Scope of the Platform Grant scheme
Platform grants are one of the key mechanisms by which EPSRC strives towards maintaining and developing the strength of the UK engineering and scientific research base, by supporting, through underpinning funding, established UK groups considered to be world leading in their fields. The aim of Platform Grant funding is to provide a baseline of flexible support (a platform) that can be used for the retention of key staff, feasibility studies, longer-term research and International Networking. This flexibility should enable the group to take a strategic view of their research which will be enhanced by the submission of responsive mode applications during the lifetime of the Platform Grant.
Applicants are required to have an internationally leading reputation and a high international profile. They must be able to demonstrate that their group has a strong track record in obtaining support from EPSRC and other funding sources. They should hold a substantial portfolio (a range of grants relating to the research area of the Platform Grant) of current EPSRC research grant funding, typically over £2 million in value which Platform Grant funding would underpin. In some cases funding from other sources (eg other Research Councils, EU, Technology Strategy Board, and Industry) may be taken into account depending on the nature of the funding, and type of grant. As a guide this portfolio should be at least double the level of resources that Platform Grant funding would provide. The portfolio that would be underpinned should be sustained to a significant degree during the period of the proposed Platform Grant.
As a guide the following are excluded from inclusion in the groups current EPSRC grants portfolio:
- Training Awards
Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) studentships, Centres for Doctoral Training
- Fellowship Awards
These are personal awards and not part of the group’s portfolio in the same way as standard research grants
- Programme Grants, EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing, Research Hubs and similar awards
Typically, these are longer / larger grants which by their nature offer longer-term stability and already allow considerable flexibility in their operation.
Applications for Platform Grants should be staff-centric, and EPSRC expects the directly incurred costs to be research and technical staff time, travel and consumables. It is also expected that any other resources requested, for example investigators' time, are appropriate to the planning and management of the Platform Grant. Please note:
- Equipment / instrumentation are not permitted on a Platform Grant application.
The awards are to provide base-line funding to leading groups and are for periods of up to five years. The expectation is that requests will be for between 80 and 140 man months of staff time (research and technical combined) and that resources requested are appropriate to the group's research portfolio. The balance between the level of resources requested and support from other sources will be considered during deliberations on the appropriateness of Platform Grant funding.
Current holders of Platform Grants are allowed the opportunity to renew their award in a seamless manner, subject to competitive peer review. This is in accordance with the stated aim of the Platform Grant scheme to allow the UK’s internationally leading research groups to undertake longer term and more adventurous research. This should ideally be carried out six to twelve months before the end date of a group’s current Platform Grant in order to facilitate a smooth transition into the renewal period.