Build research communities with the UK financial services sector

Apply for funding to develop a new research network with partners in the UK financial services.

You must be eligible for EPSRC funding.

Your network is expected to:

  • involve collaboration with project partners from the user-focused financial services sector
  • identify and address data-centric, quantitative, technological and ‘real-world’ research challenges
  • help form new research communities.
  • fund feasibility studies and network building activities.

The full economic cost of your network can be up to £2.5 million. EPSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Who can apply

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

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

Check if your institution is eligible for funding

You can apply if you are resident in the UK and meet at least one of the criteria below:

  • are employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above
  • 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, but we encourage applications to reflect how they can be involved in the network’s activity.

We encourage submissions from consortia of research organisations to ensure the team has the appropriate depth, expertise and coverage across the full spectrum of the topic. However, if the appropriate breadth of expertise is present in one research organisation, that would be acceptable.

The principal investigator of the proposal should have:

  • a collaborative mindset
  • an excellent track record of collaboration with businesses in the financial services or financial technology (FinTech) sectors
  • excellent leadership and management abilities.

Individuals based in non-UK countries that can contribute to the NetworkPlus can be involved in the grant as project partners, members of the management or advisory boards and so on. However, they are not eligible to be investigators.

Only one lead application is permitted from a principal investigator’s institution. Maximum of five investigators (including principal investigator and co-investigators (Co-I)) per application.

Involvement as an investigator on a NetworkPlus grant is a significant commitment, therefore principal investigator and Co-Is can only be named investigators on one application.

What we're looking for

EPSRC is seeking to fund the creation of a high quality NetworkPlus that will underpin new academic and business partnerships within the financial services sector.

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, we are assuming the financial services sector includes:

  • FinTech
  • regulatory technology (RegTech)
  • insurance
  • regulation
  • accounting
  • business banking
  • investment banking
  • life assurance and pensions
  • retail banking.

We want to encourage partnerships and collaboration of businesses in the broad financial services sector with academic researchers in the creation of the collaborative network in order for it to address user-inspired research challenges.

The current landscape shows relatively little interaction of this important sector with research-active UK academics, even though many relevant sector challenges lie in the EPSRC space, such as:

  • cybersecurity
  • data
  • its analysis.

The NetworkPlus is aimed at facilitating an easier and more agile entry point to financial services sector businesses to engage with world leading UK academic researchers. Please see ‘additional information’ for more context.

Anticipated outcomes include:

  • the creation of more and better partnerships within academia, and between academia and the financial services sector
  • increased trust and levels of collaboration
  • more investment and engagement between businesses in this sector and academia.

NetworkPlus activities should:

  • be UK-wide, drawing on existing, or developing, regional strengths
  • should involve a broad range of disciplines and non-academic stakeholders from the financial sector.

The successful NetworkPlus investment will:

  • lower barriers to collaboration
  • deliver agile and responsive opportunities aimed at bringing together relevant research disciplines and stakeholders of the interdisciplinary financial services communities.

We recognise that this will initially be challenging, as there is not a ready-made network in this space, but we hope by the end of the network there will be a strong collaborative academic and financial services sector community.

The NetworkPlus should have a national focus, but also look to consider the needs of the local clusters. Collaborative networks should therefore strengthen connectivity and drive new potentially transformative academic contributions.

To facilitate this, the NetworkPlus should be open to engaging with all, and should not exclude partners (academic or business) based on their location.

We ask applicants to:

  • indicate which regional clusters they will try to collaborate most closely with
  • demonstrate how regional activity will contribute to broader national benefit.

Networks will leverage and augment regional strengths to add competitive advantage to the UK, by acting as a platform for the broader national diffusion of research outcomes derived from the small-scale feasibility studies it supports.

In support of this ambition, applicants are asked to clearly articulate their approach to engaging and operating across scales (regional to national) and across multiple geographies in a structured and coherent way that enables benefits to be felt at both a regional and national level.

Scope

The NetworkPlus should aim to convene the community to address pressing pre-competitive, low technology readiness level (TRL) (one to four), data-centric, quantitative, technological and real world- wicked research challenges such as, but not limited to:

  • artificial intelligence (AI) including:
    • ethical AI
    • explainable AI
    • AI capability
  • big data
  • cyber security, including issues around privacy, trust, resilience, acceptability and security
  • cryptocurrencies, digital currencies and use of distributed ledger technologies
  • data access including synthetic data
  • decentralisation finance (DeFi)
  • digital twins
  • digital transformation including adoption and trust
  • green FinTech and sustainable finance
  • machine learning decision making
  • open banking and open finance
  • personalisation and recognition
  • privacy enhancing technologies and tackling money laundering
  • quantum information technologies used in financial services
  • regulatory technologies (RegTech), technologies used by firms to remain compliant
  • supervisory technologies (SupTech), technologies used by financial regulatory agencies to monitor markets and protect consumers
  • technologies to help tackle online harms in financial services.

A diverse range of stakeholders, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) were consulted to identify these research areas. The NetworkPlus does not need to focus on all of the above areas. But instead, through consultation with their chosen financial services partners should choose the most pressing and relevant based on their own expertise.

Also, please note that the above list is not an exhaustive list, and we welcome the inclusion of EPSRC-remit relevant research challenges beyond this list.

Research questions and topics should be developed in collaboration with financial services companies. Each proposal must clearly articulate:

  • how it will be addressing the chosen engineering and physical science research challenges
  • demonstrate evidence of how they will connect with ongoing excellent research in the UK to grow and develop the network.

Ultimately, the NetworkPlus must identify ambitious ‘real world’ challenges facing financial services, throughout the five-year duration, and form an agenda to shape future research in the area.

NetworkPlus aims

The NetworkPlus should aim to:

  • create more and better academic engagement, collaboration and partnership with financial services sector businesses
  • co-create research challenges with businesses that can be articulated with the UK academic research community
  • build new research communities or create new links between different existing research communities
  • bring focus to the relevant research area, identifying research challenges, opportunities, and priorities
  • build better links with local and national trade bodies, regulators, policy makers, researchers and users
  • support experimentation on data within a trusted framework
  • improve sectoral knowledge exchange and alignment of research, development and innovation with talent pipelines
  • support initial testing of new ideas and kick-start new collaborations
  • de-risk investment and early-stage R&D through feasibility funds
  • grow the areas of research for the benefit of the UK
  • facilitate impact and advance policy.

The NetworkPlus investments can undertake a variety of activities to achieve the above aims, including:

  • workshops
  • events
  • feasibility studies
  • secondments
  • horizon scanning.

It is essential that user engagement is considered in the wider network membership. Applicants are encouraged to tailor their activities to the needs of the area and to be innovative in their approach. Co-creation with the financial services sector will be essential in making this NetworkPlus a success.

NetworkPlus proposals should complement current research activities and existing networks throughout the UK.

Funding available

Funding of up to £2 million (80% full economic cost) will support one financial sector NetworkPlus for a duration of up to five years. The successful proposal will be funded at 80% full economic cost, meaning that the total value will be up to £2.5 million.

Investigators’ salaries

Requested under the ‘directly allocated cost’ heading.

The principal investigator and up to four Co-Is can request funds to cover their salary costs for the time spent on setting up and leading the NetworkPlus. The salary costs of NetworkPlus participants should not be included in the proposal and we would not expect these individuals to be Co-Is.

Please note that individuals listed as principal investigators and Co-Is can only be included on one bid.

Travel and subsistence

Requested under the ‘directly incurred cost’ heading.

Travel and subsistence enabling members of the NetworkPlus to meet to exchange ideas and expertise. This may include visits by or to experts overseas. This may also include travel and subsistence costs to support secondments.

Where possible, collaborators should meet their own travel costs.

Administrative support

Requested under the ‘directly incurred cost’ heading.

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 network’s output can also be included.

Organisation of activities

Requested under the ‘directly incurred cost’ heading.

Funding can be requested for costs involved in running activities such as:

  • networking events
  • expert working groups
  • debates
  • online discussion forums
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • problem-solving workshops.

Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the range of activities that could support the delivery of the NetworkPlus goals.

Research

Requested under the ‘directly incurred cost’ heading.

Research activity to support the research strategy developed within the NetworkPlus. Funds can be requested for:

  • postdoctoral research assistant staff
  • consumables
  • travel and subsistence
  • any other costs eligible under ‘directly incurred’ headings.

This is likely to include a budget for feasibility studies (but not to demonstrator phase or beyond TRL 4) that can be allocated to researchers at other universities.

We expect this to be a nationwide effort involving the best people. Applicants will need to think carefully about how this feasibility studies budget will be commissioned. Processes for the allocation of funds must be fair and transparent.

Please note that the feasibility funds will be restricted to EPSRC current research organisation eligibility but will not be bound by standard EPSRC investigator eligibility criterion. It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to ensure on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability of the funds.

EPSRC would expect some examples of the types of projects at the application stage, but the research challenges should evolve during the course of the network activities and should be co-created and collaborative in nature.

Other eligible and ineligible costs

Funding can also be requested for:

  • activities to support experimentation on data within a trusted framework
  • activities to identify and disseminate key research challenges in the area, for example horizon-scanning studies
  • activities to facilitate impact and advance policy, such as reports, websites and briefings
  • secondment support, including scoping of potential opportunities, travel and subsistence and so on
  • activities to support career development
  • activities to connect users, industry and other stakeholders with the research base
  • communication costs to support the production of reports, videos and other media showing the benefits, outcomes and impacts of the NetworkPlus support
  • equipment to support networking, events and communication.

Please note project partners cannot receive funding directly from the grant. The only exception to this is where a project partner is providing services or equipment that will go through a formal procurement process audited by the host research organisation. The project partner cannot receive any other funds from the grant, such as travel and subsistence.

Equipment over £10,000 is not available through this opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading.

We will not be funding laboratory or research equipment for this opportunity. We will only support equipment to facilitate communication, networking and events. We welcome innovative and creative thought.

EPSRC approach to equipment funding

Project partners

NetworkPlus applications are expected to involve project partners from the financial services sector to co-create the NetworkPlus vision and aims. If successful, the NetworkPlus can onboard additional project partners during its lifetime, and is expected to do so as the network grows.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is interested in the ‘Financial Services NetworkPlus’ initiative and is open to having discussions with academics on their approaches and potential collaborations.

If interested, please contact pavle.avramovic@fca.org.uk and john.yeo@fca.org.uk.

Intellectual property (IP)

The management of IP should be considered within the application in consultation with project partners. EPSRC expects a plan for IP management throughout the lifetime of the NetworkPlus to be included in the case for support.

How to apply

To apply, you must submit:

  • an expression of interest
  • a full proposal.

Expression of interest

Applicants must submit an expression of interest by 16:00 on 26 October 2021 confirming:

  • names and institutions of all investigators
  • named researchers
  • project partners
  • proposed title.

Submit expression of interest (Smart Survey)

This is to assist with panel selection and conflict management. Failure to submit an expression of interest will result in a full proposal being withdrawn.

No feedback will be provided on the expression of interest.

Do not wait to hear from EPSRC about the expression of interest before submitting your full proposal.

Full proposal submission guidance

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 9 November 2021.

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 research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

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

  • create new document
  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • On the ‘‘project details’ page you should select ‘Financial Services NetworkPlus’.

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 funding opportunity closing date

The lead organisation must submit one proposal on behalf of all organisations involved in the NetworkPlus and attach all the relevant documentation for the project. If the NetworkPlus is funded, money will be awarded to the lead organisation who are responsible for distributing it between the collaborating organisations.

We will not be accepting submissions consisting of multiple proposals.

You should attach your documents as pdfs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

EPSRC advice on preparing proposals

Documents for submission

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

  • case for support (eight pages, two on your track record and six on the scientific case)
  • workplan (one page)
  • justification of resources (two pages)
  • CVs (up to two sides each) for named:
    • post-doctoral staff
    • researcher- co-investigators (research assistants who have made a substantial contribution to the proposal and will be employed on the project for a significant amount of time)
    • visiting researchers
  • letters of support from all project partners included in the Je-S form (no page limit), EPSRC guidance on project partners letter of support
    • in exceptional circumstances EPSRC will accept up to three letters of support which do not meet the requirements for project partner letters of support host organisation letter of support (two pages)
  • host organisation letter of support from the principal investigator’s institution (two pages)
  • cover letter (optional attachment, no page limit, not seen by peer review).

Case for support

Your case for support should include:

  • track record of core NetworkPlus team (two pages), this should include evidence of relevant experience and expertise the applicant team has in running networks or complex activities requiring comprehensive management
  • how the proposed NetworkPlus addresses real world challenges facing the financial services sector, this should be co-created with industrial partners
  • scientific or technological basis for the NetworkPlus, including in the context of current and previous international research in the field
  • strategy or approach to access and build on regional financial services strengths of the UK over lifetime of the NetworkPlus
  • details of initial membership and contributions, including references to any:
    • industrial collaboration
    • user collaboration and partnerships
  • scientific, technological and management benefits and any additional benefits over the work of existing researchers or networks (targets and performance indicators should be given that allow the project to be evaluated at its end in the longer term, five years from start)
  • details of activities
  • details of how IP will be managed
  • details of plans for the feasibility studies funds, including:
    • the handling of IP
    • commissioning
    • ongoing governance to ensure correct usage and reporting
  • plans to disseminate the network’s outputs
  • potential for industry and academia collaboration within the network and how this might lead to support for new research in emerging fields
  • plans for self-sufficiency beyond the end of the project.

Host organisation letter of support

Your host organisation letter of support should include:

  • recognition of the fact that the host organisation will be responsible for administering the grant for these national networks on behalf of all NetworkPlus partners and members
  • details of specific support that will be given to the applicant team (including investigators, management team and administrators) in:
    • managing the NetworkPlus budget
    • commissioning the funds
    • on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability.

Ethical information

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.

Guidance on the ethical information section of the Je-S form.

EPSRC guidance can be found under ‘additional information’.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Any proposals that do not fit the remit of the opportunity will be rejected prior to peer review. Please note that the proposal must be at least 50% in EPSRC remit.

NetworkPlus full proposals will be assessed against the assessment criteria by an expert prioritisation panel. The highest ranked applications will be invited for interview.

Applicants will have the opportunity to reply to the expert panel comments prior to the interview panel in late January 2022. The principal investigator should attend along with up to two other members of the team (this could include project partners).

The highest ranking NetworkPlus application will be funded.

A funding decision is expected by the end of March 2022.

In the event of this opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

Assessment criteria

Fit to call (primary)

Making reference to:

  • strength of alignment to engineering and physical science challenges facing the financial services sector
  • potential to identify ambitious ‘real world’ research challenges within the financial services sector between users and academia
  • potential for the network to advance the UK’s capabilities in the financial services sector
  • extent the application can be demonstrated to show regional relevance and benefits but in the context of a national landscape
  • extent to which the NetworkPlus complements other UK funded research activities and existing networks in the area, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio
  • sustainability of the activity after the lifetime of the grant.

Quality of the applicant’s research and ability to foster partnerships with businesses in the financial services sector (primary)

The research excellence, making reference to:

  • the ambition, adventure, transformative aspects or potential outcomes to the financial services sector businesses
  • the suitability of the proposed membership and activities. Applicants are encouraged to tailor their activities to the needs of the financial services sector and be innovative in their approach. Activities should reflect the aims of the opportunity
  • appropriate engagement and dissemination plans to accelerate impact and form an agenda for future research in the financial services sector area.
  • clear consideration of plans for IP management during the lifetime of the grant.

Applicant and partnerships (primary)

The ability to deliver the proposed project, making reference to:

  • track record of the principal investigator in engaging and collaborating with the financial services businesses and relevant regulators and government agencies, as well as their relevant research, leadership and management of complex activities
  • evidence of thought leadership, responding to strategic and policy drivers relevant to this sector
  • sufficient administrative support for managing the NetworkPlus
  • appropriate range of expertise of core NetworkPlus members
  • appropriateness of the track record of applicants with respect to working successfully in partnership with financial services businesses and regulators
  • evidence of financial services businesses engagement, co-creation and support (financial cash or in-kind) and ability to engage with users
  • evidence of host institution support, specifically focusing on support given to the applicant team in managing the NetworkPlus budget, commissioning feasibility funds and on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability.
  • evidence of partnership with a local financial services cluster (for example, activity with industrial body or civic body)

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:

  • the appropriateness of the requested resources
  • the effectiveness of the proposed management structure and plans
  • appropriateness of the commissioning of funds for feasibility studies and on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability. In addition to agility in mechanisms and ability to operate at speeds of the sector
  • appropriate resources have been requested to support community building, responsible innovation and public engagement.

Feedback

Feedback will be provided after the expert prioritisation panel and interview panel.

Contact details

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.

Ask a question about this opportunity

Please contact a member of the Business Engagement Team

Richard Kirk

Email: richard.kirk@epsrc.ukri.org

Business Engagement Team

Email: user.engagement@epsrc.ukri.org

Get help with Je-S

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

Email: jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone: 01793 444164

Additional info

Background on financial sector and EPSRC

Following the success of other NetworkPlus activities with academic research challenges, we are piloting a NetworkPlus with a sector focus. It will focus on the financial services sector. The NetworkPlus should aspire to accelerate financial services growth across the whole of the UK by:

  • maximising benefit from existing regional strengths
  • drawing in new relevant research expertise from across the UK.

EPSRC recognises that there is an opportunity to generate impact through connecting our research with the sector to help maintain the UK’s Financial sector’s world-beating position. The need to increase engagement and collaboration with the service sector features in the EPSRC Delivery Plan, as well as throughout UKRI as evidenced by the recent UKRI FinTech Workshop.

The desire to connect academia with the sector is echoed by industry as evidenced in the January 2021 ‘Research and Innovation for UK FinTech’ report published by FinTech Scotland and FinTech Wales. There are many emerging challenges and opportunities facing the sector that will require EPSRC research and innovation to overcome and seize.

The financial services sector contributes £132 billion to the UK economy, almost 7% of total economic output. Financial technology (FinTech) businesses are helping to integrate technology into offerings of financial services companies in order to improve their use and delivery to consumers.

Overall, this is a dynamic and important sector, but the business engagement with EPSRC is less than it should be given its importance to the UK and the high relevance of some areas of our portfolio. The sum of EPSRC’s training and research grants relevant to this sector represent just 3% of EPSRC’s live portfolio.

The disconnect between the financial services businesses and EPSRC academics represents an opportunity for EPSRC to generate impact through connecting our research with the sector and to help maintain this sector’s world-beating position.

The desire to increase engagement and collaboration with the service sector features in the EPSRC Delivery Plan and wider UKRI plans. The May 2021 ‘UKRI FinTech National Workshop: Hosted by AI for Services’ highlighted that there are lots of example areas where partnership with the sector businesses and academia could be powerful and synergistic.

Likewise the February 2021 ‘Kalifa Review of FinTech’ recommended to increase research and development investment in the financial services sector recognising the importance of academia in accelerating the development and growth of the sector.

There are many emerging challenges and opportunities facing the sector that will require EPSRC research and innovation to overcome and seize.

The NetworkPlus should have a national focus and consider place-based strategies. The UK financial services sector is not only confined to London. There are a number of UK clusters of excellence where financial services and technology domain expertise, academic skills and investment are present. For example, the February 2021 ‘Kalifa Review of FinTech’ identified 10 powerful regional clusters in this sector:

  • London
  • The Pennines, covering Manchester and Leeds
  • Scotland (especially the Edinburgh to Glasgow corridor)
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol and Bath
  • Newcastle and Durham
  • Cambridge
  • Reading and West of London
  • Wales (especially Cardiff and South Wales)
  • Northern Ireland.

EPSRC recognises there are regional clusters outside of this list and would welcome their inclusion as part of a proposal.

Background to EPSRC NetworkPlus grants

EPSRC has had considerable success from previous NetworkPlus investments that focus on academic research challenges. These NetworkPlus investments have developed a rich body of outputs, including:

  • new collaborations
  • grant proposals
  • new research methods
  • horizon scanning reports
  • new policy
  • feasibility studies.

This funding opportunity is the first pilot to have a NetworkPlus with a sectorial focus.

Lessons learned from previous NetworkPlus activities include:

  • a clear, well-defined topic for the network is needed to focus plans and activities and the portfolio of grants needs to be regularly reviewed
  • sufficient administrative and host university support for the network is vital, in order to support activities such as feasibility studies and dissemination activities
  • different scales of feasibility study funding are appropriate for different research topics or disciplines
  • different scales of feasibility study may require different assessment processes to reflect the value that is being requested
  • expectation and arrangements for full economic costing of network activities need to be clear across all parties
  • advertising of events needs to be included in the budget
  • long-term plans for the legacy and sustainability of the network need to be considered early on.

Responsible innovation

EPSRC is fully committed to developing and promoting responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended:

  • consequences
  • questions
  • ethical dilemmas
  • social transformations.

We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise.

Therefore, applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible research and innovation.

Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for information and advice on how to get the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting:

  • intellectual property
  • sensitive research
  • personal information.

Additional grant conditions (AGCs)

In addition to the standard terms and conditions for grants, successful applicants will be required to fulfil the following additional grant conditions. Please ensure that this is resourced for accordingly in the application.

Community network expectations

This grant is awarded on the understanding that the project will undertake a wider networking role with the research and user community outside its membership. This may involve coordination of activities such as meetings, workshops or seminars on behalf of EPSRC-UKRI.

A dedicated website must be set up within six months of the start of the grant and regularly maintained to provide a resource for engagement with the wider community.

This grant is expected to further develop the network including its academic and user (such as policy, business, non-governmental organisation) membership throughout the period of funding in order to maximise its impact on a wide range of disciplines.

As part of the grant networks must identify ambitious ‘real-world’ challenges, which require a multi-disciplinary approach and form an agenda for future research in the area.

User engagement strategy

You must develop and execute a strategy for engaging with potential users of the research funded in the project. This strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly as part of the formal management and reporting process agreed for this grant.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In addition to RGC 3.4, You are expected to prepare a full equality diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan for the duration of this grant to demonstrate best practice in EDI throughout the lifetime of this funding award. This must be recorded through the grant reporting process.

EPSRC Project Officer appointment

We will nominate a member of EPSRC staff (the EPSRC Project Officer) who will be your primary point of contact. The project officer will ensure that the project is being run in accordance with the terms and conditions and in line with financial due diligence. The project officer should have access to all documentation of governance and reporting bodies, in so far as it relates to the administration and application of the grant. As funding administrators, all UKRI staff have agreed to maintain the confidentiality required by all parties involved in EPSRC funded research.

Independent advisory board appointment

This grant must establish and run an ‘independent advisory board’, or equivalent body, to oversee the running of the project and provide advice on the strategic direction and activities of the project. The terms of reference and membership of this group (at least 50% independent membership and an independent Chair) should be agreed with EPSRC.

The EPSRC Project Officer will also be expected to attend and participate in advisory board meetings and other appropriate meetings for the duration of the grant.

It is expected the first advisory board meeting will be held within four months of the start date of the project and there will be two meetings a year with contact outside of the meeting when appropriate.

Flexible funds

Notwithstanding standard grant condition RGC 4.4 the sum awarded under the heading of ‘Flexible Funds’ can include both directly incurred and directly allocated expenditure. These funds must be reported on the final expenditure statement (FES) as awarded on the Offer Letter and a breakdown of the expenditure must be submitted along with the FES.

If a breakdown of this expenditure is not received the FES will be returned. Standard grant conditions apply to all other funds awarded on this grant.

Publicity and branding

In addition to RGC 12.4 ‘Publication and acknowledgement of support’, you must make reference to EPSRC and UKRI funding and include the UKRI logo and relevant branding on all online or printed materials (including press releases, posters, exhibition materials and other publications) related to activities funded by this grant.

Progress reports

In addition to the requirements set out in RGC 7.4.3, you are responsible for providing annual progress reports against non-financial performance metrics. A detailed list of performance metrics and instructions for reporting will be agreed with the grant holder and advisory board upon commencement of the grant.

Supporting documents

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