Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Partner with researchers in Switzerland

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Apply for funding to develop new and existing partnerships with researchers in Switzerland.

You must:

  • be currently in receipt of an active UKRI grant for the materials, synthetic biology, or life and physical sciences interface themes
  • have been a UKRI grant holder for the languages theme (within the last five years of the closing date).

You can apply as a UK consortium. This opportunity can involve travel to Switzerland.

Your project can cost up to £25,000 and run for between one month and one year. We will fund 100% of the cost.

Who can apply

All applicants must apply to one of the four thematic areas. Applications to the synthetic biology, materials, and life and physical sciences interface themes must be submitted by eligible applicants in receipt of an eligible UKRI grant that:

  • is currently active at the time of the application deadline
  • has at least six months remaining from the start of the UK-Switzerland Partnering Award.

To apply for the languages theme, you must have held an eligible UKRI grant within five years of the application deadline.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

  • principal or co-investigators on an active UKRI research grant
  • recipients of a research fellowship award from UKRI
  • principal or co-investigators on a UKRI funded institute research grant.

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • UKRI studentship awards, including doctoral training partnerships and industrial partnerships
  • grant holders for UKRI grants which are not research specific (for example, grants for equipment only).

For all applicants, eligibility rules as indicated in the research grants guide apply.

What we're looking for

This funding opportunity is for researchers to collaborate with Switzerland-based researchers in four areas of priority:

  • languages
  • materials
  • synthetic biology
  • life and physical sciences interface.

Cross-cutting themes that are integrated into the four areas (such as artificial intelligence or big data) are also eligible.

More detail on thematic descriptions can be found in the funding opportunity guidance document, which can be found under the ‘additional info’ section.

Awards may be used to fund the costs associated with the following collaborative activities (spanning from one month to one year in duration):

  • travel for one or more UK-based applicants to Switzerland
  • visits to Swiss institutions and access to Swiss facilities
  • exchange of knowledge, skills and best practice (such as to host training sessions or webinars)
  • organisation of workshops and networking events (including virtual initiatives)
  • other collaborative activities (for example, costs associated with meetings to discuss the preparation of joint grant proposals).

Partnering award funds can be used to support student visits and knowledge exchanges. However, applications will not be accepted where this is the primary aim of the project.

The funding should be to enable the mobility of people and an exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Research groups, including international partners, can bring other sources of funding to the project. This could include a monetary contribution from your institution or department or in-kind contributions.

Projects are expected to start from 1 August 2022 and be from one month to one year in duration. They should aim to finish by 31 December 2023.

Objectives

The objectives that underpin this funding opportunity are to:

  • provide an opportunity for UK and Swiss researchers to establish new research collaborations
  • support the strengthening of existing collaborations between UK and Swiss researchers, research laboratories and institutions
  • promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise between researchers and technical specialists
  • enable travel and visits to Switzerland to support access to facilities, universities and labs.

Costs

The value of the award must not exceed £25,000.

Applications should be made at current costs in accordance with subsistence and travel regulations at your institution.

For each main activity, indicative costs should be shown within the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) form being submitted. We may index approved costs, therefore awards made will include an allowance for inflation. All resources requested in the application must be fully justified.

See the Je-S application process guidelines in the funding opportunity guidance document.

Only directly incurred costs can be applied for under this funding opportunity. You should apply for 100% of the cost of the activities which you wish to undertake.

We will pay the award directly to the lead UK organisation, which (where necessary) will be responsible for disbursing the funds to the co-investigators.

Permitted costs could include:

  • travel and subsistence
  • accommodation
  • venue hire
  • costs to cover additional caring responsibilities.

Support for access to overseas facilities

Funds may be used to support access to specialist equipment and facilities overseas. These direct research costs may not account for more than 20% of the total value requested from us and cannot be used to support salary costs, consumables, overheads or items of equipment.

Costings should be outlined in Je-S in the ‘other directly incurred costs’ section.

Support available for people with caring responsibilities

You can request additional care costs as part of the grant proposal. These may cover the additional care requirements for visits, meetings and overseas travel undertaken as part of the supported activity.

Costs which form part of someone’s normal care arrangements must not be included and planning for the care to be provided is the carer’s responsibility.

Costs should be reasonable and outlined in the ‘other directly incurred costs’ section of the Je-S application. Funds for supporting people with caring responsibilities should form part of the overall budget envelope.

Involvement of early career researchers and technicians

Collaborative activities are not limited to the principal investigator and we encourage the involvement of early career researchers and technicians within the project.

We aim to enable a dynamic, diverse and inclusive system of research and innovation in the UK, which gives the opportunity for everyone to participate and to benefit.

People are the heart of this system, so we therefore encourage principal investigators to consider involvement of the broader research base when developing applications for this funding opportunity, explaining their approach in the case for support.

Further detail on the breadth of the technical, practical, analytical and management skills which technicians contribute, may be found within the UKRI technician commitment action plan (PDF, 2.9MB).

Partnering award funds can be used to support student visits and knowledge exchanges. However, applications will not be accepted where this is the primary aim of the project.

What we will not fund

These grants are not a vehicle for supporting single research projects and therefore cannot be used for:

  • salary costs
  • consumables
  • items of equipment
  • conference attendance
  • other research costs
  • estate costs.

For convenience, we allow award holders to arrange collaborative meetings alongside a conference at which partners are present and the award can be used to fund the additional costs for these meetings.

Conference registration fees and other conference associated costs cannot be funded.

COVID-19

You must follow travel advice set out by your institution and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office before departure and should check travel guidance for countries of interest when preparing an application.

We will not cover the cost of time spent in quarantine due to travel on a partnering award.

How to apply

Applications must be made through the Je-S system. It must state which theme the proposal relates to at the start of your project title (for example, ’Synthetic biology: project title’).

Further information on how to submit an application through Je-S can be found under the ‘additional info’ section, within annex one of the funding opportunity guidance document.

In addition to the Je-S proforma, the application should also include the following attachments:

Case for support

The case for support should:

  • be a maximum of three A4 pages
  • be typed in single space Arial, Helvetica or Verdana typeface in font size 11
  • have margins that are not less than 2cm wide.

The case for support must contain the following sections:

  • ­details of the work to be carried out, including main scientific objectives of the proposal and chosen thematic area
  • ­a summary of previous contact or links with proposed international partners
  • a summary of how the new partnership is expected to develop, including any anticipated achievements (for new partnerships)
  • ­statement of added value: applicants must demonstrate how the award and the proposed collaboration will add value to the currently active research grant, and how it could facilitate longer-term collaboration between the UK and Switzerland
    • if the applicant is a co-investigator on the active grant, special attention should be shown on how they will add value to the grant through this collaboration (for the languages theme, this should show how it builds on the funding by a previous UKRI grant)
  • ­an explanation of how the project has ensured the constitution of an appropriate team, alongside any steps taken to consider equality, diversity and inclusion (further information may be included within an optional, additional attachment of one A4 page maximum).

Work plan

A Gantt chart or diagrammatic action plan which outlines the activities and timelines for the work to be carried out must be included in the application (maximum one side of A4).

Cover letter

A short cover letter must be included in the application. You must include any private, personal or commercial interests related to your funding application in your cover letter.

Learn about applicant declarations of interest.

Additional documents

A letter of support (maximum one side of A4) from, for example, the proposed collaborators, may also be included. This is not mandatory.

Applicants may wish to include CVs and recent publication lists (maximum two pages A4), although these are not mandatory.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

You may wish to include further detail about the steps taken to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion in an optional additional attachment (under ‘other attachment’ in Je-S, maximum one side of A4).

Within this document, you may wish to include an outline of how you have taken a meaningful, yet proportionate consideration of the steps taken to ensure an inclusive partnership.

See our equality impact assessment guidance and template (PDF, 152KB).

Submission of applications

The deadline for submission of applications through the Je-S system is 8 March 2022 16:00 UK time.

How we will assess your application

Once we’ve received the proposal, the eligibility and adherence to the funding opportunity criteria will be assessed.

Internal review process

Providing the application meets the criteria, it will continue to an internal review process by the UKRI research councils involved in the funding opportunity. All documents submitted as part of the application process will be included as part of the review process.

An internal review process can be applied as the applications are based on previously awarded UKRI grants which have undergone robust peer review.

The exception to this will be the applications submitted to the languages theme. There will be an internal assessment but with external advice where needed.

Assessment panel

The proposals will then be moderated by an internal assessment panel, which will make the final recommendations for funding.

Feedback

Final funding decisions will be communicated to applicants once available, with successful projects expected to commence in August 2022.

Assessment criteria

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

Benefits to research:

  • what is the relevance of the award and the added benefits of the partnering award to the previously funded UKRI project and the thematic area?
  • what are the benefits being brought back to the UK (for example, through access to new facilities or unique partnerships that would have been otherwise unavailable)?
  • is there a clear demonstration of a level of commitment to the project from the UK institution or the Swiss partner (for example, are there additional in-kind or financial contributions)?

Partnership working:

  • does the partnership provide opportunities for the mobility of researchers and knowledge exchange?
  • is there a balance of activities that are appropriate to the topic area?
  • why has the collaboration been chosen and how does it add value to UKRI research?
  • is the team of investigators appropriate for this partnership and has consideration been given to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion of participants?
  • does the partnership provide opportunities for early career researchers that will benefit their future career?
  • how feasible are the plans?
  • is there a detailed breakdown of the project workflow, which shows the distribution of activities across the partnership?

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance. You must allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Mafalda Pinto, International Partnerships Manager

Email: international@ukri.org

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email: jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org
Telephone: 01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

Supporting documents

Guidance document (PDF, 304KB)

UKRI technician commitment action plan (PDF, 2.9MB)

Background

With SNSF, we mapped the scope of the Swiss National Centres for Competence in Research and UKRI large investments (centres and large grants) and found that there was a strong alignment between the UK and Switzerland in four themes:

  • languages
  • materials
  • synthetic biology
  • life and physical sciences interface.

With SNSF, we hosted a joint UK-Switzerland academic workshop in November 2020 on strategic cooperation. This also focused on the four areas of strategic importance.

Following the workshop, the funders agreed to encourage collaboration between both countries by issuing coordinated, parallel funding opportunities to enable:

  • collaborative networking
  • knowledge exchange
  • research visits.

We’re supporting this activity through the Fund for International Collaboration. Our research councils who are participating in this activity are:

  • AHRC
  • BBSRC
  • MRC
  • EPSRC.

Funding opportunity for Swiss researchers

The SNSF will issue a parallel funding opportunity for Swiss applicants to cooperate with researchers based in the UK under its Scientific Exchanges scheme. This is in accordance with the regulations outlined in the funding opportunity issued by the SNSF.

Reporting requirements

You must use Researchfish to record key findings and specific outputs from your grant. You can enter information into Researchfish at any time throughout the year and submit during the annual submission period.

Learn about reporting your project outcomes.

Publicity and sharing of information

We may contact you and request more information on your grant for use in UKRI publicity or for use in ongoing office projects.

You should make reasonable efforts to provide us with information where requested.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion by eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and encouraging applications from research teams exploiting the strength of diversity in the entire UK research and innovation community.

You’re expected to consider these issues from the earliest stage of building your teams through to the delivery of awarded projects.

Consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion is important for all applications to us for funding, and we expect particular care to be taken for projects which involve diverse partnerships, international travel and extended overnight stays.

Learn more about equality, diversity and inclusion.

Data sharing notice

We carry out the processing of personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

The information you provide will only be used by us for the purpose of carrying out reviewing and assessment for making a funding decision. For administrative purposes, this will include the exchange of the names and institutions of applicants and hosts with SNSF.

By providing your information, you’re consenting to its use as detailed above.

We’re committed to protecting personal information and will ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the information supplied by you. Further relevant information is available in the privacy notice and the data protection policy.

Please refer to the funding opportunity guidance document for further information.

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