Equipment on research grants
Individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000 can be included on proposals for individual research projects if both of the following apply:
- the equipment is essential to the proposed research
- no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed.
Additional justification of the requirement for individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000, and details of the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment, must be provided in the Justification of resources (JoR).
For any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000 (including VAT) a two-page equipment business case must also be included in the proposal documentation. Guidance on how to prepare an equipment business case is provided below.
Preparing your proposal
For proposals requesting items of equipment or combined assets worth between £10,000 and £400,000 (including VAT), applicants must attach a letter of support from the research organisation or project partner detailing the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment.
EPSRC will contribute 80% of the final purchase price and will expect the research organisation or project partner to contribute the remainder from non-EPSRC funding.
Contributions of 20% of the full cost of the equipment will be expected. The full economic cost value in the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system should be the total, quoted cost of the equipment. The research council contribution should be the amount requested from EPSRC, that is, 80%. EPSRC reserves the right to negotiate the percentage contribution in some cases if the proposed contribution is not affordable.
For joint proposals, we expect the applicants and their research organisations or project partners to agree amongst themselves the following:
- the levels of contribution from the different organisations
- the ownership and hosting arrangements for the equipment.
Information should be provided in the Justification of resources (JoR).
Reviewers will be asked to comment explicitly on the viability of the arrangements described to access equipment needed for this project, and particularly on any university or third party contribution. The reviewers and panel will be asked to consider the proposed contribution in relation to the value for money of the proposal. This may influence the final position of the proposal in the rank ordered list.
Examples of eligible equipment costs include:
- high-specification computers
- laboratory and workshop equipment
- installation costs and costs of major essential modifications necessary to house equipment, for example, clean rooms or extension of air conditioning.
The quotation information you need to provide depends on the equipment value. (Equipment values include VAT.)
Equipment under £10,000 – no quotes required.
Equipment £1,000 to £25,000 – no quotes required.
Equipment £25,000 to £138,000 – three verbal quotes to be detailed in the Justification of resources (JoR). Written quotes are optional. If there is a sole supplier or fewer than three quotes this should be justified in the JoR.
Equipment over £138,000 – three written quotes are required. If there is a sole supplier or fewer than three quotes this should be justified in the JoR.
Equipment business case
Each item of equipment or combined asset which is included in a proposal which costs more than £138,000 must be accompanied by an equipment business case. The following information must be included in the two-page equipment business case and laid out in the following order:
1. PI name
Name of the principal investigator (PI).
2. Host Institution
Name of the host institution.
If a preferred vendor is known, this should be stated along with the reasons why. In any case, the mechanism that will be used to identify the preferred supplier should be articulated.
4. Item or items
Name and specific model (if relevant) of the item of equipment.
Briefly describe the item of equipment and its primary functions. Explain how the specifications of the instrument make it different from other similar equipment available for use.
Set out the expected cost of the item(s) of equipment in pounds sterling (inclusive of VAT) and list any associated maintenance or support costs.
Less expensive items of equipment that are intrinsically associated with the equipment may also be requested. Funding for maintenance of the equipment or for implementing or managing any sharing mechanisms can also be requested.
In order to assist EPSRC’s financial planning, please state clearly the anticipated funds that would be requested from EPSRC (in other words cost after the deduction of any contributions) making a clear distinction between cost of equipment items and the cost of any associated resources. Describe the timescales associated with procurement of the equipment and when you anticipate you will spend any capital provision made.
Indicate the proportion of equipment time that will be available for use by the group managing the equipment, other groups at the same institution, and researchers at other institutions.
Indicate how additional users of the equipment will be identified and how all users will be prioritised. Information should be provided on the anticipated demand, indicating the likely main users and where they will be based. You should describe how you plan to interact and/or collaborate with key groups or shared facilities in your research area.
It is acceptable for the equipment to be used entirely by one research group although this would need to be very carefully justified. EPSRC are looking to maximise the usage of equipment for high quality research, not necessarily share it as widely as possible.
Indicate how the item of equipment will be supported and maintained for the duration of any current or proposed research funding including any costs that would be recouped through charging.
9. Strategic case
Describe the research enabled by the equipment and/or the value added to existing research programmes. Indicate which of the EPSRC’s strategic priorities are met by the research enabled by this equipment. Describe how these priorities are met. Explain how the purchase of this item of equipment will compliment or enhance regional and/or national research capability. If an equipment roadmap exists for the type of equipment requested. Explain how this item relates to the roadmap.
10. Ensuring maximum value
Explain how the requested equipment will fit with other items of equipment, infrastructure and people support already at your university. Indicate how the requested item or items fit the strategy of your department and institution.
11. Contribution from other sources
Describe what contributions to the cost, operation or maintenance of the item of equipment will be found from other sources.
In the case that the proposal for equipment is not supported, describe the alternative options for using existing equipment of a different specification or at other locations.