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Internal funding opportunity: EPSRC Global Challenge Research Fund pump-priming grants

EPSRC has offered the University an institutional sponsorship grant to support development of a portfolio of research projects and Knowledge Exchange activities compliant with the Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The GCRF will become a key part of the UK government’s commitment to spending at least 0.7% of UK Gross National Income (GNI) annually on ODA.

Applications are invited for research projects and knowledge exchange activities compliant with the ODA guidelines, i.e. research primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries and where establishing economic development and welfare of developing countries is the main objective of research. The research can be carried out in UK or abroad and there is no requirement that matched funding or effort should be attracted from international research partners; international collaboration with partners in ODA-eligible countries is encouraged to maximise the impact of the funding and to ensure the research is ODA compliant. The list of ODA eligible countries is available here.

Expected use of funds:

  • All areas of engineering and physical sciences research can be included as long as the topic is compatible with ODA guidelines.
  • Multidisciplinary projects may be supported as long as the majority of the work proposed is within the EPSRC remit and they comply with ODA guidelines.
  • Research projects may be pump-priming in new areas or build on existing collaborations within EPSRC remit.
  • Knowledge exchange or impact acceleration activities should be based on previously funded EPSRC research, as for EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts.

Terms of the internal grant award:

  • The grants will be awarded according to the standard full economic costing model, covering 80% of eligible costs.
  • Terms and conditions of standard EPSRC research grants apply. The grant funds may not be used for capital expenditure, i.e. no single items of equipment above the £10k threshold are permitted. Student fees, stipends and any related costs are not eligible expenditure on this grant.
  • The projects will start on 1st August 2016 and must end by 31 March 2017. The end of the grant is non-negotiable and the grant cannot be used to pay for the activities beyond the end date of the grant - 31 March 2017.
  • EPSRC requires that 75% of the expenditure on these grants is spent in this calendar year, i.e. by 31st December 2016.
  • All applicants for grants from this Fund need to make sure that their projects can start on 1st August 2016 or soon after and that the proposed activities can be delivered by end March 2017.
  • Any member of staff (RA) that you may want to employ on a project funded from this grant needs to be available to start on 1 August or soon after the start date. No extensions or delays to the start date for any reason including delays in recruitment will be accommodated. The grant must end and funds must be spent by 31st March 2017.

Application process:

Funding is available for research and knowledge exchange projects of up to £50,000 (100% fEC) which are compliant with ODA. Interested applicants should submit:

  • An application form (available at the bottom of this page)
  • X5 (with costs calculated at 100% fEC)

and send it to by 24th June 2016. The project applications will be reviewed by an internal review panel and applicants will be informed of the outcome by 18th July 2016. The projects should start on 1st August 2016 or soon after. These very tight deadlines are outside University’s control.

Reporting requirements:

Successful applicants will be required to submit estimated expenditure on the grant up to (i) 31 December 2016 and (ii) 31 March 2017 by 1st November 2016. The final report on expenditure including the estimated expenditure until 31 March 2017 will need to be submitted by 15 March 2017. The timetable is set by EPSRC as it will need to report to BIS on the ODA expenditure in 2016/17. Failure to submit expenditure report for any of these two dates will result in withdrawal of funding.

If you have any queries, please consult the EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund FAQs document below and do not hesitate to contact us at