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EPSRC Working with overseas scientists

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You can apply to work with overseas researchers in Ireland, Luxembourg, Brazil and the United States if you are a researcher at UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies.

The fields you can work in and the application processes are governed by agreements between UKRI and sister agencies in Ireland, Luxembourg, Brazil, and the United States.

You first have to submit an expression of interest by completing an online form. We will award 80% of the full economic costs of the project, and your organisation must agree to find the balance. Your overseas partners are funded by the relevant overseas agency.

Who can apply

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

Find out more about institutional eligibility.

You can apply if you are resident in the UK and meet at least one of these criteria:

  • are employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level or equivalent
  • 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
  • hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • hold fellowships under other schemes (please contact EPSRC to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis).

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

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 individual eligibility.

Your overseas partners must meet the eligibility criteria of their relevant funding agency.

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

If you wish to work with researchers supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Fonds National de la Recherche in Luxembourg, and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil, you can work across our remit.

Find out more about working with researchers in:

If you wish to work with scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, you can only carry out research in engineering, manufacturing the future, mathematical sciences, and information and communication technologies.

Find out more about working with researchers in the United States.

We support excellent research in:

  • digital economy
  • energy
  • engineering
  • global uncertainties
  • healthcare technologies (see our dedicated healthcare technologies investigator-led grant)
  • 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 fund a wide range of projects. The scale and scope of what you can do will vary according to the agreements.

You will first be asked to express an interest so we and our sister agencies can check whether your proposal fits the remit and any eligibility criteria.

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 first express an interest in carrying out research with your overseas partners through an online form.

Researchers proposing to work with partners who would be funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Fonds National de la Recherche in Luxembourg, and the São Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil should complete the relevant EPSRC online form on behalf of both partners at least three months before making an application.

Express an interest in working with researchers in:

If you wish to work with researchers or partners who would be funded by the NSF in the United States, you should complete the EPSRC online form on behalf of both partners if the largest proportion of the research lies in the UK.

If the largest proportion of research lies in the United States, your US partners should submit an expression of interest on behalf of both partners to the NSF. You should submit your expression of interest at least 60 days before making an application.

Express an interest to EPSRC in working with US researchers

We will work with our sister agencies to check your eligibility for funding and to assess whether your proposed project falls within our respective remits and budgets.

If successful, you will be invited to submit a joint proposal through the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) using the normal process for standard EPSRC research grants. We are always open for applications for standard research grants.

Joint proposals with researchers supported by the NSF should be submitted in the country where the greatest proportion of research lies. UK partners in successful US applications should contact us for details of how to activate their funding.

How to apply through Je-S

When adding a new proposal you should select:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: standard research
  • scheme: standard
  • on the project details page, you should select ‘none’.

When completing the Je-S form, you should include EPSRC and the relevant Irish, Luxembourg or Brazilian overseas agency at the start of your project title – in other words:

  • EPSRC-SFI for Ireland
  • EPSRC-FNR for Luxembourg
  • EPSRC-FAPESP for Brazil.

Your collaborating institution in Ireland, Luxembourg and Brazil should be included as a project partner. The total costs requested from your overseas partners should be included in the Je-S form as project partner contributions.

Brazilian researchers must submit a copy of the proposal through FAPESP’s SAGe submission system at the same time you make the application through Je-S.

If you are working with researchers funded by the NSF, you should begin your project title with the relevant NSF institution and EPSRC – in other words:

  • CBET-EPSRC for NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems
  • CMMI-EPSRC for NSF’s Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation
  • ECCS-EPSRC for NSF’s Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems
  • DMS-EPSRC for NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division of Mathematical Sciences.

Your collaborating institution in the US must be included as a project partner, with its contribution valued as the total NSF award. Applications made to the NSF will follow its application process.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • case for support: eight pages – two on your and your partner’s track record and six on the scientific case for both components
  • work plan: one page
  • justification of resources on behalf of both partners, making it clear which agency will fund which costs: 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 of equipment or combined assets with a value above £138,000: up to two pages
  • technical assessments for facilities listed as requiring one in the Je-S guidance: no page limit
  • cover letter: no page limit, not seen by peer review
  • other attachments: Luxembourg partners should fill out an INTER budget form (Excel workbook) and INTER budget details form (Word document) for the costs being requested from Fonds National de la Recherche. Partners supported by SFI should complete the SFI application form and associated documents, and they should be attached as a single PDF. These are for EPSRC and partner agency records only and will not be seen by reviewers or panel members.

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.

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 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), and resources and management (secondary).

Reviewers’ comments and the principal investigator’s response to reviews will be shared with the partner agency once the funding decision has been made.

Applications made to the NSF will follow its peer review process.

Find out more about the assessment process.

Contact details

For general queries about standard research grant applications, please contact:

grants@epsrc.ukri.org

01793 444120

For queries from UK and overseas researchers about working internationally, please contact:

international@epsrc.ukri.org

Republic of Ireland researchers

partnerships@sfi.ie

São Paulo researchers

ukri-agreement@fapesp.br

US researchers

NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences: dms-epsrc@nsf.gov.

NSF Directorate for Engineering: engukri@nsf.gov.

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