Next Stage Digital Economy Centres

The Digital Economy Theme invites outline proposals for "Next Stage Digital Economy Centres". A budget of up to £20 million (at 80% FEC) is available to support up to six Next Stage Digital Economy Centres for five years.

Proposals are invited for a Next Stage Digital Economy Centre to promote the realisation of impact and enhanced exploitation of the outcomes arising from the Digital Economy (DE) Theme investments in the UK research base through a critical mass approach.

The DE Theme is looking to support a range of interdisciplinary and user-focused centres which span across a range of digital technologies. They will draw substantially on the outputs, knowledge and positioning of DE expertise and demonstrations resulting from previous DE Theme and related UKRI research funding. Each centre will be of a sufficient scope and size to achieve critical mass and attract the requisite match funding and support (both in kind and cash) from partners and host universities. The centres will undertake activities to maximise impact and develop committed routes for exploitation as well as grow and support the pool of DE trained interdisciplinary researchers.

Successful applicants will demonstrate:

  1. Critical mass, breadth and interdisciplinary nature of DE portfolio. (In order to be eligible the proposal must assemble, consolidate and articulate a coherent and critical mass sized portfolio of existing and recently completed DE Theme and related UKRI grants (£2.4 million at 80% FEC, research grants must have been live between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2018, please see eligible grant list on this page)
  2. How impact will be maximised through the centre's specific project plans
  3. Matched funding
  4. Strong people support

Given the nature of this call, centres will not be expected to support 'blue skies' research, applied research for private companies or associated intellectual property costs (e.g. patent costs).

It is anticipated that centres will be hosted by a single organisation and may involve a number of organisations working in close collaboration. However applicants may wish to make the case for other models. In all cases centres must consolidate and build upon a recent DE Theme and related UKRI portfolio of research (grants live between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2018). An institution may only lead on one bid.

Applicants are invited to submit an outline proposal prior to an invited full proposal submission, by 9 July 2019. Not all outlines will be invited to the full proposal stage. Full guidance on the preparation of outline proposals are provided with details of the assessment process, in the call document. A webinar will also be held on 15 August 2019 following the outline decisions to allow information exchange and questions prior to the full proposal submission on 17 September 2019.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Digital Economy Theme to discuss their interest and suitability in applying for a Next Stage Digital Economy Centre.

Please note:

  • If applicants feel they can justify the relevance of other UKRI funding to their DE critical mass portfolio beyond the eligible grant list, please contact digitaleconomy@epsrc.ukri.org before 11 June 2019.
  • A webinar will be held on 15 August 2019 at 10.00 for successful outline proposals.
  • Guidance on the preparation of the full proposals will be updated and made available following the outline decisions.
  • Interviews will be held on 12 and 13 February 2020.

Contact Details

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Dr Stephanie Dey (née Newland)
Job title: Senior Portfolio Manager
Department: Digital Economy
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: +44 (0)1793 444072

In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Dr Gemma Adams
Job title: Portfolio Manager
Department: Digital Economy
Organisation: EPSRC
Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 444306