Big Ideas initiative


What happens after submitting a Big Idea

See the guidance for submitters (page seven) for a flow chart showing the Big Ideas process or read on for a step-by-step guide.

Initial prioritisation

Having checked for validity and eligibility, submitted ideas will be batched for consideration by an internal EPSRC panel, who will prioritise ideas for further development, taking into account:

  • the information you’ve provided in your submission
  • the make-up of EPSRC’s existing Big Ideas portfolio
  • the number and diversity of ideas currently being developed post-submission
  • an idea’s potential contribution to EPSRC strategies and the broader strategic context

This internal review takes place three times a year. Your full submission will be visible to UKRI staff and those who are part of the assessment process.

Further development

If your idea is prioritised, you will be invited to develop it further.

The idea’s title and summary pitch will be shown on the EPSRC website, together with your name, as the originator of the idea. You will be credited with submitting the idea and leading its initial development. You will have access to input and advice from EPSRC colleagues to help steer the direction of the idea. We will also ask for input from colleagues from other parts of UKRI where appropriate.

On occasions, we might invite other people to be involved in (or potentially lead) an idea’s development. We might also put you in touch with others who have submitted a similar idea, so that they can be developed as a single idea, combining their strengths and leadership to produce something truly transformative.

SETB assessment

Once your idea has been sufficiently developed, it will be taken to a meeting of EPSRC’s Science, Technology and Engineering Board (SETB).

In advance of this meeting, we will put you in touch with representatives from SETB and EPSRC, where you will have the opportunity to answer any questions they may have about the submission.

SETB will then be in a position to assess the idea and offer further guidance about any next steps. For example, this could involve assigning mentors, redirecting an idea towards other funding routes, or encouraging wider links and facilitated discussions to create a compelling case.

The role of SETB is to use scientific and technological insight to identify and champion bold new research challenges at the cutting edge of engineering and physical sciences to address long-term challenges for future investment. Submitters of prioritised Big Ideas are therefore able to benefit from the expertise and guidance of scientific leaders from across the UK.

Along with this advice, you might also get funding for workshops to further develop the idea, and additional support from EPSRC or even individual SETB members. Previous workshops have been attended by representatives from across academia and industry and are a good way to bring attention to the idea as well as collaborating with other researchers and users of research to develop it further.

Once an idea has been included in EPSRC’s Ideas Bank, we are able to use it in multiple ways. Find out more about how EPSRC uses Big Ideas.

To ensure that an idea remains timely we may contact you, from time to time, to ask if you would like to update it.

SETB membership

The membership of SETB is drawn from across EPSRC’s stakeholder groups, including both academia and business, and represents a diverse range of expertise and experience in research and innovation.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

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