EPSRC Sandpit: New Industrial Systems

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

EPSRC is running an Ideas Factory Sandpit on New Industrial Systems in May 2017. The deadline for expressions of interest is 2nd March 2017.

New Industrial Systems Sandpit

What’s the theme?

The sandpit seeks to address the challenge of competitiveness in the future UK economy by focusing on manufacturing technologies and trends. Four research visions have been identified by the Manufacturing the Future theme:

  • Sustainable Industries (e.g. a future where business models take account of resource usage, resilience and security)
  • Digital Manufacturing (e.g. simulation and visualisation of design and manufacturing)
  • 21st Century Products (e.g. smart and multi-functional products)
  • New Industrial Systems, which sits at the intersection of the other three areas

The sandpit aims to build a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in developing new industrial systems, identify a common language between disciplines, facilitate interactions between researchers and users, and identify and address the key research challenges in this area. It is expected that up to £5M of EPSRC funding will be made available to fund research projects arising from this sandpit.

Who should attend?

EPSRC give the following examples of disciplines which could apply to attend: engineering, design, materials science, physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, economics, social sciences, sustainability, life sciences, energy systems. Attendees need not have worked on the problem before and need not have previously secured EPSRC funding. The emphasis will be on people who are open to explore new ideas and connections with other disciplines.

What will happen at the sandpit?

The Sandpit event itself will take place over five days from 15-19 May 2017 at Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon. The events will draw on ideas from a broad range of disciplines so attendees should expect to be able to develop relationships with other participants and communicate concepts and ideas in a way that is understandable and engaging to those outside your immediate area.

There is more information in the guidance on how sandpits work, but they are generally very intensive and rewarding experiences which offer an excellent chance of securing funding (as this is restricted to attendees).

How do I apply?

The deadline for expressions of interest to attend the Sandpit is 2nd March 2017. 25-30 participants will be selected and must be available for the full five-day duration. To apply you will need to complete the EoI form on the call page.

Given the high likelihood of securing EPSRC funding as a result of sandpit attendance, these calls are often highly competitive. The assessment will be based on the ability to develop new, adventurous and highly original research; the potential to contribute to research at the interface between disciplines; the ability to work in a team; the ability to explain research to non-experts. You will need to give evidence of your ability to meet these criteria in the EoI.

Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager if you are interested in discussing this further.


ADSS Research and Enterprise Drop-In Session- Thursday 26th November 12.30-1.30

We would like to extend an invite to Arts, Design and Social Sciences colleagues to come along to our next monthly drop-in session on Research and Enterprise. The session will be held 12.30-1.30 in the Design Staff Room on the 2nd floor of CCE2, room 207.

Members of staff from the Faculty Bidding Support Group and RBS will be on hand to talk with colleagues about any issues or questions relating to commercial engagement or research funding. You can discuss an idea you have, identify possible funders or partners, bring along a draft you are working on or anything in between.

Look forward to seeing you there!





Gender considerations in EU research projects

UKRO has helpfully flagged up the website for the EU “Gendered Innovations” project which provides guidance on Question Mark by ryanmilanigender considerations in EU funding. The project has created case studies and key definitions with input from experts from the 28 member states and the USA. This is expected to be useful resource for those considering the gender elements of Horizon 2020 applications. You might also be interseted in the European Commission’s Gender Equality Horizontal Issue Guide when addressing the three aims of gender equality in Horizon 2020 namely to:

  • Address the gaps in the participation of women in the Framework Programme’s projects;
  • Ensure gender balance in decision-making, in order to reach the Commission’s target of 40% of the under-represented sex in panels and groups (50% for Advisory Groups);
  • Integrate gender and sex analysis in research and innovation content in order to improve the scientific quality and societal relevance.

1851 Royal Commission Fellowships and Studentships

The 1851 Royal Commission awards programme for this year is now open to applicants.

With various awards on offer we highly recommend you take a look. Here is a brief outline to wet your appetite:

INDUSTRIAL FELLOWSHIPS – closing date 22 January 2015

Open to outstanding first degree graduates in engineering, science or medicine either nominated directly through a sponsoring company or enrolled on a UK University EngD/Industrial Doctorate programme.

RESEARCH FELLOWHIPS – closing date 19 February 2015

Research Fellowships in Science and Engineering are intended to give early-career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise an opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation. Applicants must be in possession of a recent PhD, or equivalent qualification (normally with no more than 3 years post doctoral experience), and usually intending to carry out their research at a UK.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN STUDENTSHIPS – closing date 29 April 2015

Intended to stimulate industrial design capability among Britain’s most able science and engineering graduates who are intending to make a career in British Industry.

Furthermore, applicants for the next BUILT ENVIRONMENT FELLOWSHIP will be invited in June 2015. A single Fellowship is awarded every other year for two years’ research in a specified study area.




RBS Drop-In for Arts, Design and Social Sciences staff- 1st October

images2Our second drop-in session for members of staff in Arts, Design and Social Sciences will be held in Lipman Cafe 2-3.30 on 1st October. On hand will be the Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager, a Business Development Manager and Pre-Award co-ordinator. Staff with a research idea, a draft application, an application nearing completion, a niggling question or anything research funding related are welcome to come along. No booking is required, just pop along and have a chat!


EPSRC Design the Future

Do You Remember the Future by JD Hancock CC BY 2.0

Do You Remember the Future by JD Hancock CC BY 2.0EPSRC has recently announced the Design the Future call, which aims “to encourage adventurous research addressing future design challenges, researching the effect of new science and engineering on the designers and the design process, leading to the development of future products, processes, devices, services and industrial and infrastructure systems.”

What’s available?

Up to £300,000 in total for small, feasibility projects (18-months duration) that help develop innovative, exciting ideas on engineering design for future applications. EPSRC will review the portfolio of funded projects in 2016 and may then provide additional funding for extensions and further research and impact.

What are they looking for?

Adventurous research with the potential to lead to new products, processes and services. The research supported by this call should explore the following themes:

  • How engineering design can accelerate the adoption of new materials, new processes and new technologies
  • How engineering design can be more creative, more effective and allow for new design paradigms
  • How engineering design is conducted within organisational and manufacturing contexts
  • How engineering designers engage with users and other stakeholders.

How do I apply?

There are two stages to the application process. Stage 1 is a “concept audition” which consists of a short expression of interest form on the EPSRC website followed by a 2 minute pitch to a panel of academic and industry experts, then 10 minutes of questions.

Shortlisted applicants will then be invited into Stage 2, where the idea should be enhanced and developed into a research project that will be assessed at the main interview panel.

The initial concept auditions will be held at various locations in early December 2014, and the closing date for registration is 29th October. In order to attend you must complete the expression of interest on the EPSRC website. Early registration is advisable since EPSRC may operate a first-come, first-served policy if numbers are too high.

We advise you to contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager at an early stage to notify your intention to submit and for advice and guidance on the concept audition process.



Monthly Research Drop-In Sessions for Arts, Design and Social Sciences Staff


Members of the ADSS Faculty Bidding Support Group have arranged research funding ‘Drop-In’ sessions for Arts, Design and Social Sciences staff to be regularly held in the Lipman Building, Room 026. These will be held on the first Wednesday afternoon of every month 2-3.30pm, with the first one this coming Wednesday, 2nd September.

Members of the Bidding Support Group will be available to discuss any issues or questions relating to funding proposals. It can be to discuss an idea for funding, starting a proposal, polishing an ongoing one, bringing a draft along to look at, where to look for funding- or anything in between! We encourage staff with any research funding queries to come along and have a chat.

The sessions will be held 2-3.30pm in Lipman 026 on the following dates, and more dates and venues may be added if demand is high:

3rd September- 2-3.30,

1st October 2-3.30,

5th November 2-3.30,

3rd December 2-3.30

Look forward to seeing you there!


EOI’s from NU Staff for AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards invited

Handshake 52-365 by Julia Taylor CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards scheme that will be closing on 9th July. These awards encourage and develop collaboration between HEI’s and non-HEI organisations and businesses through joint supervision of a PhD student working on a project beneficial to both parties. The award funding covers full fees and stipend for the student. AHRC would also normally expect some form of contribution to come from the project partner on top of the desk-space and staff time that would normally be allocated.

 For this year’s scheme there are highlight notices around ‘Design’ and ‘Connected Communities’. We would normally be allowed to submit only one application, but if spread across the highlight notice areas we could submit up to 3 or 4. CDA’s normally feature only a single studentship, but we can add more if this can be strongly justified and of benefit to the non-HEI partner. Further details below:



Anyone working in an Arts and Humanities related discipline or topic interested in applying is asked to submit a short Expression of Interest to myself via email by 9th June. This should contain details of their proposed non-HEI partner, which highlight notice it will go under, (standard, design or connected communities) and a few lines on the nature of the collaboration and benefits to the partner organisation.


Digital Economy Researchers Colloqium- ACT NOW!!

This has just come to our attention!

A half-day event is being held to serve as a meeting point for all PhD students and researchers across the Digital Economy Network, particularly those involved in crafts and DIY-/maker-/hacker culture. It will take place at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab on the afternoon of the 25th of April 2014 and include tickets for a visit to MakerFaireUK 2014 on 26th and 27th of April 2014.

Send a brief email outlining why you would be interested in participating to Andreas Reiter. Your expression of interest will be published on their website so it might be a good idea to include links to your profile page and contact information. If you do not want your information to be published please make this clear in your email.


AHRC/ESRC Design Fellowships- closing date 24th April 2014


AHRC and ESRC are offering a number of fellowships offering design researchers the opportunity to work in collaboration with a business or public sector organisation that is interested in putting design principles into practice. 24th April 2014 is the deadline for applications, fellows can spend up to 12 months working directly with their partner organisation.

Partnerships have been developed with three organisations that are interested in hosting a funded Design Fellow within their organisation: The Design Council, Skills Development Scotland and The Cabinet Office Policy Lab. Applicants are also able to apply to this call in collaboration with an alternative host organisation or business of their choice. A collaborative project that will be of interest and benefit to both the researcher and the host organisation will need to be proposed.

More information is available at the following link

If interested in applying please contact your R+I lead and myself for more information.