EPSRC: ICT Theme Early Career Workshops

Data imageThe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has recently announced two two-day workshops for Early Career Researchers working in the area of Information and Communication Technologies. These are:

Sheffield (16-17 Feb 2017)

Cardiff (6-7 Mar 2017)

The workshops will provide an update to EPSRC and ICT Theme strategies and policies, and guidance on applying for grants. The workshops will be attended by a number of EPSRC staff but also by experienced academics from across the ICT portfolio who will provide guidance and mentoring throughout the two days. The events will include a number of facilitated sessions covering topics such as impact from research, career development and a number of new ICT Theme priorities. They will also include opportunities for networking with other ECR colleagues and the previously mentioned mentors.

All prospective attendees will need to complete a short EoI form to register interest in attending. This includes a short biography of career aspirations, primary area of research, why the workshop is of interest, and how you will disseminate information to colleagues at your institution. Each of these sections is a maximum of 100 words. You will need to complete the EoI by 24th November 2016 in order to be considered for a place at the workshops. EPSRC is looking for a balance between research organisations, areas, expertise and career stage, although they are primarily targeting this at “early career” researchers, which is usually up to 10 years post-doctorate, and typically those who have not yet been PI on a grant.

EPSRC will notify successful applicants in the w/c 12th December. The Research Council will cover costs of accommodation, but it will be up to participants to cover their own travel and subsistence costs.

Please get in touch with your Faculty RFPM if you’d like to discuss.



EPSRC Future Photonics Hub Innovation Fund 2016

A light symphony by Kevin Dooley CC BY
A light symphony by Kevin Dooley CC BY

EPSRC has recently announced a call for research projects which add value to and support the objectives of the Future Photonics Hub: http://www.zeplerinstitute.ac.uk/events/innovationfund

Up to £250K is available which may be split among several proposals or awarded to a single proposal. Funding is based on usual EPSRC rules of 80% FEC. Proposal is via a two page application emails to contact@photonicshubuk.org.

The priority areas for the hub are:

  • High-performance silica optical fibres
  • Light generation and delivery
  • Silicon Photonics
  • Large-scale manufacture of metamaterials and 2D materials

Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager if you are interested in applying.


EPSRC New Opportunities in Signal Processing: 2-day Workshop

256-color-dithering-with-irfanview-cc0EPSRC has recently announced a two-day workshop on new opportunities in signal processing. The idea is to open up research in signal processing into new areas and to gain insights from new disciplines. The list of topics they are looking it is very broad and covers many of the disciplines in Northumbria’s Faculty of Engineering and Environment:

  • Communications signal processing in particular in relation to the Internet of Things, 5G and beyond
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Data science (including formation and enhancement, representation and modelling, and, understanding from data)
  • Machine learning
  • Image processing and computer vision
  • Visualisation and immersive technologies
  • Psychoacoustic and visual perception
  • audio (music, speech, environmental)

They are also looking for participants connected to application domains:

  • Healthcare (biostatistics, processing of medical data, data from sensors)
  • Earth sciences and remote sensing
  • Econometrics
  • Robotics and autonomous systems

Those interested in attending need to apply on the web form which asks how your research area fits with the theme of the workshop, and how it might be applied. EPSRC will provide funding for accommodation and subsistence, but not travel to attend the workshop, which will need to be covered from internal research funding (either PI’s personal research accounts or via UoA lead funding).

It is likely that attendance will be beneficial in terms of building academic networks and helping to shape the direction of funding policy in this area in future through EPSRC. Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager if you require assistance with the application form, or if you have any questions about the scheme.


Innovate UK: Robotics and Autonomous Systems Call

Shadow Hand Bulb by Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias CC BY-SA 3.0
Shadow Hand Bulb by Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias CC BY-SA 3.0

Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are joining forces to fund industrially relevant research on robotics and autonomous systems.

The call is open now and the deadline for applications is 26th October 2016 (but be aware that as with most Innovate UK calls, you need to register a week beforehand, by the 19th October).

Robots that are independent of human control can learn, adapt and take decisions. These could revolutionise our economy and society over the next 20 years. Disruptive technologies related to robotics and autonomous systems include mobile internet, automation of knowledge work, advanced robotics, and automated and autonomous vehicles.

We are particularly interested in projects that address one or more of the following:

  • system and system-of-systems engineering
  • system verification, validation and certification
  • design and manufacturing of robotic systems
  • multi-sensor system integration, data fusion and perception
  • control systems for remotely controlled or unmanned system operation
  • cognitive systems for autonomous system behaviour
  • human–robot interaction
  • robot–robot interaction
  • dependability, longevity and safety
  • actuation and locomotion
  • navigation, task and motion planning
  • software systems, architectures and tools

There are two funding streams:

  • Stream 1 is for projects of up to £100k and must be SME-led thought they can be collaborative with other businesses and research organisations (e.g. universities).
  • Stream 2 is for projects of £100k + and can be led by a larger business or SME. At least one SME must be involved in the consortium and research organisations can also take part.

In both streams the maximum contribution for research participants is 30% of the overall costs. If there is more than one research organisation participating this must be split between them. There are varying levels of contribution depending on the type of project (earlier stage technical feasibility or closer to market experimental development) and the size of business. Research organisations get the standard 80% of FEC as per normal Innovate UK/RCUK rules. Further details are in the competition guidance. There’s also a briefing webinar on 27th July which interested applicants should register to attend (only 20 tickets remaining at the time of posting!).

Northumbria staff: please get in touch if you are interested in applying.



RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund- what we know so far…

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through:

  • challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

Below are some slides summarising what we know so far…


EPSRC Early Career Forum in Mathematical Sciences

Grand Challenge Equations by Duncan Hall CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Grand Challenge Equations by Duncan Hall CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

EPSRC is seeking Expressions of Interest for membership in their Mathematical Sciences Early Career Forum. The forum is a way for EPSRC to interact with researchers in the early stages of their career in order to share information on EPSRC policy and process. It is also an opportunity for early career researchers to network with colleagues from across the country, interact with senior academics that have a strong connection to EPSRC and to discuss future EPSRC strategy related to the Mathematical Sciences.

Forum members will be expected to attend two events per year, where there will be a number of interactive sessions on topics such as understanding funding opportunities, the peer review process, accelerating impact and building leadership.

EoI is via a web based form on the EPSRC website and you’ll need to apply by 30th June 2016. Eligibility is not strictly defined in the guidance, but EPSRC state that they are keen to hear from people who are in the process of applying for, or recently awarded, a First Grant.

The criteria you’ll need to address to be selected are below:

  • Rationale for wishing to join the EPSRC Early Career Forum in Mathematical Sciences.
  • How does the applicant’s research fit within the scope of the Mathematical Sciences theme?
  • How does the applicant envisage using membership of the Early Career Forum in Mathematical Sciences to develop as an independent researcher?
  • Evidence of inspiring and giving a lead to fellow researchers.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss your application further, please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager.


Become a member of EPSRC’s Peer Review College

Peer Review Monster by Gideon Burton CC BY-SA 2.0
Peer Review Monster by Gideon Burton CC BY-SA 2.0

EPSRC has issued a call for expressions of interest to join its Associate Peer Review College. The full details of the call and how to apply are given in the call documents available on the page. You can make an application via the web form embedded on the page until 10th May.

This is an excellent opportunity to play a part in deciding how the EPSRC allocates its budgets, and will give an invaluable insight into the process of review and decision-making for EPSRC grant applications. It is highly recommended that any academic staff who have already been successful with EPSRC funding or who are applying/planning to apply in the near future consider applying to join the College.


Membership of the Associate Peer Review College is unpaid and represents a commitment to peer review up to 8 EPSRC proposals in a year. The Associate Peer Review College is the first step on the route to becoming a full Peer Review College member for EPSRC. Graduation to full College membership will depend upon the individual “completing a set number of usable reviews, completing on-line training and maintaining an up to date personal profile to help identify them”. After a member gains experience of reviewing proposals they may be approached to participate in assessment panels, but this is likely to be after substantial experience has been gained.

Criteria used to select members includes academic track record in EPSRC research areas (in journals with high impact factor) and background with business in a relevant sector (including collaborative research with business).


EPSRC to launch academic networking features

EPSRC have announced they will be shortly launching “EPSRC Communities”. Handshake 52-365 by Julia Taylor CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It includes a suite of features that allow academics to set up profiles, manage subscriptions, set up email alerts and bookmark pages for others to see. It will also allow some functionalities to customise your experiences on the site. The system changes are being rolled incrementally as beta testing is completed, and more information can be found at the links below…







EPSRC Invites Proposals Which Address Key Research Challenges Facing…

EPSRC invites proposals that tackle challenges experienced in the Manufacturing Industry today in the UK.

The Manufacturing The Future theme has proiritised Investigator-Led Research Projects.

There is no closing date for this appeal, but proposals are organised around batching dates. The next set of batching dates are 27th February 2015 and 31st August 2015.

For more information, please click here.



EPSRC invites outline proposals for human-interaction with ICT

EPSRC is inviting outline proposals which will look at opportunities for how humans will interact with ICT technology in the future which will involve areas such as wearable devices, autonomous systems and an internet of things.

The call is being run in parallel with the “Making Sense from Data” call, which is being issued simultaneously by the ICT Theme.

Deadline information: Outline proposals due by 4pm, 6 January 2015; full proposals due by mid June 2015.

Further information can be found here.