First Grant FAQs

Please note: the First Grant scheme closed to new applications at 16:00 on 24 July 2017 and has been replaced by the New Investigator Award scheme. 

Further information about the New Investigator Award is available.

When will the New Investigator Award scheme open?

25 July 2017

When will the First grant scheme close?

4pm on the 24 July 2017

I have been working on an application for a first grant. Will I still be able to use it?

Yes, we anticipate that the relaxation in rules will not fundamentally change the scope of the project type; these will still be awards for self-contained projects for early career academics. The New Investigator awards are designed to give added flexibility to allow new academics to ask for resources for their first project as a group leader, moving from a restricted cost model to a community-driven ‘fit to scheme’ model. There will be more freedom to ask for the resources necessary to complete the project and undertake development activities and we expect a greater degree of support from universities to accelerate the applicant’s career.  We anticipate that any projects currently planned would still fit the scheme, with similar levels of resources and fewer constraints.

I am currently writing an application for a first grant in Je-S. What will happen to that application?

First grant applications may be submitted as normal up to 4pm on the 24 July 2017 and will be treated exactly as previously through the peer review system. As part of the changeover, at 4pm on the 24 July 2017 all un-submitted First grant applications in Je-S will be deleted. We advise applicants to copy their application into a document prior to the closing of the scheme on the 24 July.

I have a first grant currently being processed/undergoing peer review/ awaiting panel in the system. What will happen to my application?

All First Grants submitted before the 25 July 2017 will be processed and peer reviewed as normal. However if the First Grant has not be sent to reviewers it may be withdrawn and resubmitted to the New Investigator Award Scheme.

I am planning to submit a first grant application to Healthcare technologies / Manufacturing the future, for which there are batch dates at the end of July. What will happen to these deadlines?

In order to submit a first grant, you must submit before 4pm on July 24 2017. The batching dates for First grants in these themes have therefore been altered to the 24 July. Future batching dates for New Investigator Awards within these themes will be the same as those planned for First Grants.

Is it possible to fund a PhD studentship on a First Grant?

No, we do not support PhD students on Research Grants.

Is it possible to use a DTP on a First Grant?

Investigators cannot request doctoral training partnership (DTP) students' fees or stipend on a First Grant, but a DTP student may work on the proposed research; however, no travel or general consumables costs should be charged for them as they are covered by the DTP mechanism. Before including a DTP student on a First Grant, speak to the relevant Portfolio Manager at EPSRC to discuss how their time spent on the First Grant integrates into the full DTP studentship project. Additionally, EPSRC must know that the DTP student has a high quality project in place if the grant is unsuccessful.

Is it possible to use externally funded students on a First Grant?

Externally funded students may work on a First Grant, but their funding source should be properly explained.

I am on a fixed-term appointment, am I eligible to apply for a First Grant?

Yes, provided the eligibility criteria are met. The grant duration must not exceed the period of your appointment with the university.

I have been employed by more than one UK University. Am I eligible to apply for a First Grant?

You are eligible if you have been appointed to a post in a UK university within the last 36 months, or are still within their probation period. If you have previously been employed at an eligible organisation, then the 36 months starts from the date of the first appointment.

I have been Co-Investigator on a previous proposal. Can I apply for a First Grant?

Yes, if this is your first proposal as a Principal Investigator (PI),

Am I eligible if I have been a Principal Investigator on a component of a joint proposal?

No, this will count as your first application to EPSRC and you would therefore be ineligible to apply for a First Grant. However, if you were a Co-Investigator on a single, multi-institution proposal you would still be eligible.

What if there has been a significant break in the 36 months, such as maternity leave?

If you have had a different pattern of academic experience, for example working part-time or taking a significant career break (incl. illness, maternity or paternity leave or equivalent or a period of working outside of academia in a non-related role), you may be eligible to apply. Please contact one of the First Grant scheme contacts for advice.

I have submitted an EPSRC grant proposal through an outline stage but was unsuccessful, am I still eligible to apply for a First Grant?

Yes, if you were not invited to submit a full proposal you are still eligible for a First Grant. If you did get invited to submit full proposal that will count as your first application to EPSRC as a PI and you are not be eligible for a First Grant.

I currently hold a Research Fellowship. Am I eligible for the First Grant scheme?

Current or past holders of EPSRC Fellowships are not eligible, except previous holders of EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowships. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows and University Research Fellows who receive their 150K additional grant from EPSRC are not eligible.

If you hold any other research Fellowship, you can only apply if your university gives you the same stature as a permanent academic member of staff, as described in the EPSRC Funding Guide under "Eligibility of Investigators".

Which other grants can I hold and still apply for a First Grant?

The aim of the First Grant scheme is to support new academics (early career researchers who have recently acquired their first academic lectureship position) with limited experience of applying for funding. Therefore, if you have a track record of peer reviewed grants (as a Principal Investigator) from equivalent funders (in the UK or abroad) and/or are taking up a senior academic position you may not be eligible to apply.

Please contact one of the First Grant scheme contacts for advice on eligibility.

However, if you hold any of the following and meet the other eligibility criteria, you may apply for a First Grant:

  • Industrial CASE Studentship
  • Overseas Travel Grant
  • Basic Tech Grant
  • EPSRC Studentship (through DTP or CDT")
  • Workshop Grant
  • Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (CASE) for New Academic
  • EPSRC postdoctoral fellowship

You are still eligible if you have applied as a PI to other UK Research Councils and meet the other eligibility criteria, as this will be outside of EPSRC's remit.

How are First Grant proposals handled at the panel?

First Grant proposals are assessed at Standard Research prioritisation panel meetings. First Grants are ranked separately to Standard Research proposals, so are not in direct competition; however, both schemes are funded from the same budget, so the number of successful First Grants depends on the overall quality of all proposals at the panel and the funding available. After the panel meeting, funding decisions are made by the Theme Lead in consultation with the EPSRC staff that attended the panel.

Do I need to include a CV in my application?

No, this is not a required document for the First Grant scheme.

Am I allowed a Co-Investigator on a First Grant?

If the grant crosses disciplinary boundaries, a Co-Investigator is permitted if it is demonstrated they are from a different discipline to the Principal Investigator. For example, we would not expect the Co-Investigator to be from the same department as the Principal Investigator.

Can I include equipment or Instrument development on a First Grant?

Yes, providing it fits within the £125K cap. Normal equipment rules apply on a First Grant.

Can I have project partners on a First Grant?

Yes.

Can I transfer with my First Grant to a different Institution?

Yes, if there is a minimum of six months duration left on the grant. A request to transfer to another Host Organisation should be submitted via Je-S grant maintenance and include a Host Organisation Statement (HOS) from the receiving Research Organisation. The HOS should promise a similar or greater level of support than the original statement, and in general should be provided by the head of department.

See also Transferring Grants.

Can my First Grant be transferred to a new PI?

No, a First Grant can only be held by the original applicant.