Circular Economy Centres - full proposals

Please note: Pathways to Impact

Since publication of this call, UK Research and Innovation has announced changes to requirements on ‘Pathways to Impact’. As a result of this change, applicants will no longer be required to provide a ‘Pathways to Impact’ plan or complete an ‘Impact Summary’ within their grant applications. These requirements will be removed for all UKRI opportunities by 01 March 2020.

As this change is implemented, we ask that applicants follow the below guidance concerning impact when preparing your application to this opportunity:

  • UKRI have removed the requirement for a Pathways to Impact document. As this call was live when the announcement was made, UKRI are exceptionally extending the maximum length of the Case for Support document by 2 pages, to ensure that applicants have sufficient space to discuss their planned impact activities and approach, especially on Project Partner leverage.
  • Applicants are asked to read the revised call document carefully before applying, in particular the How to apply section. The list of required documents is summarised in Appendix 1 of the call document.
  • The removal of the Pathways to Impact document does not change UKRI’s expectations about delivering impact on any grant, especially in the context of this programme. UKRI encourages applicants to request funds for impact activities (including stakeholder, user, policy and public engagement, and responsible innovation), where justified. This change also does not affect the proposed monitoring and evaluation process for grants funded as part of this call, which remains focused on delivering outcomes and impacts in line with the Circular Economy programme objectives.

Call summary

UK Research & Innovation invites full proposals for Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres. Up to £22.5 million (at 80% FEC) is available to support up to five Centres for up to four years from 1 October 2020. Applications will only be accepted from those who were successful at the outline stage and have been invited to submit a full proposal.

Proposals are invited for Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres, each conducting interdisciplinary research that accelerates understanding and solutions to enable circularity of a resource flow (materials, material systems, products and/or services), including consideration of (multi-) sector contexts. UKRI welcomes and encourages applications led by and involving any discipline – and not only disciplines within EPSRC’s remit.

The UK has potential to grow and prosper sustainably by transitioning to a more circular economy, where resources are processed with sustainability, waste minimisation and efficiency in mind, and where product lifecycles are optimised to generate more economic and social value before recycling and/or reuse. However, this transition requires clear, evidence-based, implementation pathways, with broad underpinning research evidence. It must provide not only technical, technological and scientific advances, but also the social, behavioural, cultural, ethical, environmental, economic, legal and regulatory understanding required to support a successful transition.

To address this, the £30 million UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Interdisciplinary Circular Economy programme will be delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Innovate UK, with DEFRA and BEIS. The programme will support up to five interdisciplinary Centres via this £22.5m call (alongside £2.5m of future funding to enable small and medium enterprise involvement with Centres). The programme is also supporting a Coordinator(s) and integration Hub.

This call forms the second part of a two-stage process. An outline stage has already been held. Applications will only be accepted from those who were successful at the outline stage and have been invited to submit a full proposal. At this stage, applicants must:

  • Submit a Notification of Intent to Submit by 16.00 on 07 April 2020 via the form on the call page, and;
  • Submit their full proposal by 16.00 on 21 April 2020 via Je-S.

UKRI and the Circular Economy Coordinator(s) are organising consortium building workshops, bringing together applicants invited to submit a full proposal (a list of these proposals is attached to this page), and the wider academic community, industry, third sector and policy officials. Workshops will provide further briefing on the overall programme and enable networking before submission of full proposals. They will also provide an opportunity for the wider academic community to engage with, and discuss joining with, consortia that have been invited to submit full proposals. Further information will be available by mid-February on the EPSRC website.

Applicants are encouraged to contact UKRI with any queries: circular.economy@epsrc.ukri.org.