Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: EPSRC new investigator award, May 2023: responsive mode

New investigator awards are for researchers at eligible research organisations.

We encourage:

  • projects with a single, clear research vision
  • the identification of career development opportunities for new investigators

We will award 80% of the full economic cost (FEC) of the project.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

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

The new investigator award scheme is intended to support individuals who hold an academic lectureship position (or equivalent) and have not previously led a research group.

We do not consider years post-PhD or job title to be a marker of career progression. Eligibility is determined on the basis of funding history.

Find out more about new investigator award eligibility.

We encourage applications from candidates who have taken a non-standard career path after their first degree.

We also welcome applications from candidates who want to move back into research after a career break or any other type of break from active research.


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


EPSRC is committed to the continued support of excellent responsive, discovery led research as detailed in EPSRC’s Strategic Delivery Plan 2022 to 2025.

The aim of the new investigator awards is to support researchers to develop their own research vision and establish a new research group to explore that vision.


New investigator awards should 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% to 20% of the project lead (previously principal investigator) time. Those who are seeking to substantially exceed this should consider other funding opportunities.

We encourage you to have early discussions with your institution to identify what training and development opportunities are available to meet your aspirations over the duration of the award. Your host organisation’s statement of support is important.

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

You can apply for a new investigator award in any field of research relevant to our remit. We support high quality research in:

  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • digital security and resilience
  • energy and decarbonisation
  • engineering
  • healthcare technologies
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • manufacturing and the circular economy
  • mathematical sciences
  • physical sciences and advanced materials
  • quantum technologies

Find out more about our research areas and themes.

The majority of your research must fall within our remit.

EPSRC will work with other research councils to ensure that applications close to remit boundaries are assessed by the most appropriate lead council. 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 duration of the project should be appropriate to deliver a self-contained, single research vision with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. This is typically one to three years.

Funding available

We will fund 80% FEC of your project.

What we will fund

  • staff costs
  • equipment (up to £400,000 for one item)
  • other items required to carry out the project
  • costs related to impact
  • travel and subsistence

Read more 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.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit Trusted Research for more information on effective international collaboration.

How to apply

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

We are running the funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

If you do not already have an account with the UKRI Funding Service, you will be able to create one by selecting the ‘start application’ button at the start of this page. Creating an account is a two minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.

Research offices that have not already received an invitation to open an account should email

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.

Submitting your application

To apply:

  1. Select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page.
  2. This will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a two-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘How to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers.
  4. Once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.

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.

EPSRC will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.


The closing date for the first responsive mode round on the Funding Service will be 28 September 2023 at 4:00pm

We must receive your application by this date. You should ensure that you are aware of and follow any internal institutional submission deadlines that may be in place.

The subsequent responsive mode round on the Funding Service will open on 2 October 2023.

We will not be returning applications for amendment. 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 same round.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance


Word count: 550

In plain English, provide a summary that can be sent to potential reviewers to determine if your proposal is within their field of expertise.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

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

Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • its context
  • the challenge the project addresses and how it will be applied to this
  • its aims and objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits


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

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

You can only list one project lead.

We generally do not allow project co-leads to be named on new investigator award applications as the aim of the award is to establish an individual’s research independence.

We would consider project co-leads on a new investigator application if they are contributing expertise that is not available in the skill set of the project lead and such expertise is essential to the success of the project. For example, clinicians as project co-lead on new investigator projects associated with healthcare technologies research.

Find out about UKRI’s new grant roles.

1 Section: EPSRC theme area alignment

Word count: 1

Question: Select the primary EPSRC thematic area your application most closely aligns to.

In the text box, copy the letter corresponding to your selected theme:

  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • digital security and resilience
  • energy and decarbonisation
  • engineering
  • healthcare technologies
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • manufacturing
  • mathematical sciences
  • physical sciences and advanced materials
  • quantum technologies
Additional guidance:

This is for administrative purposes to help the initial application processing. We will check your choice and make a final decision on which theme will lead the peer review of your application.

2 Section: Vision and Approach

You should upload the Vision and Approach document as a six page PDF, plus an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan. The document must have single line spacing, margins of at least 2cm and be typed using Arial 11pt, or another ‘sans serif’ font with an equivalent size to Arial 11pt.

Question: 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:

  • 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

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

  • 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
  • if 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, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposal
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines

3 Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word count: 1,500 (1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions)

Question: 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

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team (project lead and project co-leads, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), have and how this will help to 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. You should 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

Additions: 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 any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

4 Section: References

Word count: 1,000

Question: List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should include all references in this section of the application and not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application. If linking to web resources, to ensure the information’s integrity is maintained include, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers.

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

5 Section: Research organisation support

Word count: 500 words

Question: What support is being provided from the research organisation in underpinning your new investigator award?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Considering your career trajectory and how the support offered forms a cohesive career development package for you, use the text box to explain who you have engaged with in your research organisation (name and role) and what they have said your research organisation will provide, covering:

  • how your expertise fits within the wider interest and strategies of the university and department
  • what development and training opportunities will be provided and how they form a cohesive career development package tailored to your aims and aspirations
  • what mentoring and support arrangements are proposed and how they are appropriate to you
  • what practical or financial support is being provided and how this improves the application

6 Section: Applicant fit to the opportunity

Word count: 400

Question: Provide confirmation that you meet the eligibility requirements for the new investigator scheme

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Confirmation that you meet the scheme criteria for career stage and that you do not currently hold, or have previously held:

  • any project which included more than six months PDRA time
  • a single research grant over £100,000 (FEC)
  • capital equipment more than £20,000
  • a position where you directed the vision of a research group

Find out more about new investigator award eligibility.

7a Section: Project partners: contributions

Word count: 1000

Question: Provide details about any project partners’ contributions using the template provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you do have project partners, download and complete the project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB) then copy and paste the table within it into the text box.

Ensure you have obtained prior agreement from project partners that, should you be offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the template.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation that is contributing to the application and will have an integral role in the proposed research. Project partners cannot normally receive funding directly from the grant. Two exceptions to this are:

  • where a project partner is providing services or equipment that will go through a formal procurement process audited by the host research organisation
  • the project partner can receive small amounts of funding from the grant, such as for travel and subsistence to attend project meetings. These will need to be requested and fully justified in the application

7b Section: Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word count: 10

Question: Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the table in the previous ‘contributions’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you have named project partners in the previous ‘contributions’ section, enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

Each letter or email you provide should:

Unless specifically requested, do not include any personal data within the attachment. Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

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 co-project lead research organisations.

8 Section: Facilities

Word count: 250

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter N/A into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you will need to use a facility, you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Where prior agreement is required, ensure you obtain their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

In the text box, for each requested facility you should provide under the following headings:

  • facility name: the name of facility, copied and pasted from this list (DOCX, 37KB)
  • usage: the proposed usage time or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on that list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required – copy the following text: ‘I confirm that I have contacted the facility and their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on my project for the usage specified.’

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

9 Section: Sensitive information

Word count: 10

Question: Is there sensitive information you need to share with UKRI that you do not want shared with assessors?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have anything to share, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, enter the words ‘email sent’ in the text box.

Then email the Funding Service helpdesk on You must include in the subject line: <EPSRC responsive mode, sensitive info, Funding Service application number>.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant 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, see UKRI’s privacy notice.

10 Section: Resources and cost justification

Using the costs table within the resources and cost summary, provide details of the total funding required under each fund heading. You should include high-level costs only, not a detailed breakdown of individual items. You should use the text box for the justification of resources to provide further details on what is being requested and why it is needed to deliver your proposed work.

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

Word count: 1000

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the text box, 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

This resources and cost justification should not simply be a list of the resources requested, as this will already be given in the costs table. Costings should be justified on the basis of 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.

You should identify:

  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure or procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money

11 Section: Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word count: 500

Question: 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

Using the text box, demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations, and how you will manage them.

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) will be included in the Funding Service. These will ask about numbers, species/strain and justification about:

  • genetic and biological risk
  • research involving the use of animals
  • conducting research with animal overseas
  • research involving human participation
  • research involving human tissues or biological samples

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite at least three peers to review your application independently, against the published criteria (areas of assessment) for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for your application. Expert reviewers will continue to be selected by EPSRC.

UKRI are monitoring the requirement for applicant nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new UKRI Funding Service.

You will be able to respond to reviewers’ comments if your application gains enough support.


If your application gains enough support from reviewers, your application, reviewers’ comments and your response will go to the most appropriate prioritisation panel. Using this information, the panel will score it against our assessment criteria (areas of assessment) and rank it with alongside other applications.

EPSRC responsive mode panels are structured as follows:

  • mathematical sciences
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • engineering
  • physical sciences

Panel membership for each panel is taken from across the disciplines to cover the breadth of applications considered in each panel.

Areas of assessment

The criteria against which your application will be assessed directly relates to the core responsive mode application questions:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • capability of the applicant or applicants and the project team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project
  • research organisation support

Further detail on what the assessors are looking for is available in the questions in the how to apply section.


Panels are expected to be held during spring and summer 2024.


No further feedback beyond the reviewers’ comments will be provided after the panel.

Principles of assessment

UKRI supports the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognises the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity and get help with the Funding Service


We aim to respond to emails within two working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

We will held a webinar at 1:00pm on 21 June 2023. This provided information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Watch a recording of the webinar

Webinar passcode: B7V+gWct

Webinar slides (PDF, 918KB)

Supporting links

Equality impact assessment for EPSRC Responsive Mode New Investigator Award (PDF, 272KB)


  • 21 December 2023
    Expected panel review timescale added under How we will assess your application.
  • 28 September 2023
    New closing deadline added.
  • 13 July 2023
    4 Section References: word count updated from 250 to 1,000.

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