Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UKRI systems approaches to advance the UK’s transition to net zero: full

Start application

Apply for funding to establish a flagship transdisciplinary research programme in system approaches to advance the UK’s transition to net zero.

This investment will support up to two impact driven research programmes to deliver world leading co-created cross-cutting research into the development and implementation of systems approaches to net zero.

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £5.75 million UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will fund 80% of the FEC (£4.6 million). The funding duration is for up to 60 months.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding.

This is the second stage of a two-stage process.

You may only submit an application to this funding opportunity if you have been invited to do so by EPSRC.

Who can apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if we have invited you to do so following a successful outline application.

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 not eligible to apply

This is an invite only stage of the funding opportunity.

For more information on the outline stage please see the Additional information section.

International applicants

International project co-leads are not permitted as part of this funding opportunity. International collaborators can be listed as project partners.

Businesses are not eligible applicant organisations as part of this funding opportunity, they are expected to be listed as project partners.

The UKRI-RCN Money Follows Cooperation Agreement does not apply to this funding opportunity. As such grants submitted to this funding opportunity cannot include a Norway-based international project co-lead.


We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI or any other funder.

Find out more about EPSRC’s resubmissions policy.

If you are currently restricted under the repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy, you may submit unlimited outlines. However, you will only be able to submit one full proposal as the project lead or project co-lead during the 12-month restricted period.

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


Through this funding opportunity UKRI aims to drive the realisation of a just, prosperous, sustainable and resilient net zero transition, removing barriers to delivery and supporting the reduction and mitigation of unintended consequences.

The objectives of the funding opportunity are to:

  • support up to two flagship five-year transdisciplinary research programmes in systems approaches to advance the UK’s transition to net zero which have stakeholder engagement and co-creation at their core
  • advance the UK’s transition to net zero through the increased use of systems approaches


The funding opportunity will focus on the delivery of world leading cross-cutting research into the development and implementation of systems approaches to advance the UK’s transition to net zero.

Research programmes will:

  • deliver a stakeholder co-created programme of research that directly advances the UK’s net zero transition
  • set the transition in a broader context focusing on the interactions between net zero drivers and broader environmental, social, political, economic and security outcomes to deliver an equitable, prosperous, sustainable and resilient net zero future
  • deliver world leading transdisciplinary, collaborative, cross-cutting research into the development and implementation of integrated quantitative or qualitative (or both) systems approaches which will deliver actionable insights for key stakeholders from the increased understanding and analysis of multiple complex systems and the interactions between them to support the UK’s transition to net zero
  • collaborate with stakeholders, including government (local and national), businesses and individuals, to understand, consider, and support the adoption of the developed approaches
  • prioritise research and innovation challenges with the greatest potential to support evidence-based decision making by stakeholders and future planning under uncertainty to support the removal of barriers to delivery, identify and mitigate unintended consequences and drive a coordinated transition to net zero
  • demonstrate the opportunity, benefits, barriers, and limitations to taking a systems approach and deliver actionable insights and real-world impact on the pathway to net zero within the life of the programme in one or more test case areas which have been co-created with relevant stakeholders

Research programmes should:

  • build a transdisciplinary, inclusive team focused on a clear strategic vision to enable systems approaches and the many benefits this can bring to the UK’s net zero transition
  • embed stakeholder engagement and co-creation throughout the life of the programme ensuring potential beneficiaries are involved in designing the research programme
  • have identified clear pathways to accelerate impact and enable translation of research outcomes into stakeholder practice
  • deliver practical and timely actionable insights to key stakeholders and enable beneficiaries to realise real-world impacts on the pathway to net zero within the lifetime of the grant
  • act as an advocate for systems approaches and support the UK academic and stakeholder community to increase the use of systems approaches, strengthening collaboration between academia, business and policy stakeholders
  • support capacity building and skills development across and beyond the research programme
  • embed consideration of responsible research and innovation, including environmental sustainability, and equality, diversity and inclusion, in terms of the programme of research that is carried out and the outcomes it intends to have, throughout the programme
  • develop key performance indicators and metrics of success which are reviewed and managed throughout the lifetime of the programme
  • bring together the right people and organisations from places across the UK, to tackle the challenges relevant to the chosen research programme

The research programmes must be additive and collaborative to, and not competitive with, other UK based academic, government and industry led centres of expertise and related activities. Where applicable, they should build upon or partner with existing UK and, where appropriate, international academic and stakeholder initiatives relevant to the challenge area of focus including exchanging knowledge, drawing on experience and outcomes and collaborating on data use and collection.

Systems approaches

There is no single way of ‘taking a systems approach’. Systems approaches are frameworks or methodologies focused on understanding the whole system and exploring the interconnections within and between systems. Systems approaches recognise the complexity of the interactions between different unpredictable and ever-changing elements, actors and drivers at different scales from a sector to a business, a region or a country. They enable a new way of approaching the complexity of how technology, infrastructure, economics, governance and, crucially, individual and social behaviours and attitudes shape the world around us.

The Go Science Systems Thinking journey (PDF, 308KB) and the Royal Academy of Engineering Net Zero: A Systems perspective on the climate challenge (PDF, 744KB) may be useful references.

There are a vast array of tools already available to support taking a systems approach to the net zero transition including metrics, models, data analysis, analytical frameworks, and digital tools. Research programmes supported by this funding opportunity are expected to build on this existing capability to:

  • develop integrated quantitative or qualitative (or both) systems approaches which deliver actionable insights in the transition to net zero from the understanding and analysis of multiple complex systems and the interactions between them
  • collaborate with stakeholders to understand, consider, and support the implementation and adoption of the developed approaches

Developing and implementing integrated quantitative or qualitative (or both) transdisciplinary systems approaches to net zero is a complex research challenge which may involve:

  • the development of new metrics, models, data analysis, analytical frameworks, or digital tools
  • the integration of existing tools
  • or a combination of both

Identifying a cross-cutting research challenge or challenges to focus on will be up to applicants but they must define the expected outcomes and demonstrate:

  • the potential for cross-cutting impact, delivering a step change in actionable insight, understanding and analysis of multiple interacting systems to support evidence-based decision making and planning, and advance a net zero transition
  • the need for a transdisciplinary approach and evidence of stakeholder co-creation of the programme of research
  • knowledge of, and engagement with, the potential beneficiaries and end users of the developed approaches
  • evidence of stakeholder involvement in the creation of the research challenges and plans to collaborate with them to support implementation and adoption of the developed approaches
  • the potential for application to a range of sectors or situations and the consideration of the interactions between three or more of the following types of systems: technological, economic, political, social, and environmental

Core research challenges which are only applicable to a single sector or situation, or only consider one or two types of system (technological, economic, political, social, or environmental) will be out of scope.

You will not be bound to a UK system but will be expected to demonstrate how the research will advance the UK’s net zero transition and realisation of carbon targets.

By way of illustration, but with no suggestion of priority, example hypothetical research challenges could be the development and implementation of quantitative or qualitative (or both) systems approaches:

  • to explore multiple system dynamics and interactions between sectors in the transition to net zero
  • to systematically assess the effects of net zero interventions on multiple outcomes, including surfacing and measuring co-benefits
  • to enable the modelling and comparison of different net zero trajectories and the various impacts they may have now and under future uncertainty

Test cases

Research programmes must co-create one or more test case areas with stakeholders and end users. What these test cases are will be up to applicants, but they must:

  • test the systems approaches developed, using them on a real-world examples to deliver practical and timely actionable insights for key stakeholders and beneficiaries
  • be used to demonstrate the value and limitations of the developed approaches to broader stakeholders, accelerating further adoption and supporting understanding of how a systems approach can be adopted and embedded by stakeholders
  • be demonstrably co-created with beneficiaries and end users
  • have the potential to enable beneficiaries to realise real-world impacts on the pathway to net zero within the lifetime of the grant

By way of illustration, but with no suggestion of priority, hypothetical examples of test cases could be:

  • working with a local government, service providers and the public to co-create a framework for making evidenced based investment decisions which deliver on net zero goals within a broader context. Considering for example, the local built environment, transport systems, its energy mix, and industries while maximising sustainability, economic viability, and social inclusion
  • working with an employer to co-create a model and framework which could be used to provide a consistent understanding of the carbon footprint of their estates including energy and transport system dependencies. Embedding a systematic consideration of the environmental, social, and economic implications in plans to reduce it

Co-creation and stakeholder engagement

To maximise impact, co-creation and engagement with stakeholder and end users is expected to be embedded throughout the research programmes.

No single actor can deliver net zero alone. Success relies on collective action. Programmes should consider involving a range of stakeholders from across industry, user groups, policy, the third sector and, where appropriate, the public.

At the full stage you are expected to:

  • be able to define who key stakeholders for your planned programme will be and how you will benefit from the research outputs
  • be able to demonstrate how you have engaged stakeholders and end users and co-created the research challenges and planned test cases in your full proposal
  • explain how you will further engage existing and new stakeholders and embed co-creation throughout the research programme

Although not an exhaustive list it is anticipated that beneficiaries of the programme outputs may include, policymakers, local government, public bodies, regulators and businesses.

There is no minimum leverage expectation or number of partners but you will be expected to demonstrate genuine engagement and involvement from relevant and necessary project partners to deliver the proposed research.

Transdisciplinary team

Programmes must build an appropriate transdisciplinary team bringing together academic and broader stakeholders from across UKRI’s remit. Proposals which do not bring together different disciplines alongside stakeholder involvement will be out of scope.

In the context of this funding opportunity novelty, excellence and quality is likely to primarily come from bringing together expertise and approaches from different discipline areas.

Governance and monitoring

The leadership team of each research programme will be expected to set up appropriate governance arrangements to facilitate successful programme delivery. It is expected that a programme advisory board will be set up to inform the strategic direction of the programme and support growth in stakeholder engagement. Including ongoing development of an effective user engagement strategy.

It is expected that the advisory board should meet at least biannually and include key academics, businesses and investors, relevant policy officials and other stakeholders. A UKRI representative, who will be appointed by UKRI, will sit on this advisory board. Equality, diversity and inclusion should be considered when setting up the governance structure of the research programme.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning will be a key component of the programme, and we will arrange occasions for the programmes to share best practice, common challenges and learnings.


Grant holders will be required to report on the progress of the research programmes to UKRI annually through Researchfish in line with standard UKRI grant terms and conditions. This programme will report into the UKRI Building a Green Future (BaGF) programme board.

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


The duration of this award is for up to five years.

Projects must start on 1 February 2025.

Funding available

The FEC of your project can be up to £5.75 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC (£4.6 million)

What we will fund

You can request funding for costs such as:

  • a contribution to the salary of the project lead and project co-lead
  • support for other posts such as research and technical staff
  • research consumables
  • travel costs
  • collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  • impact and knowledge exchange activities
  • estates and indirect costs
  • flexible research funding

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • applications that only cover one research council remit or are applied to only one sector
  • studentships
  • equipment
  • international co-leads
  • business costs

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.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

See further guidance and information about TR&I – including where you can find additional support.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. 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
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service. We strongly suggest that if you are asking UKRI to add your organisation to the Funding Service to enable you to apply to this funding opportunity, you also create an organisation Administration Account. This will be needed to allow the acceptance and management of any grant that might be offered to you.
  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.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

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

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors, for example (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

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


UKRI must receive your application by 20 August 2024 at 4:00 pm 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

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 summaries and applicants involved in the outlines that are being invited to submit full proposals.

If your full proposal 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 usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

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

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

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

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

Only list one individual as project lead.

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

Application questions

Vision and Approach

Create a 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. References may be included but should not exceed 1 pages of your document. You can have an additional page for a diagrammatic work plan.

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 sensitive 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.

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 within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate how the programme meets the aims and scope of the opportunity and delivers a stakeholder co-created programme of research that directly advances the UK’s net zero transition
  • describe how the programme will deliver practical and timely actionable insights for key stakeholders

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

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposed work
  • have identified clear pathways to accelerate impact and enable translation of research outcomes into stakeholder practice
  • provide a project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar (additional one-page A4)

References may be included within this section.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 2,500

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 application teams’ relevant research experience and skills to develop and deliver the proposed transdisciplinary research programme
  • 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

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

The word count for this section is 2,500 words; 2000 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) 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

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.

References may be included within this section.

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

Programme leadership and management

Word limit: 1,100

What are your plans for appropriate management and leadership of this programme?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you intend to:

  • manage and monitor the progress of the programme, including consideration of how the flexibility of resources will be managed
  • embed creativity and agility into the plans for the programme in order to respond to a changing landscape
  • develop and progress the careers of all team members, including investigators, research assistants, any aligned students, technicians and other non-academic staff
  • embed considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels and in all aspects of the programme
  • embed considerations of environmental sustainability throughout the programme, in both the proposed research outcomes and programme operations
  • act as an advocate for systems approaches and support the UK academic and stakeholder community to increase the use of systems approaches

References may be included within this section.

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

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project Partner section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

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
  • the page limit is 2 sides A4 per partner

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 project partners’ section.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Co-creation and stakeholder engagement

Word limit: 2,750

How have you co-created and designed your research programme to maximise the real-world impact on the UK’s transition to net zero?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Please describe:

  • how your programme has been co-created and will be co-delivered in partnership with relevant stakeholders
  • how you have identified and embedded clear, realistic and proportionate pathways to maximise translation and adoption of outputs into outcomes and impacts of all types
  • how beneficiaries have been identified and how they are expected to benefit from the research outputs.
  • how you will engage new and existing stakeholders and further co-create the research challenges, planned test cases and impact and translation pathways throughout the life of the programme

References may be included within this section.


Word limit: 1,000

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

Facilities should only be named if they are on the facility information list above. If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

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

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

If you are collecting or using data, identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which your study will comply

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

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Only invited applications will be eligible to submit a full application.

A one-day workshop for successful applicants from the outline stage will take place on 13 June 2024. The workshop is to support stakeholder engagement to strengthen the planned bids. Providing an opportunity to find new collaborators, understand stakeholder drivers and refine plans.

To read about how we assessed outline applications, please refer to the Additional information page.

We will assess your full application using the following process.

Full applications will be considered by an expert interview panel against the full funding opportunity assessment criteria listed below.

The interview panel will meet prior to the interviews to identify any specific questions they will ask the applicants to answer at the panel interview. These will be in addition to the standard question set the panel will develop to explore the assessment criteria. Any application specific questions will be circulated to applicants at least one week ahead of the panel interview, so they are able to prepare their responses.


We expect invited full application interviews to be held in October 2024.

UKRI will make the final funding decision. UKRI will take into account the portfolio, geographic and subject matter diversity of applications when making funding decisions.


Feedback will be provided at both stages only if specifically requested by the panel.

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 criteria for the full proposals

The criteria we will assess invited full application against are:

  • vision
  • approach
  • applicant and team capability to deliver
  • programme leadership, and management
  • co-creation and stakeholder engagement
  • resources and cost justification
  • ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

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 UK Research and Innovation (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 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, content or remit of a funding 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.

See further information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please contact

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


This funding opportunity delivers to UKRI’s Strategy 2022 to 2027: Transforming Tomorrow Together, to support world-class ideas, advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and innovation by enabling the UK to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, transdisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets.
This funding opportunity is supported through UKRI’s strategic theme Building a Green Future, one of the five strategic themes of UKRI which look to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to address major national and global challenges.

The Building a Green Future strategic theme aims to accelerate the green economy by supporting research and innovation that delivers on national priorities and unlocks solutions essential to achieving net zero in the UK by 2050.

UKRI is working with UK government departments, business and internationally to improve the health of our environment, transform behaviours and policy to deliver net zero and secure prosperity across the whole of the UK. Through our whole systems solutions we will support growth of business, jobs, skills and sustainable, resilient public services and infrastructure, addressing environmental and net zero challenges in all sectors of the economy. We are developing solutions necessary to meet our net zero targets and accelerate the UK’s transition to a secure and prosperous green economy.

Additional disability and accessibility adjustments

UKRI can offer disability and accessibility support for UKRI applicants and grant holders during the application and assessment process if required.

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.

Grant additional conditions (GAC)

Grants are awarded under the standard UKRI grant terms and conditions. In addition to these, the following additional grant conditions will be applied. We reserve the right to amend these or add further conditions, up to the point of issuing the grant. Full details of the terms and conditions applying to your award will be listed in the grant offer letter.

GAC 1: fixed start date

Notwithstanding RGC 5.2 starting procedures, this grant has a fixed start date of 1 February 2025, no slippage of this date will be permitted. Expenditure may be incurred prior to the start of the grant and be subsequently charged to the grant, provided that it does not precede the date of the offer letter.

GAC 2: acknowledging your funding

In addition to RGC 12.4 publication and acknowledgement of support, you must refer to the UKRI Building a Green Future funding. This includes the UKRI, Council specific and other partners (where applicable – delete as appropriate to the investment) logo and relevant branding on all online or printed materials (including press releases, posters, exhibition materials and other publications) related to activities funded by this grant.

Acknowledgement of funding should be a sentence with the funding agency written out in full, followed by the grant number in square brackets (if you have one). For example:
‘This work was supported by UK Research and Innovation Building a Green Future strategic theme [and others as required] [grant number xxxx]’.

If your research has supported the development of patents or exploitable intellectual property your research organisation must make sure that your funder is fully acknowledged.

GAC 3: equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

In addition to RGC 3.4, you are expected to prepare a full EDI plan for the duration of this grant to demonstrate best practice in EDI throughout the lifetime of this funding award.

This must be produced within three months of your start date and progress against this plan will be monitored by our project officer through the grant reporting process.

GAC 4: user engagement strategy

You must develop and execute a strategy for engaging with potential users of the research funded in the project. This strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly as part of the formal management and reporting process agreed for this grant.

GAC 5: project officer appointment

We will nominate a member of our staff (the project officer) who will be your primary point of contact. The project officer will ensure that the project is being run in accordance with the terms and conditions and in line with financial due diligence.

The project officer should have access to all documentation of governance and reporting bodies, in so far as it relates to the administration and application of the grant. As funding administrators, all UKRI staff have agreed to maintain the confidentiality required by all parties involved in our funded research.

GAC 6: management structure

You should have established an appropriate management structure with clear lines of responsibility and authority to oversee the day to day running of the project. This should be in place within six months of the start date of the grant. The terms of reference and management structure, must be approved by us in advance. As must any changes to this structure. The project officer will be our main contact with the project, and must receive all meeting minutes of the management committees. We reserve the right to attend any meetings.

GAC 7: advisory board appointment

This grant must establish and run an independent advisory board, or equivalent body, to oversee the running of the project and provide advice on the strategic direction and activities of the project.

The terms of reference and membership of this group (at least 50% independent membership and an independent chair) should be agreed with us. The project officer will also be expected to attend and participate in advisory board and other appropriate meetings for the duration of the grant.

GAC 8: project review

In addition to the requirements set out in standard UKRI grant conditions RGC 7.4 research monitoring and evaluation and RGC 7.5 disclosure and inspection, we reserve the right to instigate a review of all or part of the grant at any stage during the lifetime of the award as well as after the grant has finished.

GAC 9: progress reports

In addition to the requirements set out in RGC 7.4.3, You are responsible for providing annual progress reports against non-financial performance metrics.

GAC 10: cost overrun

We will not be responsible for any cost overrun incurred during the course of this grant. You will be required to make up any shortfall from alternative sources.

GAC 11: collaboration agreements

Where the grant is associated with more than one research organisation or other project partners, a formal collaboration agreement must be in place with the basis of collaboration between the organisations including the following:

  • the process of the flexible allocation of resources throughout the project
  • ownership of intellectual property
  • rights to exploitation

It is your responsibility to put such an agreement in place by 1 May 2025.

The terms of collaboration agreements must not conflict with the UKRI terms and conditions.

We must be informed within three months of the start of the grant, that the collaboration agreement is in place and has been signed by all partners or the progress made (unless some alternative timeline has been agreed with us beforehand).

If sufficient progress has not been made within three months of the start of the grant, we reserve the right the enact RGC 11.1.

Arrangements for collaboration or exploitation must not prevent the future progression of research and the dissemination of research results in accordance with academic custom and practice.

GAC 13: change of project lead

In addition to RGC 7.3, this award is made on condition that any requests to change the grant holder or project co-lead will require prior approval from us.

We must be contacted in writing and prior approval sought before this change can be made. To facilitate any changes of this nature the case must be made for why a new principal investigator is required.

Requests for such a change are to be submitted via the grant maintenance facility in Joint Electronic System (Je-S). We will then consider and inform you of their decision.

Responsible innovation

UKRI is fully committed to develop and promote responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.

We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise. Therefore, applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.

Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for information and advice on how to get the most out of international collaboration while protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information. Grant holders will be expected to engage with the relevant regulatory bodies where concerns may arise under the National Security and Investment Act. Aspects of bias, privacy, security, and ethics should be considered where appropriate.


UKRI’s environmental sustainability strategy lays out our ambition to actively lead environmental sustainability across our sectors. This includes a vision to ensure that all major investment and funding decisions we make are directly informed by environmental sustainability, recognising environmental benefits as well as potential for environmental harm.

In alignment with this, UKRI is tackling the challenge of environmental sustainability through our ‘building a green future’ strategic theme, which aims to develop whole systems solutions to improve the health of our environment and deliver net zero, securing prosperity across the whole of the UK.

Environmental sustainability is a broad term but may include consideration of such broad areas as:

  • reducing carbon emissions
  • protecting and enhancing the natural environment and biodiversity
  • waste or pollution elimination
  • resource efficiency and a circular economy

UKRI expects projects to embed careful consideration of environmental sustainability at all stages of the research and innovation process and throughout the lifetime of the project. Projects should ensure that environmental impact and mitigation of the proposed research approaches and hub operations, as well as the associated project outputs and outcomes is considered. Projects must also seek opportunities to influence others and leave a legacy of environmental sustainability within the broader operations of your academic and industry partners.

Supporting documents

Equality Impact Assessment form (DOCX, 73KB)

Outline guidance (PDF, 380KB)

UKRI systems approaches to advance the UK’s transition to net zero: successful outline applications (PDF, 183KB)


  • 3 June 2024
    List of successful outline applications document added in Additional info.

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