Digital Economy NetworkPlus Call Frequently Asked Questions

These questions include those raised at the Community event held on 03 July 2017.

Q: Do EPSRC expect certain start dates for grants?

A: EPSRC do not expect specific start dates for these grants, however the usual standard EPSRC rules will apply (for example your grant must start within 3 months of the start date you provide in your application).

Q: Can I provide funding for partners?

A: You cannot pay project partners (i.e. those who are expressing support and providing a cash or in kind contribution, as declared on the Je-S form) on the grant, because project partners cannot both benefit from and contribute to a grant. In terms of university partners, Principal and Co-Investigators can request salary and travel costs.

Q: Are letters of support allowed at the outline stage?

A: No, letters of support are not allowed the outline stage, however please mention your partners, or potential partners, in your case for support. You need to be clear in your outline proposal about the stage of discussion you have reached with your project partners and collaborators.

Q: Can feasibility studies be carried out by industrial partners?

A: The same eligibility rules apply as for as standard grants; industrial members can only be paid as subcontractors, in which case they need to be able to demonstrate that they are providing a service that cannot be provided by university partners. As with any situation where public money is being allocated, the NetworkPlus should have rigorous processes set up in order to determine the destination of any feasibility study funding.

Q: If I am from a host university, can anyone from my own university participate in feasibility studies?

A: Yes. We do however expect this to be a nationwide effort involving the best people. Processes for allocation of funds must be fair and transparent.

Q: Will outline proposals assessed by postal peer review?

A: No, nor will full proposals. At both stages, proposals will be assessed by an expert panel.

Q: Are EPSRC expecting there to be consortia of universities bidding for these grants, or could grants be led by single universities?

A: We are not prescriptive about this. The Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators will be part of the management team. If the management team are all in one university that’s fine; if they are from a range of institutions that is also fine. The NetworkPluses should however be national in reach.

Q: Can we involve people from non-UK countries?

A: Please include people in other countries as you feel appropriate where they contribute something that cannot be obtained in the UK. They are not eligible to be Co-Investigators but they could be project partners, members of your management or advisory boards, and so on.

Q: Can I submit a research proposal that is related to the NetworkPlus?

A: You can submit both a standard mode proposal to the standard mode scheme as well as a NetworkPlus bid to this call, but there can be no overlap in the resources requested and each proposal should be able to stand alone.

Q: Can I be involved in more than one NetworkPlus bid?

A: We would not expect anyone to be Principal Investigator on more than one proposal. Involvement as an investigator on a NetworkPlus grant is a significant commitment and applicants should think carefully about acting as an investigator on more than one bid.

Q: What should be included in the outline proposal?

A:  Guidance is given on page 6 of the call document. Applicants should also consider whether they have provided sufficient evidence against the call criteria.

Q: How close does the costing have to be to the final proposal?

A: The costs requested in the full proposal should be within +/-10% of the total estimated in the outline proposal, unless feedback from the outline panel indicates otherwise or prior agreement is obtained from EPSRC.