Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: EPSRC Network Plus: Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges

EPSRC is inviting new ideas to address Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges (TERC) by supporting diverse teams from across disciplines to forge new research capabilities.

Each Network Plus must have ‘engineering at the heart’ and imaginatively use the plus element to develop insights and approaches to address relevant challenges within the TERC report while ensuring a level of interoperability and integration across the different levels of challenges.

You must be at a UK research organisation to be eligible for EPSRC funding. EPSRC will fund 80% of full economic costs up to £1.75 million for up to three years.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity is for applicants who have the ability and appetite to bring together diverse, dynamic teams from across disciplines to promote dialogue, form inclusive collaborations and build unprecedented research capabilities that address Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges.

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

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

UK Research and Innovation (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.

The application should demonstrate that the team combines appropriate expertise and experience to lead the Network Plus and achieve the stated outcomes, including aspects of community engagement, leadership and driving impact.

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, who are eligible to be co-leads.

Please note that a maximum of one project lead and five co-leads can be included in your application.

Who is not eligible to apply

You may be involved in no more than one application submitted to this funding opportunity.

International applicants

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.

Please note that trusted research checks may be carried out on any proposal recommended for funding. See the ‘International collaboration’ section under ‘What we are looking for’ for more information.


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


Engineering is crucial to translating the frontiers of knowledge into disruptive new technologies and creative solutions which can transform the world around us, improve our lives and strengthen economic prosperity.

The Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges report identified how engineers and engineering have a vital role in addressing many of the world’s most important and urgent challenges over the next 10 to 15 years. It highlighted the opportunities that will be created if the deep-rooted strengths in engineering (and science) disciplines were reimagined to transform how we approach complex systemic and interrelated challenges, and if we can enable the next generation of engineers to ‘tear up the current rulebook’ by exploring new concepts, creative ways of working and radical engineering solutions to solve them.

The challenges identified in the report exist on three levels:

  • high level priorities highlight the most pressing actions for the wider engineering community to enable researchers to address future challenges. These look to:
    • promote inclusive engineering outcomes for all with more diverse input
    • strengthen mechanisms to facilitate and fund multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research
    • re-engineer the discipline of engineering
    • convene and connect with the professional engineering community to enhance impact
    • encourage diverse, agile and impactful skills
    • inspire the next generation
  • seven cross cutting themes identify where engineering and engineers have a key role to contribute across all sectors and technologies. These themes are:
    • achieving net zero and sustainability
    • faster digital design
    • greater access and use of data
    • increasing human resilience
    • understanding complex systems
    • harnessing emerging, disruptive technologies
    • underpinning tools and techniques
  • finally, and importantly, eight Technological Challenges describe where novel approaches and creative engineering research will be vital to make progress. The challenges will:
    • ensure space research is sustainable, and design and develop technologies that will be used to explore and sustain life in both space and on Earth
    • design sustainable, integrated and equitable transportation systems
    • accelerate environmentally sustainable and socially responsible creation and utilisation of materials
    • improve whole life health and wellbeing by developing sustainable, inclusive and resilient healthcare systems and technologies
    • co-design and embed robotics and artificial intelligence into engineering while ensuring ethical use with transparent and equitable decision making
    • foster environmentally and socially responsible approaches to engineering guided by our understanding of human behaviours and needs
    • unlock the full potential of nature based engineering
    • deliver adaptable global engineering solutions that are compatible with our understanding of the planet eco system

While presented in isolation, there are profound interconnections between these challenges that can be exploited through interdisciplinary collaboration and radical new approaches that involve academia, industry, policy makers and other stakeholders.


EPSRC aims to encourage this fundamental change of approach in how we address such challenges by supporting a suite of ‘Network Plus’ grants that will bring together diverse, dynamic teams from across disciplines to promote dialogue, form inclusive collaborations and build unprecedented research capabilities.

These Networks should have ‘engineering at their heart’ and facilitate knowledge exchange between disciplines while building and supporting connections and collaborations between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Networks should imaginatively use the plus element to initiate feasibility studies or create small research activities that can pursue new engineering insights, techniques and approaches to address relevant challenges identified within the TERC report, while ensuring a level of interoperability and integration across the different levels of challenges.

For example, the focus of a TERC Network Plus could:

  • bring unique knowledge from scientific principles and mathematics to develop or advance underpinning engineering tools, methods and techniques
  • adapt, evolve and redesign current engineering approaches and processes towards more agile, resilient and sustainable solutions to tomorrow’s challenges
  • harness latest discoveries and emerging technologies to enable new disruptive solutions
  • identify, understand and resolve the complexities of the systemic challenges identified throughout the TERC report
  • exploit the interconnections between the challenges to inform new engineering knowledge, methods and products
  • lay foundations to evolve and expand current engineering domains beyond traditional boundaries, including with social and ethical perspectives

Each TERC Network Plus should be encouraged to create an inclusive research environment that:

  • establishes a ‘safe space’ to test new ways of working (to address a challenge) where failure is permitted and can be exploited to inform alternative approaches
  • embraces good practices of team research and value creation (that is, values a range of contributions from across the research community ensuring all necessary disciplines, skills, levels of experience and career paths are brought together to address specific research opportunities)
  • creates new engineering concepts, platforms and practices upon which others will build to accelerate the pace of research and innovation
  • builds on core skills and expertise developed in engineering, but has flexibility to add, remove, augment or dilute different elements (for example, humanities and social science) to enable interdisciplinarity
  • promotes inclusive engineering outcomes (for example, ensuring that potential outcomes of ensuing research are accessible of all users and free from discrimination and bias, and informed by diversity of inputs)

While the above lists are suggestions, you are encouraged to tailor your Network Plus activities to the needs of the different challenges identified in the TERC report and to be innovative in your approach. You should also pay due consideration to how your proposed activities complement other active EPSRC/UKRI investments and opportunities that address aspects of the technological challenges identified in the TERC report, such as:

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.


The duration of this award is up to three years.

Projects must start in January 2025.

Funding available

EPSRC will fund 80% of the project, in line with standard full economic cost (FEC) rules, up to a total of £1.75 million.



Collectively, the suite of successful TERC Network Plus awards will have the potential to lay the foundations for new paradigms for engineering or embryonic research programmes that will give rise to ground-breaking solutions to future challenges that have inclusive, real world impact. To further realise this potential, we aim to review the suite of TERC Network Plus awards after approximately 18 to 24 months from the start of the grants to explore opportunities for convergence or further funding to enhance the impact of the initiative.


The proposed Network Plus must fit primarily within EPSRC’s remit. However, we also welcome and encourage the involvement of researchers and expertise from other relevant disciplines across the remit of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), including, for example, social and environmental sciences. Workstreams should be co-created with appropriately interdisciplinary collaborators and non-academic stakeholders who can provide further understanding of the contextual factors that influence solutions to challenges as described in the TERC report.

User engagement

We encourage you to engage with research users in the conception and implementation of the network to maximise impact where appropriate. These can include:

  • academia (need not be limited to engineering)
  • industry
  • small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • third sector
  • end users
  • policymakers
  • research institutes
  • research facilities
  • other sectors as appropriate

Community networking

It is expected that the successful Networks 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. 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.

We also expect the suite of funded Networks to connect and engage with each other through the lifetime of the grant to share knowledge, good practice and ensure a level of convergence between the challenges identified in the TERC report (while appreciating that each network may be exploring different challenges or a range of approaches to tackle the challenges). It is expected that EPSRC will facilitate these meetings on an approximately annual basis.

Systems approach

Many of the challenges identified in TERC are characterised as systems problems as they are often complex, multi-faceted challenges involving hundreds of parameters with different subcomponents, each with unique behaviours. It is expected that each TERC Network Plus should consider systems approaches within its own work, that enables the development of novel solutions to the challenges, alongside broader economic, environmental, social, political and behavioural considerations, to produce more impactful outcomes that minimise and mitigate unintended consequences. Upskilling the wider community on systems perspectives can be considered part of the Network Plus proposal.

Environmental sustainability

Each Network Plus should ensure that environmental impact and mitigation of the proposed and programme operations, as well as any associated project outputs and outcomes, is responsibly considered. The Network Plus must also seek opportunities to influence others and leave a legacy of environmental sustainability within the broader operations of their academic and industry partners.

What we will fund

We will fund:

  • innovative workstreams and activities
  • community building and networking activities
  • appropriate administrative support
  • flexible funds

Project lead and co-leads’ salaries

These should be requested under the ‘directly allocated cost’ heading.

The project lead and co-leads can request funds to cover their salary costs for the time spent on setting up and leading the Network Plus.

Funding requested under the directly incurred cost heading may include:

Travel and subsistence

Travel and subsistence enabling members of the Network Plus to meet to exchange ideas and expertise. This may include:

  • travel within the UK
  • visits by or to experts overseas
  • travel and subsistence costs to support secondments

Where possible collaborators should meet their own travel costs.

Administrative support

A sufficient level of administrative support should be requested to ensure the coordination, management, and smooth running of the Network Plus.

You are expected to employ a dedicated grant manager as a core member of the team, with relevant experience and costed at the appropriate grade.

Reasonable costs for monitoring and dissemination of the network’s output can also be included.

Organisation of activities

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

  • innovative workstreams and activities
  • community building and networking activities
  • debates
  • expert working groups
  • online discussion forums
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • problem-solving workshops
  • other activities

You are encouraged to think creatively about the range of activities that could support the delivery of the Network Plus goals. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your proposed activities with us ahead of submission.

Flexible funds

Flexible funding can be requested to commission feasibility studies or similar small projects (but not to demonstrator phase or beyond technology readiness level (TRL) 4). These funds must be distributed externally to the grant.

Flexible funds can be allocated to researchers at any organisation currently eligible for EPSRC funding. You will need to think carefully about how any budget for external distribution will be commissioned, and how you will ensure processes for the allocation of funds are fair and transparent.

Please note that any activities commissioned by the Network Plus using the flexible funds will be restricted to EPSRC current research organisation eligibility but will not be bound by standard EPSRC investigator eligibility criterion. It is the project lead’s responsibility to ensure ongoing governance to ensure correct usage and accountability of the funds. We would expect some examples of the types of projects at the application stage, but the research challenges are expected to evolve throughout the Network Plus lifetime and should be co-created and collaborative in nature.

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. Flexible funds are funded at 80% FEC by EPSRC.


Funds cannot be requested to support the Network Plus to carry out longer term research-related activities. These should be sought through the normal mechanisms.

Appropriately skilled individuals may be costed to conduct and analyse horizon scanning activities to meet the aims and objectives of the Network Plus.

Other activities

Funding can also be requested for:

  • activities to identify and disseminate key research challenges in the area, such as horizon-scanning studies
  • activities to generate new research projects in the area, such as sandpits
  • activities to facilitate impact and advance policy, such as reports, websites and briefings
  • secondment support, including scoping of potential opportunities, travel and subsistence, and other appropriate costs
  • activities to support career development and training
  • activities to connect users, industry and other stakeholders with the research base
  • communication costs and for additional equipment such as personal computers and webservers
  • equipment to support networking, events and communication
  • other small scale projects as appropriate for the Network Plus

Project partners

Project partners are expected to provide contributions to the delivery of the project and should not therefore be seeking to claim funds from UKRI. However, where there are specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs such as travel and subsistence, this will usually be paid at 80% FEC. These costs should be outlined and fully justified in the proposal and will be subject to peer review.

Where the project needs work to be undertaken that is more significant and includes costs other than travel and subsistence, then the project partner may also need to be included as a subcontractor. Any subcontracting costs must be fully justified and will be subject to peer review, as well as the procurement rules of the host organisation.

What we will not fund

The Network Plus is not expected to carry out longer term research itself. Flexible funds may be used to commission small-scale research activities and small scale equipment across the network.

Equipment over £10,000 is not available through this funding opportunity. We will not be funding laboratory or research equipment for this funding opportunity. We will only support equipment to facilitate communication, networking and events. We welcome innovative and creative thought.

Supporting diverse skills and talent

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

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. 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.
  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 9 July 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 using the EPSRC Funding Application Outcomes Tableau tool to share this information. The new Tableau tool can be found on the UKRI website’s what EPSRC has funded page.

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

Only list one individual as project lead.

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

Application questions

Vision and Approach

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 for the Network Plus
  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • 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 the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • identify key communities and future network members

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
  • 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:

  • explain how you will identify key opportunities for future research, innovation and growth in the relevant sectors, support knowledge transfer and accelerate impacts (economic, social and environmental)
  • identify and embed clear, realistic and proportionate routes to enable environmental, economic and societal impact, from the network and support wider investments to do the same
  • provide clear plans for:
    • networking with relevant communities and stakeholders including how you will support and build equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible communities
    • embedding environmental sustainability within all the Network Plus activities
    • building links between government and policy stakeholders and academic communities, supporting two way communication and collaboration
    • utilising flexible funds to commission feasibility studies or other activities, if relevant
    • engagement with the cohort of other investments that align to ‘Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges’ as well as other key investments in the broader funding landscape
    • management of all relevant work packages, including a dedicated grant manager with appropriate expertise as a core member of the team
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar (additional one-page A4)
  • include a detailed and appropriate plan for how you will acquire and manage data (additional one-page A4)

References may be included within this section.

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than six and a half 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, and an additional page for a data management plan.

For the file name, use the unique UKRI 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, please do not include any personal 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.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and the team, has:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and research interests to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and the approach of the team 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 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 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 in 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.

Programme leadership and management

Word limit: 500

How have you co-created and designed your research programme to maximise the impact of the Network Plus?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your team intends to:

  • manage and monitor the progress of the programme, including consideration of how the flexibility of resources will be managed
  • embed creativity and agility into the plans for the programme in order to respond to a changing landscape
  • develop and progress the careers of all team members, including academic and non-academic staff
  • embed considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at all levels and in all aspects of the programme

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 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

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

Added value

Word limit: 500

What is the added value that this Network Plus will enable that would not be possible otherwise?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate how the Network Plus will achieve the following:

  • create new interdisciplinary research communities and topics
  • provide a critical mass of researchers with a range of expertise and experience
  • promote mobility between academia, industry and other sectors
  • achieve sustainability of impacts beyond the funding requested

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

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 consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • 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

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?  If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

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.

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

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.


An expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants. The panel will make a funding recommendation based first and foremost on the assessment criteria, while ensuring the funded networks represent a breadth and diversity of topics relevant to the scope of the opportunity.

We expect interviews to be held in September 2024.

EPSRC will make the final funding decision.

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


We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

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.

Assessment criteria

The criteria we will assess your application against are:

  • vision of the project, and approach to the project
  • capability of the applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • added value of the Network Plus
  • programme leadership and management, including considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

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.

Find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

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

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


Engineering is of vital importance to the UK. As an academic discipline it has grown significantly over recent years and the UK remains in a world leading position in terms of academic excellence and thought leadership. The UK continues its reputation as a melting pot of engineering ideas and innovation. It is a diverse area that translates many ideas into reality and has potential to tackle every part of daily life and solve our greatest problems to:

  • mitigate the immediate consequences of climate change
  • provide sustainable alternatives to our dwindling resources
  • generate resilient solutions to global health crises

Arguably it is now more important than ever that UK engineering talent is harnessed, in collaboration with others, to address the challenges affecting our world.

Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges (TERC) is a UK wide community engagement activity that has been initiated by the Engineering theme at EPSRC. It aims to identify the most important challenges that engineers face over the next 10 to15 years and to explore the creative engineering research that is needed to tackle these challenges. The key outcome from this activity is to inform and inspire future research strategy for a variety of audiences, primarily EPSRC as the main funders of engineering research, but also other parts of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and funders of research, universities, professional engineering institutions, policy influencers in government and researchers themselves.

This initiative is arguably one of the largest engagement exercises performed with the engineering research community. The process of engagement has been undertaken over a nine month period through various engagements including a series of workshops, roundtable meetings and written contributions involving representatives from:

  • academia
  • industry
  • professional engineering institutions
  • early career researchers
  • EPSRC-sponsored PhD students
  • engineering equality, diversity and inclusion groups
  • international representatives
  • UK government chief scientific advisors

The report summarises the key findings taken from that dialogue in the form of a spectrum of challenges presented at different levels: high level priorities, cross cutting themes and technological challenges. In describing the three levels of challenge, the report intends to convey the voice of the community to raise awareness of these challenges and provoke further thought and conversation beyond this initial engagement exercise. The recommendations that have been drawn out by the co-chairs reflect the challenges presented and aim to stimulate further action for a variety of audiences, to enable these challenges to be addressed. They also serve to positively impact the wider community and future proof engineering as a discipline.

The TERC Network Plus initiative aims to stimulate the research community to consider a fundamental change of approach in how we address such challenges through diverse, dynamics teams from across disciplines, albeit with engineering at their heart. The successful networks will form a suite of networks that will have the potential to lay the foundations for new paradigms for engineering or embryonic research programmes that will give rise to ground-breaking solutions to future challenges that have inclusive, real world impact.

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a webinar on 27 March 2024 and 15 May 2024, 2:00pm to 3:00pm UK time. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Register for the webinar on 15 May 2024.

View the webinar recording from 27 March 2024.
Passcode: cxNcz$&5

View a summary of questions and answers following the webinar on 27 March 2024 (PDF, 118KB)

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.

Additional grant conditions

Equality, diversity and inclusion

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

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. An EPSRC project officer will also be expected to attend and participate in advisory board 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 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 FESs 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.

Management structure

You should have established an appropriate management structure with clear lines of responsibility and authority to oversee the day-to-day running of the project. This should be in place within six months of the start date of the grant. The terms of reference and management structure, including the project lead(s), co-leads and senior investigators must be approved by us in advance as must any changes to this structure. The Project Officer will be our main contact with the project, and must receive all meeting minutes of the management committees. We reserve the right to attend any meetings.

Management resourcing

Adequate resourcing to support an appropriate management structure, as specified in the funding opportunity documentation, should be costed within the grant. This includes employing a grant manager on the grant.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 355KB)


  • 23 April 2024
    In 'Additional info' under the 'Webinar for potential applicants' section, have removed the webinar register link for the 27 March 2024 and added in the webinar recording link and question and answer document.
  • 23 April 2024
    Second webinar date added to the 'Timeline' and 'Additional info' sections.
  • 20 March 2024
    Webinar registration link added in Additional info.

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