Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Improve public engagement in science and technology: legacy award

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Apply for legacy award funding to continue your programme to improve public engagement in science and technology.

You must have previously received funding through STFC public engagement awards.

Your previous award grant must have finished within the past 36 months.

Your proposal must focus on an area from the STFC remit. You must be able to demonstrate the success of your previous project through data.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £62,500. STFC will fund up to:

  • £50,000 for a first legacy award
  • £25,000 for a second legacy award.

We would expect your project to run for up to 36 months.

Who can apply

This legacy award funding opportunity is exclusively for applicants that:

  • have previously received funding through STFC public engagement awards
  • are based in the UK.

We cannot accept applicants from the Leadership Fellows award.

We can only fund organisations that have audited accounts. If this does not describe your organisation, then you must work in partnership with an organisation that can receive the funding on your behalf.

Principal applicant eligibility

The principal applicant must be eligible to apply on behalf of the organisation that would hold the award.

We would usually expect a legacy award principal applicant to be:

  • the same person that applied for the original grant
  • based at the same host organisation.

However, we recognise that applicants may change their host institution or that the leadership of a programme may change. Therefore, we do not require identical principal applicants or host institutions between the original grant and the legacy award.

You must highlight any changes in the host institution and principal applicant in your application. This must go in your opening statement in the case for support.

If there is any uncertainty, we reserve the right to contact the principal applicant of the original award to confirm the proposed leadership arrangements of the legacy award.

Researcher requirements

You must include a researcher in your application that is in an STFC-funded area of science or technology. While these researchers often play an active role in delivering the engagement activities, this is not mandatory. The researcher may act as an adviser on the scientific content.

Previous applications

To apply for a legacy award, the applicant or their organisation must have previously held one of the following public engagement awards:

  • Spark Award
  • Nucleus Award
  • Small Award
  • Large Award.

The previous award must have ended fewer than 36 months before the current legacy award funding opportunity closure date.

You may apply for a legacy award related to one of the previous public engagement awards that is still active at the time of the legacy award application. In such instances, the proposed legacy award:

  • cannot have a start date any earlier than the current end date of the original award
  • must still be based on clear evidence of the efficacy of the original award, using robust evaluation data.

All legacy awards must start between 1 July and 31 December after the funding opportunity opening date.

You may apply for up to two legacy awards related to an original grant. Applicants applying for their third legacy award will not be considered.

Equality of opportunity

The STFC is fully committed to ensuring that all applicants receive equal treatment throughout the peer review process and will provide the necessary training and support to panel members and peer reviewers.

STFC policies on inclusion and diversity are available on the STFC website. STFC will keep these policies under review to ensure that its policies and practices reflect best practice and enable full compliance under the Equality Act 2010.

View STFC’s policies on equality and diversity.

What we're looking for

Legacy awards allow the holders of previous public engagement awards to apply for funding to continue their programmes, and evolve those programmes based on learning and evaluation.

As part of this legacy award, we expect you to:

  • deliver high quality public engagement activities during the lifetime of the award
  • raise the profile and standards of public engagement within your host organisation or professional community, including sharing best practice and developing new talent
  • champion STFC science and technology, including the impact of science and technology on society
  • regularly interact with STFC’s public engagement and communication teams, including participation in STFC networks, events and advisory structures when requested
  • work with partners to secure the future of your engagement programme.

There should be suitable recognition and reward to researchers who undertake activities that deliver benefit through the application of research outcomes. You must ensure that all those associated with the research are aware of and accept these arrangements.

Continuing a previous project

To be awarded a legacy award, you will have to demonstrate the success of your original engagement programme, and evidence that success via good-quality evaluation.

Legacy awards may be used for the continuation of your previous public engagement award.

To be eligible, the original grant upon which the legacy award is building must have ended less than 36 months before the current legacy award funding opportunity closing date.

As legacy award applications are based upon previously successful proposals, they are required to be high quality and will be reviewed using strict quality criteria. This is regardless of the grant scheme that the original award was funded by.

The legacy award programme of work proposed should be clearly linked to the original grant. Any evolution or changes to the activities in the original project must be justified using the learning and evaluation from the original grant.

Proposing new activities

Although not compulsory, you may wish to propose new activities that are considered necessary to strengthen the engagement practice, community networks or training opportunities initiated in the original grant.

Applications that include new or expanded activities must include evidence that these are well considered, planned and justified in the context of the proposal. Applications that do not include new activities, such as those with a specific focus on an area of work from the original award, are equally valid.

What we will support

We will support up to two legacy awards from a single original grant which can be held sequentially, but not concurrently.

Unlike other public engagement awards, it is a requirement for legacy award applications that project partners will support the delivery of the project. You must be able to demonstrate how both parties will make the proposed programme a success in the proposal.

STFC will only provide a proportion of the total cost of the legacy award. The remaining support must be secured via cash or in-kind contributions from project partners.

Proposed engagement programmes

Proposed engagement programmes must clearly align to the:

  • remit of the STFC science programme
  • science and technology work of STFC’s national and international laboratories and facilities.

The STFC science programme remit includes:

  • astronomy, solar and planetary science
  • particle physics and particle astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • nuclear physics
  • accelerator science.

Legacy awards will not be awarded unless there is a strong and demonstrable link between the proposed activities and STFC science and technology.

Developing networks or capacity building

Legacy awards may also be used for a continuation of activities that are dedicated to developing community networks or capacity building in public engagement.

This may be the sole purpose of a legacy award or an application may combine engagement activities and networking into a coherent package.

What we consider as a continuing programme

Legacy awards allow our most demonstrably successful engagement programmes to continue and to evolve. However, when is an engagement programme considered ‘a continuation’ of previous work, and when is it considered ‘new’ by STFC?

For general guidance, STFC consider a programme to be a continuation of a previous award if:

  • the aims and objectives of the new programme closely match those of the previous award
  • the programme of work and the methodology is clearly linked to the previous award
  • the characteristics of the target audience are similar to those of the previous award.

If in doubt, you are strongly advised to contact the Public Engagement team to discuss your legacy award application.

Support STFC’s public engagement strategy

Applicants should use their proposal to clearly explain how their legacy award will further the aims of the STFC Public Engagement strategy.

View the STFC public engagement strategy on the STFC website.

Social, ethical and economic benefits

Applications that highlight the social, ethical, and economic benefits of research are welcomed.

Evaluation plans

We focus heavily on evaluation. You must provide a clear evaluation plan showing details of how the outputs, outcomes and impacts of the legacy award will be captured and evaluated.

We require applicants to report on the outcomes of their legacy award in line with the STFC Public Engagement Evaluation framework, which describes their approach towards effective engagement.

We suggest that you should familiarise yourself with the STFC Public Engagement Evaluation framework and consider how the framework could be used to evaluate your engagement programme.

View the STFC Public Engagement Evaluation Framework on the STFC website.

Low science capital audiences

We encourage applications that propose engagement with audiences considered to have low ‘science capital’.

You may choose which audiences to engage with and the methods of engagement. These must be outlined in the proposal.

Funding available

Legacy awards come under the full economic costs framework. The maximum value that may be sought for a legacy award varies according to whether you are applying for your first or second legacy award related to an original grant.

The legacy award scheme mandates significant support from project partners. The maximum level of funding that we will provide differs according to whether this is your first or second legacy award application:

  • first award: up to 50% funding of the total project cost (up to a maximum of £50,000 payable by STFC)
  • second award: up to 25% funding of the total project cost (up to a maximum of £25,000 payable by STFC).

You are required to have secured the remaining project funding from project partners in advance of submitting the application to STFC. Project partner support can be cash or in-kind. This support must be detailed in the corresponding letters of support.

Funding requirements

The following details the differing legacy award funding requirements for full economic cost and non-full economic cost organisations. In this example, the maximum funding value is assumed, but you can request lower overall award values.

First legacy award funding requirements for full economic cost organisations:

  • total value of award: £112,500
  • maximum STFC funding available: £62,500
  • of which the maximum payable by STFC: £50,000
  • minimum required project partner support: £50,000.

Second legacy award funding requirements for full economic cost organisations:

  • total value of award: £106,250
  • maximum STFC funding available: £31,250
  • of which the maximum payable by STFC: £25,000
  • minimum required project partner support: £75,000.

First legacy award funding requirements for non-full economic cost organisations:

  • total value of award: £100,000
  • maximum STFC funding available: £50,000
  • of which the maximum payable by STFC: £50,000
  • minimum required project partner support: £50,000.

Second legacy award funding requirements for non-full economic cost organisations:

  • total value of award: £100,000
  • maximum STFC funding available: £25,000
  • of which the maximum payable by STFC: £25,000
  • minimum required project partner support: £75,000.

Cost headings

All costs that contribute to the full economic cost of the proposal should be included under the cost headings.

As the legacy award scheme has no capital budget, you cannot request funds under the ‘equipment’ heading.

Use of funds

Other than restrictions around equipment, there are no set restrictions on the type of costs that may be applied for, for example:

  • contributions to salaries (where a named individual will undertake work that would not be considered part of their normal duties)
  • cost of materials
  • travel and subsistence.

What we do not fund

We will not fund:

  • the continuation of a programme that ended over 36 months before the current legacy award funding opportunity closure date
  • applicants that have not secured the required minimum level of project partner support
  • applicants applying for their third legacy award
  • projects where the target audiences are not primarily UK residents
  • fees or honoraria to people already in paid employment to visit or give talks (for example, at schools or societies) where such activities would reasonably be undertaken as part of their normal duties
  • costs for hardware or equipment over the individual value of £10,000
  • infrastructure funding or costs for building construction and maintenance
  • projects where it is clear that the whole project would go ahead irrespective of STFC support
  • retrospective funding, including those projects with a start date after the closing date but before the funding decisions are announced
  • contingency funds.

Awards will not be funded for the sole purpose of authorship and publication of books and novels.

If you are applying from or for schools, please note the following ineligible costs:

  • programmes of formal education
  • school trips to CERN and trips to other laboratories, observatories and science venues, unless they are intrinsic to a wider public engagement project.

Legacy awards for new digital content

We will only consider funding digital content (for example, websites and videos) as an intrinsic part of a wider engagement programme. Any application for digital content needs to include:

  • a demonstration of the ‘evidence of need’ for any proposed content or gaps in current provision of such material
  • evidence that the target audience for any content will be involved in the design and production of such content
  • a plan (and budget) for keeping the content sustainable in the future
  • information on licensing in order to promote sharing and re-use of the digital content
  • acknowledgement of web accessibility rules and regulations.

How we will assess your application

Submitting an application via Je-S

Applications for public engagement legacy awards are submitted through the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

When applying, select:

  • council: STFC
  • document type: application
  • scheme: Nucleus Awards (2083)
  • call: legacy awards 2022

If your organisation is not currently Je-S registered, you can self-register through the Je-S system. This will allow your organisation to apply to the funding opportunity without going through the full registration process.

If your application is successful, UKRI will contact you in order to help you with the full registration process.

To submit an application, you must currently be fully Je-S registered. The full Je-S registration process can take up to four weeks, so please leave yourself plenty of time before the deadline.

Please contact the Je-S helpdesk to check your registration status or to get registered. You will need to give the name and contact details of the organisation, together with details of the scheme or funding opportunity you are applying for.

Applicants from higher education institutions are advised to contact their host organisation’s research administration as soon as possible. They will be able to give advice about costing your proposal and internal procedures relating to submitting an application through Je-S.

Your public engagement legacy award application must be costed and submitted by the host organisation.

Emailed or hard copy applications will not be accepted and the page limits outlined below will be strictly enforced by STFC. If any of the supporting documents exceed the specified limits, only the pages within the limits will be considered.

The documents must be submitted as PDF attachments and should conform to the font and margin guidelines in the Je-S Helptext.

Je-S submission stages

Organisations that are unfamiliar with submitting an application via Je-S should note that submission of an application has two stages:

  • the principal investigator submits the application to their organisation’s submitter pool
  • the application is submitted to STFC, through Je-S, by the submitter pool.

You can track the progress of your application by using the ‘show submission path’ facility in Je-S.

Required documents

Case for support

The case for support must be a maximum of nine sides of A4. It should conform to the font and margin guidelines in the Je-S helptext and must include the following:

  • a summary of award history paragraph that clearly states the title and grant reference number of the original grant upon which the legacy award is based
  • an explanation of any changes of principal applicant or host institution between the original grant and the legacy award (in the summary of award history paragraph)
  • a short overview of your recent track record in public engagement with science and technology (relevant to the application)
  • rationale for the legacy award, showing the overall aims, anticipated outcomes and how activities will contribute to meeting the stated aims of the STFC public engagement strategy (PDF, 1,088KB)
  • a summary of the outcomes and learnings from the previous project, making clear how this learning has influenced the design of the proposed legacy award
  • a brief description of the added value of STFC continuing to support this project
  • a clear plan for engagement activities you intend to undertake during the legacy award
  • details of plans to deliver these engagement activities, including how you will effectively engage your target audiences, identification of potential risks and appropriate mitigation strategies
  • a plan for the delivery of appropriate network and capacity building activities you intend to undertake during the legacy award
  • details of your plans to deliver these network and capacity building activities, including potential risks and mitigation strategies (if possible)
  • an evaluation plan showing details of how the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the activities will be captured and evaluated
  • a dissemination plan detailing how resources, learning outcomes and outputs, for example, will be made available to wider audiences.

Justification of resources

The justification of resources document must be a maximum of two sides of A4 (of the total nine allowed for the case for support). This information justifies the requested funds applied for in an application. This section should:

  • allow reviewers to make an informed judgement on whether the resources requested are appropriate for the proposed programme
  • explain why the resources requested are appropriate for the programme proposed, taking into account the nature and complexity of the proposal
  • not simply be a list of the resources required, as this is already given in the Je-S form
  • justify all items requested in the Je-S form
  • include justification for why items that would ordinarily be found in a department (for example, non-specialist computers) are required for the project
  • include justification for why items that would ordinarily be found in a department (for example, non-specialist computers) cannot be provided from the research organisation’s own resources, including funding from indirect costs from grants.

Find out more about the costs we fund.

All items requested in the Je-S form must be justified.

Project budget summary

The project budget summary must be a maximum of one side of A4 (total nine allowed for the case for support).

This document should be presented as a table that clearly lists the total project cost, provides a break-down of those costs, and clearly indicates which costs are being met by STFC funding and project partner support.

Project partnerships and letters of support

Please supply letters of support, dated clearly within six months of the application date, from any project partners. Letters of support can be up to two sides of A4 in length. This statement is read alongside the proposal’s case for support and is considered as part of the peer review process.

Partnerships between applicants and project partners are an essential requirement of the legacy awards. You must have secured a project partner before you apply.

You must be able to demonstrate how both parties will make the proposed programme a success in the proposal.

The letters of support that accompany a legacy award application must demonstrate:

  • the financial or in-kind support to be provided by the project partners
  • a clear commitment from the partner organisation to provide that support.

If an organisation wishes to receive funds from STFC, it must be a listed applicant on the grant. If an organisation will not receive funds from STFC but will have an integral role in the proposed programme, then that organisation is a project partner. Applications received without these collaborations in place by the point of submission will not be supported.

We require you to create these partnerships in advance of submitting an application for funding, and to include details of the partnership in the application.

Well-constructed partnerships strengthen proposals by:

  • providing complementary skills and knowledge
  • additional staff time
  • additional cash or ‘in-kind’ support.

A well-written letter of support will confirm the organisation’s commitment to the proposed project by:

  • articulating the benefits of the collaboration
  • highlighting the relevance of these benefits to the partner
  • demonstrating the potential impacts of the programme in the eyes of the partner.

The letter of support should also identify the period of support and detail the range of ‘in-kind’ and financial contributions offered by the partner.

To provide assurance that the project partner has authorised the proposed contribution or commitment, the letter should:

  • be signed by a named contact
  • state the capacity in which the named contact is providing the sign-off.

Letters of support are submitted electronically alongside the grant application, through the Je-S system.

Letters of support must show meaningful contribution to the proposed public engagement programme. Letters featuring supportive language but offering no contributions to the project are of little-to-no value and should not be included.

Peer reviewers

The names of two reviewers, independent of the applicant’s organisation, one or both of whom will be asked for reviewer comments if the applicant is called for interview.

STFC national laboratories and employees as project partners

STFC employs hundreds of scientific and technical staff, alongside their own team of public engagement professionals based at their laboratories across the UK.

Applicants for public engagement funding are welcome to seek to include STFC as project partners on public engagement applications where relevant, subject to the guidance above.

You must contact STFC staff at least four weeks in advance of the submission deadline if you consider STFC involvement to be important in making your proposal a success.

Should you wish to discuss the ability of STFC to participate in your proposal, then the following individuals are appropriate first points of contact for the major national laboratory sites:

Daresbury Laboratory

Phill Day: Public Engagement Manager

Email: phill.day@stfc.ac.uk

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Sophy Palmer: Public Engagement Manager

Email: sophy.palmer@stfc.ac.uk

UK Astronomy Technology Centre

Abi Ashton: Public Engagement Manager

Email: abi.ashton@stfc.ac.uk

STFC reserves the right to choose not to participate in proposals at their own discretion.

Please note that applications involving STFC as a project partner are treated no differently to other applications in the peer review and funding decision process.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

Before submitting your application, we encourage you to contact the Public Engagement team to discuss your ideas and eligibility for the scheme.

Email: STFCPublicEngagementTeam@stfc.ac.uk

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

Andy Thompson (STFC Public Engagement Office Manager)

Email

andy.thompson@stfc.ukri.org

Telephone

07598 404139

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times.

Additional info

Aims of the programme

The aims of the programme are to:

  • allow the best STFC grant-funded public engagement programmes to continue to grow and evolve over time
  • encourage and support high quality public engagement activities that highlight STFC’s science and technology
  • create a network of highly-skilled practitioners of public engagement with STFC science who inspire and involve colleagues, students, and the public in their activities
  • highlight the achievements of STFC science and technology
  • demonstrate the excitement of research and the value of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to the UK.

Scheme conditions and features

STFC public engagement legacy awards are governed by the grant conditions as set out in the STFC guidance for applicants, unless otherwise stated.

Applications are accepted and awards are made on the understanding that you agree to observe the terms and conditions and the scheme requirements set out in this document and any amendments issued.

View the STFC guidance for applicants.

Movement between institutions

You must take up the award at the host institution identified in the application. We will not allow you to change your host institution prior to taking up an award.

Consideration will be given to requests during the course of an award to relocate the grant to a different institution for scientific or domestic reasons. The agreement of the institutions concerned will be required before seeking approval from us.

Reporting and liaison with STFC

You will be required to:

  • provide reports of activities to the Public Engagement team when requested
  • meet with the public engagement grants mentor a minimum of twice a year
  • collect data relevant to your activities throughout your award in the STFC Public Engagement metrics spreadsheet
  • send your activities data to the Public Engagement team once a year.

You will be expected to:

  • attend an annual meeting of all STFC public engagement award holders
  • regularly update the record of your grant using the research council reporting tool, ResearchFish, in line with the STFC Public Engagement Evaluation Framework.

We reserve the right to request periodic information or to visit you.

You may also be asked to attend meetings to exchange information and ideas with others undertaking STFC public engagement activities.

You must make all reasonable efforts, if so invited, to respond to requests for information or to attend events or activities organised by STFC concerning the research undertaken. Such events may be held after a grant has finished.

Research council reporting tool

We ask STFC public engagement award holders additional questions in the reporting tool. This enables us to easily extract data regarding the impact of the work of our legacy award holders whenever required. It also serves as a database of impacts (outputs, outcomes and reach) for your own reference.

Guidance on how to fill in the public engagement questions on ResearchFish, and the metric spreadsheet, are available on the STFC website.

View guidance on making use of ResearchFish.

Publications, resources and media acknowledgements

Publications and other forms of media communication, including media appearances, press releases and conferences, must acknowledge the support received from STFC, quoting the grant reference number (if appropriate).

Resources produced as a result of any grants should acknowledge STFC as the funding source using the standard format agreed by funders and publishers and detailed in the additional information accompanying this grant.

External media activity produced as a result of this award must be signed off by the STFC Media team before the activity takes place, or is published. This is to ensure appropriate coordination and opportunities to increase the impact of engagement. This includes:

  • press releases
  • online videos
  • media briefings.

You are responsible for giving us sufficient notice about activities so that we:

  • can advise on content
  • potentially build the activities of grant holders into our own communications and engagement programmes.

Intellectual assets

It is the responsibility of the research organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make:

  • every reasonable effort to ensure that the intellectual assets obtained in the course of the research are used to the benefit of society and the economy (whether protected by intellectual property rights or not)
  • outcomes and resources available to both research and more widespread audiences (for example, to inform potential users and beneficiaries of the research).

Unless stated otherwise, the ownership of all intellectual assets, including intellectual property, and responsibility for their application, rests with the organisation that generates them.

We may, in individual cases, reserve the right to:

  • retain ownership of intellectual assets, including intellectual property
  • assign ownership to a third party under an exploitation agreement (if necessary)
  • arrange for it to be exploited for the national benefit and that of the research organisation involved.

This right, if exercised, will be clearly set out in an additional grant condition.

Liability

It is a condition of every grant that STFC accepts no liability for the manner in which the work in connection with the grant is undertaken.

The research organisation and legacy award holder will be responsible in all respects for the work and the consequences of it.

Termination of awards

A grant may be terminated, or its conditions varied, at any time at the absolute discretion of STFC.

Should you leave your institution for another research organisation or an alternative type of employment, you must notify the STFC Public Engagement team immediately.

If it is not possible to transfer the grant, then STFC will terminate payments from the day immediately after the legacy award holder leaves the host institution.

Failure to submit reports will result in termination of the award unless there are mitigating reasons.

Confidentiality

The STFC will distribute peer review papers via a secure extranet and all information must be considered as confidential. The contents should not be disclosed.

The confidential nature is intended to ensure that any contents (for example, of the proposals or reviews) are not made known more widely than is necessary for proper consideration by the peer review panels.

Names of reviewers are not disclosed to applicants and neither are those of the lead introducer for the proposals.

Security and data protection

Applications, independent reviews and principal investigator responses are available to panel members via the peer review extranet. This is STFC’s preferred method for sharing data.

Strict controls on data security and data handling are currently in place for government departments and government-funded organisations, including the research councils.

Panel members must not save data on laptops, discs or hard drives. If printed copies of any of the documents are made, then these must be shredded after use.

Panel membership

  • Stacey Habergham-Mawson: Liverpool John Moores University (chair)
  • Dominic Galliano: Queen Mary University of London
  • Helen Featherstone: University of Bath
  • Elizabeth Avery: Royal Observatory Greenwich

Pete Edwards: Durham University.

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