you will seek sponsorship, direct cash or in-kind support where possible from host organisations, industry or North American partners:

  • lecturers may claim:
    • fees up to a maximum of £170 per day or £85 per half day, as appropriate
    • travel expenses
    • accommodation
    • meals and refreshments
  • UK and international students may claim:
    • accommodation
    • travel expenses
    • meals and refreshments
  • other costs that can be claimed include:
    • room and equipment hire
    • course material
    • admin and consumable costs
    • publicity
    • secretarial and technical support
  • postdoctoral and PhD students may be employed to assist with the running of the school. You may either claim these costs at the appropriate hourly rate or claim a one off £500 management fee
  • schools may host up to one social excursion or dinner for delegates. The maximum for any social excursion or summer school dinner should be £50 per student (or £60 in London)
  • contingency costs should be 5% of the total cost or £1,000 (whichever is the least).

EPSRC is committed to ensuring that its policies and practices reflect the diverse needs and experiences of its employees and other stakeholders.

Accordingly, organisers of an EPSRC-funded summer school are required to ensure that the arrangements for the school comply with the EPSRC equality, diversity and inclusion policy, in particular that they place no barriers in the way of participation by students from any of the protected groups and involve no discrimination or bias against any of the protected groups in the selection of lecturers.

Furthermore, recognising the important part played by role models in retaining underrepresented groups in the EPSRC-funded community, organisers should seek to ensure that the diversity of lecturers reflects that of the wider community. In addition to gender balance and underrepresented group consideration, please ensure the tutors or lecturers have the required experience to deliver the sessions. Please consider the equality, diversity and inclusion support that is available to EPSRC applicants.

Tutors should have some element of training or briefing, particularly if early career researchers are responsible for delivering content and placed in positions of authority over students.

Reporting

If successful, organisers are required to provide a report to EPSRC upon completion of the summer school. The report should include student feedback and aggregated student diversity data. The report will be used to inform future funding opportunities, and a template will be provided.

Responsible innovation

You are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.

International collaboration

Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for guidance on getting the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.

How to apply

You must complete an application survey by 16:00 on 27 September 2022.

The survey attachments must include:

  • a completed template cost form (DOCX, 19KB)
  • a host organisation letter of support, signed and dated within three months of submission and on headed paper and no more than two sides of A4
  • a case for support of no more than four sides of A4.

The case for support must include the following information:

  • school organiser details, dates and venue of the proposed school
  • justification for the school, in terms of its relevance to the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme and the links it will build with North American students and partner institutions
  • justification of the costs requested
  • the number of UK and US or Canadian PhD students who would benefit from the school. The proportion of US or Canadian students at the school should be approximately within the range of 30 to 50%
  • details of the proposed lectures and courses, and why your experience is suitable to deliver the school
  • details of equality, diversity and inclusion considerations to ensure a balanced representation amongst the speakers and students
  • information on funding or in-kind contributions to be provided from other sources. We expect holders of summer schools to seek commercial sponsorship wherever possible, whilst retaining the scientific ownership of the school (for example, for a company logo to be included on the event website, branded notepads for attendees or a specific, identifiable contribution such as a conference dinner or transport).

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Successful summer schools will be paid through purchase order. Awardees should arrange for an invoice to be submitted to EPSRC for payment. Costs can be claimed in advance of the summer schools to allow for the booking of venues or travel, for example.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Any proposals that do not fit the remit of the opportunity will be rejected prior to the panel stage. Please note that the proposal must be at least 50% within the remit of the EPSRC quantum technologies theme.

Proposals will be assessed against the assessment criteria by an expert panel. You will be invited to respond to questions or comments from the expert panel ahead of their meeting in November 2022. The panel will prioritise proposals in a single rank ordered list. The highest ranked applications will be recommended for funding. A funding decision is expected by the end of 2022.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria applies to this opportunity.

Quality of subject matter and fit with opportunity objectives

This involves the:

  • suitability of the content and relevance to the EPSRC quantum technologies theme within the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme
  • potential for the summer school to develop skills of participants. Examples might be, but are not limited to:
    • technical, subject-specific skills
    • public engagement and communication skills
    • careers advice covering both academic and non-academic careers
    • equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues, confidence or imposter phenomenon, wellness and mental health, and tips for PhD success
  • potential for developing lasting partnerships with North American organisations.

School programme delivery

This involves the:

  • clarity of goals and outcomes for the summer school
  • ability of the applicant to deliver the summer school.

Speaker, lecturer and student EDI considerations

This involves the suitability of EDI considerations in the summer school and measures to achieve balance with regards to underrepresented groups within the speakers and students.

Value for money

This involves the appropriate justification of resources requested, and suitability of support or sponsorship leveraged.

Feedback

Brief feedback will be available for each proposal after assessment by the expert panel.

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

EPSRC Quantum Technologies team

Email: quantumtechnologies@epsrc.ukri.org

Include ‘QT International Summer School’ in the subject line.

Joseph Westwood, EPSRC Quantum Technologies Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: joseph.westwood@epsrc.ukri.org

Phone: 07547 654331

Include ‘QT International Summer School’ in the subject line.

Additional info

The National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) was established in 2014 to make the UK a global leader in the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies, which is set to transform the global society and economy.

The NQTP Strategic Intent sets out the programme’s ambitions for the next 10 years, including the following overall aims:

  1. Stimulate market growth, unleash innovation, and grow a thriving ecosystem
  2. Maintain the UK’s excellence in research and technology
  3. Build a resilient network of national assets and mutually beneficial international relationships
  4. Grow, attract and retain talent.

The Strategic Intent also further sets out the following specific objectives in relation to building international relationships, to continue to:

  • manage and build the network of facilities and capabilities to meet the needs of the sector and society
  • develop mutually beneficial global partnerships to achieve the programme’s objectives.

EPSRC is a key partner within the NQTP and shares the ambition to maintain the UK’s reputation as an excellent place to do research. Find out more about EPSRC’s quantum technologies theme.

EPSRC forms an integral part of the international landscape in quantum technologies and has contributed the following investments:

  • funded many UK partners in European research consortia through QuantERA and the Quantum Flagship under the Horizon 2020 framework. EPSRC remains a partner in phase two of the QuantERA network through UK Research and Innovation, with the intention to participate in the next funding opportunity in 2023
  • funded a national network of four quantum technology hubs through a £120 million investment in phase one (2014 to 2019) and a £94 million investment in phase two (2019 to 2024) to harness the UK’s strengths in quantum science by turning this into strength in quantum technologies. The hubs cultivate strong links with international partners and facilitate collaboration across the breadth of the quantum technologies landscape
  • invested over £3 million in early 2022 to fund eight new UK-led international networks in quantum technologies, connecting academic and industrial partners across all continents and placing the UK at the forefront of international partnerships in key emerging areas
  • continued delivery of opportunities for international collaboration through standard mode, lead agency opportunities and other strategic funding opportunities.

Significant efforts are being put into developing quantum technologies around the world, resulting in a growing number of international programmes, research groups, start-ups and industry partners.

Over $10 billion of new public investment has been announced globally since January 2020. Whilst taking a leading position, the UK cannot deliver this new technology in isolation. The UK is a serious global challenger in the race to realise the biggest quantum innovations based on the successes of the first phase of the programme. It has achieved success by focusing on quantum technologies and not just quantum science from the outset, building on excellent research and the existing industrial base.

This focus has set the UK apart from the international competition, but the UK needs to continue moving forward as technological developments gather pace.

This funding opportunity provides an opportunity to grow knowledge from international expertise, support international innovation and the development of new products and services, and protect and advance the successes of the UK through international leadership.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 229KB)
Template cost form (DOCX, 19KB)

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