Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Tackling infections novel technologies mini sandpit

Apply for funding to lead a mini sandpit in the area of novel technologies for tackling infections

You must:

  • be based at a research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding
  • be part of an existing UKRI strategic institute, network or investment with funding until at least 30 September 2025

One award will be made of up to £1.5 million (80% full economic cost (FEC)). The award duration will be 18 months.

Who can apply

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

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

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if you are the project lead or project co-lead for an existing UKRI strategic institute, network or investment with funding until at least 30 September 2025.

If you are not the project lead you will need the full support of the project lead before applying.

The funding opportunity is administered by EPSRC on behalf of UKRI.

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 UKRI Tackling Infections strategic theme aims to use the UK’s interdisciplinary research capability to develop ‘invigorated capacity to attack the major infectious disease challenges that threaten our national and global health, wellbeing, security, prosperity and environments’.

As part of a suite of activities UKRI is supporting a novel technologies mini sandpit to bring in new, disruptive approaches to tackling infections. Complementing the work of the flagship AMR and epidemic preparedness programmes the sandpit would look to pump-prime radical new approaches to tackling infections engaging new communities and capabilities with the challenge.

UKRI is seeking a host for a £1.5 million mini sandpit (or sandpits) to bring new research communities together and fund feasibility studies (£50,000 to £150,000) to test disruptive approaches to tackling infections.

The host must be a UKRI Strategic Institute, network or existing investment with the connections and convening power to stimulate new thinking and bring a diverse set of groups together to spark disruptive ideas with the potential to have a transformative impact.

The funding would be open to all UKRI remits with a focus on stimulating new interdisciplinary activity.

Success indicators of the funding would include:

  • catalysis of projects with the potential to have transformative impacts
  • engagement of new UKRI communities with the Tackling Infections strategic theme
  • formation of new interdisciplinary networks and collaborations

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


The duration of this award is a maximum of 18 months.

The award must start by 1 January 2024.

Funding available

You can request up to £1.5 million (80% FEC) (this would be £1.875 million at 100% FEC).

Funding will be added to the successful host grant.

What we will fund

You can request funding for:

  • a contribution to the salary of the project lead and project co-lead
  • costs associated with running the sandpit events
  • funding for the feasibility studies which could include:
    • support for posts such as research and technical
    • research consumables
    • equipment under £10,000
    • travel costs
    • data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs
    • estates and indirect costs

How to apply

Project leads must submit an expression of interest using the expression of interest template (DOCX, 51KB). You must then email your completed template to

EPSRC must receive your expression of interest application by 5 December 2023 at 4.00pm UK time using the template provided.

Personal data

Processing personal data

EPSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your application.

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

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

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Information provided as part of the expression of interest will be assessed by an expert review panel.

The panel will review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

UKRI will make the final funding decision.


We aim to complete the assessment process by mid-December.

Principles of assessment

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

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

Assessment criteria

The criteria we will assess your application against are:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Ethics and RRI
  • Resources and costs

Contact details

Get help with your application

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:


Include in the subject line: ‘Tackling Infections Mini Sandpit’

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

Additional info


This opportunity is part of the UKRI Tackling Infections strategic theme.

Supporting documents

Expression of interest template (DOCX, 51KB)

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