Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Network Pluses in Energy to form next generation Supergen Hubs

Submit an expression of interest for a Network Plus to discover and develop the next generation of renewable energy technologies.

Proposals must create coherence in an emerging research area to drive forward research in Sustainable PowER GENeration and supply.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

Proposals must focus on technology areas that already exist with some critical mass.

The full economic cost of your Network Plus can be up to £500,000. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Network Plusses from this funding opportunity can range in size from £250,000 to £500,000, lasting 24 to 30 months.

The EoI stage is mandatory and full applications will only be accepted where an EoI has been submitted. The EoI will not be assessed.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Who is eligible to apply

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

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

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.


We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UK Research and Innovation (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


This is the expression of interest stage of the funding opportunity. Submission of an expression of interest is mandatory for those who wish to apply to the full funding opportunity.

To be eligible for the full funding opportunity you must complete the expression of interest Smart Survey providing:

  • your name and contact details
  • project title
  • the key area of renewable energy research that best fits your proposal and a
  • brief summary of your proposal that must be no more than 200 words including how it enhances UKRI’s current renewable energy portfolio

This information is to assist us with pre-approaching reviewers. Expressions of interest will not be assessed.

This is an Expression of Interest for new Network+ proposals to discover and develop the next generation of renewable energy technologies and put the UK at the forefront of these areas of technology.

The importance of renewable energy technologies has been shown by both the Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework and the Committee for Climate Change as a key component of the UK’s 2050 net zero target and has formed the backbone of EPSRC strategy in energy and decarbonisation for many years.

The Supergen programme is our Energy and Decarbonisation theme’s largest coordinated investment across several grants. The programme was set up in 2001 to deliver sustained and coordinated research on Sustainable PowER GENeration and supply.

To support this mission, as we move into the next phase of the programme, our focus is on accelerating the impact from known renewable power generation and supply technologies through the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy, Bioenergy, and Energy Networks Hubs while also ensuring the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of renewable energy technologies.

This funding opportunity is intended to create coherence in emerging areas of renewable energy research to drive forward research in Sustainable PowER GENeration and supply to give the UK a lead in the next generation of these technologies.

This investment is a major component of our Engineering Net Zero mission-inspired priority and is aimed at investing in the high risk and high reward research to discover and develop the next generation of renewable energy technologies.

This funding opportunity is intended to deliver outcomes that align to the priorities within UKRI’s ‘building a green future’ strategic theme, as well as the UK’s net zero research and innovation framework (GOV.UK) and the British Energy Security Strategy (GOV.UK).

The next phase of the Supergen programme is intended to build a diverse, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research and innovation community working across UKRI, academia, business, government and the public and international partners to create lasting and sustainable benefits for all.

The purpose of each Network+ will be to bring together a community and develop a research agenda for a proposed area in next generation renewable energy technologies and which provide an opportunity to secure UK leadership with greater levels of coordination and research activity.

Proposals should focus on technology areas that already exist with some critical mass. Each Network+ will aim to create coherence in a research area that is currently absent and will thus enable a future bid to compete for Supergen Hub funding and should include industry engagement in their planning. Two to three of these Network+ investments may then be taken forward as the next generation of Supergen hubs (subject to funding).

Network+ proposals should focus on an emerging area of renewable energy technology that will enhance UKRI’s Energy and Decarbonisation portfolio and ensure that next generation renewable technologies are more environmentally sustainable than previous approaches. Proposals from areas that are currently or have previously been part of the Supergen programme must therefore be substantially different to previously funded work or they will not be considered.

The current Supergen portfolio consists of three hubs: Offshore Renewable Energy, Bioenergy, Energy Networks and two network+s: Solar Technologies and Energy Storage.


The duration of this award is 2- 2.5 years.

Projects must start by 1 July 2024

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £500,000

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

What we will fund

Network grants do not fund research. Activities supported include:

  • salary costs for time spent on setting up and managing the network
  • travel and subsistence, including for members to meet to exchange ideas and expertise and to visit each other’s laboratories. Industrial collaborators should meet their own costs where possible
  • workshops
  • administrative support to help coordinate the network
  • communication costs and costs for additional equipment such as personal computers and web servers

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

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

How to apply

Please submit your EoI via Smart Survey.


We must receive your expression of interest by 21 August 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Completing the expression of interest stage is compulsory for those who wish to submit a full application.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

General text on 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.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance


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

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

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community.
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

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

Word count: 550


In the full proposal stage we will ask you to list the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (no more than 3) (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician

You can only list one project lead.

We would normally expect no more than one project co-lead on a network application who will assist in the management of the network.

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 about UKRI’s new grant roles.

At the full opportunity stage, you will be asked to respond to the questions below.

1 Section: Vision and Approach

Word count 5
You should upload the Vision and Approach document as a six-page PDF, plus an additional page for a diagrammatic workplan. The document must have single line spacing, margins of at least 2cm and be typed using Arial 11pt, or another ‘sans serif’ font with an equivalent size to Arial 11pt.

Question: What are you hoping to achieve with and how will you deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or are(s
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

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

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

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

2 Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

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 lead and project co-leads, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

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

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

Additions: Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is not mandatory and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences or outputs, but any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

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

3. Section: Added value

Word count: 500
Question: What is the added value that this network will enable that would not be possible otherwise?

What the assessors are looking for:

Using the text box, demonstrate what the network will achieve, considering how it will do the following:

  • create new interdisciplinary research communities and topics
  • provide a critical mass of researchers with a range of expertise and experience
  • promote mobility between academe, universities and industry
  • achieve sustainability beyond the funding requested

4. Section: References

Word count: 1,000
Question: List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

You should not include any other information in this section.

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

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

5a Section: Project partners: contributions

Word count: 1,000
Question: Provide details about any project partners’ contributions using the template provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

If you do have project partners, download and complete the project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB) then copy and paste the table within it into the text box.
Ensure you have obtained prior agreement from project partners that, should you be offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the template.

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

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

5b Section: Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word count: 10
Question: Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the table in the previous ‘contributions’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • 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 our guidance on project partners letters of support for further information Project partners letter of support – UKRI

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

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the table in the previous ‘contributions’ section ensuring it is no larger than 8MB.

For the file name, use the unique funding service number the system gives to your proposal – when you create an application – immediately followed by the words ‘project partner letters of support’. Then use the upload button below.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

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

6 Section: Facilities

Word count: 250
Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

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

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

  • facility name: the name of facility, copied and pasted from this facility list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • usage: the proposed usage time or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on that list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required – copy the following text: ‘I confirm that I have contacted the facility and their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on my project for the usage specified.’

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

7. Section: Sensitive information

Word count: 10
Question: Is there sensitive information you need to share with UKRI that you do not want shared with assessors?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, enter the words ‘email sent’ in the text box.
Then email the Funding Service helpdesk on You must include in the subject line: <EPSRC responsive mode, sensitive info, Funding Service application number>.
Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the Applicant and team capability section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, see UKRI’s privacy notice.

8 Section: Resources and cost justification

Word count: 1,000

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

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the text box, demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

This resources and cost justification should not simply be a list of the resources requested, as this will already be given in the costs table. Costings should be justified on the basis of full economic costs (FEC) of the project, not just on the costs expected from UKRI. For some items we do not expect you to justify the monetary value, rather the type of resource, such as amount of time or type of staff requested.
Where you do not provide adequate justification for a resource, we may deduct it from any funding awarded.
You should identify:

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

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.

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, see UKRI’s privacy notice.

Section 9: Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Word count: 500

Question: What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

How we will assess your application

Assessment process for the Full funding opportunity

We will not be assessing the EOI. This is only going to be used for:

  • remit checking
  • pre-approaching reviewers

At the full proposal stage, you will be assessed in the following way:

Peer review

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

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

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

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


If your application gains enough support from reviewers, your application, reviewers’ comments and your response will go to prioritisation panel.

Areas of assessment

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

  • vision of the project
    • how does the vision of the project enhance the UK’s capability in renewable energy to take steps towards meeting Net Zero 2050
    • how does the project enhance UKRI’s Energy and Decarbonisation portfolio?
  • approach to the project
    • how will the project ensure that next generation renewable technologies are more environmentally sustainable than previous approaches
  • Your and the project team’s capability to deliver the project
  • added value of the network
    • how will the project embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in all their activities throughout the lifetime of the network?
  • 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.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

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

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Contact details

Get help with your application

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

Ask about this funding opportunity


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