Council transition to the new Funding Service – STFC

Throughout 2024 we will build up the transition to the UKRI Funding Service. We will launch all new funding opportunities on the Funding Service and, from April, we will increase the number of awards made, following on from pilots taking place through March.

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.

Question sets and assessment criteria

UKRI has agreed a harmonised question set and assessment criteria for all responsive mode opportunities running on the Funding Service.

Find out about core responsive mode application questions and assessment criteria in How applicants use the Funding Service.

Although STFC does not run a responsive mode funding opportunity, these are likely to be the basis for other research grant opportunities which will be relevant to STFC as we transition. UKRI has also now agreed several other question sets and assessment criteria for other funding types, including fellowships, commercialisation, travel and public engagement.

STFC opportunities will be based on one of the agreed question sets but, where required, will have additional opportunity-specific assessment criteria and questions. All assessment criteria will be published on the UKRI funding finder, and we will make assessment criteria explicit and clear for each funding opportunity.

There may be some challenges in onboarding schemes during the transition to the Funding Service, as the team build out the service’s core capabilities. However, we are working closely with the Funding Service team and with other councils to minimise these.

STFC transition: current position

STFC has now hosted a number of opportunities on the Funding Service:

  • early stage research and development
  • late stage commercialisation
  • Ernest Rutherford Fellowships
  • Industrial CASE (and CASE Plus) studentships
  • applying for time on the DiRAC computing service (this will be the first time that we have run this activity via an online system and we hope this will improve efficiency, transparency and security)
  • Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT) travel grants
  • Public Engagement Legacy Awards
  • Public Engagement Nucleus Awards stage one
  • astronomy observation and theory small awards
  • solar and planetary small awards
  • astronomy large awards
  • Particle Physics Experiment consolidated grants
  • Public Engagement Nucleus Awards stage two
  • leadership fellowships in public engagement
  • projects peer review panel

Next steps for transition

Work is now underway to transition our other public engagement scheme, Spark Awards, which is due to launch in March 2024. Other opportunities that we are working on include:

  • future underground dark matter experiments at Boulby
  • gravitational waves consolidated grants
  • Accelerator Institute grant review

The Particle Physics Experiment consolidated grants round for 2024 is now live on the Funding Service for applications, but we are using a hybrid approach. This means that applicants will still provide most of the information we require via an attachment, rather than as questions and answers in the text box approach in use for other Funding Service opportunities.

However, for the gravitational waves consolidated grants and Accelerator Institute review we will be working towards bringing terminology (questions and criteria) more in line with that agreed for the Funding Service.

STFC and the Simpler Better Funding (SBF) Programme have agreed an interim solution for major projects: Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP). This is now available on the Funding Service.

Current functionality in the Funding Service means that all costings will need to be included on the application created by the lead organisation, as we are unable to deliver the parent and child model. Lead applicants will receive a link to the opportunity when we have advised them on a submission date. Applicants will have to provide the more detailed financial breakdown that we need by email.

We continue to work with the SBF Programme team to discuss ways of using the Funding Service more effectively and efficiently for complex funding such as PPRP and consolidated grants.

We will provide updates for all the funding opportunities we plan to launch as we focus on their transition, with more detailed information available on the relevant funding finder page when they are published.

In 2024, subsequent rounds of many of the opportunities that we transitioned in 2023 will launch on the Funding Service.

In 2024, the successful STFC PATT grants are due to be piloting the new award functionality in the Funding Service. We have already informed successful organisations and will share further information about upcoming award functionality and processes with them in March and early April 2024.

We value feedback on your experience using the Funding Service in any role, so that we can continue to improve features and functionality. You can provide feedback either by email to or the form your feedback will help improve this service (

Changes to role types

UKRI is introducing new role types for opportunities being run on the new Funding Service. For full details, see eligibility as an individual.

Ask a question about the SBF programme

If you would like to ask a question about the UKRI SBF programme, contact:


Telephone: 01793 547490

Find out more about the SBF programme and latest developments: improving your funding experience.

Last updated: 4 March 2024

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