Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Adventurous manufacturing round one: follow-on funding

This opportunity is for successful applicants from adventurous manufacturing round one only.

You can apply for further funding to extend the research in progress and enhance the impact of the initiative. You should address how your proposal will build on the research conducted in your initial project.

Your research must fall within the remit of the EPSRC manufacturing the future theme.

This is a single-stage process. Your full proposal will be peer reviewed and assessed by a prioritisation panel.

Who can apply

Only one proposal may be received for each adventurous manufacturing round one project. A change of principal investigator from stage one would only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances which must be discussed with the EPSRC contact in advance of application.

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Read the guidance on institutional eligibility.

Subject to holding an adventurous manufacturing round one grant, you can apply if you are resident in the UK and meet at least one of the bullets below:

  • are employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level or equivalent
  • hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project, and the host research organisation is prepared to give you all the support normal for a permanent employee
  • hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • hold fellowships under other schemes (please contact EPSRC to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis).

Holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to apply for an EPSRC grant.

What we're looking for


Successful applicants from the adventurous manufacturing round one call are invited to apply for further funding to extend the research in progress and enhance the impact of the initiative. Applicants should submit a full proposal, addressing how their proposal will build on the research conducted in their initial adventurous manufacturing research project. The proposed work must fall within the remit of the EPSRC manufacturing the future theme.


The vision of the EPSRC manufacturing the future theme is of a prosperous and productive UK, supported by a thriving research and knowledge-led manufacturing base. To enable this, our mission is to create and capture the benefits of basic research for UK manufacturing industries.

To this end, the adventurous manufacturing initiative was launched in 2018 to encourage highly transformative research in the near term which has the potential to disrupt the future manufacturing landscape. Proposals contributing to the following research priorities were invited:

  • 21st century products
  • digital manufacturing
  • sustainable industries
  • new industrial systems.

This remit allowed for projects across the whole spectrum of manufacturing research, including simulation, design, production, fabrication, systems and services leading to successful processes and products. The call was aimed at academics already working in these areas as well as those working at the interface between underpinning science and manufacturing who wanted to move their work into the manufacturing domain.

Proposals were expected to fall at least 50% within the manufacturing the future theme’s remit, with the potential that a follow-on application would be heavily focused in the manufacturing the future theme.

The EPSRC manufacturing the future theme are now looking to expand on the research funded in adventurous manufacturing round one by providing further funding to extend the research in progress and enhance the impact of the initiative. Up to £4 million will be provided for this call, for projects of the order of £1 million EPSRC contribution and expected to be of up to 36 months duration.

Proposals within the scope of this call should elaborate how they will expand on the results or impact of their round one grant.

This call is for standard research proposals.


This follow-on call is being launched to support excellent manufacturing research which contributes to realising the transformative potential of the original adventurous manufacturing projects. The call supports our mission to create and capture the benefits of basic research for UK manufacturing industries.

Adventurous manufacturing round one grant holders are therefore invited to apply for funding for projects that build on the work undertaken in the initial projects. The follow-on project must take forward and be clearly linked to the transformative research vision of the original project and must build on its research outputs. The ongoing research vision may be adapted in response to emerging research findings, priorities or opportunities. The suitability of the case for follow-on funding will be assessed by reviewers under the ‘fit to call’ criterion.

These projects may include the following activities:

  • undertaking further scientific and technical development of the original project findings
  • work to broaden the impact of the research, including identifying opportunities for user engagement and translation into UK manufacturing industries.

In line with all EPSRC research grants, the majority of the project must be focused on fundamental scientific research at Technology Readiness Levels 1-3. It is also appropriate to request resources to further the impact of the research and it is expected that consideration for this will be embedded in the programme.

The research vision and the majority of the work to be carried out must fall mainly within the remit of the EPSRC manufacturing the future theme. Funding should be requested solely for a new programme of activities and these should not duplicate proposed work from the original project proposal. Proposals falling outside this remit or where there is duplication of the original proposal may be rejected before the peer review stage.

Funding available

Projects are expected to be up to 36 months in duration and the amount requested is expected to be of the order of £1 million (80% of the full Economic Costing (fEC)).

Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is not available through this call. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the Directly Incurred – Other Costs heading.

Find out more about equipment funding.

How to apply

Applicants should ensure they are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place. You should prepare and submit your proposal using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

When adding a new proposal, you should go to documents, select New Document, then select:

  • council ‘EPSRC’
  • document type ‘Standard Proposal’
  • scheme ‘Standard’
  • call name: ‘Adventurous Manufacturing Round 1 Follow-On (invite only)’.

After completing the application:

  • you must ‘Submit document’ which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration
  • your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process. Applicants should allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the call closing date.

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 29 April 2021.

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted:

  • case for support (eight pages): comprising up to two A4 sides for a track record, two A4 sides summarising the results/impact of your round one grant and how you intend to build on them, and four A4 sides describing proposed research and its context
  • workplan (one page): should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as a Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or Gantt chart
  • justification for resources (two pages)
  • CVs (two pages each): for named and visiting researchers, and researcher co-investigators only
  • project partner letters of support (no page limit): must be included from all named project partners. Must be on headed paper and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date
  • letters of support (no page limit, optional): in exceptional circumstances a maximum of three letters can be submitted
  • technical assessment (no page limit, optional): for the use of a major facility, where applicable
  • proposal cover letter (no page limit, optional): the cover letter can be used to highlight any important information to EPSRC. This attachment type is not seen by reviewers or panel members.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. All documents, including workplans, should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

You are advised to pay close attention to all the assessment criteria when writing your case for support, and to note the non-standard structure.

Approximately two pages should be focused on the work carried out in the initial project, and its results. This, along with four pages focused on the proposed work and its context, should support the case for follow-on funding, by explaining how you will take forward and adapt the existing vision, and how you will build on initial work.

You should clearly show what you have learnt from the original project and how it has influenced this proposal. The demonstration of this link between initial and proposed work will be assessed as part of the ‘fit to call’ criterion.

A standalone assessment of the progress of the original project does not form part of the assessment criteria, except insofar as evidence must be present to support the need for further funding to develop the initial work.

Read our advice on writing proposals.

EPSRC will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for. All relevant parts of the ethical information section must be completed. Read further guidance on ethical information in the Je-S form.

EPSRC guidance can be found under ‘Additional information’.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Proposals will undergo postal peer review. Reviewers will assess applications against the assessment criteria provided.

Where applications receive sufficient support from reviewers, applicants will be invited to submit a response to reviewers. Proposals will then be considered by a prioritisation panel, which will consist of experts from across the breadth of research areas represented in the batch of proposals. The panel will assess proposals against the assessment criteria and produce a rank ordered list. Panel assessments will be based on the reviewers’ comments and the applicant response.

The prioritisation panel will take place in July 2021. Funding decisions will be based on the rank-ordered list compiled by the panel and may be expected in August 2021.

Assessment criteria

Proposals submitted under this call will be assessed according to the following criteria.

Standard criteria

Quality (primary) the research excellence, making reference to:

  • the novelty, relationship to the context, timeliness and relevance to identified stakeholders
  • the ambition, adventure, transformative aspects or potential outcomes
  • the suitability of the proposed methodology and the appropriateness of the approach to achieving impact (for multi-disciplinary proposals please state which aspects of the proposal you feel qualified to assess).

National importance (secondary major) how the research:

  • contributes to, or helps maintain the health of other disciplines contributes to addressing key UK societal challenges and/or contributes to future UK economic success and development of emerging industry(s)
  • meets national needs by establishing or maintaining a unique world leading activity
  • complements other UK research funded in the area, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary), the ability to deliver the proposed project, making reference to:

  • appropriateness of the track record of the applicant(s)
  • balance of skills of the project team, including collaborators.

Resources and management (secondary), the effectiveness of the proposed planning and management and whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified, making reference to:

  • any equipment requested, or the viability of the arrangements described to access equipment needed for this project, and particularly on any university or third-party contribution
  • any resources requested for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement or to support responsible innovation.

Call specific criteria

Fit to call (secondary major). Whether the project is appropriate for follow-on funding, making reference to:

  • how the proposed project takes forward and adapts the existing research vision
  • how the research is linked to the research outputs of the round one grant and how it builds on the round one grant’s outcomes
  • how the proposed work contributes to realising the transformative potential of the original adventurous idea and/or expands its impact.


Feedback will be provided in the form of reviewer comments from the postal peer review stage. A rank ordered list from the full proposal prioritisation panel will be available shortly after the panel on Grants on the Web. The prioritisation panel may provide specific feedback if deemed necessary, but this will not be given as standard.

Nominating reviewers

As part of the application process you will be invited to nominate up to three potential reviewers who you feel have the expertise to assess your proposal. Please ensure that any nominations meet the EPSRC policy on conflicts of interest.

For more information about the reviewer selection process please see the related content links.

Guidance for reviewers

When completing your assessment please use the section marked ‘call specific criteria’ to address the ‘fit to call’ criterion as defined in the assessment criteria above. Please note that an assessment of the progress or quality of the original project does not form part of the assessment criteria, except insofar as evidence must be present to support the need for further funding to develop the initial work.

Please bear in mind that, especially due to the impacts of COVID-19, applicants’ initial projects may be at very different stages; consideration should be given to how developed the supporting evidence for the need for follow-on funding may be expected to be given the stage of the individual applicant’s project.

Find out more about the EPSRC peer review process and guidance for reviewers.

Read guidance for reviewing standard grants.

Contact details

Stephanie Williams

Portfolio Manager, manufacturing the future theme

Stephen Gilligan

Portfolio Support Manager, manufacturing the future theme

Manufacturing the future theme

Central email inbox:

Costings and writing 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.


Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to:

  • Je-S helpdesk ( – 01793 444164). Staffed Monday to Thursday 08:30-17:00 and Fridays 08:30-16:30 (excluding bank holidays and other holidays).

Additional info

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 207KB)

Original call document: Manufacturing Futures: Adventurous Manufacturing Research (PDF, 109KB)


In May 2018 the manufacturing the future theme held a retreat (‘manufacturing futures’) attended by academics and industrialists to explore the future landscape of manufacturing and the opportunities for UK manufacturing research and innovation. As a result, adventurous manufacturing round one was launched to encourage highly transformative research in the near term which has the potential to disrupt the future manufacturing landscape.

In the original call document, EPSRC proposed that it would review the adventurous manufacturing research portfolio after approximately 12 months from the start of the grants in order to explore the opportunity to provide further funding to extend the research in progress and enhance the impact of the initiative. Routes for accessing follow-on funding were planned which were to allow research outputs to be further developed. The result is this adventurous manufacturing round one follow-on call.

We would like to encourage all grant holders from round one to apply for further funding to extend the research in progress and enhance the impact of the initiative. We are continuing to seek ambitious, transformative research in manufacturing with the potential to provide disruption to UK manufacturing as well as addressing key challenges in UK manufacturing.

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