Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: EPSRC new investigator award

This funding opportunity is now closed on Je-S. It will reopen on the new UKRI Funding Service in May 2023.

This guidance page is no longer in use.

Find the latest guidance for EPSRC responsive mode: new investigator awards.

Find out more about our pathway for change.

The new investigator award is for people who hold an academic lectureship position at UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies, and have not previously led an academic research group or been the recipient of a significant grant.

Projects should be self-contained and have a single research vision with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. Your project should typically last one to three years. Complex, multi-faceted research projects with many objectives are not appropriate for this scheme.

We will award 80% of the full economic costs of the project, and your organisation must agree to find the balance.

Who can apply

Research grants are open to UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations, Public Sector Research Establishments and NHS bodies with research capacity.

Find out more about institutional eligibility.

You can apply for a new investigator award if you:

  • are employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level and have not previously received a significant award or led an academic research group
  • hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed research project, and the host research organisation is prepared to give you all the support normal for a permanent employee.

You would be classed as having received a significant research grant if a project you led received:

  • support for postdoctoral research assistant time
  • a grant for equipment worth more than £20,000
  • support for full economic costs greater than £100,000.

You may still apply if you hold or have held:

  • Industrial cooperative award in science and technology (CASE) studentship
  • overseas travel grant
  • basic tech grant
  • early career researcher capital block grant
  • EPSRC studentship (through doctoral training partnerships or centres for doctoral training)
  • workshop grant
  • CASE for new academic
  • EPSRC new horizons.

Holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to hold an EPSRC grant.

Clinical applicants must be employed or be on a fixed-term contract longer than the proposed project at an NHS trust, hospital, board, primary care trust or general practice.

Find out more about eligibility for new investigator awards.

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

This funding opportunity is also subject to our policy on repeatedly unsuccessful submissions.

What we're looking for

You can apply for a new investigator award at any time in any field of research relevant to our remit. Your project should typically last one to three years and have a single research vision with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. Complex, multi-faceted research projects with many objectives are not appropriate to the new investigator award.

You should typically seek 10-20% of the principal investigator’s time. Those who are seeking to substantially exceed this should consider other funding opportunities.

Applicants are encouraged to have early discussions with their institutions to identify what training and development opportunities are available to meet their aspirations over the duration of the proposal. Your host organisation’s statement of support is important.

Find out more about the new investigator award expectations including what we are looking for and the support expected from your host organisation.

We support excellent research in:

  • digital economy
  • energy
  • engineering
  • global uncertainties
  • transforming health and healthcare
  • information and communication technologies
  • living with environmental change
  • manufacturing the future
  • mathematical sciences
  • physical sciences
  • quantum technologies
  • research infrastructure.

Find out more about our research areas and themes.

We expect the majority of your research to fall within our remit. We encourage you to contact us first to discuss your proposal if you believe your research may cross research council boundaries.

See our remit query form.

The new investigator award supports both theoretical and experimental research projects across EPSRC’s remit. We expect the level of funding to vary but be appropriate to the proposed research programme. The scale may also vary significantly, depending on the focus of the award.

You can look for examples of funded projects by searching for ‘new investigator’ in our online portfolio.

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You may request funding for staff costs, equipment and other items required to carry out the project, costs related to impact, and travel and subsistence.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) . We are always open for applications for new investigator awards.

When adding a new proposal you should select:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: new investigator award
  • scheme: new investigator award
  • on the project details page: new investigator award.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • case for support: eight pages – two on your track record and six on the scientific case
  • workplan: one page
  • justification of resources: two pages
  • CVs: up to two 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), and visiting researchers
  • letters of support from all project partners included in the Je-S form: no page limit
  • quotes for equipment above £25,000: no page limit
  • equipment business case for any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000: up to two pages
  • technical assessment for the use of any major facilities listed in Je-S guidance: no page limit
  • a statement of support from your host research organisation: no page limit
  • covering letter describing how your experience and career history fit with the guidance on eligibility: not seen by peer review, no page limit.

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

We recommend you start your application in good time. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later. When you submit the application, it will first go to your host organisation for review. You should hear the result of your application within 26 weeks of submission by your host organisation.

See the Je-S handbook for full advice on completing applications.

Find out more about completing your application.

UKRI is implementing a standard method for inputting overseas costs on Je-S from 1 July 2021. This will enhance UKRI’s ability to report on overseas funding to:

  • BEIS
  • the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD)
  • HMG
  • other government departments.

It includes any costs incurred by organisations outside the UK, including:

  • staff salaries
  • travel and subsistence
  • equipment
  • overheads.

The ‘Other-DI Costs’ document is to contain the following data in the description box in this exact format: ‘Organisation; Country; Cost Category; Cost Description’.

For example: ‘University of Nairobi; Kenya; Other Directly Incurred Costs; Subcontracting of the production of samples’.

How we will assess your application

Your application is assessed by peer review. It will be sent electronically to at least three reviewers, including at least one nominated by you.

You will have the opportunity to respond to reviewer comments if your application gains enough support. The proposal, reviewers’ comments and your response will then go to a panel that will score it against our assessment criteria and rank it with other new investigator proposals. Panels are organised by theme and meet at different times of the year.

Your application is assessed first and foremost on quality (primary), followed by national importance (secondary major). It is also assessed on applicant and partnerships (secondary), resources and management (secondary) and host organisation support (secondary).

Find out more about the assessment process.

Contact details

For general queries about EPSRC new investigator awards, please contact:

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