This funding opportunity aims to ensure the UK is at the forefront of world-leading collaborations in quantum technologies by forming new international networks.
There is no defined partner country list for the opportunity, nor a limit to the number of countries involved within a given network.
Each proposal must demonstrate:
- evidence of potential for the network to advance the UK’s capabilities in an emerging area of quantum technologies
- a clear rationale for the selection of network participants and partner country or countries
- a plan for effective international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information. Please refer to the guidance on trusted research from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)
- coverage of expertise and skills in order to achieve the network’s stated aims
- the ability to enable virtual collaboration.
Successful networks should achieve collaborative international partnerships that draw on global talent and skills to tackle major research problems in new and innovative ways. Participants from a range of organisations, including from industry, are encouraged so that there is appropriate coverage of the expertise and skills needed. However, there is no formal requirement to include industry partners.
Networks are expected to lead to new, collaborative and often multidisciplinary research, and some may develop into virtual centres of excellence, providing critical mass of expertise in quantum technologies.
Therefore, it is generally expected that a network will form a new collaboration. An existing collaboration could only be considered for this opportunity if it demonstrated a significant change in purpose, scope or membership, and provided it aligned with all other aims of the opportunity.
Networks must have one lead organisation, but you may work closely with other organisations. Parent-child applications are possible.
More detail can be found in the:
There is no formal limit to the number of participants in a network. A network does not need to specify all named participants from the outset. This is to ensure that there is flexibility once a project is underway to react to the changing research landscape, capitalise on advances in understanding or react to changing business needs.
The network must have at least one international participant and the primary aim must be to develop a prosperous international collaboration.
The research and capability enabled by these networks must focus on quantum technologies.
Quantum technologies are those that involve the creation, control and manipulation of sensitive and fragile quantum effects within single systems.
Although many current and future technologies are described by quantum theory, the focus of this funding opportunity is on expanding capabilities focused on the direct exploitation of quantum phenomena such as superposition or entanglement to enable disruptive impacts in security, precision, sensitivity, accuracy or speed of sensing.
- quantum computing and simulation
- quantum sensing and timing
- quantum imaging
- quantum communication
- quantum components
- cross-cutting quantum proposals.
Proposals must be at least 50% within the remit of the EPSRC quantum technologies theme.
Research in the area of ‘quantum technologies for fundamental physics’ is out of the scope of this opportunity. Instead, please contact email@example.com.
Find out more about EPSRC’s quantum technologies portfolio.
EPSRC has not set a limit on the number of proposals that can be submitted by a single organisation. However, as this scheme will fund only the highest quality applications, we would encourage organisations to focus their efforts on an appropriate, relatively small number of high-quality applications in order to improve their success rates.
To this end, we expect organisations to employ fair and transparent processes to select and support proposals for application.
A collaborating organisation who has an integral role in the network and is providing a contribution of a specified value (in-kind or cash contribution) must be listed as a project partner. Project partners cannot receive funding directly from the grant, such as travel and subsistence.
The total funding available is £5,000,000.
Under full economic costing there is no limit on the amount of funding that can be applied for, but all costs must be fully justified. Typical network grants rarely exceed £500,000. Anything above this would need significant justification.
This funding can cover investigator salary costs for the time spent on:
- setting up and managing the network
- travel and subsistence
- administrative support.
EPSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost of proposals, with the research organisation funding the remaining 20%.
Additional funding, for example, contributions from industrial members is encouraged, and details should be included in the proposal.
Proposals must be for a duration between 18 to 36 months and must start before 14 February 2022
You can find further EPSRC guidance on funding through networks and best practice.
Under full economic costing, principal investigators can request funds to cover their salary costs for the time spent on setting up and managing the network. Requests can also be made, if appropriate, for one co-investigator to assist in the management of the network. The salary costs of network participants should not be included in the proposal and we would not expect these individuals to be co-investigators.
Travel and subsistence
Enabling members to meet to exchange ideas and expertise and to visit each other’s laboratories. This may include visits by or to experts overseas. Where possible industrial collaborators should meet their own travel costs.
Costs requested should meet the EPSRC guidance for network workshops.
Funding for administrative support can be requested to help in the coordination of the network. Funding may also be requested for the running costs of communication and also for additional equipment, such as PCs and web servers. Reasonable costs for monitoring and dissemination of the network output can also be included.
Costs associated with establishing virtual mechanisms and tools for networks can be covered by the grant. Examples include:
- salary time and resources for virtual centre coordinators
- access to virtual collaboration software
- hosting virtual workshops, webinars and sandpits
- training for staff in virtual working.
Both UK-based and overseas doctoral students are permitted to participate in network activities, however, UK-based students cannot be supported by funding from the grant. Overseas students can be supported for travel and subsistence only. It is expected that any students would be active participants and not using the network simply for training purposes.
Equipment over £10,000 in value (inclusive of VAT) is not available through this opportunity. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘Directly Incurred – Other Costs’ heading.
For more information, please EPSRC guidance on equipment funding.
EPSRC is fully committed to develop and promote responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.
We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise. Therefore applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.
We acknowledge that it is difficult for anyone to determine the future impacts of COVID-19 while the pandemic continues to evolve. Your application should be based on the information available at the point of submission. If applicable, the known application specific impacts of COVID-19 should be accounted for.
Where known impacts have occurred, these should be highlighted in the application, including the assumptions or information at the point of submission. In the case of international travel for network activities, for example, appropriate resources should be requested to support plans to enable a degree of virtual collaboration.
Do not include contingency plans for the potential impacts of COVID-19. Reviewers will receive instructions to assume that changes that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic, post-submission, will be resolved and complications related to COVID-19 should not affect their scores.
Where an application is successful, any changes in circumstances that affect the proposal will be managed as a post-award issue.