Council transition to the new Funding Service – EPSRC

Applicants to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and other councils started making applications via the Funding Service rather than via Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system in 2023.

We are publishing information about the transition to enable applicants and research support staff to plan submissions.

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) principles of assessment and decision making will continue to underpin our peer review policies and processes during and after the transition to the Funding Service.

This transition from Je-S to the Funding Service is part of UKRI’s Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme, which is creating a single, consistent user-centred Funding Service.

Harmonisation across councils

Core assessment criteria and questions will be more consistent across councils as part of a harmonised responsive mode. This will simplify the submission process to UKRI’s funding opportunities.

Find out more about the applicant experience and our pathway for change.

Over the transition period and beyond, EPSRC will continue to support the new ideas and transformative technologies that will enable the UK’s creative researchers to deliver world-leading engineering and physical sciences research.

Approach to responsive mode funding opportunities from November 2023

In summary:

  • EPSRC is committed to continuing support for responsive mode funding opportunities
  • from November 2023 there are no deadlines for submissions to responsive mode opportunities
  • applicants are encouraged to apply when their application is ready
  • the Funding Service system requires a closing date and this will appear on the funding opportunity; do not wait for this date to submit your application as we will be processing applications on an ongoing basis

We have reviewed our approach to responsive mode funding opportunities on the Funding Service following the October 2023 closing dates. This was a result of the response to the first funding opportunities published and feedback from research organisations.

We will not publish closing dates for individual rounds, instead we will batch applications internally. Applicants should apply when their application is ready for submission and not wait for the closing date.

Due to systems requirements, a closing date will appear on the Funding Service approximately a year from the publication of a funding opportunity. Do not wait for this date to submit your application. We will be processing proposals throughout 2024.

We will batch applications for assessment and send them to the most appropriate responsive mode panel meeting when they reach this stage of the process. Applications submitted in late 2023 and early 2024 are likely to be considered at panels in September 2024. Our responsive mode panel meetings are: Engineering, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences. We expect these panels to run on a quarterly basis from September 2024.

This applies to the following funding opportunities:

Information about EPSRC fellowship opportunities is available on the UKRI funding finder:

Information about other EPSRC funding opportunities is available further down this page.

Due to the agile development of the Funding Service, we will need to make changes to these funding opportunities to allow for technical updates or new policies. No changes are planned to EPSRC responsive mode funding opportunities before November 2024. However, if updates are required, we will communicate these changes at least eight weeks in advance (excluding major public holiday periods).

Additional functionality for responsive mode funding opportunities

For responsive mode funding opportunities from November 2023:

  • applicants can embed images in relevant sections of their applications
  • applicants can input project partner details in a more structured format
  • applications for overseas travel grants have revised application questions and criteria, agreed and harmonised across research councils

Read more about future functionality and how research offices use UKRI Funding Service.

Please note that until we have sufficient functionality to allow mathematical notation to be included, applicants will continue to submit the ‘vision and approach’ section as a PDF attachment.

UKRI is developing the Funding Service in an iterative way, introducing and refining functionality and new features gradually. This means that timelines may be subject to adjustment, so that councils can utilise new functionality as the Funding Service develops.

We will keep you informed if timelines change.

Transition to the Funding Service

In summary:

  • responsive mode funding opportunities and fellowships closed on Je-S on 30 March 2023 at 4:00pm UK time
  • responsive mode and fellowship funding opportunities initially opened on the Funding Service in May 2023 and closed in October 2023
  • responsive mode and fellowship funding opportunities reopened for applications in November and December 2023
  • applicants may apply at any time

The transition to the Funding Service will not affect EPSRC budgets, and the commitments made in EPSRC strategic delivery plan for 2023 to 2025 remain the same. We have planned our internal processing timelines and activities to ensure that the transition will not affect our strategic commitments.

To find out about harmonised core assessment criteria in the Funding Service, see how applicants use the Funding Service.

Some funding opportunities will have additional questions due to their specific requirements. These will align with our current criteria. All assessment criteria will be published on the UKRI funding finder in announcements for each funding opportunity.

Initially we will ask you to submit a single PDF attachment for the ‘vision’ and ‘approach’ sections of the application. Over time we aim to reduce the number of attachments needed as part of the digital application process.

Responsive mode funding opportunities

We have launched our responsive mode funding opportunities on the Funding Service. Applicants for responsive mode funding opportunities may apply at any time.

We have seen a very large volume of applications submitted in response to all responsive mode funding opportunities issued in May 2023, which closed in October 2023.

Due to the volume of applications, it is likely that there will be an impact on the timelines of decisions for some applications. For responsive mode and fellowships funding opportunities we will be holding panels throughout spring and summer 2024. We will take a batched approach to processing applications by funding opportunity to manage both pressures on the reviewer community and internal resource.

Fellowships

We have launched our Fellowship funding opportunities on the Funding Service. From December 2023 applicants for Fellowship funding opportunities may apply at any time.

We remain committed to supporting the best researchers throughout their career journey.

Please note that postdoctoral fellowships are only available in certain discipline areas which are published on the UKRI funding finder. For more information about EPSRC fellowships, refer to the guidance for postdoctoral and open fellowships.

Other EPSRC funding opportunities

Strategic infrastructure

UKRI is phasing the strategic infrastructure opportunity in gradually on the Funding Service.

The opportunity name will change from ‘strategic equipment’ to ‘strategic infrastructure’ to integrate both the capital and digital investments available through this opportunity. The new name better indicates that both equipment and resources can be requested.

The first strategic infrastructure opportunity (outline stage) closed on 31 August 2023. Future Strategic Infrastructure opportunities will be published on the UKRI funding finder.

Programme grants

Je-S closed to new programme grant outlines on 13 July 2023. These were assessed at an outline panel in September 2023. Applicants submitting successful outlines will submit a full proposal via the Funding Service.

If you were invited to the full proposal stage, your programme grant contact at EPSRC will guide you through the transition process.

Further information about how to apply for future programme grant funding opportunities will be published on this page as soon as it is available.

We are currently reviewing the way we assess programme grants. This will not affect programme grant applications in progress.

In the first instance, potential applicants should continue to contact the programme grant contact in the theme they wish to apply to, to discuss their interest and suitability in applying for a programme grant.

Mathematical sciences small grants

Je-S closed to new mathematical sciences small grant applications on 5 September 2023. Applications submitted before the September deadline will be assessed at a panel in winter 2023 to 2024.

The opportunity will reopen in the Funding Service in winter 2023 to 2024.

To give applicants time to prepare, we will release a pre-announcement in advance on the UKRI funding finder.

Opportunities with closing dates

Information on how to apply to funding opportunities with closing dates will be available when these opportunities are published on the UKRI funding finder.

Principles for the EPSRC transition

We are committed to giving researchers and research organisations the information they need to plan for the transition to the Funding Service. This includes timelines setting out our approach to closing opportunities in Je-S and reopening them in the Funding Service.

We are dedicated to ensuring fairness and to understanding the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) impacts of the transition on our research community.

We will therefore aim to:

  • minimise disruption for applicants
  • provide at least eight weeks’ notice in advance (excluding major bank holidays and major holiday periods) of a funding opportunity’s closing date on Je-S and opening date on the Funding Service
  • uphold the commitments laid out in our strategic delivery plan

Equality impact assessment for transitioning opportunities

We have conducted and published equality impact assessments for transitioning always open opportunities.

We have undertaken mitigation work when planning our timelines because of this. As a result:

  • we have avoided placing key transition deadlines or dates on major public holidays, religious festivals and school holidays
  • we have committed to giving you at least eight weeks’ notice in advance of a funding opportunity’s closing date on Je-S and opening date on the Funding Service (excluding major public or school holiday periods) to enable you to prepare for the transition
  • we will continue to review our mitigations and take actions to reduce any disadvantages brought by our approach to transition to the Funding Service

Keeping you informed

We are working with the UKRI Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme, along with the other research councils, to ensure a coordinated approach to the transition and our communications.

We will use our existing regular communications with the research community to provide updates, including:

Find out more about the SBF programme and our pathway for change.

UKRI is working closely with university research support services to ensure that they are informed and can support you.

Ask a question about the transition to the UKRI Funding Service

For questions related to specific EPSRC funding opportunities, email tfschangeepsrc@epsrc.ukri.org

For any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service, contact the helpdesk:

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Last updated: 18 January 2024

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have some quick feedback or help us improve your experience by taking three minutes to tell us what you think of the UKRI website.