Equipment on Research Grants

(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.)

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Individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000 can be included on proposals for individual research projects if the equipment is essential to the proposed research and if no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed. Additional justification of the requirement for individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000, and details of the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment, must be provided in the Justification of Resources (JoR). For any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000 (including value added tax [VAT]) a two-page Equipment Business Case must also be included in the proposal documentation. Guidance on how to prepare an Equipment Business Case is provided below.

Any items of equipment with a value in excess of £138,000 (including value added tax [VAT]) that are funded on research will need to be reported on annually as part of the University's Equipment Portfolio Annual Reports. This will be communicated via an additional grant condition on the research grant.

Preparing your proposal

For proposals requesting items of equipment or combined assets worth between £10,000 and £400,000 (including VAT), applicants must attach a letter of support from the research organisation or project partner detailing the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment. Where EPSRC determines that it is prepared to support the equipment, EPSRC will contribute a percentage of the final purchase price and will expect the research organisation or project partner to contribute the remainder from non-EPSRC funding. Contributions of the order of 50% of the full cost of the equipment will be expected given that EPSRC capital provision has been reduced by this amount. The fEC value in Je-S should be the total (quoted) cost of the equipment. The Research Council contribution should be the amount requested from EPSRC (50%). EPSRC reserves the right to negotiate the percentage contribution in some cases if the proposed contribution is not affordable.

For joint proposals, we expect the applicants and their research organisations or project partners to agree amongst themselves the levels of contribution from the different organisations, and the ownership and hosting arrangements for the equipment. Information should be provided in the JoR.

Reviewers will be asked to comment explicitly on the viability of the arrangements described to access equipment needed for this project, and particularly on any university or third party contribution and the reviewers and panel will be asked to consider the proposed contribution in relation to the value for money of the proposal and this may influence the final position of the proposal in the rank ordered list.

Examples of eligible equipment costs include high-specification computers, laboratory/workshop equipment, software, installation costs and costs of major essential modifications necessary to house equipment (for example, clean rooms or extension of air conditioning).

Quotations

Equipment Type Quotation requirements Notes
Under £10K No quotes required  
£10K-£25K No quotes required  
£25K-£138K Three verbal quotes to be detailed in the JoR Written quotes are optional. If there is a sole supplier or fewer than three quotes this should be justified in the JoR
Over £138K Three written quotes If there is a sole supplier or fewer than three quotes this should be justified in the JoR

Equipment Business Case

Each item of equipment or combined asset which is included in a proposal which costs more than the current OJEU must be accompanied by an Equipment Business Case. The following information must be included in the two-page Equipment Business Case and must be laid out in this order.

  • PI name
  • Host Institution
  • Item: Name and specific model (if relevant) of the item of equipment
  • Vendor: If a preferred vendor is known, this should be stated along with the reasons why. In any case, the mechanism that will be used to identify the preferred supplier should be articulated.
  • Description: Briefly describe the item of equipment and its primary functions. Please explain how the specifications of the instrument make it different from other similar equipment available for use.
  • Cost:

    Please set out the expected cost of the item(s) of equipment in pounds sterling (inclusive of VAT) and list any associated maintenance or support costs.

    Less expensive items of equipment that are intrinsically associated with the equipment may also be requested. Funding for maintenance of the equipment or for implementing or managing any sharing mechanisms can also be requested.

    In order to assist EPSRC's financial planning, please state clearly the anticipated funds that would be requested from EPSRC (in other words cost after the deduction of any contributions) making a clear distinction between cost of equipment item(s) and the cost of any associated resources. Please describe the timescales associated with procurement of the equipment and when you anticipate you will spend any capital provision made.

  • Usage: Indicate the proportion of equipment time that will be available for use by the group managing the equipment, other groups at the same institution, and researchers at other institutions. Indicate how additional users of the equipment will be identified and how all users will be prioritised. Information should be provided on the anticipated demand, indicating the likely main users and where they will be based. You should describe how you plan to interact and/or collaborate with key groups or shared facilities in your research area.

    Note that it is acceptable for the equipment to be used entirely by one research group although this would need to be very carefully justified. EPSRC are looking to maximise the usage of equipment for high quality research, not necessarily share it as widely as possible.

  • Support: Please indicate how the item of equipment will be supported and maintained for the duration of any current or proposed research funding including any costs that would be recouped through charging.
  • Strategic Case: Please describe the research enabled by the equipment and/or the value added to existing research programmes. Indicate which of the EPSRC's strategic priorities are met by the research enabled by this equipment. Describe how these priorities are met. Explain how the purchase of this item of equipment will compliment or enhance regional and/or national research capability. If an Equipment Roadmap exists for the type of equipment requested, please explain how this item relates to the roadmap.
  • Ensuring Maximum Value: Explain how the requested equipment will fit with other items of equipment, infrastructure and people support already at your university. Please indicate how the requested item(s) fits the strategy of your department and institution.
  • Contribution from Other Sources: Please describe here what contributions to the cost, operation or maintenance of the item of equipment will be found from other sources.
  • Alternatives: In the case that the proposal for equipment is not supported, describe the alternative options for using existing equipment of different specification or at other locations.