New Investigator awards: Applicant eligibility and Project suitability

The New Investigator Award scheme is to support individuals who have recently acquired their first academic lectureship position, have not previously led an academic research group or been the recipient of a significant grant (usually defined as those which included PDRA time, capital equipment or were in excess of £100,000 (FEC)).

New Investigator Awards should provide foundational funds to initiate a research group, coupled with sufficient provision from their host institution to ensure a boost to career development and the underpinning support to establish the applicant within their research field.

Acceptance to the scheme will be judged by EPSRC before the application is sent to expert peer review and is made on the basis of the content of the cover letter and the level of resources requested in the application. These will be viewed against the descriptions in the tables below.

If EPSRC assess that the applicant is not eligible to apply for the scheme, or that the project exceeds the scope set out below, the applicant will be asked to withdraw the proposal and resubmit to standard mode.

We will not ask peer review to comment on eligibility.

Applicant eligibility

Guidance

Career stage

Applicants should not have previous experience of leading an academic research group or grant (see below). Applicants who have previously been in industry and are transitioning to academia are welcome to apply.

Applicants must comply with the standard EPSRC terms for eligibility to hold research grants. If you have a fixed-term appointment, you are eligible providing your contract extends beyond the end date of the proposed research. If you are employed in a staff post on a research grant, you are not eligible to be a Principal Investigator unless you hold an academic fellowship.

Application history to EPSRC

The application to the New Investigator Award must be the applicant's first to EPSRC as a Principal Investigator, excepting Postdoctoral Fellowships, overseas travel grants and unsuccessful Early Career Fellowship applications. Other exceptions may also be considered, please refer to the FAQs.

Funding history

Applicants should not hold, or have held, grants or industry sponsorship which have provided funds to set up a research group. This includes any previous funding which provides PDRA time, equipment over £10k or, normally, any research grant over £100,000. Further details can be found in the FAQs.

Institutional support awarded specifically to support this application will not detract from eligibility for the scheme, and is encouraged.

Co-Investigators

A specific aim of a New Investigator Award is to give a new Principal Investigator experience of leading their first research group as an independent academic investigator. As such, Co-Investigators should only be involved where they clearly bring complementary and different skills to the project and are from a different discipline to the PI. For example, we would not normally expect any Co-Investigator to be from the same department as the PI.

Working Patterns

In common with all our schemes, EPSRC welcome applicants from a diverse pool. To support this we would encourage the use of flexible working patterns to accommodate the needs of the individual for example part time working or return from career breaks. Please see our equality and diversity pages for more information.

Project outlines and resources

Guidance

Project selection and duration

Projects should be self-contained and comprise a single research vision with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. The duration of the project should be appropriate to deliver these.

Complex, multi-facetted research projects with many objectives are not appropriate for this scheme.

PI time

Principal Investigators should allocate time to a level appropriate for the management of the research team and project, to undertake their contribution to the research, carry out career development and take into account other activities expected of, and beneficial to, an early career academic.

Applicants who wish to allocate the majority of their time to research should consider the EPSRC fellowship scheme instead of a New Investigator Award.

Staff

Level of staff time requested should be commensurate with a self-contained project at the start of a research group, E.g. Up to 1-3 PDRA years.

Career Development and University Support

EPSRC expect career development to be an inherent part of the proposal. EPSRC encourage applicants to include specific plans for career development activities within the proposal and ask for resource to enable them.

University support should be appropriate to the foundation of a research group, including allocation of resources (e.g. students, access to facilities, PDRA time etc.), commitment to an applicant’s initial and ongoing professional development and opportunities to maximise the impact and communication of their research. Examples could include allocation of a mentor, reduction of non-research commitments, and access to university support mechanisms.

Levels of support should be proportional to the scale of the grant and offer greater levels of career development than expected on a standard application.

University support should be clearly addressed within the Host Organisation Statement and include development plans beyond the duration of the grant. Proposals without a supporting Host Organisation Statement or with insufficient evidence of support will be rejected by EPSRC.

Costs

Equipment

Equipment must be project specific and the primary user should be the holding academic.  EPSRC do not expect requests under this scheme for strategic equipment, equipment which an early career researcher would be expected to have access to, nor equipment which exceeds the OJEU limit. Excepting those differences, the standard EPSRC equipment rules apply.

Travel

Consumables, travel costs, impact activities and facilities access can be asked for similarly as to standard mode. Applicants should articulate how these aspects of the proposal can maximise their career development, training and breadth of experience.

Facilities

Impact

Consumables