EPSRC New Investigator Award replaces the First Grant Scheme

By Jul.26, 2017

EPSRC have this week re-launched their grant funding scheme targeted specifically at Early Career Researchers.

The New Investigator Award scheme (which replaces the First Grant scheme) includes a number of changes from the previous scheme of which researchers who are considering applying should be aware.

The changes also mean that some researchers who may have previously been ineligible to apply for the First Grant scheme may now be eligible to apply for the New Investigator Award.

Scheme Overview 

The New Investigator Award scheme is designed to support individuals who have recently acquired their first academic lectureship position, have not previously led an academic research group or been the recipient of a significant grant. There are no closing dates and the scheme can only be applied to once. Applications are reviewed only alongside other New Investigator Award applications.

Changes from First Grant scheme

There are a number of important changes to the eligibility criteria and other aspects of the scheme from the First Grant scheme. The following criteria no longer apply:

  • The time-based restrictions on applicant eligibility (within 10 years post-PhD and within 3 years of first appointment at Lecturer level or equivalent within the UK);
  • The maximum project duration (2 years) and grant size (£125k at 100% fEC) restrictions.

In their place, the following criteria now apply:

  • Applicants should not have previous experience of leading an academic research group or grant – they cannot have been PI on a previous EPSRC application;
  • Applicants should not have previously been in receipt of funding which provided either: PDRA time, equipment valued >£10k, or any research grant with a value >£100k;
  • Projects proposed under the scheme should be self-contained and comprise a single research vision with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. The duration of the project should be appropriate to deliver these. Complex, multi-facetted research projects with many objectives are not appropriate for this scheme;
  • EPSRC expect career development to be an inherent part of proposals. As such, university support should be appropriate to the foundation of a research group, including allocation of resources (e.g. students, access to facilities, PDRA time etc.), commitment to an applicant’s initial and ongoing professional development and opportunities to maximise the impact and communication of their research. Levels of support should be proportional to the scale of the grant and offer greater levels of career development than expected on a standard application, including beyond the duration of the grant.

Further Details

Full details on the New Investigator Award scheme, including full eligibility criteria and details on how to apply, are available on the EPSRC website.

Application support

Academic staff considering applying for the scheme should contact Stephen Parkinson in the Research Development Team in the first instance for help and advice.

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