Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Digital solutions to reduce energy demand and carbon production

Apply for funding to research digital technologies that reduce energy demand and carbon production.

You must be a UK-based researcher employed by an eligible research organisation.

Your project could focus on:

  • sustainable digital technologies
  • business model innovations
  • digital-enabled analysis of embodied emissions.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £62,500. EPSRC and Siemens will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project must start on 1 December 2021. It can last up to 12 months.

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 only be an investigator on one proposal submitted to this opportunity (as either principal or co-investigator).

You can apply if you are resident in the UK and meet at least one of the eligibility 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.

Submissions to this call will count towards the EPSRC repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

What we're looking for

EPSRC in partnership with Siemens are inviting feasibility studies that explore research at the interface of digital technologies and decarbonisation.

This opportunity will explore the role of digital technologies in supporting a data-enabled net zero transition, ensuring the UK can reach net zero emissions by 2050.


This is an opportunity for funding novel short-term research studies in fundamental EPS research which focus on the interface of digital technologies and decarbonisation.

Funding is available for feasibility studies that explore how digital technology can be used to support the reduction in energy demand and carbon production on the journey to net zero.

Your project must address one of the following research themes:

  • development or application (or both development and application) of sustainable digital technologies to manage supply and demand
  • business model innovations to support the digitalisation of energy
  • digital-enabled analysis of embodied emissions along whole value chains and embedded in product solutions.

For these research themes, applicants should consider the different actors, including (but not limited to) industry and communities which are energy poor. Proposals can be submitted that focus on either:

  • specific sectors, industries or both
  • the development of cross-cutting capabilities.

While we understand research in this area can be interdisciplinary, the majority of the project must be in the remit of EPSRC.

Funding available

We plan to award approximately eight proposals from this opportunity.

Grants must start on 1 December 2021.

It is expected that proposals will be:

  • up to 12 months in duration
  • up to £62,500 full economic cost – we will fund at 80% (£50,000) of this.

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

See more information on equipment funding.

Responsible innovation

EPSRC is fully committed to develop and promote 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
  • encourage our research community to do likewise.

Therefore, applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC Framework for Responsible 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 and personal information.

How to apply

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 Joint electronic Submission system (Je-S).

How to use 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 ‘Feasibility Studies: Digital Solutions for Energy Demand Reduction and Carbon Production’

Please include the phrase ‘Siemens-EPSRC’ at the beginning of your grant title so that we can identify it as a proposal to this funding opportunity.

Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process.

After completing the application you must ‘submit document’, which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration.

Applicants should allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the opportunity closing date

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 7 October 2021.


As well as the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) application form, the following documents must be submitted:

  • case for support (four pages, one on your track record and three on the scientific case)
  • workplan (one page)
  • justification of resources (one page).

The following are only required where appropriate:

  • CVs, up to two A4 sides each only for named:
    • postdoctoral 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)
  • technical assessments for facilities listed as requiring one in the Je-S guidance (no page limit)
  • cover letter (optional attachment, no page limit, not seen by peer review).

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.

Advice on writing proposals.

Please note that on submission to EPSRC all non-PDF documents uploaded onto Je-S are converted to PDF. The use of non-standard fonts may result in errors or font conversion, which could affect the overall length of the document, typeface or font size.

Please ensure you take extra care when converting to PDFs.

EPSRC will reject proposals that do not meet EPSRC formatting guidelines (for example, correct font size, typeface or margins) or where documents have been assigned to the incorrect attachment type. Where non-required documents have been attached or where mandatory documents are missing applications will be rejected.

Ethical considerations

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 completing ethical information in the Je-S form.

EPSRC guidance can be found under ‘additional information’.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

EPSRC will manage the peer review process on behalf of EPSRC and Siemens. EPSRC reserves the right to reject proposals, without reference to peer review, which are deemed to fall outside the remit of this call. You are advised to contact EPSRC if you are unsure whether your proposal would be suitable for this call.

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

This opportunity will go through a one-stage assessment process. There will be no postal peer review stage for proposals submitted to this call. An expert panel will be convened to assess all proposals submitted to this call, using the assessment criteria below.

Due to the nature and timescales of this opportunity, there will be no postal peer review and no right to reply.

Funding decisions will be based on the recommendations provided by the external panel. In the event that the number of high-quality proposals exceeds the budget available for this call, EPSRC reserves the right to balance funding across thematic areas to ensure a diverse portfolio of projects.

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

Assessment criteria

Quality (primary)

The research excellence, making reference to the:

  • novelty, relationship to the context, timeliness and relevance to identified stakeholders
  • ambition, adventure, transformative aspects or potential outcomes
  • suitability of the proposed methodology and the appropriateness of the approach to achieving impact
  • alignment of research programme to aims and objectives of the funding opportunity.

National importance (secondary major)

How the research:

  • contributes to one or more of:
    • other disciplines, or helps maintain the health of them
    • addressing key UK societal challenges
    • future UK economic success and development of an emerging industry or emerging industries
  • meets national needs by establishing or maintaining a unique world-leading activity
  • complements other UK research funded in the area, including any relationship to the EPSRC portfolio.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary)

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

  • appropriateness of the track record of the applicant or applicants
  • balance of skills of the project team, including collaborators.

Resources and management (secondary)

The effectiveness of the proposed planning and management, and whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified.

Make reference to:

  • any equipment requested, or the viability of the arrangements described to access equipment needed for this project, and particularly any university or third-party contribution
  • any resources requested for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement or to support responsible innovation.


Detailed feedback will not be provided on submitted proposals.

Feedback, unless sifted prior to the meeting, is provided in the rank order list information which will be published on EPSRC’s Grants on the Web system shortly after the meeting.

Grants on the Web

Contact details

Get help with your proposal

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

Energy and Decarbonisation Team


Business and User Engagement Team


Get help with applying through Je-S

Telephone: 01793 444164
Opening times: Je-S opening times

Additional info

Background to the EPSRC-Siemens feasibility studies: digital solutions for energy demand reduction and carbon production

The UK has committed to reaching net zero by 2050. Digital technologies can play a key role in supporting a data-enabled net zero transition, meeting the UK’s target to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

Efficient use of energy in all sectors will be a major factor in achieving these goals and the EPSRC is committed to supporting the research capability in energy efficiency and demand reduction to research this.

The UK’s energy digitalisation strategy sets out the strategy and action plan for the UK in harnessing the power of data and digitalisation, which is vital to reaching the UK’s climate change target.

The government’s Energy White Paper emphasised the need for a modern digital infrastructure to underpin energy markets. As the UK’s move towards a net zero energy system accelerates, digital technology will play a key role in providing new innovations to support this move.

This funding opportunity will support novel short-term research studies in fundamental EPS research. They will:

  • focus on the interface of digital technologies and decarbonisation
  • explore how digital technology can be used to support the reduction in energy demand and carbon production on the journey to net zero.

This funding opportunity is being issued as part of EPSRC’s priorities in supporting research and innovation that works to meet the net zero agenda.

The overall aim of this partnership is to expand research capability at the interface of digital technologies and decarbonisation and build a platform of research activities within the UK.

Supporting documents

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