A NetworkPlus is a strategic investment which brings together new research communities and identifies, prioritises and develops future research challenges.
This NetworkPlus will support a research agenda that addresses security threats and challenges facing us in the future (around 2050) by mobilising a diverse community. It will do this by bringing together existing researchers working on individual elements of this challenge and forming them into a coordinated and coherent whole.
Additionally, this NetworkPlus will use part of its funding to create new funding opportunities. To build sustained engagement and collaboration, the NetworkPlus will provide leadership across disciplines and sectors and will deliver different activities, such as:
- funding opportunities for pilot and feasibility projects.
UK prosperity and security depends upon the smooth and sustainable functioning of many interrelated systems. As the world becomes increasingly complex, new thinking is required to ensure we have resilience against threats and challenges in the future beyond the current generation (around 2050).
This NetworkPlus is expected to:
- build relationships between the UK defence sector, industry, and academic community (particularly those who may not typically engage with the defence sector)
- build interdisciplinary capability, leverage existing partnerships and establish new ones
- bring together diverse expertise across the broadest possible range of disciplines, which could include (for example) engineering, information and communications technology, mathematics, healthcare technologies, behavioural sciences and design
- enable a coordinated and coherent landscape across disciplines and communities, and ensure high impact by working closely with important UK defence stakeholders and groups, including:
- Defence Science and Technology (DST)
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
- the Defence Academic Pathways Steering Group (DAP SG)
- industry and the wider research community
- focus on a specified scenario involving a major disaster caused by state-sponsored or terrorist actors, taking place in a densely populated future urban setting around 2050
- align broadly with the priorities and aims of the Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2020.
Your proposal must be multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or both. We welcome proposals from across the range of academic disciplines, providing at least 50% of the programme falls within EPSRC’s remit. We expect the successful grant to play a strategic role in bringing together stakeholders across disciplinary boundaries and all relevant areas.
The research agenda of this NetworkPlus will focus on a predefined scenario. EPSRC has worked with an established group spanning industry and academia, the Defence Academic Pathways Steering Group (DAP SG), to define this opportunity. Co-funding for this opportunity is provided from Defence Science and Technology (DST).
The predefined scenario upon which this NetworkPlus will focus is of a major disaster taking place in a densely populated future urban setting, around 2050. This might be caused by a lone terrorist actor or a sophisticated state-sponsored attack.
Such an event might cause massive disruption to transportation infrastructure, communication networks and emergency services. In this scenario, there are multiple concurrent challenges which would need to be solved simultaneously in an evolving situation, including but not limited to:
- how to detect and reach casualties when automated and manual transport networks are disrupted, including the need to assess and triage the status of casualties
- how to share correct and vital information when primary systems are compromised or unavailable
- how to establish decision-making and organisational structures
- how to minimise additional effects through reliable, resilient and self-repairing systems
- how to avoid further casualties and panic
- any other relevant challenges relating to this disaster scenario.
The principal investigator of the proposal should have a collaborative mindset alongside excellent leadership and management abilities and is expected to collaborate closely with defence government and industry stakeholders.
To build sustained engagement and collaboration, this NetworkPlus will provide leadership across disciplines and sectors, and will deliver different activities which support the aims of the NetworkPlus.
Applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC Framework for Responsible Innovation.
In addition to UKRI principles on trusted research and innovation, we expect applicants to follow guidance and best practice in working to reduce vulnerabilities to UK national infrastructure.
We reserve the right to reject proposals which do not demonstrate appropriate consideration of these matters, and of the sensitive nature of working in this area.
The full economic cost of your project can be up to £2.25 million. ESPRC and Defence Science and Technology (DST) will fund 80% of the full economic cost (£1.8 million).
Normal costs associated in running a standard research grant may be applied for. Additionally, as part of running the NetworkPlus you will be expected to use part of the grant funding to develop and run calls for small projects. These will take place over the duration of the grant.
Applicants should decide the amount of grant funding allocated to small projects. This amount should strike a balance between a need to support the key activities of the network and the need to support new activities.
The expectation is that some of these small projects will lead to applications for further support from appropriate funding bodies. In addition to being of high quality, all funded activities should aim for high impact and involve stakeholders to have a good chance of bringing real defence benefit to the UK.
Small grants will be covered by ‘flexible funding’ (see additional conditions), and this should be clearly stated on applications under the ‘directly incurred costs’ heading.
There will be a fixed start date of 21 March 2022. Spending must begin by 31 March 2022.
Please see the guidance for applicants for full details on what costs you can apply for.
The NetworkPlus scheme allows you to include costs for core research, funding opportunities and any other relevant activities which are fully justified.
Research activity to support the aims of the NetworkPlus and impact activity related to this research.
A budget for funding opportunities which support the aims of the NetworkPlus that can be allocated to researchers at other universities. It is up to applicants to determine the appropriate balance between core network activities and scale of funding that they make available for funding opportunities.
The expectation is that some of these small projects will lead to applications for further support from appropriate funding bodies.
Other costs you may apply for
Costs to support the production of reports, videos and other media relevant to the aims of the NetworkPlus.
A sufficient level of administrative support should be requested to ensure the coordination, management and smooth running of the NetworkPlus. Reasonable costs for monitoring and dissemination of the NetworkPlus’ output can also be included.
Funding can be requested for costs involved in running activities such as:
- networking events
- expert working groups
- online discussion forums
- problem-solving workshops.
Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the range of activities that could support the delivery of the NetworkPlus goals.