Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UKRI cross research council responsive mode full stage – round 1

Invitation-only funding opportunity for breakthrough interdisciplinary ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines, that are not routinely funded through existing UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) responsive mode schemes.

You must have already submitted an outline application and been invited to submit a full application.

Project leads must be based at an organisation eligible for UKRI research council funding.

UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost of your project which can be up to £1.2 million for up to two years. We expect to make 36 awards.

Who can apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if we have invited you to do so following a successful outline application. Any uninvited applications will be rejected.

Please also note that the full stage funding opportunity will be running on the new UKRI Funding Service. Applicants to the outline stage will have applied through the Joint Electronic System (Je-S) and will not be able to apply through that system for this stage.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service. For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Before applying, confirm the Eligibility of your organisation.

Eligibility was explained in the related outline stage funding opportunity text and is explained again below, using the new role types.

You can apply as an individual or consortium, based in a single organisation or across a number of organisations.

You may be involved in any number of applications provided you have the capacity to meet these commitments. You may be the project lead on only one application to this round of the pilot scheme.

Who is eligible to apply

Project lead and project co-lead (UK) eligibility

The project lead is the individual responsible for the intellectual leadership of the project and its overall management. If intellectual leadership is shared, the project lead is the individual who will be the main contact for UKRI.

The project co-lead (UK) assists the project lead in the management and leadership of the project and may deputise or take over the leadership of the project if required.

There may be a number of project co-leads supporting the project lead. To be a project co-lead, you must be affiliated with one of the research organisations submitting the application.

You must meet all the following essential requirements:

  • usually have at least a postgraduate degree, although we expect most applicants to have a PhD or equivalent
  • be a researcher based in the UK and employed by an eligible research organisation. The exceptions to this are if:
    • your project will involve long periods in another country
    • you are located at an eligible international research organisation (for example, CERN or a Medical Research Council Overseas Unit)
    • you will be moving to the UK to take up an already agreed contract at an eligible organisation (the contract must not be dependent on the outcome of the application) and will remain resident in the UK for the duration of the proposed project.
  • a contract of employment at lecturer level or equivalent that either:
    • extends to beyond the duration of the proposed grant (or, if not employed by the submitting organisation, a formal non-salaried arrangement that extends to beyond the duration of the proposed grant),
    • or an assurance from the submitting organisation that, if the proposal is successful, a pre-existing contract of employment (or pre-existing formal commitment to provide support if not employed at the organisation) at lecturer level or equivalent will be extended beyond the end date of the grant.

Researcher co-leads are also permitted as part of the core team.

Who is not eligible to apply

  • co-funding arrangements via international lead agency agreements with individual research councils, including the UKRI Norway agreement, do not apply to this pilot
  • research and technology organisations unless they are listed as eligible

International applicants

This funding opportunity is primarily to support interdisciplinary ideas emerging from the UK research community, but in specific circumstances we will allow international project co-leads.

A project co-lead (international) is an individual from an established international research organisation that is of comparable standing to a recognised UK research organisation, who would otherwise fit the normal definition for a project lead. That is, they would assist the project lead in the project leadership and management, however they cannot take over the leadership of a project as they do not meet the residency criteria for a project lead.

To be a project co-lead (international) you:

  • would be expected to make a significant intellectual contribution to the design and conduct of the project
  • your inclusion as a project co-lead (international) will need to be specifically justified in the application
  • you would be expected to be someone providing unique expertise or access to resources not available in the UK

Current co-funding arrangements via international lead agency agreements with individual research councils, including the UKRI Norway agreement, do not apply to this pilot funding opportunity. We will explore supporting international researchers under these agreements in round two.

Collaborators

Project partners

A project partner is defined as a third-party person or organisation (including international or non-academic collaborations) who provides specific contributions to the team and project.

Additional partners can be added to your full stage application that were not included in the outline application.

Organisations that are applicants on the project, including any named applicants’ organisations, cannot also be a project partner. UKRI Head Office Staff acting in their capacity as a UKRI employee are not eligible to be project partners.

Project partners are expected to provide contributions to the delivery of the project, either in cash or in kind, and should not therefore be seeking to claim funds from UKRI. However, where there are specific circumstances where project partners require funding for minor directly incurred costs such as travel and subsistence, this will usually be paid at 80% FEC unless otherwise stated by us. These costs will need to be outlined and fully justified in your full application and will be subject to peer review.

Under UKRI terms and conditions for research grants you must ensure at all times that the grant funding awarded to you is compliant with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. 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.

You should ensure you have had the necessary discussions with any project partners that will form the basis for the collaboration agreement prior to submitting your applications including:

  • relative responsibilities
  • intellectual property rights
  • financial contributions
  • access to data, materials and equipment

The guidance in the MRC Industry Collaboration Framework can be used as a basis for discussions with your project partners and support the development of your collaboration and provides some additional guidance on subsidy control. It facilitates collaborations by supporting academic and industry partners to work out and clearly specify arrangements before a project starts.

However, you should not submit an MRC ICF form with your application.

Project partner contributions whether in cash or in kind, must be explained in detail in the project partner letter of support including the justification of the value of the in-kind contributions. In kind contributions can include:

  • staff time
  • materials
  • equipment including access to equipment
  • resourcing required to support the provision of data
  • other costs to support the project that are in addition to those normally involved

The MRC ICF Letter of Support template provides some guidance on calculating the value of the in-kind contributions.

Unless specifically requested, do not include any personal data within the attachment.

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

Project subcontractor

A project subcontractor is defined as a third-party individual who is not employed as staff on the grant, who is subcontracted by a participating organisation to deliver a specific piece of work. Subcontractors will be allowed in line with UKRI terms and conditions for research grants.

Project partner and subcontractor entitlement to project outputs and intellectual property

Entitlement to the outputs of a project or intellectual property will be determined between the parties involved, however any access to project outputs or intellectual property must be in line with any relevant Subsidy Control regulation. Under UKRI terms and conditions for research grants you must ensure at all times that the grant funding awarded to you is compliant with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Any entitlements will need to be set out in a formal collaboration agreement if a grant is awarded, as per FEC Grant condition RGC 12.1.

Changes between outline and full stage applications

Project co-leads or collaborators can be changed or added between the outline and full application stage with reasonable justification, however, please note that this funding opportunity is looking for co-creation and design of the proposal from all disciplines involved, and while project co-leads can be added at the full stage, UKRI encourages collaboration at project inception.

If the project lead has changed since submission of your outline stage application, please contact us before submission so that we can confirm eligibility to proceed with your full stage application.

You will also need to refer to the How to Apply section for this funding opportunity for further information.

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

Scope

This is the full application stage of a new pilot scheme designed to support interdisciplinary ideas emerging from the research community outside current disciplinary boundaries. Applicants to this stage will receive an invitation to apply by email, following successful shortlisting of their outline applications.

We will support projects that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines, involving different knowledge and methodological spheres. The new scheme will power innovative conceptual thinking and research, and novel methodological approaches, to ensure UKRI supports a rich and diverse array of blue skies and applied research.

We know how important existing responsive mode council schemes have been in supporting research and innovation with transformative outcomes for knowledge, economy and society.

This scheme will help do the same for research that does not fit the remit of current research councils’ responsive mode schemes, helping ensure there is space for the convergence and divergence of new ideas across all fields of research.

We are piloting this scheme over two rounds of funding, allowing us to assess demand, and test and refine our processes.

Interdisciplinary research

For the purposes of this scheme, we are using the following definition of interdisciplinary from the REF 2021 Interdisciplinary Advisory Panel final report: Interdisciplinary research is understood to achieve outcomes (including new approaches) that could not be achieved within the framework of a single discipline.

Interdisciplinary research features significant interaction between two or more disciplines or moves beyond established disciplinary foundations or both, in applying or integrating research approaches from other disciplines

Scheme objectives

This funding is to support interdisciplinary research, including to:

  • unlock new research, new approaches or new methods that would not emerge from established disciplinary thinking
  • demonstrate reciprocal research benefits through the integration of distinct disciplinary perspectives and spheres of knowledge
  • support breakthrough or disruptive ideas and collaborations
  • incentivise new and unexpected types of interdisciplinary research not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes
  • encourage speculative, early stage and high potential interdisciplinary research proposals, embracing new concepts, techniques, or technologies

We are seeking the following:

  • high quality, and creative ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span research council remits
  • new, unexpected and novel projects that have the potential to lead to breakthrough ideas and collaborations
  • research that can only be addressed through interdisciplinary collaboration
  • projects combining disciplines to create new approaches to a research question, new methodologies or new ways of working
  • reciprocity across the disciplines, with the disciplines involved being changed or transformed by working together
  • projects that catalyse new interdisciplinary research through co-creation and design
  • ideas with no clear ‘lead’ UKRI research council for responsive mode funding including applications that significantly span two or more research council remits

We are not seeking:

  • applications where there is a clear alternative research council responsive mode scheme including interdisciplinary research that fits within a single research council remit
  • projects where the programme of work appears siloed and where interdisciplinary research outcomes are limited, for example, where work packages are discrete and discipline specific rather than integrating disciplinary knowledge
  • projects where there is an imbalance of the intellectual content and some disciplines appear ‘bolted’ on

Existing UKRI funding mechanisms for interdisciplinary research

The existing research council responsive mode schemes remain open for a wide range of interdisciplinary research applications, both within council boundaries and across council boundaries through the Cross-Council Remit Agreement. See further information about these existing schemes and research councils’ remits.

Duration

The duration of this award is up to two years.

The earliest start date for your project can be 1 July 2024. The latest start date for your project can be 8 January 2025.

Funding available

UKRI will invest a total of £65million funding across two rounds of the cross-research council responsive mode interdisciplinary scheme. We anticipate making around 36 awards. Academic-based applications are costed on the basis of Full Economic Costs (FEC).

The FEC of your project can be between £200,000 and £1.2 million.

UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC.

Indexation must not be included as this is calculated once the grant has been awarded and accepted.

See guidance on cost headings to use for your resources. All costs requested should be justified within the resource and cost justification section of your application.

Further guidance on UKRI FEC costing can be found in the UKRI Terms and Conditions ‘Costings information’.

What we will fund

  • staff costs
  • contribution to the salary of project lead and co-leads
  • travel and subsistence
  • access to facilities and resources
  • other costs including consumables
  • equipment
  • costs associated with research data management and sharing
  • estates and indirect costs
  • NHS costs

If you need to use a research council facility the following will apply:

  • costs will be funded at 80% FEC
  • you will need to check you are eligible to access the facility
  • you should have discussed your research proposal with the facility or service you want to use before you submitted your outline funding application
  • you should make sure that you are aware of the access procedures, resource availability and timelines at an early stage in developing your proposal. You may need to apply directly to the facility or service as well as including it in your funding application
  • you will need to provide confirmation that you can use the facility or service, which may include a technical assessment form or quote, if your application is successful
  • extension to grants will not be given due to unavailability of facilities intrinsic to the project, for example ship or airtime. You should make sure that the facility will be able to provide access or services during the period of your grant. Under UKRI terms and conditions you grant needs to start within six months from the date of the award letter

Individual items of equipment above £10,000 can be included if both of the following apply:

  • the equipment is essential to the proposed research
  • no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed

UKRI will fund up to 50% of the cost of equipment above £10,000. The academic host organisation should contribute towards the cost of any capital items or equipment over £10,000 (inclusive of VAT) at a minimum of 50%. Costs under the Directly Incurred equipment heading will default to 80%, therefore the costs for equipment over £10,000 will be amended at the award stage to 50%.

In these circumstances the total cost of your grant could exceed the maximum award limit of £1.2 million FEC. UKRI will check this during the post submission checks.

Please inform us if your budget exceeds the maximum award limit due to equipment costs by sending an email to ukrirm@ukri.org before submitting your application.

Single items of equipment costing between £10,000 (inclusive of VAT) and £138,000 (inclusive of VAT) must comply with the following:

  • must be included under the ‘Equipment’ fund type heading. Please note the £10,000 includes all component parts of the equipment requested, either purchased or leased

Single items of equipment costing over £138,000 (inclusive of VAT) must comply with the following:

  • must be included under the ‘Equipment’ fund type heading and the strategic need for the equipment should be included within the resources and cost justification section. An additional 1000 words will be allowed for this
  • this is an opportunity for research projects; applications focused on capital requests for research infrastructures are not eligible. Therefore, if you wish to request funding for equipment over £138,000 you will need to inform us by sending an email to ukrirm@ukri.org before submitting your application.

UKRI will meet the costs of new equipment, the costs of equipment repair and major spares, the costs of external maintenance agreements and the cost of equipment relocation and installation, where required by the proposed research. If applicable the host organisation should make its own arrangements for applying for exemption from import duty.

Any social surveys which are sub-contracted to a third party (such as a specialist survey company) will be funded as exceptions at 100% FEC, regardless of value, and should be included under the equipment subheading. Surveys completed using the in-house resources of a project co-lead’s UK research organisation are not eligible as exceptions and should instead be included under the directly incurred heading.

Project co-leads (international) may claim in-house survey costs as exceptions under the subheading, ‘other’.

Additional justification is required for individual items of equipment, including subcontracted surveys, above £10,000, are subject to normal competitive purchasing principles. Equipment and surveys costing more than £10,000 should be subject to external competition to ensure best value for money.

Costs for international project co-leads (co-investigators)

For international project co-Lead costs, UKRI will award funding to the UK lead organisation; this organisation will then be responsible for distributing funds to the international research organisation. Justified costs will be funded at 100% and should be included under exceptions. Estate and indirect costs are not eligible. The total costs claimed for international co-investigators contribution to a project must not exceed 30% of the overall cost of the project, calculated at 100% full economic cost.

These costs can cover:

  • directly incurred costs, such as travel and subsistence
  • research assistants (for example salary costs)
  • salary costs, only where these costs are fully justified and it can be demonstrated that the funding of salaries by grants is the standard practice of the international research organisation, and these costs cannot be covered through other sources

International project co-leads will need to be individuals from an established international research organisation that is of comparable standing to a recognised UK research organisation, who would otherwise fit the normal definition for a project lead (principal investigator).

What we will not fund

  • fees or stipends associated with master’s and PhD studentships
  • estate and indirect costs for international co-investigators

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

Project partners or collaborators for this scheme can be international. You will need to visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Collaboration agreements

Entitlement to the outputs of a project or intellectual property will need to be determined between the parties involved, however any access to project outputs or intellectual property must be in line with any relevant Subsidy Control regulation. Under UKRI terms and conditions for research grants you must ensure at all times that the grant funding awarded to you is compliant with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Any entitlements will need to be set out in a formal collaboration agreement if a grant is awarded, as per FEC grant condition RGC 12.1.

You do not need to submit collaboration agreements as part of your full stage application.

For awarded applications, UKRI will check that subsequent collaboration agreements are compliant with Subsidy Control requirements.

See also Project Partners instructions in the How to Apply section.

Conditions of awarded grants

Awards will be made under standard terms and conditions to the UK lead organisation, which will be responsible for the management of the award.

Data management

UKRI expects you to make your research data openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner. The UKRI expectations for sharing and managing research data arising from your project are outlined on Making your research data open including:

  • you should determine if, how and where your data should be shared based on good practice for the type(s) of research data that will be generated
  • refer to the research council research data sharing policy(s) and guidance most applicable to the type(s) of research data that will be generated from your research. These policies include best practice and preferred repositories for some types of data, for example the ESRC-supported UK Data Service and the NERC-supported Environmental Data Service
  • our guidance on best practice in the management of research data, also provides general guidance about sharing and managing your research data in line with our common principles
  • UKRI’s Good Research Resource Hub includes some external resources that you may also find helpful when deciding how to share and manage your research data

Ensure you include costs in your funding application.

UKRI supports costs associated with research data management and sharing. You should ensure costs for these activities are included in your funding application, including if you intend to use NERC’s Environmental Data Service or the ESRC-supported UK Data Service. If you are considering using the Environmental Data Service, you can contact data@nerc.ukri.org for further information.

Some additional information on research data costs is provided in the guidance on best practice in the management of research data. Guidance on costs may also be provided with the funding opportunity in Funding Finder.

How to apply

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

Follow the link to the Funding Service provided in your invitation email to start your application.

  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 support@funding-service.ukri.org
  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. For the Vision and Approach section you should create a single PDF document that includes your responses to all criteria. You should use 1 page for Vision and 6 pages for Approach, which includes 1 page on your strategy to co-deliver the research.
  5. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  6. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  7. 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:

Deadline

UKRI must receive your application by 8 February 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.

Processing personal data

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

UKRI will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on the UKRI webpages.

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

Summary

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 challenge the project addresses highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of your research
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Je-S grant reference of your outline application

Word limit: 1

[Provide the Je-S grant reference of your outline application]

To help us link your full application to the outline stage application you submitted in Je-S, please provide the Je-S grant reference, in the following format: MR/YXXXXXX/X.

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

To find the equivalent roles used in Je-S, please follow this guidance.

Vision and Approach

Create a single PDF document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than seven sides of A4, single spaced in paper in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Vision and Approach’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, do not include any personal data within the attachment.

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

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

You should address the following 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 beyond established field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment
  • could only be achieved through interdisciplinary research

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • explain how your proposed work is of excellent quality and importance beyond established disciplinary thinking. Work that is within a single discipline or disciplines that fall within a single research council are ineligible for this scheme.
  • demonstrate how the interdisciplinary approach will advance current understanding and generate new knowledge, thinking, concepts, techniques, methods or technologies or discoveries
  • demonstrate that the proposed work has the potential for delivering ground-breaking and transformative outcomes that could only be achieved through interdisciplinary research

How are you going to deliver your proposed work? (six pages)

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work
  • demonstrates how potential challenges in conducting interdisciplinary research will be addressed and describes the reciprocal research benefits for the disciplines involved

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • illustrate how the project was co-created and designed, involving all disciplines required for the successful delivery of the project
  • outlines a strategy that demonstrates integration of the disciplines required for the successful co-delivery of the research, including new approaches, new methods or new ways of working (this should be set out as a separate section within Approach and no more than one page in length)

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

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 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

Additions

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.

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

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project Partner section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter N/A.

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

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’.

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.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

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.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500 words

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
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700 words

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10 words

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 10 words

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14.

Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement. Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700 words

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700 words

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 1,500

All applicants planning to generate data as part of their grant must complete the separate Data Management question.

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Facilities

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

Some facilities also require a technical assessment, which should be obtained by contacting the relevant facility prior to submitting an application to discuss usage.

You do not need to submit these documents with your application, but we will contact you to provide them if your application is successful.

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

Clinical research using NHS resources

Word count: 250

Will your research involve participants from the NHS or Health and Social Care duty of care?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box

Researchers applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) to be eligible for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) portfolio. This is the route through which support and excess treatment costs are provided in England.

You must answer ‘Yes’ and complete and upload a SoECAT if you are applying for clinical research funding, and:

  • you will carry out your research in the UK
  • it is intended for the NIHR CRN portfolio; this may include studies in a social care or public health setting
  • the research requires approval by Health Research Authority (England) or its equivalents in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales
  • your research will use NHS resources

You must complete a SoECAT even if you do not think your clinical research will involve excess treatment costs (ETCs).

See MRC guidance 3.5.1 on who needs to complete a SoECAT.

If you are applying for clinical research in the NHS, public health or social care and do not think you need to complete a SoECAT, answer ‘Yes’ and explain why a SoECAT is not necessary.

We want to know that you have taken the appropriate steps for the full costs of your research to be attributed, calculated and paid.

We want to see the expected total resources required for your project, such as Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs), to consider if these are appropriate.

How to complete a SoECAT

SoECAT guidance can be found on the NIHR website.

These are the steps you need to take:

  1. Contact an Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD) specialist as early as possible in the application process.
  2. Complete an online SoECAT. Excel versions of the form have been discontinued. If you do not have an account for NIHR’s Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) you will need create and activate one. See the user guide for instructions.
  3. Request authorisation of your SoECAT.
  4. Once authorised extract the ‘study information’ and ‘summary’ page from the ‘Funder Export’, combine them as a single PDF and upload it to your application.

Applications that require a SoECAT but have not attached the SoECAT funder export study information and summary may be rejected.

Contact ukrirm@ukri.org if you have questions about the UKRI aspects of this process or have concerns that your SoECAT may not be authorised in time for the application deadline.

References

Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

All references should be included in this section of the application, and not in any other application question.

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.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 2,000

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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

Guidance

  • Directly Incurred equipment heading will default to 80% FEC, but will be awarded at 50% FEC. This will be amended at award stage if required.
  • The word count for this section is 2000 words: 1,000 words to be used for Resources and cost justification and, if necessary, a further 1000 words to justify equipment over £138,000.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Assessment phase

We will invite three members from the Interdisciplinary Assessment College to assess your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

Project lead response

Feedback from the assessment phase will be shared with project leads (applicants). This will be agreed between the three college members before being sent to the project leads.

The project lead response period is 15 to 29 April 2024.

Panel assessment

Following the assessment phase and receipt of applicant responses, college members who have assessed applications and chairs will meet in panels to discuss applications. They will use the evidence provided, including your applicant response, to assess the quality of your application and score it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect panels to be held during week commencing 13 May 2024.

UKRI will make the final funding decision for applications across the panels.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process within four months of receiving your application.

Feedback

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.

Assessment areas

The assessment criteria will based on the questions we have asked you to address in your proposal and the guidance provided:

Vision

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance beyond established field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment
  • could only be achieved through interdisciplinary research

Approach

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, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work.
  • demonstrates reciprocal research benefits with the disciplines involved being changed or transformed by working together and how potential challenges will be addressed and overcome in conducting interdisciplinary research.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

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

Ethical and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

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.

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

Resources and cost justification

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

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

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 ukrirm@ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the IRM team on ukrirm@ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your 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

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.

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