Summary: The Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation in ICT Research call “seeks to encourage active collaboration between researchers working in different disciplines and/or with users of research. The ICT landscape has rich opportunities for closer working between disciplines and many of the most exciting opportunities emerge at the interface between established areas. Cross-disciplinary research includes novel collaboration within the ICT community, with researchers across the EPSRC portfolio and with researchers funded by other research councils. It also includes collaboration with users of research. Co-creation is the joint creation of a research project by collaborators.”
How much: Up to £5M is available for the call and EPSRC expects to fund 6-10 programmes of work, suggesting somewhere between £500K-£750K per project is the expected size.
Eligibility: The PI must be “a member of the ICT research community”, and the proposal must include ICT research. But, given the title, it must also demonstrate evidence of cross-disciplinarity and co-creation. I assume there will be questions and answers on precisely how one should or could demonstrate this at the information event (see below). Any investigator can only appear on one proposal, either as PI or Co-I.
How do I find out more: An information event is taking place on 4th May at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London, the day after the call launches. You need to book a place by emailing EPSRC Events by 28th April. You should also read the full call specification.
What are the timescales: There is a call for outlines which opens on 3rd May and closes on 14th June. Then the outline panel meets 31st July – 1st August to rank these against the outline proposal criteria. Following this decisions are made about which proposals to take forward to the full call which closes on 27th September. This means anyone invited to submit to the second stage will have to devote substantial time over peak holiday period (August) to preparing a detailed proposal.
Please contact your Research Funding and Policy Manager to discuss further if you are interested in submitting a proposal. Demonstration of strong institutional support is one of the key criteria for this call, so it’s important this aspect is considered carefully at an early stage.
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.
The European Commission is planning an info day in Brussels on the 2nd February. It will focus on the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) dimension of the ICT-related Horizon 2020 calls with deadlines in 2015. Further info, including a draft programme and the EC’s background note on the RRI and SSH is available here.
On the following day, 3rd February, there will be a workshop on RRI and SSH in the ICT-related parts of the work programmes for 2016-17.
Both events will be web streamed. The link will be provided here in the next few weeks.
The Horizon 2020 Energy Efficient Buildings Call 2015 is making up to €62M available for research,development, and coordination activities to intensify the drive to energy neutral buildings by 2020:
“By the end of 2020 (2018 for buildings occupied and owned by public authorities), all new buildings should comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive obligations and thus meet ‘nearly zero-energy’ performance levels using innovative, cost-optimal technologies with integration of renewable energy sources on site or nearby.”
The following is a summary of some of the individual calls for proposals which make up the Energy Efficient Buildings programme under Horizon 2020. I’ve also included a few other related calls which fall under the wider banner of “energy efficiency” in Horizon 2020. All of these calls are, at the time of publication, currently open and I have included deadlines and an estimated project budget. I’ve grouped the calls by action type, i.e. Research & Innovation Actions, Innovation Actions, and Coordination and Support Actions, with a description of each type under the heading. However, you should read the full text of each call because this will clarify the expected Technology Readiness Level for each project.
Research & Innovation Actions
R&I actions usually aim to establish new knowledge and/or explore the feasibility of a new or improved product or process. They may contain limited demonstration and pilot activities designed to show the new product in an operational environment. Of all the H2020 action types, these are closest to the kind of work funded by Research Councils in the UK. The funding rates for all participants (whether industry, SME, university or other public body) is 100% of eligible direct costs, plus 25% of those costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.
Proposals should address advanced solutions required to reduce thermal losses, reduce pressure drops, and improve heat exchange in and between storage material and heat carrier. Having in mind a system approach, innovations are required at different levels. High energy density storage materials are needed in terms of long term multi-cyclic stability at tuneable temperature levels. These advanced energy storage materials should allow regeneration temperatures in a range below 100oC to enable a higher efficiency and effectiveness of thermal energy storage of at least 6 times the energy storage density of water.
The focus should be on the creation of innovative IT ecosystems that would develop services and applications making use of information generated by energy consumers (e.g. through social networks) or captured from sensors (e.g. smart meters, smart plugs, social media) and micro-generation. These applications range from Apps for smart phones and tablets to serious games to empower consumers stimulate collaboration and enable full participation in the market.
Proposals should focus on one or more of the following areas: 1) develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of highly efficient, intelligent district heating and cooling systems; 2) bring down heat distribution losses and integrate storage; 3) develop optimisation, control, metering, planning and modelling tools; 4) develop new solutions for low temperature heat recovery and recirculation.
Research and demonstration on technologies, technical and operational approaches to recover waste heat from industrial processes, from material flows originating in industrial processes (e.g. waste streams, by-products, intermediates) or plant perimeters and to transform it into useful energy forms.
Innovation actions take up more or less where R&I actions finish, they provide funding for activities which may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. They may include limited research and development activities, but are primarily geared towards prototyping, demonstrating and testing previously existing technology/knowledge. This is similar to the the kind of work funded by the Technology Strategy Board in the UK. The funding rates are 70% of direct costs for profit-making entities (i.e. SMEs, industry) and 100% of direct costs for non-profits (e.g. universities) plus 25% of direct costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.
Projects should focus on development and demonstration of solutions which significantly reduce the cost of new buildings with at least ‘nearly zero-energy’ performance levels, whilst accelerating significantly the speed with which these buildings and their systems are taken up by the market.
Research activities should be focused on design at buildings and district level, taking into account the adjacent systems such as district heating/cooling and decentralised thermal energy generation and other interactions with the neighbourhood, giving priority to local renewable resources. Projects should promote and set up an integrated approach in support of innovation, by providing actors with holistic methods and tools.
At building level, the research focus is on developing methodologies and tools to monitor and assess actual building energy performance, considering relevant factors such as user behaviour, complex energy systems performance and weather forecast, and to be able to predict accurately building energy loads and consumption along the whole lifecycle.
Systemic approaches need to be developed which integrate the most promising cost-effective technologies and materials. The solutions could include, for example, energy use through innovative heat pump systems; combination of renewable energy sources at building level; exploitation of heat recovery for water and air as well as ICT, enabling to adapt the system to the end-user behaviour without losing control of the global efficiency of the system.
Coordination and Support Actions
These are primarily designed to support accompanying measures such as standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies. Like Innovation actions, they are not about discovering new knowledge but will work alongside both the above types of actions to support and improve uptake etc. The funding rates for all participants (whether industry, SME, university or other public body) is 100% of eligible direct costs, plus 25% of those costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.
Proposals should target specific actors among a wide spectrum of stakeholders (utilities, industry, financing institutions, non-governmental organisations, consumer associations, interest groups, trade unions, etc). They should provide large-scale capacity building or engagement activities to those specific groups playing a key role in the definition and/or implementation of sustainable energy policies and measures initiated by public authorities.
Projectproposals should focus on changing the behaviour of consumers in their everyday life (e.g. at home, at work, at school), using market segmentation and focussing on ‘action’, the last step of the AIDA (Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action) framework.
Project proposals should focus on one or more of the following areas: 1) Individual heating and cooling; 2) Inspection of heating and cooling systems; 3) Industrial heating/cooling; 4) Energy supply systems; 5) District heating/cooling industry; 6) Develop and demonstrate the tools and methodologies required to conduct the heating and cooling planning procedures necessary at the member state and EU level.
Activities should focus on removing market barriers, in particular the lack of expertise and information on energy management. Proposals should primarily address the uptake of cross-cutting innovative technologies, such as energy efficient electric motor driven systems and steam/hot water generation, because these represent 75% of the potential savings in industry.
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.
Building on the ‘Extracting Understanding from Data’ challenge which resulted from the TI3 workshop held in December 2012, the EPSRC Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Theme invites outline proposals that explore how to make sense from data by addressing high impact challenges for example:
How to convert the vast amounts of data produced into understandable, actionable information
How to efficiently and intelligently extract knowledge for heterogeneous, distributed data while retaining the context necessary for its interpretation
How to ensure new techniques are realistic, compatible and scalable with real-world services and hardware systems.
Northumbria University academic, Claudio Benghi, attended the recent ICT Proposer’s Day (9-10 October, Florence, Italy), funded through Research and Business Services’ EU Networking and Project Preparation Fund, which supports academic staff to attend relevant EC consortium-building events where Faculty funding is unavailable.
Claudio has kindly created the following list of presentations which were delivered at the event; click on the title to see the presentation. Each presentation is a Youtube video and some can be fairly long (1 hour+). However, they provide a very detailed overview of funding opportunities and thematic priorities in this area.
Claudio will be writing a further post about his experiences at the Proposer’s Day event in the next few weeks. If you have any questions about the funding on offer through Horizon 2020 please contact your Faculty Research Funding Manager.