Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Place Based Impact Acceleration Account: Round 2

Apply for up to 4 years of consortia funding to deliver impact activities to benefit a research and innovation cluster, in collaboration with civic, business, and other local stakeholders.

Proposals must involve at least two universities and be co-created with civic actors.

Stream 1 for emerging clusters – max £2.5M per award (EPSRC contribution)

Stream 2 for established clusters – max £5M per award (EPSRC contribution)

Funding requested should include:

Management costs – funded at 80% FEC

Project funds – funded at 100% FEC

You must be at an organisation eligible for EPSRC funding to apply.

Who can apply

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

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

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.

Who is eligible to apply

Institutions may only submit one application as lead institution to this funding opportunity (not one per stream). If your institution is leading an existing Round 1 PBIAA in either stream, it is not eligible to lead another through this funding opportunity (but can be a consortium member); this is to ensure we have a diverse portfolio of PBIAAs across the pilot set of PBIAAs.

The applicant team should include relevant domain experts and where appropriate involve relevant institutional level impact leads. We expect the principal investigator to be a domain expert with skills and relevant expertise to deliver the PBIAA.

Applicants are reminded they can include expertise from beyond the engineering and physical sciences disciplines and should do so, if appropriate and beneficial. Expertise in entrepreneurship and regional development, industry/business, innovation and productivity growth, regional productivity, regional economic development, regional innovation ecosystems, and public engagement are likely to be useful in supporting the growth and development of clusters. While we encourage multidisciplinary teams, applicants are reminded applications should be at least 50% within EPSRC remit. Team members can be included from across the eligible UKRI grant roles.

Collaboration with at least one other university and a civic body is mandatory on this funding opportunity. Successful delivery of a Place Based Impact Acceleration Account (PBIAA) will require collaboration with industry, universities outside the consortium and, as appropriate, the third sector, community groups and the public. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and we encourage applicants to identify the most appropriate collaborators as necessary.

Who is not eligible to apply

  • If your institution is leading an existing PBIAA in either stream, it is not eligible to lead another through this funding opportunity (but can contribute as a consortium member). This is to ensure we have a diverse portfolio of PBIAAs across the pilot set of PBIAAs.
  • Holders of postdoctoral level fellowships are not eligible to apply for this funding opportunity

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 role of universities and research institutions in driving innovative clusters of economic activity is well-established. Place Based Impact Acceleration Accounts (PBIAAs) are key to the delivery of EPSRC’s Place strategy, which aims to strengthen existing partnerships and clusters, and develop new co-created opportunities in engineering and physical sciences and beyond, built on national and local insights.

PBIAAs provide up to 4 years of consortia funding to support a programme of impact activities within an emerging or established research and innovation cluster. EPSRC is not defining clusters or indicating which clusters we want the community to target. Instead, we expect applicants to define their cluster, its maturity, absorptive capacity and how the PBIAA will support cluster growth.

Proposals must:

  • be co-created with civic actors
  • be aligned with civic ambitions
  • engage local business and other stakeholders
  • involve at least two research organisations
  • include a flexible consortium fund
  • include a collaboration fund to draw from the full breadth of UK R&D activity

There are two funding streams:

  • Stream 1 (for emerging / nascent clusters): ~2-4 awards with max £2.5M per award, over 4 years
  • Stream 2 (for established / mature clusters): ~2-3 awards with max £5M per award, over 4 years

What is a Place Based Impact Acceleration Account?

Our institutional IAAs are strategic awards that provide flexible funding to research organisations enabling them to drive impacts from their research portfolio through a wide range of activities. Our PBIAAs offer a complementary funding approach intended to enhance the capabilities of clusters and drive regional growth. Key features of PBIAAs are as follows:

  • a focus on developing place-based impact (a concentrated delivery of impact that drives benefits within a research and innovation cluster)
  • delivery through a consortium approach that builds sustainable collaboration in research impact between UK universities, with civic bodies and businesses.
  • broadening access to impact funding for eligible research organisations enabling all those with a relevant research portfolio to contribute

In this funding opportunity we define ‘the consortium’ as containing a minimum of two applicant universities plus other eligible research organisations as appropriate. Leadership or membership of the consortium is not restricted to current EPSRC IAA holders.

PBIAAs will enable impact from the engineering and physical sciences research of several universities to be realised within a defined research and innovation cluster, in collaboration with civic bodies and businesses operating within that cluster. EPSRC requires PBIAAs to be co-created with civic actors and aligned with civic ambitions. The programme of impact activities should therefore be tailored to the needs of the place. PBIAAs and their activities should be at least 50% within the EPSRC’s remit but activities delivered need not link to prior EPSRC funding.

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

Find out about the current PBIAA projects: £41 million to enhance UK research and innovation clusters.

Focus of your PBIAA

You should clearly define and describe your PBIAA’s focus, ensuring this is meaningful to the civic organisations involved, and includes key stakeholders, including businesses, that will underpin and support growth. PBIAAs will support similar activities to our institutional IAAs but they must deliver impact within a target cluster. We ask applicants to define their:

  1. Geographic focus: There should be a clear description of the geography of the target cluster. This doesn’t need to be a single location if there are unifying characteristics between the locations included (for example, shipping ports) or where clusters are connected across several sites (for example, as a result of their supply chain or other activity). The geographic area should be of a scale proportionate to the level of investment requested, and the cluster’s absorptive capacity.
  2. Thematic focus: The thematic focus should have relevance to the interests of the cluster and the discovery/mission-inspired priorities described in EPSRC’s strategic delivery plan.

We will invest in a balance of geographies and themes across the PBIAA portfolio and will not duplicate existing activity.

If applicants are interested in supporting new technology for emerging green markets they can also consider the Accelerating the Green Economy Centres – UKRI funding opportunity and apply for which funding opportunity will best fit the vision for the cluster.

Co-creation and civic support

We expect applications to be co-created between consortia members and one or more civic organisations that have an interest in developing the identified cluster. Involvement of relevant businesses with a base in the place or publics in this co-creation process is also encouraged. Co-creation could include involvement in development of the vision and approach and strategic involvement in the selection and delivery of projects.

The funding will allow consortia to operate in flexible, responsive and creative ways that align with civic, business and university strategies. We expect to see integration with existing local research and development, impact, knowledge exchange, economic development and business activities. The PBIAA should complement and provide additionality, it should not be used to duplicate or ‘top up’ existing local or UKRI investments. PBIAAs should aim to deliver benefit to the cluster in the short and long term. These benefits may include (but are not restricted to):

  • local and regional economic growth, skills development, job creation or retention
  • increased private investment, including foreign direct investment, in a specific place
  • cluster development including through knowledge diffusion, supply chain development, SME growth, generation and growth of spinouts
  • development of research, development and innovation infrastructures

Examples (non-exhaustive) of organisations we consider to have a civic role:

  • Local enterprise / development / skills bodies
  • Local Authorities / Councils / Combined Authorities
  • Growth, city, and region deals
  • Devolved administrations and their agencies (noting projects still need to be focused on clusters and geography at a sub-national level).
  • Regional/local industrial bodies
  • Local NHS trusts

We do not consider international bodies to have a civic role. They can however be included as project partners on proposals where it is appropriate to the aims of the scheme and your PBIAA application.

Civic bodies are expected to co-create the PBIAA vision and be involved throughout the project, examples (non-exhaustive) of possible support from civic bodies includes:

  • involvement in PBIAA governance
  • access to innovation/knowledge exchange activity
  • secondments to/from PBIAA activities or projects
  • supporting / facilitating networking and engagement beyond the consortium
  • supporting policy development and delivery
  • direct adoption of research outputs
  • market assessments
  • infrastructure


The duration of this award is a maximum of 4 years.

Funding available

The funding requested from EPSRC for your project can be up to:

  • £2,500,000 for Stream 1 (emerging clusters)
  • £5,000,000 for Stream 2 (established clusters)

The resource level requested should be evidenced and commensurate with the maturity of the cluster, its absorptive capacity, and the place and consortium partners’ ability to realise impact.

What we will fund

Consortium Management Costs 80% FEC:

  • staff managing and coordinating the delivery of the IAA funding across the consortium (meaning the investigator management team, PBIAA manager, admin etc) can be supported. Up to 15% of the budget (to a maximum of £500k) can be used for management staff costs

Consortium Resource and Collaborative Fund (projects and other activities) 100% FEC directly incurred costs (to be entered as exceptions):

  • Impact project costs: directly incurred and directly allocated projects costs can be claimed, this includes staff time and travel and subsistence
  • Support to involve civic bodies (for example, secondments, joint workshops, however civic bodies cannot be funded directly unless sub-contracted for a specific piece of work)
  • Other engagement, knowledge exchange, training and culture change activities can also be supported aligned to the focus of the PBIAA cluster

PBIAA management staff and associated costs should be entered under the appropriate directly allocated and directly incurred staff headings.

Consortium projects costs and flexible collaboration fund should be added under other directly incurred costs – exceptions at 100% FEC.

PBIAAs can support similar activities to our institutional IAAs but all activities must deliver impact within the identified cluster.

Funding can be used to support a wide range of activities that support the scheme aims, including engaging users and forging strategic partnerships; building the cluster’s capability and culture; or progressing commercial opportunities – whatever best fits the strategic aims and opportunities of the cluster. We encourage the development of creative and innovative approaches to accelerating impact and building / enhancing ecosystems.

Activities could include:

  • strengthening engagement with local users and their networks or supply chains to accelerate the translation of research outputs into place-based impacts
  • building and maintaining a local environment and culture that enables effective and ambitious knowledge exchange and impact, including development of skills, capacity and capability within the consortium and for the identified cluster
  • supporting, developing and fostering strategic partnerships as part of place-based knowledge exchange and impact activity, including across disciplines and sectors
  • providing early-stage support for progressing research outputs towards the next stages in the impact pipeline, for example:
    • proof of concept projects (including equipment under £10,000)
    • commercialisation
    • market validation
    • activities targeting policy, business and the third sector
  • driving continuous improvement in impact by supporting innovation, enabling ‘fast failure’, and capturing learning through appropriate mechanisms
  • enabling flexible and adaptive approaches to knowledge exchange and impact, including the ability to respond quickly to emerging opportunities
  • dedicated resource to support the engagement of, and impact activities involving institutions and their researchers from outside of the consortia
  • public engagement (please see ‘Public engagement’ section)

We encourage applicants to read the UKRI commissioned report Evidence of what works: research and innovation and place and to consider how their PBIAA might be used to support R&I activities that lead to positive place-based outcomes in particular by:

  • building the components of the ecosystem, either by strengthening (or evolving) existing components, creating new components, and breaking path dependency
  • building the links within the ecosystem
  • building capacity and leadership

What we will not fund

PBIAAs may not be used to support:

  • new fundamental research
  • impact activities that should already have been anticipated and supported through standard routes, for example, impact activities costed as part of basic research proposals or CDTs
  • broader activities and institutional culture change relating to impact
  • duplication of other sources of funding that can be used more appropriately for the impact activity within remit of other Research Councils, for example, CLASP/IPS
  • any costs relating to Intellectual Property protection including but not limited to registering, maintaining, or supporting patents or property rights
  • undergraduate or postgraduate activities or training, or core PhD training including tuition or bench fees
  • contributions to KTPs

Collaborative Fund

PBIAAs must include a Collaborative Fund to be used as a flexible resource to support the involvement of non-consortia research organisations in impact activities.

While consortia members must have demonstrable strengths aligned to the cluster, PBIAAs should seek to ensure they are drawing on appropriate strengths from outside of the identified place that can be developed and applied in the cluster. Where there is an identified need for the cluster this should be facilitated through the Collaborative Fund.

This can include involvement of institutions with smaller or specialised world class portfolios that can contribute to the success of the PBIAA through activity with civic bodies/business/local stakeholders where appropriate and necessary.

Applicants are asked to carefully consider how their budget is allocated, including the balance between the Consortium Resource and the Collaborative Fund and should also consider the research portfolio within, as well as outside of the consortia, and the needs of the cluster. The amounts allocated for the Consortium Resource and Collaborative fund should be clearly set out in the application.

EPSRC approach to equipment funding

Where possible, researchers are asked to make use of existing facilities and equipment, including those hosted at other universities. If equipment is needed to deliver cluster-based impact as part of the proposal, you must follow EPSRC’s rules for requesting equipment over £10,000 in value.

The purchase of equipment to undertake non-impact focused research is out of scope for this funding opportunity. Individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000 can be included on proposals if the equipment is essential to the proposed activity and if no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed. Where equipment is requested we expect to see a robust strategic case for how equipment will maximise the impact from research, enable collaboration with business and ultimately drive benefits within the cluster and society in general.  EPSRC will contribute 80% of the final purchase price and will expect the research organisation or project partner to contribute the remainder (20%) from non-EPSRC funding.

Quotes for equipment do not need to be included in your application, but please retain quotes for equipment costing more than £138,000 as we may ask for these at post-panel stage before releasing funds. Contributions from your host organisation towards the equipment should be detailed in the Resources and cost justification section.

Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be entered in the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading.

Public Engagement

We expect to see public engagement as an integral component to PBIAAs. We ask applicants to capitalise on the place-based nature of these awards to build collaborative relationships that engage publics both within the target place and beyond (where appropriate). You should seek to develop co-production methods that enable equity in relationships and a sense of shared commitment to the objectives of the PBIAA between researchers, civic partners and communities. We particularly encourage efforts to involve and engage with underrepresented groups.

We encourage applicants to be creative in their public engagement approaches but also to draw on existing expertise and networks. Value can also be added by appropriate involvement and engagement with other relevant actors to ensure maximum impact of any activity is achieved.


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 (incl. UK-based partners with non-UK ownership), visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

Intention to submit

Applicants who intend to submit an application to this funding opportunity should complete the following Intent to Submit by 11.59pm on 15 February 2024.

Complete the Intent to Submit form.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • project lead name (formerly principal investigator)
  • consortium member research organisations, and project co-lead (formerly co-investigator) names where known
  • cluster place and theme
  • stream

Information provided as part of the Intent to Submit will not be formally assessed. We will use this information to help plan the proposal assessment, for example to understand expected submission levels and the spread of applications across EPSRC’s remit.

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. 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

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
  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 to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


EPSRC must receive your application by 21 March 2024 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

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

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected. 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

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.

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 may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context, the place and cluster
  • the challenge the PBIAA addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • co-creation and partnerships
  • potential impacts 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)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

PBIAAs require a consortium approach and a joint management approach can be taken, this should be described in the monitoring, management and governance section.

For teams where there is more than one project lead, the team should choose one of the project lead’s organisations to be responsible for submitting the grant application and administering the grant should the application be successful.

We expect the project lead to be a domain expert with skills and expertise relevant to deliver the PBIAA

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.


Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance
  • has the potential to drive impact and growth in the cluster(s)
  • is timely given current local context, local needs and civic ambitions

In the context of the PBIAA, you should explain how your proposed work:

  • builds on an identified base of high-quality research and impact from across the consortium relevant to the cluster(s)
  • enhances the impact of the research portfolio from across the consortium
  • will draw in excellent research from across the UK

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

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format


Word limit: 1500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach 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
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

In the context of the PBIAA you should explain how your proposed work:

  • has been co-created with civic bodies and businesses
  • fosters and develops sector appropriate approaches that are both innovative, and support reasonable risk-taking, fast-failure and continuous improvement
  • will develop capability and capacity for impact generation and absorption within the place and target cluster contributing to the development of an ‘impact culture’
  • maximises the benefit of the flexible collaboration fund through delivery of impact activities led by eligible research organisations outside of the consortium

Activities proposed should:

  • evidence that the PBIAA will develop the skills of researchers, KE professionals and broader stakeholders associated with the targeted cluster
  • involve real user engagement and look to enhance relationships with potential partners
  • enable two-way movement of people who are equipped with useful skills and knowledge
  • demonstrate an approach that seeks to strategically maximise the value arising from engagement with the various research communities, businesses and other stakeholders (such as community groups and public) within the place and the industrial cluster
  • Includes activities intended to target new business collaborations within the targeted place(s)

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

  • 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)
  • files must be 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: 1500

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how 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 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

Aspects to consider with respect to the PBIAA:

  • track record of impact related projects
  • track record of partners working together
  • the roles of partners in the PBIAA


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.

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

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

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 should consider:

  • who your work will impact and your methods for working with members of the public
  • who your partners are and how knowledge might be used

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

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) will be included in the Funding Service. These will ask about numbers, species/strain and justification about:

  • genetic and biological risk
  • research involving the use of animals
  • conducting research with animal overseas
  • research involving human participation
  • research involving human tissues or biological samples

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1000

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Guidance for populating the costing table

PBIAA management staff and associated costs should be entered under the appropriate directly allocated and directly incurred staff headings.

Consortium projects costs and flexible collaboration fund should be added under other directly incurred costs – exceptions at 100% FEC.

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 equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • 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’

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


Word limit: 500

What are the characteristics of the chosen cluster and how will the PBIAA support its growth?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

To what extent the application:

  • provides a well justified narrative for the chosen stream and demonstrates the absorptive capacity of the identified cluster
  • responds to the priorities and needs of the cluster and stakeholders, taking into account related strategies
  • demonstrates through civic co-creation a strong and mutually beneficial relationship that will bring value to the place, including how civic actors will contribute to achieving the goals of the PBIAA*
  • complements and leverages other sources of impact funding, for example but not limited to, other IAAs, innovation funding (such as HEIF or devolved equivalents), City/Growth Deals, and other forms of national/regional/local funding.
  • demonstrates engagement and meaningful collaboration with other local stakeholders (for example businesses, business groups, the public etc.) that will deliver clear benefit to the cluster.

*You should note that we will ask the panel to form a judgement on the contextual value of Civic partner(s) contributions, rather than their monetary value. This is to ensure we create a level playing field across the UK. Our key focus is therefore on the value in terms of why their involvement will make a significant difference to the PBIAA and Cluster, rather than the monetary value.

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

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Monitoring, management and governance

Word limit: 500

How will the PBIAA be effectively monitored, managed and governed?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

To what extent the application:

  • describes clear and credible targets and success measures, including performance KPIs, with reference to the standardised IAA indicators of success
  • describes monitoring of outputs, outcomes, and impacts, including those of partners or users
  • describes the management of the flexible Consortium and Collaboration Funds
  • has a governance and management structure, proportionate to the size of the award
  • embeds a consideration of ED&I, Research Ethics and Responsible Innovation (including environmental sustainability) in the management of the award and the delivery of activities

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

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Your organisation’s support

Word limit: 1000

Provide details of support from the research consortium.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a Statement of Support from your research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed and how the PBIAA aligns to the universities’ strategies. This should include details of any matched funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work. It should also include a summary of any internal selection process relating to the leadership or team involved in the application and any associated ED&I actions.

The committee will be looking for a strong statement of support from your research organisations.

We expect this statement of support to come from a Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research (or equivalent senior member of university staff).

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or Research Office, or both
  • office address or web link

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

Word limit: [10]

Provide letters or emails of support from each named partner.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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
  • Cash or in-kind contributions detailed in the letter must match those recorded in the Project partners section
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
    • specific requirement for a letter from a civic organisation: A letter of support from a civic partner is mandatory. The letter should evidence co-creation with the university partners and explain the relevance of the bid to the civic strategy and ambitions. Where appropriate, letters should provide some background on previous investments or activities made to develop the cluster. Letters from civic bodies must also provide a forward look that illustrates how their future planned activity will complement the PBIAA, providing detail on any contribution being made to the PBIAA itself. Applicants are asked to note how we will treat civic contributions during assessment – See Place question
    • letters from a national organisation should focus on their sub-national interests in relation to the PBIAA

Save letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner letters of support’.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

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.

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

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 250

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, 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 maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

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

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

This opportunity will consist of a two-stage assessment process. At both stages, as much as is practicable we will group and assess proposals by stream. All assessment criteria will be considered at both stages.

Expert panel review and prioritisation

We will invite experts to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications. The panel’s expertise will cover a broad range of themes from across the EPSRC remit, as well as innovation expertise.

Highly ranked proposals will be invited to the interview stage based upon two factors i) performance against all assessment criteria and ii) consideration of geographic and thematic portfolio distribution across the UK (see Funding decisions: a portfolio approach).  Applications that are invited to the interview stage will be invited to provide a written response to panel feedback.


A panel will conduct interviews with applicants after which they will make a funding recommendation.

As much as is practicable we will group applicant interviews by stream. A representative of the civic body must be part of the interview team.

We expect interviews to be held week commencing 17 June 2024.

EPSRC will make the final funding decision.


Following assessment, we will give 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.

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

Funding decisions: A portfolio approach

Subject to a satisfactory quality threshold being met, decisions will be made using a portfolio approach, to ensure an appropriate geographic, thematic and stream coverage across the UK. We will seek (as much as is practical), to avoid excessive clustering of investments in any one geographic area as well as to avoid dominance of any theme. The portfolio distribution will be considered at both stages in the assessment process (prioritisation and interview), as well as across the PBIAA portfolio including those funded through round 1.

Full details of the interview and decision process will be sent to candidates prior to their interviews.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Resources and cost justification
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • Place
  • Monitoring, management and governance

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.

You can also find information on submitting an application here: Improving your funding experience.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential email

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your UKRI 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 is committed to ensuring that the outcomes of our research investment help maintain the UK’s research capability at an internationally competitive level. The most effective way of achieving this, alongside our commitment to peer review, is to ensure that we retain a national perspective.

This national perspective is complementary to addressing regional needs and priorities. Our investments have a key role to play in enhancing research and innovation ecosystems at a regional level to ensure continued excellence at a national and international level.

The UKRI strategy for 2022 to 2027 “Transforming tomorrow together” was launched in March 2022. Over the period of the strategy, UKRI will further enhance the place-based benefits from its investments, in order to contribute to the wider levelling up agenda. The strategy highlights a priority to “Strengthen clusters and partnerships, locally, nationally and globally”.

EPSRC’s delivery plan further supports this ambition aiming to nurture excellent research and innovation in places across the UK, by supporting the clusters, institutions and infrastructures that attract global talent and help address regional inequalities.

Through this PBIAA investment we seek to grow capacity to perform research and innovation across the country, recognising that growth is strongest when the focus is on agglomeration, clustering and comparative strengths. This will help anchor clusters of research and innovation excellence that drive growth and crowd in private sector investment in all parts of the UK.

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 15 November 2023 which provided more information about the funding opportunity.

Watch the webinar on YouTube.

Read the webinar Q&A (PDF, 120KB).

See the webinar slides (PDF, 3.2MB).

Equality, diversity and inclusion, and responsible innovation

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is an integral part of our vision to deliver new knowledge and an enriched, healthier, more sustainable and resilient society and culture, and to contribute to a prosperous economy.

Responsible innovation is also an integral part of our vision and we expect applicants to consider the benefits, but also potential impacts from their activities. You are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation. Please see our Trusted Research pages for guidance on getting the most out of international collaboration while protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.

Grant Additional Conditions

There are two Grant Additional Conditions covering these aspects:

 GAC 01: Trusted Research

In accordance with RGC 2.6.1 and RGC 2.6.2 You are expected to embed trusted research and Responsible Research and Innovation throughout Your activities. You must provide Us with a document setting out how this will be managed within 3 months of Your start date.

GAC 02: 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 produced within 3 months of Your start date and progress against this plan will be monitored by Our Project Officer in accordance with PBIAAGC 5.3 and through the grant reporting process.

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

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 210KB)


  • 13 December 2023
    Webinar Q&A and slides added in 'Additional info' section.
  • 23 November 2023
    15 November webinar recording added in 'Additional info' section.

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