Digital Economy Investigator-led Research Projects

(Update (10 Aug 2018): A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been added to this page. The call document has been revised to update contact details for Digital Economy Theme contacts.)

Funding of up to £5 million is available from the Digital Economy (DE) Theme to support around 10 awards for adventurous investigator-led research projects to explore any area of digital economy research.

Projects may be of any length but are envisioned to last typically 18-36 months. Proposals may align with the current DE Theme priority areas, or make a case for a unique research agenda.

We encourage applicants to be creative in their ways of working and the involvement of different groups of individuals and organisations. We encourage applicants to be adventurous and ambitious in creating their proposals, incorporating a balanced consideration of potential risks and outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does "Investigator-led" mean?

By "Investigator-led Research Projects", we mean research projects that have been conceived by the research community, as might be submitted through EPSRC Standard Mode.

2. What type of project can be funded via the call?

Generally, for a proposal to be eligible for funding by the EPSRC, it must carry at least 50% of its research novelty within the remit of engineering and physical science (EPS).

Specifically, the call is aligned with the overarching aims of the Digital Economy (DE) Theme, which funds research for the realisation of the transformational impact of digital technology in society. Hence, there is a broad scope. At the same time, the DE Theme encourages a specific approach, which can be best illustrated by stating types of project that would not be eligible for the call:

  • Research addressing solely the underlying digital technological or computer science, even if the technology is itself socially relevant.
  • Projects employing digital technology or computer science as a means-to-an-end tool for conducting e.g. social science research or addressing solely the social implications of the technology.

The DE Theme aims to fund research integrating interlinked EPS and non-EPS components, with the two being developed and explored together. As an example, this might involve the development and deployment of digital tools/technology for a specific social context, exploration of its social consequences and impact, and the feeding back of the findings back into the digital technology to iterate its development. We also emphasise the inclusion of interdisciplinary teams who possess the appropriate research expertise to identify and implement the research, as well as co-creation with potential users in defining and exploring the research problems.