We are looking to fund projects to investigate step-change manufacturing solutions, with the potential to transform the manufacturing system.
We are looking to fund feasibility projects:
- of up to 18 months duration
- aimed at high-risk discovery research to help deliver transformative manufacturing solutions that improve productivity, increase resource efficiency or minimise waste
- otherwise facilitate a transition to a sustainable manufacturing system
What we expect to see in proposals
This funding opportunity aims to fund excellent, transformative manufacturing research, which draws on emerging funding opportunities from across our remit.
We are looking to identify these emerging funding opportunities by investing in highly adventurous research for which new manufacturing knowledge is needed to lead to successful processes and products.
We want to reach academics working at the interface between underpinning science and manufacturing who want to move their work into the manufacturing domain, as well as academics already working in the full spectrum of manufacturing research (including, but not limited to; simulation, design, production, fabrication, systems and services).
We want the manufacturing research we support to help solve some of the most significant challenges and opportunities facing the UK today and in the future.
The expectation is that as the projects funded by this funding opportunity will be inherently high-risk in nature, some may be unsuccessful in demonstrating the feasibility of the manufacturing solutions they propose. Such an outcome is valuable in itself, as the resource committed to achieving this finding is constrained.
Those projects that are successful should have the potential to deliver significant impact towards a more productive and sustainable UK economy. To that end the inclusion of project partners is encouraged, although not a formal requirement. You are urged to consider what form industrial engagement could take, including building in plans to engage with a range of relevant manufacturing companies (SMEs included) throughout the proposed project.
It is expected that applicants to this funding opportunity will need to plan for further funding to move successful projects towards commercialisation. As such, while there are no discrete plans for associated ‘follow-on’ funding with this funding opportunity, you should consider seeking additional support through EPSRC and UKRI funding opportunities such as standard mode, as well as private company or other investments.
The case for support of any proposal submitted to this funding opportunity should, in addition to describing the project and the methodology, include the following headings, each of which should address the questions listed beneath:
Adventurous aspects of the proposal:
- what makes the proposed work adventurous and high risk in nature?
Benefits of the proposed work:
- please describe, justify and, where appropriate, quantify the benefits of the proposed research. Examples of benefits that could feasibly be delivered if the project is successful include, but are not limited to:
- the potential increase in productivity (for example, within an industrial sector, at a factory level etc.)
- improved value for money
- other social and environmental benefits
- what additional research, development or both will be required following successful completion of the project to deliver a deployable technology or solution?
This funding opportunity is to support innovative, potentially transformative manufacturing research projects, seeking to explore ‘step-change’ ideas that translate emerging opportunities from across the engineering and physical sciences.
Proposed projects should:
- draw on advances in underlying science and technology
- focus on the design and development of new and existing manufacturing processes, systems, networks or both
- explicitly consider the pathway to manufacture, including production scale up and integration within the wider industrial system
The project must be within our remit with at least 50% of the proposed work falling within the manufacturing domain. Proposals that do not fall within our remit or are not sufficiently focused on the development of manufacturing technologies will be rejected.
We do not intend to fund projects that could be described as:
- low-risk or unadventurous
- incompatible with deployment within an environmentally sustainable context.
Responsible innovation and environmental sustainability
All projects funded via this funding opportunity must:
- follow the principles and guidance contained within UKRI’s environmental sustainability strategy (PDF, 1.5MB), regarding the sustainability of the research methodologies used
- consider the responsible innovation and environmental sustainability aspects of the proposed research approaches, and the associated project outputs and outcomes
Applications are welcomed from:
- researchers working in the fundamental physical sciences who are looking to apply underpinning concepts to the development of scalable and sustainable manufacturing technologies
- established manufacturing researchers aiming to deliver transformative solutions.
When applying to this funding opportunity you should be excited about the project you submit and should actively embrace the opportunity to develop an ambitious, high-risk idea, with the potential to make a significant contribution to a productive, thriving and resilient UK manufacturing sector.
We have up to £3 million to fund a number of projects.
Your project can be up to £312,500 at 100% full economic cost. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost (£250,000).
Projects can be between 12 to 18 months in duration.
Equipment over £10,000 in value (incl. VAT) is not available through this funding opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the Directly Incurred – Other Costs heading.
EPSRC approach to equipment funding.
You are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.
If you are planning to include international collaborators on your proposal you should visit Trusted Research for guidance on getting the most out of international collaboration while protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.