We are looking to fund projects that cover all aspects of astronomy and astrophysics beyond the solar system.
Proposals could include projects relating to:
- stellar physics, including star formation and extra-solar planetary systems (studies of the Sun as part of a programme of stellar physics may fit here)
- studies of transient phenomena
- the interstellar medium and galactic astronomy
- extra-galactic astronomy and cosmology
- the astrophysical aspects of particle astrophysics, including dark matter, cosmic rays and gravity
- novel technology or instrumentation research and development applicable to the above areas
- laboratory astrophysics, including software development, relevant to the above areas.
Find out more about the scope of this opportunity in the full astronomy research grant application guidelines 2021 (PDF, 498KB).
Researching gravitational waves
Please check the following guidance to see if your research is within the remit of astronomy: STFC gravitational waves remit (PDF, 52KB).
Support for technology development projects
We support proposals at technology readiness levels (TRL) 1 to 4 or equivalent.
For funding opportunities that support higher TRL proposals, see the UK Space Agency. For definitions of TRL see the STFC Project Research and Development scheme.
What you can request to fund
You can request support for investigators, researchers, technicians and associated students involved in the research programme.
You should be realistic about the number of posts this funding can support. We advise you to mostly request support for existing posts and only request a small number of additional posts.
You can request funding to pay for equipment, or that contributes to its total cost. Equipment can be shared across a number of projects or be for a specific task.
STFC will usually contribute around 50% of the cost of equipment items, although this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
STFC will contribute 100% of the cost only if the support is for instrument development and you have permission from the office to apply for this level of funding.
For more guidance on requesting resources see the full astronomy research grant application guidelines 2021 (PDF, 498KB).
See also the STFC research grants handbook.
New applicant scheme
There are additional terms for this scheme:
- You cannot be funded on more than one grant. For example, if you hold STFC-supported resources at your previous university, you should negotiate the relocation of those resources.
- You must be the sole investigator.
- You can only apply once at any institution for the new applicant scheme.
- You can apply for funding for a minimum of a year and a maximum of three years (or until the issue of the department’s next consolidated or consortium grant).
- You can apply for limited resources to allow you to begin to establish a research programme.
Out of scope
For research in the area of solar system science you should apply under the separate Solar and planetary studies funding opportunity.
If your research activities have significant overlap between solar system science and extra-solar science, in rare cases you may be able to request resources under both funding opportunities. The panel will examine these cases closely.