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Part one - Introduction

Our role and responsibilities

EPSRC is the UK’s main agency for funding research and related postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences.  It is one of eight research councils, formed under royal charter (Science and Technology Act 1965). The research councils are non-departmental public bodies, funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Our responsibility and mission is to promote and support, by any means, high quality basic, strategic and applied research and related postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences.

To advance knowledge and technology (including the promotion and support of the exploitation of research outcomes), and provide trained scientists and engineers, which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries (including the chemical, communications, construction, electrical, electronic, energy, engineering, information technology, pharmaceutical, process and other industries), thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of Our United Kingdom and the quality of life.

In relation to the activities above, as engaged in by the Council and in such manner as the Council may see fit, to:

  • Generate public awareness
  • Communicate research outcomes
  • Encourage public engagement and dialogue
  • Disseminate knowledge
  • Provide advice
  • Our vision is for the UK to be the most dynamic and stimulating environment in which to engage in research and innovation.

We will deliver a significant and visible contribution towards:

  • Excellence -supporting world class people and projects through open, transparent and effective operations.
  • Engagement -building strong alliances throughout the research and innovation system involving researchers themselves, business, funding partners, the public and our own staff.
  • Empowerment - promoting an enterprising culture of adventure and excitement in which people seize opportunities and make things happen.

Through the funding of research and postgraduate training, EPSRC contributes to increasing the nation’s knowledge and expertise, helping the UK to build a lead in technology and ultimately improving prosperity and the quality of life for us all. EPSRC also actively promotes public engagement with science, engineering and technology.

EPSRC works alongside its sister research councils who have responsibility for other areas of research. In particular, EPSRC hosts the secretariat for Research Councils UK executive group. Through Research Councils UK, the research councils are working together to create a common framework for research, training and knowledge transfer. The publication scheme for Research Councils UK is incorporated within the EPSRC scheme.

EPSRC website

Research Councils UK website

Purpose of the Publication Scheme

All public authorities designated under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are obliged to adopt and maintain a publication scheme.

The EPSRC publication scheme, drawn up under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, sets out all the information we publish, and states how this information will be published. It informs you if the information is available on our website or if it may be purchased from HMSO, or if it can be obtained from a public library or will be supplied promptly when requested from EPSRC by letter, fax or email.

The aim of a publication scheme is to develop a greater culture of openness by publishing more information with regard to the public interest and focusing on key areas of accountability. A publication scheme should ensure that a large amount of non-personal information is readily available to members of the public (without the need for specific consideration under the Freedom of Information Act) and should inform the public about what material is available.

Part 2 of this document sets out the classes of information that the EPSRC publishes or intends to publish.

Responsibility for the Publication Scheme and Contact Details

Our Information Manager is responsible for maintaining our publication scheme. Contact details: Carl Thompson, EPSRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1ET, foi@epsrc.ac.uk

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information Act received royal assent on 30 November 2000. It establishes a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. Individuals are entitled, on making a request for information, to be informed in writing whether the information of the description specified in the request is held and, if so, to have that information communicated, unless the information falls under one of the specific exemptions in the act.

The act gives a time limit of 20 working days for dealing with a request for information. There is also an appeal mechanism, where individuals may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether EPSRC dealt with a specified request in accordance with the act.

Copies of the act are obtainable, for a charge, from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. A copy of the act is also available on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36) page of the UK Government Legislation website.

Comments or Complaints

Please send any comments or complaints about this publication scheme that should initially be sent to our Information Manager. If you are dissatisfied after a complaint has been investigated, you may ask for the matter to be further reviewed within EPSRC. If you are still dissatisfied, you may then refer their complaint to the Information Commissioner.

We aim to deal with the investigation of complaints within 20 working days, and to complete internal reviews within 20 working days.

Our complaints procedure is also published on the complaints procedure page.

Charging

All the classes of information we commit to publishing under this scheme are either published on our website, held electronically, or can normally be made available free of charge, in hard copy, if requested. This includes a copy of this document.

We may make a charge where the cost of extracting the information requested is high, for example, requests for multiple copies or multiple documents. We will adhere to the fees regulations issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs. Details of these charges can be found on the The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 page of the UK Government Legislation website, within the appropriate limit and fees regulations 2004.

Copyright

The material available through this publication scheme is subject to copyright protection, unless otherwise indicated. Copyright-protected material may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context. Where any copyright items on this scheme are being republished or copied to others, the source of the material must be identified and the copyright status acknowledged.

Permission to reproduce copyright protected material does not extend to any material accessed through the publication scheme where the copyright is held by third parties. Permission to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.

Requests for Non-Personal Information: Freedom of Information Act 2000

If the information you require is not in the publication scheme, you can make a request for the information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please contact our Information Manager in writing or by email, giving your name, address, the information/documents required, and the method of access (for example, hard copy, email etc).

Your right of access to information is subject to a range of exemptions covering issues like security, international relations and commercial confidentiality. We may need to apply a public interest test to decide whether or not we can release some information.

Information is normally available free of charge. If we make a charge we will adhere to the fees regulations issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

We aim to respond to your request within 20 working days. However, we may need longer if significant search or collation of material is required, or if we need to consider the public interest test. We will reply to you in writing with a response to your request.

If you are not satisfied that we have complied with the Freedom of Information Act in our response, you can make an appeal. We have a three-stage appeals process. In the first instance you should complain to our Information Manager. If they cannot resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you can make a complaint to our Director of Communications & Information who will formally investigate the matter. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Requests for Personal Information: Data Protection Act 1998

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to request access to personal information held about yourself. This right to access is subject to exemptions which may affect our ability to supply information.

You are entitled to know: whether we hold any personal data concerning yourself; for what purposes the data are processed; the recipients or classes of recipients to whom the data are or may be disclosed; and any information we have about the source(s) of the data.

You are also entitled to be given a copy of the personal information with any technical terms explained.

To request access to your personal information, please contact our Information Manager in writing. We will deal with your request promptly, and within a maximum of 40 days.

If you feel that we have not dealt with your request in accordance with the Data Protection Act, you can take further action.

You can write to the Information Commissioner, who will assess whether we have complied with the act. They may issue enforcement proceedings if satisfied that we have contravened one of the data protection principles.

Alternatively you can apply to the court alleging a failure to comply with the subject access provisions of the act. The court may make an order requiring compliance with those provisions and may also award compensation for any damage suffered as a result, and any associated distress.

Resources

Contacts

EPSRC FoI