Posts from July 2017

EPSRC New Investigator Award replaces the First Grant Scheme

26 July 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.

Latest Round of Newton Fund Calls

13 July 2017

The latest round of calls under the Newton Fund’s recurring programmes has just been announced. Details of the calls are below, all of which have a deadline of 19 September 2017.

As with all Newton Fund programmes, the aim of each call is to promote the economic development and welfare of either the partner countries or, through working with the partner country, to address the problems of low-income and vulnerable populations. In this regard, all applications must meet the required relevance to economic development or social welfare (‘ODA compliance’ – see call guidelines for further information) of the partner country.

Newton Institutional Links

Newton Institutional Links aims to build UK-partner country research and innovation collaborations centred on shared research and innovation challenges which have direct relevance to social welfare and economic development.

This programme is designed to establish links beyond the level of the individual researcher and innovation practitioner, opening up opportunities for more sustainable, solution-oriented collaborations between academic groups as well as with the private and third sector (e.g. SMEs, NGOs, technology transfer offices and other not-for-profit organisations).

Partner countries may specify priority areas and will only accept applications within these. Priority areas are listed in the call document.

Partner countries: Egypt, Thailand, Turkey

Size of Grant: £50,000 – 300,000 (check call for details of country-specific limits)

Full call details

Newton Researcher Links Workshop Grants

Newton Researcher Links Workshops bring together early-career researchers from the UK and a partner country to make international connections that can improve the quality of their research. Once funded, grants are available for early-career researchers in the UK and the country hosting the workshop to attend.

Partner countries may specify priority areas and will only accept applications within these. Priority areas are listed in the call document.

Partner countries: China, Philippines

Size of Grant: Depends on partner countries and number of attendees

Full call details

Newton Researcher Links Travel Grants

Researcher Links Travel Grants provide financial support for early-career researchers to undertake an international research placement to strengthen links for future collaboration, build research capacity in developing economies, and enhance the researcher’s career opportunities.

Researchers that reside in the UK can apply for funding to visit a university or research institution in one of the partner countries, and those residing in one of the partner countries can apply for funding to come to the UK.

Partner countries may specify priority areas and will only accept applications within these. Priority areas are listed in the call document.

Partner countries: Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa

Duration of visit: 1-6 months depending on partner country (check call for details)

Size of Grant: Depends on partner country and length of visit

Full call details

For help or advice with a proposed application under any of these calls, please contact the relevant member of the Research Development Team for your School.

AHRC/EPSRC Immersive Experiences session

11 July 2017

The Research Development Team have organised a session to run through the AHRC/EPSRC Immersive Experiences call for proposals, and follows on from an RCUK event that took place on Friday 7 July at MMU where the call was announced and explained. Anyone who may be interested in the call is welcome to attend, and please do feel free to pass to colleagues that may be interested.

This session will be held Wednesday 19 July 2:00 – 3:30pm in Chapman Seminar rooms 1-2.

We wish to convene all those interested so that we can fully support your project proposals and help to facilitate potential interdisciplinary collaborations. We will run through the call specification and then invite anyone who has an idea to present it via a two minute pitch and one powerpoint slide to generate ideas for collaboration and a starting point for further discussion.  This is not compulsory, but if you wish to take part do let us know and, if possible, send your Powerpoint slide in advance of the session. We will then run through the call timetable and finally end with coffee and networking so you get chance to begin the conversations to develop your bid.


Planned Schedule

2:00 – 2:10           Introduction to call

2:10 – 2:50           Discussion & presentation of proposed ideas.

2:50 – 3:00           Timeframe and practicalities of submissions

3:00 – 3:30           Coffee and networking

To book a place, please go to:


For those wishing to present their ideas could you email with an attached slide.

Details of the call can be found at:

If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Deborah Woodman