Programme Grants

Programme Grants are a mechanism to provide flexible funding to world-leading research groups to address significant major research challenges. They are intended to support world leading researchers, bringing together ‘best with best’ teams to undertake a variety of activities focusing on one strategic research theme. Programme Grants can be awarded for up to a six year duration. It is expected that most Programme Grants will be interdisciplinary and collaborative but they can address key challenges in a single discipline. They are seen by EPSRC as critical mass investments which cover a diverse engineering and physical sciences (EPS) portfolio and benefit UK research through the concentration of high performing talent. Programme Grants are not just large grants but must be strategic in nature. It is also likely that the majority will require the expertise of a number of internationally recognised scientists or engineers.

Programme Grants are assessed in a different way to standard grants. Applicants must go through a pre-outline and outline stage before being invited to submit a full proposal.

EPSRC will be implementing some improvements, from September 2019, to the Programme Grant scheme. These improvements will be implemented by April 2020.

The following improvements will be implemented:

  1. Updated information and guidance about programme grants on the EPSRC website;
  2. Publication of questions for discussion at the pre-outline stage on the EPSRC website;
  3. An external outline panel will replace an internal sift panel at the outline stage;
  4. Full proposal assessment criteria will be reduced in number and will be aligned with standard assessment criteria.

These improvements are designed to ensure the scheme is consistent with other EPSRC funding opportunities. No changes have been made to the purpose, scope and ethos of the scheme. EPSRC will be monitoring the improvements to ensure no unintended consequences are caused and would value ongoing communication from universities on the impact of these improvements.

Individual communication will be carried out with current applicants to discuss the improvements and its relationship to their application.

For more information on the improvements to the Programme Grant scheme please contact one of the Programme Grant contacts listed.