Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation in ICT Research Call - FAQs

These questions summarise the discussion at the Information Day that was held on 4 May 2017 to support this call. This document is particularly aimed at supporting potential applicants who were unable to attend this event.

We would like to thank participants for contributing to a productive debate.

Eligibility criteria for Investigators (PrincipaI Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigator (Co-I)) can be found on the Eligibility of investigators page.

The PI has to be a member of the ICT community – how would this be defined?

The PI will need to justify how they are a member of the ICT community in their outline proposal and the Outline Panel will decide on their eligibility.

Can EPSRC postdoctoral fellows be a Co-I?

No. Standard eligibility criteria apply for this call. Any fellows holding fellowships aimed primarily at the postdoctoral level are not eligible to apply as a PI or Co-I. However, they may be listed as a Researcher Co-I.

Are non-university collaborators eligible to be funded Co-Investigators?

To be eligible to receive grant funding, organisations must meet our normal eligibility criteria for organisations. Eligibility criteria for organisations (UK Higher Education Institutions, Research Institutes and other Independent Research Organisations) can be found on the Eligibility of organisations page.

You are looking for “novel collaborations”. Should the collaboration not have happened before or not be in place already?

The existence of an established collaboration could be appropriate for your proposal (as it would demonstrate that this collaboration is likely to be productive). However, there should be a new element to your collaboration, for example, exploring a new research area or involving additional new research collaborators/partners.

What are the provisions for the involvement of users in the research design process in the grant application (for example: patient involvement)? Can they be a Co-I on the Je-S application form?

We are certainly supportive of this approach to involve users in the design process. A potential Co-I would have to fit within our normal eligibility criteria: typically users collaborate as project partners and contribute to the proposal.

Can we involve people from SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises)?

Yes. We would like to encourage working with users, including SMEs, as part of this call.

How will the novelty be identified in a cross-disciplinary collaboration if the other partner works outside EPSRC's remit?

We will work with the relevant Research Council to find suitable postal reviewers at the Full Proposal stage. The outline stage will be assessed by investigators with experience in cross-disciplinary research.

How cross-disciplinary is “cross-disciplinary”? If it was more in the ICT space would it count as cross-disciplinary? Is it more favourable for this call to specifically collaborate outside the ICT space (for example: fine arts)?

We are seeking proposals for novel collaborations both within, and extending beyond, the remit of EPSRC's ICT theme in this call.  All proposals will be assessed against the assessment criteria. Novelty, demonstration of co-creation and potential added value are more important than the diversity of the research areas involved.

The proposal needs to include some ICT research. What balance are you looking for with regards to novelty on the ICT side or novelty with regards to users of ICT research?

The majority of the research should be within EPSRC's remit. The research also needs to have the potential to influence the behaviour of other researchers in the ICT community and to inspire more cross-disciplinarity and co-creation in ICT research.

How involved are the other EPSRC Themes and Research Councils with this call?

We will work with colleagues across EPSRC and other Research Councils to identify expert reviewers and consider co-funding.

I am co-creating a project with a government agency but because of the elections they cannot comment on the project. What do we do?

You will need to indicate this issue in the outline proposal. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, you should elaborate further at that stage.

For the Host Organisation Statement, what sort of institutional support is considered appropriate for sustaining a culture of co-creation beyond the life of the proposal?

We believe that cross-disciplinary and co-creative research is more likely to be successful in an organisation supportive of this approach. Therefore, we would like to know how Host Organisations would encourage and sustain this culture change and evidence of previous success in developing a culture of co-creation. We are not looking for a specific mechanism of support.

Where there are multiple universities involved, will multiple statements be needed?

If more than one institution is involved in the proposal and the partner institutions wish to submit institutional statements then these will be accepted, but are not mandatory.

Please also note:

Multi-institutional projects should be submitted as a single proposal submitted by the lead organisation on behalf of all partners. Multi-institutional projects submitted as multiple forms will not be accepted, and will be returned without being peer reviewed.

Can we include other letters of support in our application?

No, these cannot be submitted at the outline stage. However, they can be submitted at full proposal stage.

How long is the £5M funding allocation for?

There is no duration – we have £5M to commit in the next year. There is no minimum or maximum restriction on how long the grant proposal can be.

How accurate do our cost estimates need to be?

Cost estimates should be within 10% of the value on the full proposal. This is helpful in selecting a suitable number of proposals for invitation to full proposal stage and also helps in assessment of the credibility of the proposal.

Is there a budget for equipment?

There is no budget for equipment as part of this call. Consumables and small items (below £10,000) may be requested. Please see EPSRC's Equipment Policy.

For full proposals, will we have to provide hard evidence of co-creation (for example: formalised meetings)?

We would not be looking for that level of detail. As part of your description of the collaboration you would need to convey that the research proposal is not just one person’s idea, and has developed through a collaboration.

Research proposals tend to ask for defined outcomes but these can be difficult to predict with co-creation. How can we deal with this when writing proposals?

In order to best allocate our resources and convince peers at each stage, applicants need to describe where the proposed research could go and what is exciting about it. We appreciate that plans will change and we recommend that they include strategies for mitigating risk, for example, through using milestones or an advisory board.

How should “diversity” be manifested in the application? What is required?

We have not defined how this should be achieved in this call and diversity is not an assessment criteria. However, we would like to encourage you to consider diversity as part of your application as evidence suggests that diverse teams can be more creative. Diversity is a broad topic and includes people from different backgrounds, such as different user groups (for example: patients, SMEs) as well as ethnicity, gender and disability.

The UK Research and Innovation diversity action plan provides more information on the collective aspirations of the Research Councils on this issue. 

What is the peer review process for this call?

There will be an outline panel at the end of July/beginning of August. Full proposals will undergo postal peer review followed by a panel in February 2018

Will rejected outline and/or full proposals count towards EPSRC's Repeated Submissions policy?

A rejected outline proposal would not count towards this policy, but a rejected full proposal would.

The budget for this call is challenging for producing a flagship project or projects. What is in the future after this call?

This call contributes to the implementation of the cross-ICT priority, Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation. Flagship projects are not necessarily defined by value – a novel collaboration resulting in transformative research can have impacts that reach beyond the immediate disciplines. Standard Mode applications aligned to this priority are welcome at any time and we will review further initiatives for this priority after this call.

EPSRC's strategy has a UK focus but does it matter if potential users tend to be outside of the UK?

In the broadest sense, we are looking for excellence in research and impact. There are many challenges and we want to articulate where research in engineering and physical sciences can make a real difference, so we can make a compelling case for why we need to invest in this area.

You can have overseas users as project partners. All the normal eligibility rules apply for this call, so you would not be able to have an overseas PI or Co-I.

What is ORBIT and what can they provide to my proposal with regards to “responsible research and innovation”?

ORBIT is an EPSRC-funded service for the provision of information and services to the ICT research and development community to support and promote responsible research and innovation (RRI) in their work. EPSRC encourages responsible research and innovation in all of our research. We advise contacting ORBIT for further information on how they can assist you.