Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Mathematical Modelling for Next Gen Formulated Products NetworkPlus

Start application

The drive towards rapid, smarter, greener and personalised formulation requires the insight provided by new predictive mathematical approaches. Understanding links between microstructure, complex processes, and perception will unlock productivity gains across the formulation sector.

A new NetworkPlus will have mathematics at the heart but bring together relevant research disciplines and stakeholders to create new links between different communities, increase engagement of non-academic stakeholders, improve knowledge exchange and test new ideas.

Who can apply

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

Who is eligible to apply

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) standard eligibility rules apply. For full details, visit EPSRC’s eligibility page.

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.

It is recommended a maximum of five individuals, such as a project lead and four project co-lead UKs, are included in the application. These individuals should represent the core people involved in setting up the network and who will be involved in the day to day running of the project. The NetworkPlus core team must include at least one mathematical scientist, who may or not be interdisciplinary. Others who are likely to be engaged in the NetworkPlus are not required to be listed in the core team.

Researchers will be allowed to be involved with multiple applications but not named as part of the core team for more than one application.

Other recommended roles

It is strongly recommended that there is a dedicated NetworkPlus grant manager. This is someone or a group of people who primarily works on the coordination and administration of the NetworkPlus, with responsibilities such as organising meetings, workshops, public engagement and communication of the NetworkPlus. This person or group will also help run the administrative side of the peer review process to allocate the competitive flexible funds. The roles can be purely administrative or combined with research activities within the network.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation which contributes to the NetworkPlus either by providing cash or in-kind contributions. Project partners will have an integral role in the design of the network.

It is expected that every proposal will have at least one project partner to reflect the ambition for the NetworkPlus to increase engagement with non-academic stakeholders. To achieve this ambition, we recommend that the proposal is co-created with project partners. It will be a requirement that there is a minimum of 10% leveraging (cash or in-kind) from project partners against the total fund amount (100% of full economic cost). We expect that the successful NetworkPlus will continue to engage a range of non-academic partners throughout the lifetime of the grant, with an active approach to encouraging continued leverage of contributions against the NetworkPlus’s flexible funds.

Note: project partners cannot normally receive funding directly from the grant. The two exceptions to this rule 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 by the PL and will need to be fully justified

Who is not eligible to apply

The following roles are not eligible to apply to this opportunity:

  • researcher co-leads

International applicants

As EPSRC is a lead funder for this opportunity, the UKRI and Research Council of Norway Money Follows Cooperation agreement applies, therefore a project co-lead (international) can be based in a Norwegian institution.


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


The funding opportunity aims to fund one NetworkPlus to bring mathematicians together with other interdisciplinary researchers and non-academic stakeholders, particularly industry, to:

  • drive towards rapid, smarter, greener and personalised formulation, informed by new predictive mathematical approaches and insights
  • understand linkage between microstructure, complex processes, and perception to unlock productivity gains across the formulation sector

The formulated product sector underpins almost everything we do each day.

This shift will require new, predictive methods which use multiscale modelling to understand multiphase behaviour and ultimately provide links and insights into how products will perform, for example how taste and texture are perceived. Providing an end-to-end predictive capability between the microscale of formulated products and the consumer will allow manufacturers to address key challenges in unlocking manufacturing productivity, sustainability and net zero, and healthy ageing.


The NetworkPlus could achieve these aims by:

  • building new communities or creating new links between different existing communities
  • bringing focus to the opportunities that mathematical modelling can bring to unlocking potential in formulation and identifying research challenges, opportunities and priorities
  • facilitating and improving knowledge exchange
  • supporting initial testing of new ideas and kick-start new collaborations
  • growing the area for the benefit of the UK
  • lowering barriers for engagement of non-academic stakeholders, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • facilitating impact and advance policy
  • growing capacity for and dissemination of good practice in the area of the research focus, such as Responsible Research and Innovation, Trusted Research, and ethics.

The NetworkPlus investment can undertake a variety of activities including:

  • workshops
  • events
  • running small funding opportunities to support high-risk research projects, new collaborations, feasibility studies or impact acceleration activities. These could be used to support the associated research grant holders or broader members of the community
  • secondments
  • horizon scanning and generation of new ideas
  • managing a flexible fund to run competitive allocation of research funding through the course of the NetworkPlus.

This list is not exhaustive, and the successful network(s) is not obliged to do all the above. Applicants are encouraged to tailor their activities to the needs of the area and to be innovative in their approach.


Previous workshops in mathematical modelling of formulated products (Isaac Newton Institute 2020) have identified three potential areas of study:

  • scalable methods for heat & mass transfer and reactions in multiphase systems.
  • transforming microstructure
  • mathematics of feel

Scalable methods for heat & mass transfer and reactions in multiphase systems includes developing scalable and predictive methods which model complex, multiphase systems over differing timescales; applications could include powder flow, emulsion stability, complex rheology and processing.

Transforming Microstructure encompasses systematising the understanding of commercially important systems in which the microstructure transforms during processing. Developing quantitative links between inputs, such as materials and process parameters, and outputs in the form of final microstructure and macroscopic properties. Developing novel mathematical and numerical homogenisation for multiscale processes.

The mathematics of feel is about the quantification of sensory perception) and developing mathematical models that can quantify and simulate taste, feel and dissolution or breakdown processes and matching sensory perceptions to user groups’ preferences.

The NetworkPlus must address at least one of these areas and also identify other areas of potential activity. Target sectors and applications are also welcome but due consideration to how to translate across sectors would be of benefit.

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the Additional information section.

It is essential that user engagement is considered in the wider network membership. It is expected that every proposal will have at least one project partner to reflect the ambition for the NetworkPlus to increase engagement with non-academic stakeholders. To achieve this ambition, we recommend that the proposal is co-created with project partners. It will be a requirement that there is a minimum of 10% leveraging from project partners (cash or in-kind) against the total fund amount (100% of full economic cost). In addition to providing cash contribution, a project partner could also contribute to the NetworkPlus through a number of ways, for example acting as the primary host for secondees from academia, providing real data, management time and facilities. Such contributions will be considered as part of the assessment process.  As such, relevant and useful contributions could enhance the possibility of success of the bid through peer review. We expect that the successful NetworkPlus will continue to engage a range of non-academic partners throughout the lifetime of the grant, with an active approach to encouraging continued leverage of contributions against the flexible funds.

Network activities should be UK-wide and should involve a broad range of disciplines and non-academic stakeholders from relevant sectors.

Flexible funds: a key element of a NetworkPlus is the management of a flexible fund. This can be used for research (such as feasibility studies), secondments, training or other activities beyond networking.

Environmental Sustainability

On behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we expect programmes to embed careful consideration of environmental sustainability at all stages of the research and innovation process and throughout the lifetime of the grant.


The duration of this award is a minimum of 36 months and a maximum of 60 months.

Projects must start by 24 June 2025.

Funding available

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £2,800,000.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will fund 80% of the FEC.

What we will fund

Investigators’ salaries

The project lead and up to four project co-leads or other roles can request funds to cover their salary costs for the time spent on setting up and leading the NetworkPlus. The salary costs of NetworkPlus participants should not be included in the proposal and we would not expect these individuals to be project co-leads.

Flexible funds

Flexible funds can be allocated to researchers at any organisation currently eligible for EPSRC funding. You will need to think carefully about how any budget for external distribution will be commissioned through a robust peer review process, and how you will ensure processes for the allocation of funds are fair and transparent within the framework of the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision making.

Please note that any activities commissioned by the NetworkPlus using the flexible funds will be restricted to EPSRC current research organisation eligibility but will not be bound by standard EPSRC investigator eligibility criterion. It is the project lead’s responsibility to ensure ongoing governance and correct usage and accountability of the funds. We would expect some examples of the types of projects to be included at the application stage, but the research challenges are expected to evolve throughout the NetworkPlus lifetime and should be co-created and collaborative in nature.

Flexible funds may only be used for activities that may be funded through a standard research grant.  For example, funds cannot be requested for studentships or the kind of student costs that would be funded through a training grant.

These funds must be reported on the final expenditure statement (FES) as awarded on the offer letter, and a breakdown of the expenditure must be submitted along with the FES. Flexible funds are funded at 80% FEC by EPSRC.

Travel and subsistence

Travel and subsistence can be requested to enable NetworkPlus participants to meet to exchange ideas and expertise. This may include visits by or to experts overseas.

Administrative support

A sufficient level of administrative support should be requested to help in the coordination and management of the NetworkPlus to ensure smooth running of the NetworkPlus activities.

Organisation of activities

Funding can be requested for costs involved in running activities such as networking events, expert working groups, debates, virtual discussion forums, lectures, seminars, or problem solving workshops.

Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the range of activities that could support the delivery of the NetworkPlus aims. Funds can be requested for research and innovation associate staff, consumables, travel and subsistence, and any other costs eligible under ‘directly incurred’ headings.

This is likely to include a budget for feasibility studies that can be allocated to researchers at other universities. In this case applicants will need to think carefully about how this budget will be managed.

Equipment is not available through this funding opportunity.

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.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks. Further guidance and information about TR&I, including where applicants can find additional support, can be found on UKRI’s website.

Additional Conditions

The NetworkPlus funding will be subject to the following additional conditions to our standard terms.

Community network expectations

This grant is awarded on the understanding that, in addition to the core research programme, the project will undertake a wider networking role with the research and user community outside its membership. This may involve coordination of activities such as meetings, workshops or seminars on behalf of us. A dedicated website must be set up within six months of the start of the grant and regularly maintained to provide a resource for engagement with the wider community.

This grant is expected to further develop the network including its academic and user (for example, policy, business, non-governmental organisation) membership throughout the period of funding in order to maximise its impact on a wide range of disciplines. As part of the grant, networks must identify ambitious ‘real-world’ challenges, which require a multidisciplinary approach and will form an agenda for future research in the area.

User engagement strategy

You must develop and execute a strategy for engaging with potential users of the research funded in the project. This strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly as part of the formal management and reporting process agreed for this grant.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In addition to RGC 3.4, you are expected to prepare a full equality, diversity and inclusion plan for the duration of this grant to demonstrate best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the lifetime of this funding award. This must be recorded through the grant reporting process.

Project officer appointment

We will nominate a member of EPSRC staff (the project officer) who will be your primary point of contact. The project officer will ensure that the project is being run in accordance with the terms and conditions and in line with financial due diligence. The project officer(s) should have access to all documentation of governance and reporting bodies, in so far as it relates to the administration and application of the grant. As funding administrators, all UKRI staff have agreed to maintain the confidentiality required by all parties involved in EPSRC-funded research.

Advisory board appointment

This grant must establish and run an independent advisory board, or equivalent body, to oversee the running of the project and provide advice on the strategic direction and activities of the project. The terms of reference and membership of this group (at least 50% independent membership and an independent chair) should be agreed with EPSRC. The EPSRC project officer will also be expected to attend and participate in advisory board and other appropriate meetings for the duration of the grant.

It is expected the first advisory board meeting will be held within four months of the start date of the project and there will be two meetings a year with contact outside of the meeting when appropriate.

Flexible funds

Notwithstanding standard grant condition RGC 4.4, the sum awarded under the heading of ‘flexible funds’ can include both directly incurred and directly allocated expenditure. These funds must be reported on the FES as awarded on the offer letter and a breakdown of the expenditure must be submitted along with the FES. If a breakdown of this expenditure is not received, the FESs will be returned. Standard grant conditions apply to all other funds awarded on this grant.

Publicity and branding

In addition to RGC 12.4 publication and acknowledgement of support, you must make reference to EPSRC and UKRI funding and include the UKRI logo and relevant branding on all online or printed materials (including press releases, posters, exhibition materials and other publications) related to activities funded by this grant.

Management structure

You should establish an appropriate management structure with clear lines of responsibility and authority to oversee the day-to-day running of the project. This should be in place within six months of the start date of the grant. The terms of reference and management structure, including the project lead, co-leads and senior investigators must be approved by us in advance as must any changes to this structure. The project officer will EPSRC’s main contact with the project, and must receive all meeting minutes of the management committees. We reserve the right to attend any meetings.

Management resourcing

Adequate resourcing to support an appropriate management structure, as specified in the funding opportunity documentation, should be costed within the grant. This includes employing a grant manager on the grant.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. 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.

To apply:

Expression of Interest

To support the peer review process and to monitor demand, project leads will be required to submit an Expression of Interest via our Engagement Hub by 4:00pm UK time on 14 August.

The EOI will include:

  • Grant title
  • Name of the project lead and organisation
  • Names of project teams and their organisations
  • Names of potential Project Partners
  • Estimated Grant Value (this can be different from the final value submitted as part of the application but should be within +/-20%)

Please note that this stage is solely for monitoring demand and to aid the peer review process. Once, project leads have submitted an expression of interest, they are free to submit a full application without additional notification from EPSRC.

To submit an application via the Funding Service

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
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service. We strongly suggest that if you are asking UKRI to add your organisation to the Funding Service to enable you to apply to this funding opportunity, you also create an organisation Administration Account. This will be needed to allow the acceptance and management of any grant that might be offered to you.
  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. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Within this section you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • 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 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. Applicants should use their discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors, for example (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

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


EPSRC must receive your application by 4:00pm UK time on 19 September 2024.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

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 opportunity.

Personal data

Processing personal data

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (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 What EPSRC has funded.

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


Word limit: 550

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

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. 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))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Application questions

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than seven 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. References may be included but should not exceed one page of your document. You can have an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan.

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, 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(s) or area(s)
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment
  • will embed EDI considerations into, and how these will guide your aims, as well as other activities such as stakeholder engagement, events and networking.

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • describe the concept, context and coordination function of your project
  • demonstrate the alignment of the application to the funding opportunity objectives
  • clearly state the research challenges that you will address
  • explain how you will embed environmental sustainability within your activities

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 clearly written 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
  • will build EDI considerations into the formation, operation and governance of the hub, including how these will be operationalised.

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • evidence co-creation and user engagement
  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the application
  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines
  • explain how partnerships will be identified, planned and managed
  • explain how partnerships will enable stakeholders to work together, network and build capability in a strategic area
  • outline future plans for sustaining the partnership beyond this application, or for funding research which may develop from the partnership

References may be included in this document.


Word limit: 500

How will you manage the award to successfully deliver its objectives?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the proposed award will be managed, demonstrating that it:

  • will be effectively governed, including details about advisory structures
  • will be effectively and inclusively managed, demonstrated by a clear management plan
  • has clear leadership team roles and responsibilities
  • will manage and encourage partnerships with non-HEI organisations across government, industry and civil society
  • has plans for monitoring your progress as well as self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of your award
  • will put in place appropriate governance and administration to deliver the range of devolved funding opportunities

Within this section you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • 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 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide 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 1,650 words; 1,150 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

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.

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 may be included within this section.

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.

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, 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

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project partners section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box,. Each letter or email 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
  • the page limit is two sides A4 per partner

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

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.

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 project co-leads’ research organisations.


Word limit: 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

Facilities should only be named if they are on the facility information list above. If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Flexible Fund

Word limit: 1,000

How will you use and manage the flexible fund?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you will use and manage the flexible fund so that it:

  • supports your objectives
  • distributes funding appropriately across a diverse range of activities
  • where appropriate, distributes funding through robust, transparent competitive processes
  • builds capacity in key fields and career stages
  • ensures appropriate processes for monitoring, reporting and governance of funded activities

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 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

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 consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’
  • flexible fund uses

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

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 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

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) relating to research involving:

  • animals
  • human participants
  • genetically modified organisms

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Applications will be assessed via an expert panel. Successful applications at this stage will be invited for interview.

Any applications that do not fit the remit of the opportunity will be rejected prior to assessment. Please note that the application must focus on building a research community, not a research project.

We will require all applicants to submit an Expression of Interest via the UKRI Engagement Hub. The purposes of which will be to manage demand and assist with peer review process.

In the event of this funding opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserves the right to modify the assessment process.

Expert Panel

We will invite experts to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

You will have the opportunity to respond to experts’ comments prior to the panel discussion.


For shortlisted applications, an expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held in February 2025.

EPSRC will make the final funding decision.


If your application was discussed by a panel, we will provide feedback with the outcome of your application.

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 we will assess your application against are:

  • vision of the project
  • approach of the project
  • governance
  • applicant and team capability to deliver
  • ethics and responsible research and innovation
  • flexible fund
  • resources requested to do the project

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading 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 and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact

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


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.

For further information on submitting an application read How applicants use the Funding Service

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please contact

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual 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, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info


EPSRC Ideas bank

This opportunity has been formed as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Big Ideas process. In 2020 a series of workshops was held by the Knowledge Transfer Network at the Isaac Newton Institute and virtually with an aim to develop an EPSRC Big Idea submission to the bank. This funding opportunity is based on the outcomes from that Big Idea.


A NetworkPlus is a strategic investment which brings together new research communities and identifies, prioritises and develops future research challenges.

EPSRC has had considerable success from previous NetworkPlus investments which focus on academic research challenges. These NetworkPlus investments have developed a rich body of outputs, including:

  • new collaborations
  • grant proposals
  • new research methods
  • horizon scanning reports
  • new policy
  • feasibility studies

Lessons learned from previous NetworkPlus activities include:

  • a clear, well-defined topic for the network is needed to focus plans and activities the portfolio of grants needs to be regularly reviewed
  • sufficient administrative and host university support for the network is vital, in order to support activities such as small projects and dissemination activities
  • the amount of funding for small projects may be variable, and should depend on the research topic or discipline
  • different scales of study may require different assessment processes to reflect the value that is being requested
  • expectation and arrangements for full economic costing of network activities need to be clear across all parties
  • advertising of events needs to be included in the budget
  • long-term plans for the legacy and sustainability of the network need to be considered early on
  • the NetworkPlus should coordinate and complement existing research in the area, rather than compete or replicate work

Additional disability and accessibility adjustments

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) can offer disability and accessibility support for UKRI applicants and grant holders during the application and assessment process if required.

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

KTN: Big Ideas workshop summaries (PDF, 7MB)

Big Idea in Mathematical Modelling for Next Generation Formulated Products (PDF, 93KB)

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.