Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: EPSRC working with overseas scientists: Nov 2023: responsive mode (invite only)

Start application

Working with overseas scientists grants continue to be for researchers at eligible research organisations.

You can work with researchers in Ireland, Luxembourg, Brazil, and the US through EPSRC’s lead agency agreements.

The majority of the UK research must fall within Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) remit. You must submit an expression of interest and have been invited to submit a full application.

We will award 80% of the full economic cost (FEC) of the UK costs of the project. Your overseas partners are funded by the relevant overseas agency.

To be eligible, you must have submitted an expression of interest and been invited to submit a full application.

For information on our new approach to EPSRC responsive mode opportunities that opened in November 2023, please see our transition web pages.

Who can apply

To be eligible, you must have submitted an expression of interest and been invited to submit a full application. See the ‘How to apply’ section for details on how to submit an expression of interest.

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

EPSRC standard eligibility rules apply. Find out more about EPSRC’s eligibility rules.

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.

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.

Resubmissions

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

Aim

We are committed to the continued support of excellent discovery led research as detailed in EPSRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025.

We work with partners in the UK and abroad to help researchers and research organisations get maximum value from international collaborations and opportunities. The aim is to reduce current barriers to working internationally by allowing researchers to submit a single collaborative application with a joint funding decision, informed by a single lead agency review.

Scope

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
  • quantum technologies

Find out more about our research areas and themes.

The majority of your research must fall within our remit.

We 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 application if you believe your research may cross research council boundaries.

See our remit query form.

You can work across our remit with researchers supported by:

Duration

There is no limit on the length of your project.

Funding available

There is no limit on the value of the grant. However, the value should be within 10% of your expression of interest.

We will fund 80% FEC of your project.

What we will fund

We will fund:

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

Quotes for equipment do not need to be included in your application, but please retain quotes for equipment costing more than £138,000 as we may ask for these at post-panel stage before releasing funds.

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

For applications that include 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

Expression of interest

To be eligible, you must have submitted an expression of interest and been invited to submit a full application.

There is no deadline to submit an expression of interest, but this should be submitted at least three months before your planned submission date.

We will work with the relevant agency to check your eligibility for funding and to assess whether your proposed project falls within our respective remits and budgets. Your overseas partners must meet the eligibility criteria of their relevant funding agency.

If successful, you will be invited to submit a joint application through the UKRI Funding Service.

Full application

EPSRC reviewed its approach to responsive mode opportunities on the Funding Service following our October 2023 closing dates. For more information on our approach, including timelines, please see our transition web pages.

From November 2023, our approach to responsive mode will change. We will not publish closing dates for individual rounds, instead we will batch applications internally. You should apply when your application is ready for submission and not be concerned about a closing date.

Due to systems requirements a closing date will appear on the Funding Service approximately a year from the publication of this opportunity. Please do not wait for this date to submit your application. we will be processing applications throughout 2024.

Applications will be batched for assessment and sent to the most appropriate responsive mode panel meeting when they reach this stage of the process. Applications submitted in late 2023 and early 2024 are likely to be considered at panels in September 2024. Our responsive mode panel meetings are: Engineering, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences. These panels are expected to run on a quarterly basis after September 2024.

Due to the agile development of the Funding Service, we will need to make changes to this opportunity to allow technical updates or new policies to be implemented. No changes are planned to EPSRC responsive mode opportunities before November 2024. However, if updates are required, we will communicate these changes at least eight weeks before they are implemented (excluding major public holiday periods).

How to apply

If you wish to express an interest in working with researchers who would be funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Fonds National de la Recherche, and the São Paulo Research Foundation, you should complete the relevant EPSRC online form on behalf of both partners:

If you wish to express an interest in working with researchers who would be funded by the National Science Foundation in the US, and the largest proportion of the research lies in the UK, you should complete the EPSRC online form on behalf of both partners:

If the largest proportion of research lies in the US, your US partners should submit an expression of interest on behalf of both partners to the NSF.

To submit a full application

We are running this funding opportunity on the new 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. You cannot submit applications with more than one lead organisation.

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 support@funding-service.ukri.org
  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. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Find out more about How applicants use the Funding Service and also How research offices use the Funding Service.

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, then you will have to submit a new application.

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.

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

Summary

Word count: maximum 550

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

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so 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.

Your overseas partners should be listed as project partners rather than as part of the core team.

The project co-lead (international) (PcL (I)) role should only be used for applications making use of the UKRI-RCN Money Follows Cooperation agreement or the UKRI-IIASA agreement. We do not otherwise accept project co-lead (international) applicants.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Thematic area alignment

Word count: one

Select the EPSRC thematic area your application most closely aligns to. This should be the theme where the majority of the novelty in the research lies.

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

A. artificial intelligence (AI)
B. digital security and resilience
C. energy and decarbonisation
D. engineering
E. healthcare technologies
F. information and communication technologies (ICT)
G. manufacturing
H. mathematical sciences
I. physical sciences
J. 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.

We will not publish closing dates for individual rounds, instead we will batch applications internally. You should apply when your application is ready for submission and not be concerned about a closing date.

Applications will be batched for assessment and sent to the most appropriate responsive mode panel meeting when they reach this stage of the process.

International agency requirements

Word count: one

Question: Select the agency that you are working with.

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

A: Fonds National de la Recherche in Luxembourg
B: National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US
C: São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil
D: Science Foundation Ireland

Also upload any additional documents required by that agency as detailed on our guidance pages. Details of how to do that will be provided in the Funding Service system itself.

Upload a single PDF containing the documents ensuring it is no larger than 8MB.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives to your application when you create an application immediately followed by the words ‘international documents’. Then use the upload button below.

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than six 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 one page for a diagrammatic work plan.

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

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, 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.

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, 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 proposed work
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar (additional one-page A4)

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word count: 1,500

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

The word count for this section is 1,500 words, 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

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

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

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

Within this section 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 8MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

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

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

References

Word count: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, 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 maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

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

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.

Your overseas partners from Ireland, Luxembourg, Brazil, or the US should be listed as project partners.

Any project partners additional to your overseas collaborators should also be included in this section.

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, please 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

Word count: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the previous project partners section.

We do not expect letters of support from the international partner agencies.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Please enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

Each letter 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
  • refer to EPSRC’s guidance on project partners letters of support for further information Project partners letter of support
  • any other requirement as detailed in each individual lead agency guidance

Save letters or emails of support from each project partner you have listed in your application in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique funding service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘project partner’.

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

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

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.

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

Facilities

Word count: 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.

Sensitive information

Word count: one

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 ‘No’ 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 ‘Yes’ in the text box.

Then email EPSRC on tfschangeepsrc@epsrc.ukri.org
You must include in the subject line: EPSRC responsive mode, sensitive info, opportunity number, the 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.

Resources and cost justification

Word count: 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

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.

In the text box, justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

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

Ensure both the UK team and the other lead agency team costs are justified.

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

Reviewers and panels may acknowledge the impact of university support but will not consider the level of matched university funding as a factor on which to base funding recommendations.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word count: 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

Within this section 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 8MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

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 the following:

  • 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

EPSRC reviewed its approach to responsive mode opportunities on the UKRI Funding Service following our October 2023 closing dates. For more information on our approach, including timelines, please see our transition web pages.

We will not publish closing dates for individual rounds, instead we will batch applications internally. You should apply when your application is ready for submission and not be concerned about a closing date.

Due to systems requirements a closing date will appear on the Funding Service approximately a year from the publication of this opportunity. Please do not wait for this date to submit your application, we will be processing applications throughout 2024.

Due to the agile development of the Funding Service, we will need to make changes to this opportunity to allow technical updates or new policies to be implemented. No changes are planned to EPSRC responsive mode opportunities before November 2024. However, if updates are required, we will communicate these changes at least eight weeks before they are implemented (excluding major public holiday periods).

We will assess your application using the following process.

We reserve the right to adapt our peer review process should we receive a large volume of applications.

Peer review

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

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

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

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

Panel

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 and rank it alongside other applications.

Applications will be batched for assessment and sent to the most appropriate responsive mode panel meeting when they reach this stage of the process.

Applications submitted in late 2023 and early 2024 are likely to be considered at panels in September 2024. These panels are expected to run on a quarterly basis after September 2024.

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.

Feedback

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

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 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

Further detail on what the assessors are looking for is available in the questions 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 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 on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact EPSRC’s international team on international@epsrc.ukri.org

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

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
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 out more information on submitting an application.

Additional info

Research disruption due to COVID-19

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

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

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

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

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 268KB)

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