Bright IDEAS Award: The Big Pitch

What are Bright IDEAS Awards?

Bright IDEAS Awards are intended to support genuinely novel and potentially transformative research projects that have the potential to profoundly impact and / or transform a broad area of research. They are awarded to individual researchers with a bright adventurous idea.

The awards are for up to £250,000 with a total duration of 18 months. The investigators are encouraged to be bold and radical with their thinking. New research directions are expected to be pursued which have the potential to lead to high impact outcomes.

A high degree of risk in these applications is expected and welcomed.

This is one of several approaches that EPSRC is using to stimulate and encourage individuals to express their creativity and develop pioneering, potentially transformative research.

How are they awarded?

EPSRC invites big pitch applications through calls for specific research areas to support exceptionally pioneering, potentially transformative research projects that have the potential to profoundly impact and/or transform a broad area of research.

All researchers that are qualified to apply for EPSRC funding are eligible to apply for funding through the Bright IDEAS Award: the Big Pitch initiative. Please see Calls for live Big Pitch calls.

The applications are limited to a single investigator only. EPSRC will not accept applications that include industrial collaborators and/or Letters of Support. Funds can be requested for staff, equipment, consumables and travel. Applicants can apply for up to £250,000 in total and up to 18 months in duration. EPSRC will only accept one application from each investigator.

Peer review for the big pitch is performed anonymously – all the pitch applications are considered by an independent panel without any of the members having knowledge of the applicants' identity. The review is done purely on the excitement and novelty of the research idea and the proposed creative approach to tackling a big research problem.

The independent panel select a small number of applications anonymously which are taken forward to the next stage of the process – a 'Dragons Den-style' peer review pitch.

The chosen academic applicants have 15 minutes to pitch their ideas to the independent panel of academics and industrialists, followed by 30 minutes of questioning and discussion with the panel.

The successful applications are extremely diverse and potentially transformative in their nature. The successful pitchers are awarded a Bright IDEAS Award.

Experience and impact

To date, EPSRC Physical Sciences and Engineering have run several Big Pitch calls. Within Physical Sciences, three Big Pitch calls have been held resulting in over fifteen Bright IDEAS awards being funded. The topics covered were "Chemistry and Beyond"; "Quantum Physics for New Quantum technologies" and "Nanoscale Design of Functional Materials". The Engineering theme has sponsored eight awards focused on "Frontier Materials Manufacturing" through the Big Pitch call.

For details about the successful projects, please visit Grants on the Web.