Connected Nation Pioneers

Connected Nation Pioneers is an exciting partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and key stakeholders. We have come together to recognise exceptional UK doctoral students whose research contributes towards the development of a Connected Nation.

The competition is open to all UK doctoral students in the final two years of their doctorial training. Applicants need not be funded by the EPSRC to participate.

This competition is being sponsored by Dstl, Facebook, BT, Samsung, Huawei, Thales, Amazon and NVIDIA.


This competition celebrates the transformative and pioneering research of UK-based doctoral students in contributing to up to two of the following category topics:

  • Safe and Secure Cyber Society
  • Intelligent Informatics
  • Making Digital Technology Work for People
  • Creative Computing for the Digital Economy

Applicants will be assessed per category by a panel of industrial sponsors in three stages:

  • An Expression of Interest statement (500 words)
  • A three-minute video pitch
  • An exhibition and pitch presentation

All applicants reaching the third stage of the competition will receive media and presentation training and will have an excellent opportunity to network with representatives from both academia and industry. Each of the four category winners will receive a prize of £2,000 and a NVIDIA graphics card at a VIP Awards Ceremony Dinner, to be held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The category winners will also compete in an elevator pitch contest as part of the Awards Ceremony to select an overall winner, who will receive a further £1,000.

How to apply

Before applying for the 2018 Connected Nation Pioneers competition, please read the call document for full information regarding eligibility and assessment criteria (under "Resources" on this page). Please forward questions or comments to

The Expression of Interest form should be completed and submitted by the closing date of 16:00 on Thursday 26 April 2018.

Please take note of the key dates below. Applicants who make it through to the third stage of the competition will be required to attend activities in September, October and November as outlined below.

Key Dates

Activity Date*
Deadline for Expressions of Interest 26 April 2018
Decisions Announced Week beginning 04 June 2018
Deadline for Multimedia Presentation 27 July 2018
Decisions Announced Week beginning 13 August 2018
Finalists' Media and Presentation Training Week beginning 10 September 2018
Closed Exhibition Showcase (Location TBC) Week beginning 17 October 2018
Exhibition and Awards Ceremony Dinner (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester) 20 November 2018

*EPSRC aims to adhere to the key dates as published, however there may be exceptions where dates may have to change due to panel member availability. This document will be updated accordingly for any major changes.