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Oxford has received a time-limited institutional sponsorship award from the EPSRC as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). £330k has been awarded, which must be spent by 31 March 2018.

The award is be used to fund engineering and physical sciences research and impact projects that aim to help address the problems faced by low and middle income countries – specifically those on the DAC-list

Grants available

There is no requirement for the beneficial output of the research to arise during the life of the grant, but the proposed research should investigate a specific problem or seek a specific outcome which will impact on the economic development and welfare of DAC-listed countries.

Multidisciplinary projects can be supported, but the majority of the work must be EPS research.

Projects can pump-prime new areas or build on existing work and collaborations. Applications are invited in the following categories:

Building collaborations: support for activities to pump-prime collaborations with partners in DAC countries. Partners can include e.g. universities, research institutions, aid agencies or industry. Activities could include short inward or outward secondments, or workshops with international partners to kick-start initiatives on a particular issue. ‘General networking’ is not eligible – workshops must be focussed and have tangible actions arising from them.

  • Pilot/scoping projects: strategic activities to consider and advance the development applications of EPS research areas in order to better place ideas to realise the potential of future GCRF calls and funding. Business case and proposal writing activities are not eligible.
  • Bridging/retention support: For the retention of key personnel to build on existing work or pump-prime new short-term research projects likely to lead to development opportunities for DAC countries.
  • Doctoral prize funding: Support for outstanding PGR students who have submitted their thesis/completed to continue or progress work with development potential. Projects can be up to nine months in duration (must finish by 31 March 2017).
  • Accelerating impact/knowledge exchange: Aim to advance/de-risk previous EPSRC-funded research outputs towards the point at which the technology is sufficiently robust to be of beneficial use to DAC countries, or to transfer existing know-how to partners in DAC countries. Activities can include proof-of-concept studies, prototyping, scale-up testing/development or secondments.
  • Other activities, not listed above but that are ODA compliant, may be able to be supported under this scheme. If you have such an idea please contact martin.edmunds@mpls.ox.ac.uk to discuss ahead of applying.

In light of current financial constraints, MPLS departments should not use the funds to appoint new staff who would represent an ongoing financial liability beyond 31 March 2018. Applicants from other divisions should check with their Divisional Offices for guidance on this matter.

Eligible uses of the funding

ODA compliance

RCUK describe ODA compliant projects as those whose primary aim is to:

  • promote the welfare and economic development of a country or countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients (the DAC list can be found at annex A)
  • designed to address a development need, and
  • focus on developing country problems

Further information on GCRF and Official Development Assistance can be found on the RCUK website.

All projects must be able to clearly demonstrate that their primary focus is to aid the development of a country or countries on the DAC list.

Research projects

  • All areas of EPS research can be included (there is no requirement for a link to EPSRC-funded research)
  • Multidisciplinary projects can be supported, but the majority of the work must be EPS research
  • Projects may be pump-priming in new areas or build on existing work and collaborations
  • A proportion (i.e. not all) of individual project funding may be used to build partnerships with appropriate stakeholders
  • International collaboration with partners in ODA-eligible countries is encouraged

KE and impact projects

  • For knowledge exchange and impact acceleration projects there must be a link to previously funded EPSRC-research

Terms & conditions

  • Projects and expenditure must be complete by 31 March 2018no extension past this date is possible
  • May not be used for capital items of equipment
  • Projects are funded at the standard 80% fEC model
  • No business case or proposal writing activities
  • No general networking activities allowed
  • No requirement for match funding or effort from partners, beyond the department’s 20% fEC contribution
  • All money must remain under the financial control of the University – it cannot be transferred to partners

How to apply

Applicants must complete an online application form which can be accessed here: https//irams.ox.ac.uk

The deadline for applications is 1pm Friday 1 September.

Assessment process

Decisions will be made by a multi-disciplinary panel of academics, chaired by the PVC (Research & Innovation) or his nominee.

The following assessment criteria will be used by the panel to tension applications:

  1. Relevance to an identified development need
  2. Excellence of the science/proposal
  3. Potential to lead to follow-on activities eligible for future GCRF support
  4. Deliverability within the EPSRC-defined spend timeframe
  5. International partners: existing international partners, or a clear plan to establish such partnerships

Further information

For more information on this specific EPSRC call, or to discuss an application, please contact martin.edmunds@mpls.ox.ac.uk

For more general information on the wider GCRF please see https://www1.admin.ox.ac.uk/researchsupport/sponsors/gcrf/