(The diagram below demonstrates the EPSRC approach to equipment funding; the most appropriate scheme or schemes to apply for are expressed as a function of the scale (from single user to national facility) and the nature of the equipment (from essential underpinning equipment to the cutting edge of innovation). Further details of each of the schemes are described in the following sections.)
A proposal will be classed as instrument development where it is wholly or mainly focussed on creating a novel instrument that will either enable research capability not available using any existing instrument, or will substantially improve research capability beyond what currently exists, in a way that opens up significant new scientific opportunities.
Instrument development can occur in a variety of ways. It might involve the construction of a wholly new instrument from its basic components or it might involve the substantial modification of an existing instrument. Finally, it might involve the integration of two or more existing instruments into a new combined one. In this latter case the proposed integration would need to be technically non-trivial and lead to a capability significantly beyond that of using the component instruments independently. EPSRC has drawn up a flow chart (PDF 64KB) to help applicants decide if their project will qualify for Instrument Development under this scheme.
Equipment for instrument development should be integral to a research proposal and will not need to be co-funded by another partner or go through the strategic equipment process. Items of equipment for instrument development will be funded at 100% full economic costing (fEC), although EPSRC reserves the right to request institutional contributions in exceptional circumstances.
Applicants should note that the instrument development funding applies to the individual pieces of equipment that are being developed. Other equipment requested on the proposal not related to the instrument development will be subject to EPSRC's standard rules for equipment.