Application Process

Please note: the Platform Grant Scheme closed to new outline applications on 26 May 2017.  EPSRC will only accept full proposals relating to successful outline applications submitted in March and May.

Platform Grants are assessed via a two-stage process.  To have advanced to the full proposal stage (Stage 2) all proposals must have been through the Outline Stage (Stage 1).  This process is outlined below.

Stage 1 - Outline Stage

All applications for a Platform Grant, whether new or renewal, go through an outline stage. This involves contacting the relevant Portfolio Manager to discuss your group's suitability, and the appropriateness of Platform Grant funding. If invited, applicants submit an Outline proposal through Joint electronic submission (Je-S).

The Outline application should comprise a maximum of four pages which includes two pages of text, a separate table (one side) illustrating the group's track record of obtaining funding from EPSRC and a variety of other sources, and a separate list of key recent publications (one side) that demonstrates the group’s track record of working together. Other attachments, such as work plans and justification of resources and so on, should not be included at the outline stage.

The two pages of text for a new Platform Grant must include information under the following headings:

  • Outline of membership of the proposed platform grant group (including Research Assistants to be supported).
  • Context of research (particularly in relation to research activities the group is involved in).
  • Evidence of the group's international standing.
  • Track record of the proposed group.
  • How the group intend to take a strategic view of their research, and the national importance of this research area.
  • How the Platform will be used differently to a standard responsive mode grant.
  • How the group will actively manage and develop the careers of their researchers.
  • Management of the proposed Platform Grant.

The two pages of text for renewal of a current Platform Grant should include information under the following headings:

  • Outline of membership of the proposed platform grant group (including Research Assistants to be supported).
  • Context of research (particularly in relation to research activities the group is involved in).
  • Evidence of the group's international standing.
  • Track record of the proposed group.
  • How they have used the current Platform Grant to meet their original objectives, and the objectives of the scheme which are to provide stability, flexibility and enhanced career development for researchers.
  • How they intend to continue taking a strategic view of their research, and the national importance of this research area.
  • How renewal of the Platform will continue to “add value” above a standard responsive mode grant.
  • How will the careers of researchers continue to be managed, and developed. Management of the proposed Platform Grant.

All applicants for a Platform Grant must hold a substantial portfolio of relevant research grant funding, especially EPSRC funding. The guideline is £2 million of current EPSRC grant funding. This level of funding should be in-place at the time of submitting the outline proposal, and must be maintained over the lifetime of the Platform Grant. In exceptional circumstances, groups with less EPSRC funding might be considered, for example if the group has a substantial amount of funding from other sources such as Industry, EU or other research councils, or the nature of the area implies grants that are small in value. It is expected that each named investigator will contribute research grants to the qualifying portfolio commensurate with their experience.

Note that grants held as principal investigator will only be counted once, and that proportionately less weighting will be given to those grants held by named researchers as co-investigators.

It is not expected that Platform Grants will have Researcher co-Investigators, as fulfilling the requirements for this role (as outlined in the Funding Guide) would not be within the spirit of the scheme.

The table should include details of research funding obtained over the last five years giving details of:

  • The source of funding.
  • Relevant reference number.
  • Start and end date.
  • Title or description.
  • Amount
    In cases where involvement on a grant is as co-investigator, or where only a part of a large grant (eg Interdisciplinary Research Collaborations, or large consortia projects) is relevant only the proportion of direct relevance to the Platform Grant and over which the applicant(s) have operational control should be stated.

Funding which is current at the time of submission must be clearly marked. Details of funding applications under consideration should also be included where these are relevant and must be labelled accordingly. Applicants should consider how they will show that the research activity that would be underpinned will be sustained during the period of Platform Grant funding.

The decision on whether to invite applicants to submit a full proposal will be based on whether this form of funding is both warranted and appropriate. Essentially, on the level and range of research activity that would be underpinned, the need for this type of funding and finally whether the intended use of Platform Grant funding meets the ethos of the scheme. Consideration will therefore be against the assessment criteria for Platform Grant funding. This decision will be communicated to the applicant shortly after the meeting at which their Outline proposal is considered.

Assessment

Outline proposals will be considered by EPSRC staff at internal batch meetings, after which full proposals may be invited, with a deadline for submission of approximately three months later.

The Platform Grant Scheme closed to new outline applications on 26 May 2017

 

Stage 2: Full Proposal

Following an Outline batch meeting, if successful the group will be invited to submit a full proposal which should satisfy the Platform Grant assessment criteria. At this stage a letter will be sent to the applicant detailing the requirements of the full proposal and details of submission including the exact dates for the Interview panel meeting.

The deadline for Full Proposals, relating to outlines proposals successful at the last two Outline Batch Meetings (12 April 2017 and wb 12 June 2017), is 12 September 2017.  These proposals will be assessed at a Platform Grant Interview Panel in wb 22 January 2018.