Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Support early technology development of basic technologies: capital funding

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Apply for funding to support early technology development of basic technologies that will have an impact on UK science, society and the environment.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for STFC funding and be named on an active STFC grant.

Funding must go towards equipment purchases and technology development.

You can request a maximum of three items of equipment.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £381,250. STFC will fund up to 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project should start before 1 December 2022 and end by 31 March 2023.

Who can apply

In order to be eligible, proposed activities must include a principal investigator from an STFC-funded department at an eligible research organisation or from an STFC lab or facility.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

The principal investigator must be named on a grant that is currently active and funded by the STFC core science programme.

Only academic partners may request funding.

You must demonstrate the existence of an active relevant STFC core programme research grant that would be supported by this funding and be benefited by early-stage technology development activities.

You must have the resources available to use the purchased equipment and be able to demonstrate that the equipment you are requesting can feasibly be received and receipted before 31 March 2023 (lead times provided by supplier).

For further information on eligibility, you should refer to the STFC guidance for applicants.

What we're looking for

Scope

This opportunity supports early technology development that builds upon STFC’s core capabilities and core programme. The opportunity provides capital funding to begin investigating the potential of these technologies in a multidisciplinary context, applied to new challenges and priorities.

In this opportunity, early technology development includes:

  • transformative technologies, including quantum, artificial intelligence, digital twinning, engineering biology
  • basic technologies, which should be seen as the earliest stage of the emerging technologies pipeline.

The STFC horizons programme has developed a priority around supporting the earliest stages of technology development relevant to the STFC core programme.

In your proposal, you must clearly demonstrate the link to the science, technology, applications and expertise originating from the STFC core science programme or STFC core programme research conducted at the STFC national facilities and laboratories. The STFC core science programme includes:

  • nuclear physics
  • particle physics
  • astrophysics
  • particle astrophysics
  • space science
  • accelerator science
  • computing in support of these, or STFC core programme research conducted at the STFC facilities, CERN, European Southern Observatory or European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, are also welcome.

You should take a problem-driven approach in your proposal. You are expected to address basic sensing and imaging technology development that has the potential to:

  • result in transformative, enabling or critical technologies, applicable across disciplines
  • contribute to fundamental knowledge, world-class infrastructure or enhancing the environmental sustainability of the research base.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £381,250. STFC will fund up to 80% of the full economic cost.

We expect the majority of funding to be spent on equipment purchases and technology development. For example, it is anticipated that at 80% full economic cost approximately £300,000 of capital funding would be used for equipment purchases and technology development and an additional £5,000 of resource funding would be used to support commissioning related activities. This can include engineer or technician time to oversee installation of the requested equipment. Investigator or other staff time cannot be requested.

You are allowed to request a maximum of three items of equipment.

Any capital funding that is awarded will be profiled in this financial year and must be used by the end of the current financial year, 31 March 2023. This is a fixed end date. Any capital funding unspent by this date will be lost.

You should not apply for any equipment purchases that cannot feasibly be received and receipted before 31 March 2023. Successful projects should expect to submit a mid-term expenditure statement in late January 2023.

This is predominantly an equipment grant round and you should refer to the research grants handbook for guidance on equipment rules when preparing submissions.

In particular, it should be noted that:

  • equipment means any individual items of equipment costing £10,000 (inclusive of VAT) or more. Please note, if the item being requested is for a prototype and needs individual components, the prototype as a whole is classified as a single item
  • capital requests can be for up to 80% of the full economic cost of final purchase price
  • contributions of at least 20% of the full economic cost will be expected from the research organisation or project partner. Matched funding from industrial partners or research institutions for more than 20% is welcomed and will be considered during assessment
  • individual items of minor research equipment below £10,000 (inclusive of VAT) cannot be requested as part of this equipment round.

You must show that you have the resources available to use the purchased equipment. All costings should be at current prices, inclusive of VAT and other taxes where applicable, with no allowance for inflation.

Any capital application requests made in this opportunity are done so under STFC’s terms and conditions, as stated in the research grants handbook.

Duration

Your grant should start before 1 December 2022 and end by 31 March 2023.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Submitting your application

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

When applying:

  • select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’
  • select ‘call search’
  • to find the opportunity, search for: Capital Call 2022.

This will populate:

  • council: STFC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: Futures Programme
  • call/type/mode: Capital Call 2022.

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

Any co-investigators that will be named on the application must have an individual Je-S accounts for themselves or will need to create an account in order to be added to an application.

You must ensure that you have obtained permission from any other person named on the proposal form, for example any co-investigators or project partners. This is for the provision of their personal information to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the processing of their data by UKRI for the purpose of assessing the application and management of any funding awarded.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Deadline

STFC must receive your application by 22 September 2022 at 16:00.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Attachments

All attachments should use 11pt sans serif font throughout, with a minimum of 2cm margins around each page. Please submit all application attachments in PDF to Je-S to avoid any issues with corrupt files.

The following attachments should be included in your application.

Je-S proposal proforma (mandatory)

Please include the STFC reference for the grant that the requested equipment will support within the summary or objectives section.

Case for support (mandatory)

Your case for support should comprise the following two sections.

Project overview

The project overview must be two pages.

This section should be a description of the STFC project that the capital funding will support, highlighting any key findings to date, and if the project is on track. This will be used to determine if the requested capital can be justified within the remit of the project as a whole.

The project overview should also detail any resource funding needed for commissioning activities and how this funding will be used.

You should address:

  • how the equipment requested will support early technology development within the project
  • how the resource requested will support equipment commissioning activities within the project
  • the link to science, technology or expertise capabilities arising from the STFC core science programme (nuclear physics, particle physics, astronomy, space science) or core programme research in the national facilities (Central Laser Facility, ISIS, Diamond)
  • demonstrate the existence of an active relevant STFC core programme grant that would be supported by this funding.
Equipment justification

You are permitted to request a maximum of three items of equipment.

You must ensure full justification (including commercial value) for the items is clearly stated in the equipment justification. This section should:

  • describe the cost of the equipment
  • include any quotes already obtained
  • provide a brief business case stating why the equipment is needed
  • explain how it will add value to the existing STFC project.

You must attach a letter of support from the research organisation or project partner detailing the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment.

  • items costing less than £138,000: one-page justification per item
  • items costing more than £138,000: two-page justification per item.

If the item being requested is for a prototype and needs individual components, the prototype as whole is classified as a single item.

Letters of support (mandatory)

Your letters of support should be a maximum of two pages each.

Include letters of support (signed and dated within three months) for the following:

  • from the partner country institutions involved in the project
  • any organisations entered on the Je-S form as project partners (a project partner is an organisation which contributes in cash or in-kind to the project, but which is not requesting any money
  • from the research organisation or partner confirming the percentage contribution to the equipment being requested (mandatory)
  • from the lead institution’s finance or procurement team (or research office) that they agree and understand that the equipment must be received by 31 March 2023 (mandatory).

Resources to be provided by any project partners, whether in cash or in-kind contributions, should be clearly identified in the proposal. Project partners’ contributions in cash or in-kind should be seen as additional to the STFC’s contribution.

Je-S only allows for a maximum of three attachments. If the proposal is benefited by additional letters of support, please combine multiple letters into one document before uploading it.

Read more about what to include in your proposal.

Data management plan (mandatory)

The data management plan should be a maximum of two pages.

While this attachment is a mandatory system requirement, an actual data management plan is unnecessary for this opportunity. Blank documents can be uploaded in its place.

Quotations (where necessary)

The quotation information you need to provide depends on the equipment value. (Equipment values include VAT):

  • equipment £10,000 to £25,000: no quotes required
  • equipment £25,000 to £138,000: three verbal quotes to be detailed in the case for support (written quotes are optional)
  • for single items of equipment over £138,000, three quotes should be attached. A two-page business case will be required for each item of equipment above £138,000, outlining the strategic need for the equipment.

If there is a sole supplier or fewer than three quotes for items costing over £25,000, this should be justified in the case for support and blank documents should be uploaded as equipment quotes in place of mandatory attachments.

It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to ensure that any information is worded in such a way to protect commercially confidential or sensitive areas. STFC will assume that you have obtained necessary permission from any party that may be involved in the application.

Do not attach any documents additional to those listed above even though Je-S allows other documents, such as CVs, list of publications etc.

Due to the short timescales in which this opportunity is being run, failure to provide the necessary documents will result in the application being rejected rather than returned for amendment.

Joint proposals

If you wish to submit a proposal with applicants from both UK research organisations and STFC labs, read our guidance on submitting joint proposals with STFC (PDF, 112KB).

How we will assess your application

Your application will be assessed by an independent panel made up of experts in the field.

The applications will not be sent to reviewers and will not go through the principal investigator response stage.

Your application will be assessed on the following criteria.

The panel will assess proposals against the following.

Strategic value within the STFC programme

This relates to whether your proposal is fit to the scope of the opportunity and application of STFC capabilities and expertise, including the development of:

  • basic technologies that build upon STFC’s core programme
  • early technologies which are in the earliest stage of the emerging technologies pipeline
  • transformative technologies which are the underpinning technologies of the future.

Value for money

This relates to the value that the project achieves relative to the inputs, particularly financial cost, including:

  • likelihood of contributing to the grant issued through STFC’s core programme or STFC’s lab programme against which the equipment is requested
  • positioning for achieving the project outcomes of the existing STFC grant
  • considering the scale and cost of the active STFC project relative to the capital investment.

Timeliness

This includes demonstration that the equipment requested can be received and receipted before 31 March 2023.

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

STFC Horizons Programme team

Email: stfchorizons@stfc.ac.uk

Include ‘Capital Call 2022’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within five working days.

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

COVID-19 guidance

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their careers. This includes:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of on-going work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic.

Panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts of the impact that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of those individuals included in the proposal. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing. Where disruptions have occurred applicants can highlight this within their application, if they wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

UKRI acknowledges that it is a challenge for applicants to determine the future impacts of COVID-19 while the pandemic continues to evolve. Applications should be based on the information available at the point of submission and, if applicable, the known application specific impacts of COVID-19 should be accounted for. Where known impacts have occurred, these should be highlighted in the application, including the assumptions and information at the point of submission. There is no need to include contingency plans for the potential impacts of COVID-19.

Reviewers will receive instructions to assume that changes that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic, post-submission, will be resolved and complications related to COVID-19 should not affect their scores.

Where an application is successful, any changes in circumstances that affect the proposal will be managed as a post-award issue.

Framework for responsible innovation

In your application, you should confirm that you have considered whether the proposed work raises any particular issues relating to responsible innovation and, where relevant, briefly describe how these will be addressed.

Read EPSRC’s framework for responsible innovation.

UKRI terms and conditions for funding

Successful applications will need to comply with the standard UKRI terms and conditions for research grants as well as any specific terms and conditions for this particular opportunity.

Read our guidance for meeting terms and conditions for funding.

Collaboration agreements

Successful applications which include more than one organisation (academic or non-academic) on the Je-S form, must have collaboration agreements signed between all organisations. A copy of this should be sent to the STFC office before the start of the project. Such an agreement should include how intellectual property will be managed.

Example model research collaboration agreements that may be used as a basis for specific agreements between partners have been developed through the Lambert toolkit for collaborative research and can be found through the Lambert Toolkit.

Unconscious bias

Read our guidance on unconscious bias.

Equality and diversity

Read about STFC’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity.

Communications

STFC should have an overview of all communications activity relating to STFC grants, including for example:

  • grants announcements
  • research publications
  • interviews and third-party media
  • social media campaigns
  • case studies.

Notify the STFC communications team of impending activity by emailing pressoffice@stfc.ac.uk.

STFC encourages communications and does not wish to jeopardise any such activity, so please notify us of your plans in advance.

Researchfish

All award holders are required to submit outputs from their project on the UKRI Researchfish platform.

Award holders are required to provide information about outputs arising from their work annually during the period of the award and normally for at least five years after the award has terminated.

The STFC Horizons programme team will monitor outputs on all STFC Horizons programme grants and may contact you for further information on outputs and outcomes, in particular with a view to publishing a case study.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (DOCX, 33KB)

Submitting joint proposals with STFC labs (PDF, 112KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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