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IGNITE Network+ Flexible Funding


The IGNITE Network+ flexible funding scheme is a major deliverable for the project. A total of £500,000 at 100% fEC is available (40% of the value of the network funding) over the lifetime of the project (Sept-26) to support two schemes: 

  • Sandpit Event for Flexible Funding up to £60k: Increasing the number of diverse PIs/PLs on UKRI grants (FA1) - APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED.
  • EDI Challenges: Identifying barriers and designing disruptive initiatives (FA2) - see latest call details

Pre-announcement Flexible Funding: EDI Challenges in Energy Research, Identifying barriers and designing disruptive initiatives (FA2, round 2)


This pre-announcement is for the second round of the ‘Flexible Funding’ available to solve EDI Challenges in Energy Research by identifying barriers and designing disruptive initiatives (FA2).  The call will be open on 1 April 2024 (closing date 17 May 2024).  We are inviting proposals for suggestions where data collection, support or interventions are particularly needed.  We are particularly keen  to receive proposals around the themes of race/ethnicity (see EPSRC detailed ethnicity analysis report, 2020), LGBTQ+, disability and/or intersectionality.   If you have an idea that you would like to discuss or would like to collaborate with a wider team, please get in touch

Projects can range from £1,000 to £20,000 at 100% full economic cost (fEC). IGNITE Network+ will fund 80% of the eligible full economic cost (fEC). The remaining funding available is £60,000 at 100% fEC.  We anticipate that this will be the final round of funding from this scheme.

Projects from 3 up to 12 months are envisaged, but other lengths can be considered as appropriate for the proposed work.  Projects should be completed before 31 July 2026.

The mains aims and objectives of this funding call are to:

  • Address an EDI challenge in the energy research sector;
  • Generate, design and implement intervention ideas to combat systematic and organisational inequities;
  • Collect data in less well researched EDI areas;
  • Encourage research collaborations between interdisciplinary teams;
  • Foster diverse and inclusive research teams;
  • Develop principles and incentives to support EDI initiatives.

 

Full Call Details, the Proposal Template, and the Equality Impact template will be available to download from 1 April 2024 when the call open.  

You must:

  • be based at a UK organisation eligible for funding.
  • meet individual EPSRC eligibility criteria to hold funding.
     

Call timelines*:

Call Opens

Monday 1 April 2024

Closing Date

Friday 17 May 2024

Funding Level

80% fEC

Available resources for this call

£60,000 (100% fEC)

Maximum Grant value per applicant

£20,0001  (100% fEC)

Application review complete and award decision made by

24 June - 8 July  2024

1 This value is a guide, we will consider larger collaborative grants submitted from a consortium/network of organisations.

Sandpit Event for Flexible Funding: Increasing the number of diverse PIs/PLs on UKRI grants (FA1) - CALL NOW CLOSED

Contents

Summary
Key Dates and Information
Sandpit event guidance
About the Sandpit 
How does a sandpit work?
What are the possible outputs?
Who can submit an expressionof interest
How to apply
Pre-Sandpit assessment
Invitation Process
Post-Sandpit
Questions
Contact details
Download the Guidance (PDF format)
C-DICE Proposal Development Support Workshops 


Q&A from Live Chat



Summary

This call announces ‘Flexible Funding’ available for Increasing the number of diverse PIs/PLs on UKRI grants (FA1). This is to directly address the low number of Project Leads[1] [Principal Investigators in JeS] applying from under-represented backgrounds to UKRI/ EPSRC’s Energy related calls. The total fund available is £360,000 at 100% fEC, we will fund 80% of the eligible full economic cost (fEC), following the standard UKRI funding model.  We are inviting Expressions of Interest to attend a sandpit event (in collaboration with C-DICE - Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure Cities and Energy).
 

The sandpit event is designed for participants to leverage their experience and expertise to design collaborative proof-of-concept research projects, intended to result in larger multi-partner EPSRC grant submissions under the EPSRC’s Energy and Decarbonisation Theme or other relevant UKRI funding schemes with an energy focus.  The Project Lead(s) [Principal Investigator in JeS] should attend the sandpit on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 April 2024 to be eligible to apply for the funding call.  There will be up to 30 places available, and all accommodation and meal costs will be covered by IGNITE Network+. Travel costs will not be covered[2].   To apply to attend this event you should complete a short Expression of Interest form by 9 February 2024.  Further information can be found in the sandpit event guidance section below.

You must:

We are looking to fund projects up to £60,000[4] at 100% full economic cost (fEC). We will fund 80% of the eligible full economic cost (fEC). The total fund available is £360,000 at 100% fEC.  We anticipate that there will be one funding call for this scheme.

Projects up to 12 months[4] are envisaged, but other lengths can be considered as appropriate for the proposed work.  Projects must be completed by 31 July 2026.
 

Key Dates and Information

Nov-23 Pre-announcement Sandpit and Call, 8 Jan-24 Sandpit Call opens, 9 Feb-24 Closig date for Expressions of Interest, 8 Mar-24 Invitations for Sandpit sent out, 16 & 17 April-24 Sandpit Event, 5 Jul-24 Full Proposal arising from Sandpit, 9-13 aug-24 Decisions announced, Sept-Dec-24 Contracts for projects, Jan-25 - Jul-26 Projects run


Please also watch the short clip about the flexible funding from an interview with IGNITE Network+ Director Prof Becky Lunn MBE
Network activities and flexible funding - YouTube
 


 

Funding Level

80% fEC

Available resources for this call

£360,000 (100% fEC)

Maximum Grant value per applicant

£60,000 (100% fEC)


Sandpit event guidance
 

About the Sandpit

The sandpit event is designed for participants to leverage their experience and expertise to design collaborative proof-of-concept research projects, intended to result in larger multi-partner EPSRC grant submissions under the EPSRC’s Energy and Decarbonisation Theme or other relevant UKRI funding schemes with an energy/ Net Zero 2050 focus. 

The Sandpit will be held over the course of two days at Loughborough University. It will start with an introductory session on 16 April 2024 at 10:00 and close on 17 April at 16:00. 

Sandpits are defined by UKRI as having “…. a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants… to drive lateral thinking and radical approaches to address research challenges”. They are a means to develop novel interdisciplinary research, through a structured programme of highly collaborative sessions.

The Sandpit will be an open, intensive and interactive environment. A diverse group of participants will get together for the full two days. They will focus on collaborative thinking and discussion to develop innovative research ideas and outline research proposals, which will be developed into full proposals.

Senior colleagues / mentors will be in attendance to support you to develop your outline proposals and will continue to offer mentorship where requested, with the expectation that successful teams will help to mentor others, to create a self-sustaining culture of inclusivity, equity and support throughout a diverse network of energy experts.
 

How does a sandpit work?

  • EOIs are submitted to attend the sandpit.
  • Up to 30 eligible researchers will be recruited to participate.
  • Through a unique process developed by C-DICE, which encourages divergent and creative thinking and effective team working, the researchers form small teams based on their expertise and research interests.
  • The teams develop an outline research project proposal and work on developing this idea after the sandpit to submit the full proposal by 5 July 2024.
  • Proposals will be peer reviewed by a panel through a competitive process.
  • Decision will be announced 9 – 23 August 2024.
     

What are the possible outputs?

  • Ideas to underpin a proposal for the pilot project.
  • Potential partners with complementary expertise to your own.
  • Building research networks and partnerships in energy for future research initiatives.
     

Who can submit an expression of interest

The Network welcomes Expression of Interest to attend the sandpit from researchers from underrepresented backgrounds3 who have not previously held a UKRI/EPSRC grant as a Project Lead [Principal Investigator on JeS].  You must meet the normal eligibility criteria to apply for UKRI/EPSRC standard research grants.

The Sandpit is open to researchers from a range of disciplines and career stages from any UK Research Organisation that is eligible to receive UKRI funding, typically academic Institutions; check if your institution is eligible for funding.

Researchers should be passionate about engaging in collaborative research with a focus on developing actionable insights and informing solutions around Net Zero 2050, both in the present and in the foreseeable future.
 

How to apply

To participate in the Sandpit, you need to complete an expression of interest form. You must join the IGNITE Network+ as a full member to be eligible to apply https://www.ignitenetplus.ac.uk/join-the-network (membership is free of charge).

Please ensure you fully complete the form, as this is the only information on which potential Sandpit attendees will be selected. No further documentation will be accepted. Attendance for the full two days is mandatory, therefore please ensure this is checked and approved with your research organisation.

The deadline for applications is 9 February 2024.
 

Pre-Sandpit assessment

Applications to attend the Sandpit will be assessed by a selection panel. As a Sandpit is predicated on an ethos of innovative collaborative working, applicants must demonstrate both enthusiasm and appropriate personal attributes for cross-disciplinary collaborative research.

Expressions of interest will be reviewed against the following selection criteria:

  • Relevant research expertise and experience.
  • The ability to develop novel and cutting-edge research ideas.
  • The potential to contribute to research at the interface between disciplines.
  • The ability to work collaboratively and within an interdisciplinary environment.


Please note:

  • Consideration will be given to whether you have applied for a new investigator award and been unsuccessful.
  • You should be eligible to apply for a UKRI standard grant award.
  • We do not assess your academic publication or research track record as part of the process. We are more interested in your ability to engage creatively and constructively in a multidisciplinary environment to generate novel ideas.
  • You should approach the Sandpit without a specific research project in mind.
  • Novel ideas are co-created by Sandpit participants from scratch.
  • We will select participants based on the information in the expression of interest form and your membership form to achieve a diverse spread of participants from across disciplines, experience, and backgrounds.
  • In the event of this opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, IGNITE reserves the right to modify the assessment process.
     

Invitation Process

The IGNITE Network+ will confirm selected participants by Friday 8 March 2024.

Please be advised attendance for the full two days is mandatory.

Those selected to attend will receive further briefing documents via email before the event.
 

Post-Sandpit

Following the Sandpit, the research proposals should be developed, this can be with the team who attended the sandpit or with other partners, and full proposals submitted by the closing date, 5 July 2024. Proposals must be led by researchers eligible to apply for UKRI/EPSRC standard grant funding, and at least one should have attended the sandpit.

To make this funding opportunity more inclusive, we are using a flexible leadership model that allows for one or more project leads to lead the grant (up to three from different disciplines). This enables people to bring different knowledge, skills and experience to the leadership team. 

Allowing more than one project lead also enables the leadership of the funding opportunity to be performed as a job share (you do not need to be in an existing job share arrangement to apply on this basis.)  The work and the funding should be divided equally across the leadership team.

For teams where there is more than one project lead, the team should choose one of the project lead’s organisations to be responsible for submitting the proposals and administering the grant (contacting) should the application be successful.

The full economic cost of a single project can be up to £60,000[4]. IGNITE will fund 80% of the full economic cost (£48,000 maximum funding).  The Research Organisations of the Lead Participants will be required to fund 20% of the full economic cost project costs (as standard).

The timescale for each project is envisaged to be up to 12 months[4].

Final funding decisions will be announced 9 – 23 August 2024.

Please note that attendance at the Sandpit does not guarantee IGNITE funding.
 

Questions

If you have any queries about the flexible fund calls, please email ignitenetplus@strath.ac.uk alternatively we’ll be hosting a live Q&A chat on Slido on Wednesday 31 January 2024, 13:00 – 15:00 and Thursday 8 February 2024, 13:00 – 15:00
 

Contact details

Connect with us
email: ignitenetplus@strath.ac.uk
web: www.ignitenetplus.ac.uk  
X - twitter: @IGNITENetPlus  
linkedIn page: @IGNITEnetworkplus
YouTube: IGNITE Network+ - YouTube


C-DICE Proposal Development Support Workshops

C-DICE - Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure Cities and Energy have a number of free online workshops available to support the proposal development process:

 


[1] Project lead (‘principal investigator’ in Je-S) is responsible for the intellectual leadership and overall management of the project. In this Flexible Funding call we are encouraging up to three project leads sharing equal responsibility. Although, there will be one main contact for contracting.

[2] The IGNITE Carer/ Hardship Fund will provide funding to support network full members with some of the costs associated with attendance at IGNITE Network+ conference, events and activities.

[3] The following groups are underrepresented amongst large-scale EPSRC grant holders: people from Black Asian & Ethnic Minority backgrounds, women, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people.

[4] The value and timescale are a guide, we will consider larger collaborative grants submitted from a consortium/network of organisations.