How to prepare a proposal
To apply for funding, you must fill in an application form on the Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) system and attach certain documentation. Projects made up of multiple proposals have additional guidance. Some Calls for proposals may have specific requirements, which will be described in the Call Document.
Important note: For data analysis purposes, we ask that applicants do not include the words ‘Cov-19’, ‘Covid-19’ or ‘Coronavirus’ in the Lay Summary, Technical Summary or Title sections unless the application relates to proposed research in this area.
All attachments must be completed in single-spaced typescript in Arial 11 or other sans serif typeface of equivalent size, with margins of at least 2cm. Arial narrow and Calibri are not allowable font types. Text in embedded diagrams or pictures, numerical formulae or references can be smaller, as long as it is legible. Text in tables and figure labels not within embedded diagrams or pictures should be at least 11 point.
We recommend that all attachments are uploaded into Je-S as Adobe Acrobat files (PDF) as uploading word documents can result in layout changes to the document. Also, as EPSRC do not support all Microsoft Office Word font types, unsupported fonts will be replaced possibly resulting in layout changes to the document.
EPSRC reserve the right to reject applications that do not meet these requirements.
Information in the public domain
If your application is funded, some information from your application will be published through Grants on the Web (GoW), Gateway to Research (GtR) and Visualising our Portfolio (VOP). Before writing your application, look at some grant records on these pages to see what information would be in the public domain. Unfunded applications will not have their information published.
EPSRC does not accept uninvited resubmissions of applications to help reduce the pressure on everyone involved in our peer review process. For further information please see preparing new proposals in light of EPSRC's policy on resubmissions.
For further information please see Selecting reviewers page.
EPSRC's Portfolio Managers are happy to discuss applications before submission, particularly those with a complex management structure involving large consortia, or those crossing research theme.
EPSRC staff contacts are publicly available
- Case for Support, totalling up to eight A4 sides, comprising up to two A4 sides for a track record, and six A4 sides describing proposed research and its context. This must be attached, as a single document, using the 'Case for Support' attachment type in Je-S.
- Workplan - maximum one A4 side
- Justification of Resources - up to two A4 sides
- CVs, up to two A4 sides each, for named research staff (including Researcher Co-Investigators), or visiting researchers. CVs are not required for Principal or Co-Investigators on standard proposals.
- Project partner letters of support - where applicable, for all named project partners and no page limit
- Letters of Support - in exceptional circumstances a maximum of three letters with no page limit
- Equipment Quotes - where applicable with no page limit
- Equipment Business Case - is required for any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000 - maximum of two A4 sides.
- Technical assessment for the use of a major facility - where applicable and no page limit
- Host organisation statement - for New Investigator Award applications and no page limit
- Cover Letter - optional attachment (mandatory for New Investigator Award), no page limit, not seen by Peer Review
- From 1 April 2021, if an overseas institution is named on the grant application as being indirectly funded (i.e. funded by a UK institution) a document must accompany the application under ‘other document’ giving details of the institution – organisation, country, cost category & cost description. Note: the wording of this must be exact, for example:
- University of Nairobi: Kenya: Staff: 1 x PDRA
- University of Nairobi: Kenya: Travel and Subsistence: 4 x flights
- University of Nairobi: Kenya: Other Directly Incurred Costs: 5 x Workshops including catering and accommodation
Case for Support
Case for Support, totalling up to eight A4 sides, comprising up to two A4 sides for a track record, and six A4 sides describing proposed research and its context. This must be attached, as a single document, using the 'Case for Support' attachment type in Je-S.
The work programme, maximum of one A4 side, should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic work plan, such as a Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or Gantt chart.
Justification of Resources
The Justification of Resources, taking up to two A4 sides, should explain the necessity of your requested resources to your research project, including implementing the Impact Plan. This helps reviewers make informed judgements about whether the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed.
So nothing is missed, EPSRC recommend that you follow the 'Cost to the Proposal' headings used in the application form. For more information on what to do, see how to write a Justification of Resources.
Curricula vitae (CVs)
CVs, not exceeding two A4 sides each, should be submitted as a separate attachments using Attachment Type 'CV' in Je-S, and are only required for named research staff or visiting researchers. For visiting researchers, include details of previous visits or collaborations with overseas researchers. CVs are not required for the Principal or Co-Investigators.
Project partners letter of support
As part of the impact assessment, reviewers comment on whether a collaboration is appropriate; therefore, a good Project Partner Letter of Support shows that the collaboration is genuine, and explains why the project partner supports the project.
A Project Partner Letter of Support, from each project partner listed, must be included as an attachment. There is no page limit, but letters should be on headed paper, and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date.
Letters should be project relevant, written by project partners when the proposal is being prepared, and dated within six months of the proposal submission date. Standard letters declaring general support for a project are often criticised by reviewers. For more information, see guidance on what makes a good project partner letter of support.
Letters of support
In exceptional circumstances, EPSRC accepts Letters of Support that do not meet the requirements for Project Partner Letters of Support. This occurs when an organisation cannot be listed as a project partner, for example when the host institution wants to detail a proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment. However, unless there are exceptional reasons why an organisation cannot meet the requirements to be a project partner, EPSRC will not accept Letters of Support.
There is no page limit for the Je-S attachment, but a maximum of three letters is permitted and letters should be on headed paper, and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date.
Three quotations for any equipment costing more than £25,000 should accompany the proposal. For equipment in the range £25,000 to £138,000, quotations obtained verbally are acceptable and should be detailed in the proposal. Three written quotations are required for single items of equipment costing more than £138,000 and must accompany the proposal. Quotes should include VAT, delivery charges and incorporate any standard academic discounts. Fewer quotes are acceptable if justification is provided in the Justification of Resources. For any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000 a two-page Equipment Business Case must also be included in the proposal documentation.
Where you believe that there are less than three potential suppliers for an item you should explain this in the Justification of Resources.
Technical assessments for facility use
If you plan to use a major facility in your research, such as those funded centrally by EPSRC or a European facility, contact the facility before applying to EPSRC to check if your proposed research is feasible, and obtain a Technical Assessment if Je-S marks it as required.
Host organisation statements
If you're applying through the New Investigator Award scheme, you should attach a statement from your host university, typically your head of department - describe the university's commitment to your research career development, and confirm your appointment details and period of probation if relevant. There is no page limit, but the statement should be on headed paper, and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date. For more information see Host Organisation Statement for New Investigator Award.
Proposal Cover Letter
Applicants can use the Proposal Cover Letter to express any other information they feel is relevant to their application. If the applicant is applying for a grant which has an interview assessment stage, they should inform EPSRC of any personal circumstances for EPSRC to consider.
This letter will only be seen by EPSRC and will not be sent to Peer Review. For sensitive information the applicant should state clearly whether the information is confidential.
For the New Investigator Award the Proposal Cover Letter should describe how your experience and career history fit with the person eligibility guidance.
The Proposal Cover Letter should also be used to highlight anything that has been discussed and agreed with EPSRC staff beforehand. For example:
- Applicant is on maternity leave until a certain date;
- Declaration of Interest;
- Additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record;
- Conflict of Interest for EPSRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
- The application is an invited resubmission.