STFC’s Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP) offers 2 funding opportunities for small award applications. The same deadline applies to both opportunities.
This funding opportunity covers applications for solar system and planetary studies. We welcome applications for funding to support theory, including modelling, simulation and related software development, observation, experiment and new technology research, relevant to all aspects of the solar system. This includes:
- solar physics and heliospheric physics
- space-based terrestrial magnetospheric science and fundamental space plasma physics (excluding the impact on the Earth’s neutral atmosphere)
- planetary science, including the surfaces and interiors, atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres of the solar system bodies other than the Earth
- studies of other solar system bodies including comets, asteroids, meteorites, etc.
- laboratory studies of solar system material such as meteorites, returned samples, solar system analogues, other laboratory physics relevant to the area of the funding opportunity and related software development
- blue skies technology or instrumentation development applicable to the areas listed (technology readiness levels (TRL) 1 to 4)
This funding covers up to 3 years of research activity starting from 1 April 2024.
Applications to the small award scheme may contain a single project (requests for multi-project small awards will be rejected) which must follow the following resource guidance:
- 3 years maximum, all awards must start on 1 April 2024
- maximum of 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) of postdoctoral research assistants (PDRA) effort. (The panel recognises that technical or lab-based projects may require fractions of the time of specialist PDRAs, but this should not exceed the overall envelope of 1 FTE of PDRA effort per project.)
- maximum 0.20 FTE of applicant time, with the principal investigator expected to request a minimum of 0.10 FTE to lead and manage the project
- there may also occasionally be projects which involve only investigator time or investigator plus technician time
Research areas to check with STFC
If your application is in one of the following research areas, we strongly advise you contact the office to check the remit ahead of submitting:
The AGP will consider funding astronomy and space science applications at TRL 1 to 4 or their equivalent.
Find out about eligibility of TRL.
Modest upgrades to existing equipment, related to the delivery of science within the course of the project requested, may be considered. The UK Space Agency (UKSA) will consider space mission-related applications at TRL 5 and above.
Gravitational wave research
The AGP will consider funding support for some aspects of gravitational wave research.
STFC is considering the peer review route for gravitational wave exploitation science and will provide specific guidance with respect to this in the near future.
Applicants should contact the office for urgent advice as required.
Space weather and the impact of the Sun on terrestrial systems
STFC will support non-Earth-orientated solar-terrestrial physics research for example, fundamental space plasma physics not related to the Earth.
STFC will also fund space-based facilities (spacecraft, instruments and operations) for solar terrestrial physics and their associated primary exploitation.
The Natural Environment Research Council is responsible for funding solar terrestrial physics where the primary goal is to understand the Earth’s environment from the deep interior to the upper atmosphere (such as mesosphere, thermosphere and ionosphere).
Mars exploration and sample return
Studies related to the UKSA’s programme of aurora science (Mars exploration and sample return) should be addressed to the UKSA (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the first instance, as separate funding may be available.