Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Core research challenges in digital twinning for crisis resilience

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Apply to lead an interdisciplinary research programme in digital twinning focused on improving government crisis response and resilience.

The programme must:

  • address identified digital twinning research challenges
  • develop a proof-of-concept digital twin for crisis response and resilience, with relevance to all transport essential services and their interface with other interconnected critical national infrastructure sectors
  • be delivered in close collaboration with key UK policy stakeholders

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £4,375,000. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will fund 80% of the FEC.

Who can apply

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

EPSRC standard eligibility rules apply. For full details, visit EPSRC’s eligibility page.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is not eligible to apply

You or your department may be involved in no more than two applications submitted to this funding opportunity. However, you may only apply as the project lead on one application.

International collaborations

Individuals based in non-UK countries can be involved in the grant as visiting researchers, project partners, or members of advisory boards. However, they are not eligible to be project leads or co-leads, with the exception of individuals based at Norwegian institutions.

Under the UKRI and Research Council of Norway Money Follows Cooperation agreement a project co-lead (international) (previously co-investigator) can be based in a Norwegian institution.

Given the type of research that is to be undertaken, you must undertake appropriate due diligence and pre-application checks for trusted research, identifying appropriate mitigations prior to submission. Visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation page for more information.

You should be aware of the National Security and Investment Act 2021, and where this may relate to outputs from your research.

If successful, you will be expected to comply with UKRI’s Trusted Research grant terms and conditions throughout the life of the grant.


We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI or any other funder.

Find out more about EPSRC’s resubmissions policy.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for


This funding opportunity is led by EPSRC jointly with UKRI’s Building a Secure and Resilient World Strategic theme, as part of our contribution to developing the national capability in digital twinning, focusing on addressing challenges related to national security and resilience. It has been co-developed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Department for Science Innovation and Technology, and the Department of Business and Trade’s National Digital Twin Programme.

We live in increasingly volatile times and the UK faces a broad range of risks with a constantly evolving threat picture, including threats to our critical national infrastructure and essential services. These risks, both non-malicious (accidents, natural hazards) and malicious (threats from harmful actors), are captured in the National Risk Register (NRR) (PDF, 2.5Mb).

While complete mitigation is impossible, there are substantial benefits to be realised in terms of human welfare, economic and environmental impact, protection of essential services and many other areas if risks are effectively identified, planned for, and impacts mitigated. In all cases, a timely and coordinated response from government and agencies is critical in minimising direct and indirect effects. Digital twinning is an approach that can be used to assist decision makers.

The risk landscape is constantly evolving due to national and international changes, including technological advances, geopolitical and geoeconomic shifts along with climate change. The effects of these risks can be compounding and cascading. Thus, it is important to focus on building resilience across the risk landscape.

Identifying, assessing, planning, mitigating, and responding to civil contingency risks is a complex, multidisciplinary endeavour sitting across multiple organisations, further complicated by the interconnected nature of the critical national infrastructure sectors. Sharing data, methodology and expertise can help provide answers to time-critical questions such as how many people are likely affected and who needs to be informed, while adequately accounting for the inevitable uncertainty.

A digital twin is an advanced form of cyber-physical infrastructure enabling a two-way data flow between a physical asset, system or process and its digital representation. Digital twinning can link systems of different organisations and locations, through controlled information sharing, enabling safe scenario-based testing, and support coordination.

A Crisis and Resilience Digital Twin (CRDT) will enable collaboration between various government departments, arm’s length bodies and key stakeholders, such as local resilience fora, to enable coordination across the integrated emergency response cycle between decision-making agencies.

Please see ‘Additional information’ for more context.

What we are looking for

We will award one multiscale research programme to:

  • address the cross-sectoral multi and interdisciplinary research challenges in digital twinning (TRL 1-3)
  • enable a multi-modal, proof-of-concept crisis response and resilience digital twin (TRL 1-4)

The final proof of concept will be available to the key policymakers at no additional cost and with sufficient documentation.

Core challenges in digital twinning

EPSRC and Dstl consulted a range of government, industry, and academic stakeholders in March 2023 through a workshop to identify what critical digital twinning research challenges need to be addressed to build a national capability.

The following identified challenge areas must be addressed through the programme:

  • data challenges which include: access, analysis, curation, ownership, storage, processing, standardisation, governance and policy, and data sharing, including the interoperability and integration of complex spatial data from multiple sources, combining publicly available data with commercially sensitive data, and audit trail of data
  • dynamic modelling challenges which include: modelling rare events and extreme scenarios, enabling scenario-based testing, quantifying results and updating these and outcome options as situation develops in real time, embedding digital twins of different scales, enabling early identification of risks, modelling response and recovery
  • federation and collaboration challenges which include: enable multi-stakeholder collaboration and selective secure access in right-time (which could range from live to as-needed), interoperability and connectivity of digital twins of diverse stakeholders with different roles in CRDT, targeted communication
  • decision support and user interface challenges which include: uncertainty and decision-making, understanding systems of systems, and how to most effectively use digital twins based on quality and usefulness of the information, clarity of purpose and interactions between digital twins and decision makers, and those supporting decision makers
  • trust, security and ethical consideration challenges which include: uncertainty, complexity, validation, verification, and assurance, including assurance in safety-critical applications, digital safety and security (including cybersecurity), understanding vulnerabilities and building resilience at scale which are compatible with different regulatory domains, understanding human behaviour and human-in-the-loop, practical and operationalised ethics consideration for decision making under pressure and uncertainty, clarifying and communicating uncertainty with low data and tight pressures

Other key challenges may additionally be addressed through the programme.

The outputs and outcomes from the core research projects must feed into the development of the CRDT.

You must clearly state in the application how you will address the key challenges while ensuring some agility to tackle timely challenges.

Crisis and resilience digital twin

This investment is expected to bring a step change in the UK’s capability in using digital twinning to improve our ability to anticipate and respond to crises, and to improve resilience of the critical national infrastructure (CNI) sectors to scenarios identified in the National Risk Register. It should use digital twinning to improve how transport networks and systems prepare, respond, adapt, recover from, and make time-critical decisions when responding to emergencies, while interlinking with other relevant domains such as those for energy and telecommunications.

We are interested in the programme covering different scenarios, modes, locations (or combination of locations), to fund projects that will increase the capability in shared situational awareness, scenario-based testing and training using realistic simulations, coordinated planning with selective information sharing between different stakeholders and action between strategic command responsible departments, and operational level through multiple diverse data flows. Of particular interest are risks related to:

  • major disruption to transport networks, such as aviation, road, rail, underground or maritime transport (malicious or not)
  • disruption to electricity, fuel or telecommunications
  • extreme conditions such as flooding (coastal, urban surface), or strong winds
  • scheduled and no-notice disruptions such as industrial action or major events
  • catastrophic risks, such as pandemics, severe space weather or national power outage

The programme should address risks with sufficient diversity in their predictability, different modes affected, users, severity and impact, and scale; whether domestic (local, regional or national) or international. It should consider the common consequences of different risks, while also acknowledge specific factors to certain risks, such as the cause of the risks. The programme also needs to consider how the digital twin will need to adapt to remain representative of evolving risks, including climate change. Not all categories need to be covered, but sufficient diversity is expected to demonstrate the scalability of the solution, and transport must be included in the scenarios. The programme must also consider cascading and compounding risks.

The programme must focus on research in digital twinning that has the potential to deliver benefits to government departments and the wider economy, such as improving cross-government back-office and front-line service efficiencies, risk assessment, planning, testing options to prevent risks or specific impacts of risks, response times, and communications.

The programme must address research challenges in digital twinning while establishing a proof of concept for a safe, secure, resilient, and reliable digital twin to facilitate sharing of information, awareness, planning, response and recovery between government departments and their agencies and stakeholders. The programme will need to collaborate with other relevant initiatives in the UK, as part of the development of the UK national capability in digital twinning.

The successful programme will need to strike an appropriate balance between addressing important digital twinning research challenges critical to the development of the national capability in digital twinning and using digital twinning as an approach through carefully selected use cases to tackle important and relevant objectives for resilience and crisis response in the UK.

Projects should be based on a real location (for example, a city, port or region) or collection of locations (for example, a network of ports) as appropriate for the scenario modelled. We expect the programme to look at multiple geographic granularities as appropriate for the risks considered.

The successful consortium will need to work with key stakeholders, such as local authorities or local resilience fora, government departments such as the Department for Transport, the Transport Research and Innovation Board (TRIB) and DfT Arm’s Length Bodies, to secure access to the needed expertise. Conversely, the government stakeholders must have independent access to data and research outcomes produced from the programme, while keeping the data secure.

This collaboration will ensure the integration of academic research and innovation with local, regional, and national government priorities to inform and influence future policy and regulation.

UKRI has recently funded a series of digital twinning investments linked to, and in some cases funded by, UKRI’s Building a Secure and Resilience World theme, in support of the development of the national capability in digital twinning. These grants are directed towards many of the above listed challenges. The successful team will be expected to work collaboratively with UKRI’s other investments in this area in support of the development of the national capability.

This opportunity is part of a wider set of digital twinning research investments in which we have collaborated with the Department for Transport. Other investments include:

  • DTBOC – Digital Twinning Beyond Observed Capability led jointly by DTNet+ and RBOC+
  • Ontologies for transport digital twinning led by DTNet+

You must demonstrate how your work will enable knowledge exchange, complementing and adding value to the existing research and innovation landscape.

The programme must be consistent with the recommendations of and build on the work and outputs of the National Digital Twin Programme. The programme must use the Information Exchange Standard (IES) ontology in their digital architecture.

Systems approach

You must place your research in the context of the wider system within which the proposed research outputs would sit. These aspects should inform and influence the research direction of the proposed programme throughout its lifetime.

You are not asked to research the entire system or necessarily carry out systems engineering but should:

  • define the system or systems you are developing
  • consider the systems that the digital twin system will sit within and interact with and the feedback loops this may generate
  • consider the wider social, legal, regulatory, economic and environmental context
  • consider the trade-offs and unintended consequences of digital twinning

You should consider questions such as:

  • does your research influence or impact other parts of the system you are developing?
  • how could other systems influence or impact your digital twinning technology, system or process?
  • what further research might be needed for your digital twinning technology, system or process to have the desired impact in a current or future system? Your programme may not necessarily deliver this further research, but it should look to identify it and consider the implications of it

Connected digital twins provide an opportunity for the UK to have a more prepared and resilient society in the face of potential crises. The approach must allow the digital twin to be implemented within the current UK system. The programme should consider the risks, costs and trade-offs associated with the technologies and processes, using tools and approaches such as risk registers and impact assessments where appropriate.

Stakeholder engagement, co-creation and financial leverage

With this funding opportunity EPSRC aims to maximise impact through engagement, collaboration and co-creation with policy, industrial and third sector stakeholders to identify and address strategically important research challenges.

The programme should have a strategy for engaging with key stakeholders, both academic and non-academic, across UKRI remit. This should include plans to interact with a new and emerging range of relevant collaborators throughout the grant duration. You should provide clear evidence of genuine, substantive partnerships, with co-creation and co-delivery of projects and activities. You should drive added value as a core focus of the programme by demonstrating synergistic connectivity between partners, disciplines, and workstreams.

EPSRC expects the programme to secure and grow significant leverage, both financial and in-kind, from stakeholders.

You should consider how you will embed stakeholder interactions in the programme’s governance structure. In particular, advice from users must be appropriately utilised in the decision-making strategy.

Management and monitoring

The programme must:

  • have effective management and monitoring arrangements for the investment. This should include a risk management strategy and a data management strategy
  • establish and run an independent advisory board, or equivalent body, to provide advice and recommendations on the strategic, scientific and research direction and activities
  • consider costing in project management and other administrative support, for example by employing a full-time equivalent project manager, and not relying on the principal investigator for these duties
  • include plans for the development and promotion of the careers of all team members and partners involved, including investigators, research assistants, technicians, and any aligned students, as well as early career researchers
  • have equality, diversity and inclusion embedded throughout the programme

What we expect to see in proposals

The programme must:

  • deliver high quality, novel research addressing timely and strategically important challenges related to AI, digitalisation, and data, driven by a vision to benefit society, the economy and the environment
  • demonstrably be multi and interdisciplinary bringing in relevant expertise and co-creating solutions, as appropriate
  • cover crisis response, recovery and learning to improve crisis resilience. You must demonstrate awareness and consideration of the full resilience cycle (anticipate; assess; prevent; prepare, validate; respond; recover; and learn, as per the HMG Resilience Framework) such that the programme is scalable to cover all aspects of resilience
  • develop and incorporate thought leadership on anticipating the physical security and cybersecurity challenges and mitigating risks
  • support the integration of academic research and innovation with local, regional and national government priorities to inform and influence future policy and regulation
  • use the scale, flexibility and length of the funding to deliver UK-wide national leadership and advocacy and embed creativity and agility into the plans for the programme
  • embed careful consideration of environmental sustainability in all proposed programme outputs and outcomes, research approaches and programme operations throughout the lifetime of the programme
  • demonstrate how the programme is scalable and how you will achieve sustainability of the research programme


The duration of this award is for three years.

Funding available

The FEC of your programme can be up to £4,375,000. UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC. UKRI will fund one award.

The programme funded through this opportunity is intended to use resources flexibly in a way that maximises value. This opportunity does not allow for flexible pots of cash or unassigned funds. Instead, funding should be provisionally assigned at the start of the programme. This funding can then be reallocated and redeployed subject to programme needs and UKRI terms and conditions.

UKRI-funded high performance computing facilities and resources you may use for your research include:

Discuss your research proposal with the facility or service you want to use before submitting your application. You usually need confirmation that you can use the facility or resource. You might also need a technical assessment that includes a costing for the value of using the facility or resource, to include in your application.

Find out more about using EPSRC facilities and resources.

Individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000 can be included on proposals for the programme if both of the following apply:

  • the equipment is essential to the proposed research
  • no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed

Although this is not a funding opportunity designed for significant capital expenditure, equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) and up to £400,000 is available through this funding opportunity. All equipment should be fully justified and essential to the mission of the research. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the Directly Incurred – Other Costs heading.

Find out about EPSRC’s approach to equipment funding.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

Talent mobility

Funds are permitted for short-term placements and exchanges for up to six months duration for research staff. Students (including undergraduate, masters or PhD) are not eligible.

Mobility placements and exchanges will enable cross-sector and interdisciplinary knowledge exchange by facilitating mobility between academic, business, policy and third sector organisations, or other settings, in the UK and overseas to support international and interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. The ambition is to enhance porosity and allow movement between fields as well as providing professional development opportunities for research staff, at all career stages.

Activities could include (but not be limited to):

  • interdisciplinary academia to academia exchanges
  • international placements
  • placements and exchanges with policymakers
  • shorter placements, for example, day releases
  • secondments, up to six months maximum
  • technology transfer and knowledge exchange development opportunities
  • training

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

Applicants for UKRI funding will be expected to comply with UKRI grant terms and conditions.

See further guidance and information about TR&I, including where you can find additional support.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service. We strongly suggest that if you are asking UKRI to add your organisation to the Funding Service to enable you to apply to this funding opportunity, you also create an organisation Administration Account. This will be needed to allow the acceptance and management of any grant that might be offered to you.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors for example, (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.


EPSRC must receive your application by 5 September 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected. If an application is withdrawn prior to peer review or office rejected due to substantive errors in the application, it cannot be resubmitted to the opportunity.

Personal data

Processing personal data

EPSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

EPSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at What EPSRC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.


Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the programme addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than 6.5 sides of A4, single spaced in paper in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables. You can have an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Vision and Approach’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, do not include any sensitive data within the attachment.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

What are you hoping to achieve with and how will you deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • aligns strategically to the funding opportunity aims and scope
  • demonstrates a coherent strategic vision and establishes clear outcomes
  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify key stakeholders
  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • identify how the programme will provide an inclusive environment with a strong ethos of skills development

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • will deliver against the expectations outlined in the funding opportunity
  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • where applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • outline an exciting, multi and interdisciplinary and innovative core programme of research that advances strategic research capabilities underpinning our digital twinning portfolio
  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposed work, noting that there are separate ‘Facilities’ section where detail should be provided
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar (additional one-page A4)
  • demonstrate genuine, substantiative stakeholder engagement and partnerships with co-creation, co-delivery and embedded partnership working within all the programme activities, noting that there is a separate ‘Stakeholder engagement, co-creation and financial leverage’ section where detail should be provided
  • explain how you will identify key opportunities for future research, innovation and sustainability of the programme
  • explain how you will support knowledge transfer and accelerate impacts and translation (economic, social, and environmental)
  • demonstrate how your programme is scalable to ensure the entire system delivers

References may be included within this section.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words; 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them). Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

References may be included within this section.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service. For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partner’ section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter N/A. Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • the page limit is two sides A4 per partner

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.


Word limit: 250

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

Facilities should only be named if they are on the facility information list above.

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 1,000

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Have any issues around trusted research been identified, and if so, have these been appropriately mitigated?

If you are collecting or using data, identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which your study will comply

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,500

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Costings should be justified based on the full economic costs (FEC) of the project, not just on the costs expected from UKRI. For some items we do not expect you to justify the monetary value, rather the type of resource, such as amount of time or type of staff requested.

Where you do not provide adequate justification for a resource, we may deduct it from any funding awarded.

Additionally, where relevant you should explain:

  • support for activities to either expand the user base for equipment, increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money
  • evidence that environmental sustainability has been considered and reflected in your proposed resource and justified appropriately

Your organisation’s support

Word limit: 1,500

Provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a Statement of Support from your research organisation(s) detailing how the programme fits within the wider interest and strategies. This should include details of any matched funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work.

The panel will be looking for a strong statement of commitment from your research organisation.

EPSRC recognises that in some instances, this information may be provided by the Research Office, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) or equivalent, or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or Research Office, or both
  • office address or web link

Leadership, governance and management

Word limit: 1,000

How will you manage the programme to successfully deliver its objectives?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the programme will be managed, demonstrating how it:

  • will be effectively governed, including details about advisory group(s)
  • will be effectively and inclusively managed, demonstrated by a clear management plan which includes a project plan with Gantt chart, associated risks, milestones, and deliverables
  • has a plan for data management and accessibility
  • has clear leadership team roles and responsibilities
  • will manage partnerships with non-HEI organisations across government, industry and civil society
  • has plans for monitoring progress against key performance indicators, as well as self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of the award
  • will embed creativity and agility into the programme in order to respond to a rapidly changing landscape
  • will progress the skills development and careers of all team members
  • has embed consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the context of the hub at all levels and in all aspects of the programme
  • has a clear plan for engagement with key stakeholders, such as government departments, local government and practitioners

You must create a document that includes your responses to all criteria and:

  • a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar (additional two-page A4)
  • a data management plan for how you will acquire, manage and share data for the proposed research programme. The plan should detail clearly how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes (additional one-page A4)

This document should be single spaced in paper in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project plan & Data management plan’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, do not include any sensitive data within the attachment.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Stakeholder engagement, co-creation and financial leverage

Word limit: 1,000

How have you co-created and designed your research programme to maximise the impact and to leverage funding?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your research programme so that it:

  • will be co-delivered in partnership with relevant stakeholders, particularly the Department for Transport, identifies and embeds clear, realistic and proportionate pathways to maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts of all types
  • drives added value as a core focus of the programme by demonstrating synergistic connectivity between key stakeholders, partners, and disciplines
  • is positioned at the forefront of your research area, displaying leadership and advocacy on a national scale
  • describes the leverage funding from the project partner(s) and the plans to increase this over the lifetime of the programme

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Any applications that do not fit the remit of the funding opportunity will be rejected prior to assessment.

Expert panel

Your application will be assessed through a single-stage process.

We will invite expert panel members to collectively review your application against the criteria and rank it alongside other applications after which the expert panel will make a funding recommendation. You will have the opportunity to respond to panel comments.
EPSRC will make the final funding decision.

Should additional funding become available following the assessment panel, the successful applicant may be asked to consider expanding their team and scope of the programme by integrating aspects of another fundable proposed programme.

We will not obtain any external peer review comments as part of the assessment process.

We reserve the right to change the assessment process should we receive an unexpectedly high volume of applications.

Security checks

Depending on the nature of your application, additional security checks may be required prior to the project start date.


We aim to complete the assessment process within 12 weeks of receiving your application. You should expect to receive notification of a decision by December 2024.


Outcomes will be communicated within ten working days of the panel meeting. We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

However, if we receive high volume of applications, feedback will only be provided to the successful applicant.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • Vision
  • Approach, which includes consideration of the following sections:
    • Your organisation’s support
    • Facilities
    • Leadership, governance and management
    • Stakeholder engagement, co-creation and financial leverage
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Partnerships
  • Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)
  • Resources and cost justification

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

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.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact:

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

See further information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Additional conditions

The funding will be subject to the following additional conditions, in addition to our standard terms.

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.

Project officer appointment

We will nominate a member of EPSRC staff (the 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.

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 must be invited in good time to enable them to attend and participate in advisory board meetings.

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

Publicity and branding

In addition to RGC 12.4 publication and acknowledgement of support, you must make reference to 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 report 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.

Building national capability in digital twinning

As identified in the Integrated Review, a national capability in digital twinning could improve our ability to anticipate and respond to crises. Digital twinning also offers the potential to accelerate progress in net zero, as well as to deliver wider economic and societal benefits.

The successful programme team should be aware of other investments in the UK digital twinning landscape, such as:

  • other EPSRC and UKRI investments
  • The National Digital Twin Programme (NDTP)
  • The Digital Twin Hub – a multi-sector Industry and Catapult Network partnership housed at the Connected Places Catapult
  • The Alan Turing Institute – the national institute for AI and data science
  • The Apollo Protocol
  • The National Cyber-Physical Infrastructure (NCPI) ecosystem programme

Building a Secure and Resilient World strategic theme

The UKRI strategy for 2022 to 2027: transforming tomorrow together, outlines five strategic themes that look to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to address major national and global challenges.

‘Building a secure and resilient world’ is one of the themes under the auspices of which UKRI will catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation, through taking a systemic approach that is human-centred, aimed at strengthening societal and economic resilience. The theme aims to enhance national security across virtual and physical environments, by improving awareness of risks and threats, preparedness, informed decision making and response, and allowing change to be understood as a force for good.

‘Building a secure and resilient world’ directly tackles core methodologies for supporting a better and more robust approach to managing crisis from business to government to communities. A core focus of the theme is on supporting systems thinking and decision making to reduce risk and strengthen our security and resilience, and showing how this should support, and be implemented by, communities at every level, from local to international.

We have identified five interrelated sub-themes, through which UKRI will deliver a range of activities tailored to enable resilience to different risks in different systems that:

  • is built on the strengths of our current economy and society
  • helps reduce vulnerability
  • prepares for robust and rapid responses and enhances recovery
  • encourages approaches which bring positive transformation

The five sub-themes are:

  • global order in a time of change: enable UK to take one of the leading positions in shaping an international order that is secure, resilient and just
  • technologies for resilience, security and defence: advance capacity of state defence and security, society and economy to reduce vulnerabilities, to respond to and recover from shocks through innovation and technological advancement
  • resilient and secure supply chains: increase the resilience of supply chains (food, critical materials, manufacturing, complex systems) to a wide variety to potentially interacting shocks
  • behavioural and cultural resilience: reduce the impact of shocks on individuals and communities through adaptation and embracing change, deployment of resources for personal resilience that is fair and just
  • strengthening resilience in natural and built environment: mitigate impact of natural and anthropogenic hazards and risks on wider societal processes and operations in rural and urban contexts being responsive to particular requirements of place

This funding opportunity speaks directly to the ‘technologies for resilience, security and defence’ and ‘strengthening resilience in natural and built environment’ sub-themes exploring and critically assessing the role of technologies in making systems more robust against risks and hazards which impact wider society.

EPSRC’s Digital Security and Resilience theme

Our Digital Security and Resilience theme has been formed to put a spotlight on digital technologies relevant to the security, defence, and resilience of the UK. The supported research will aim to create a more secure and resilient digital society that is robust and prepared to withstand shocks and challenges in an increasingly interconnected digital world.

We are doing this by:

  • providing stewardship for our relevant investments, while making connections across EPSRC and UKRI, and with key stakeholders
  • developing our strategy and plans for digital security and resilience, and for specific topic areas falling under that remit, such as cyber security and digital twinning, while connecting across UKRI
  • building communities, networks, and capacity to develop national capability in specific digital security and resilience topic areas

Broadly, the Digital Security and Resilience theme’s investments fall in two areas:

  • mitigating risk: research to promote and improve the security and resilience of digital technologies
  • creating opportunities: research into digital technologies that would be developed to promote and improve the security, defence and resilience of the UK, and the security and resilience of its organisations, systems, infrastructure, and society

Complementary to our digital twinning investments, EPSRC and UKRI are also supporting the development of the national capability in cyber security research and related skills.

In June 2024, the Digital Security & Resilience theme will also be launching a funding opportunity for UKRI’s Creating Opportunities Improving Outcomes strategic theme on the future of the internet.

Additional disability and accessibility adjustments

UKRI can offer disability and accessibility support for UKRI applicants and grant holders during the application and assessment process if required.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

Frequently asked questions (PDF, 124KB)


  • 9 July 2024
    Frequently asked questions document added to the 'Additional info' section.

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