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August 2009 Issue 73

Keeping you in touch with opportunities from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Impact plan advice EPSRC

has issued grant proposal advice to the research community in light of changes made to the Peer Review system earlier this year. The requirement to include an impact plan with proposals was introduced in April, and new guidance is based on proposals received since that date. EPSRC’s Susan Morrell, who is leading the work, said early observations could help researchers maximise the opportunities and avoid pitfalls. She added: “We have looked at the first batch of proposals received since the requirement for an impact plan was introduced, to see if there are any early lessons to be learnt. We were particularly impressed by the thorough plans prepared by those applying for First Grants.”

“We were particularly impressed by the thorough plans prepared by those applying for First Grants.” Dr Morrell added: “We will be refreshing the guidelines in the light of these observations, and we would welcome any comments and suggestions for improvement from those of you who have used the guidelines to prepare an impact plan.” Impact plans were introduced to support researchers in identifying and exploiting potential benefits of their work and to help EPSRC demonstrate these wide-ranging impacts as part of the ongoing case for sustained science and engineering funding. Quality of research remains the key criterion of funding but the impact plans give applicants a further opportunity to demonstrate the importance of their work and seek resources to support impact and dissemination routes.

Tips for researchers •

Please note the difference between the two summaries and the plan – in a sizeable number of submitted proposals the plan and the summaries were very similar. The plan needs to set out in detail what activities will be explored and why.

Plans can be up to two pages. While some were appropriately one paragraph, others appeared to be expanded to fill the whole two pages.

You can ask for resources to carry out the plan – the majority of proposals submitted so far have not taken this opportunity.

Don’t forget the range of impacts – think more widely and imaginatively about the type of impact the research could have. Only a few projects made mention of the potential impact on the research assistant or student.

For dissemination, be specific about which journals and conferences would be appropriate to reach the potential beneficiaries and why. Many plans contained general statements about ‘the usual journals’.

If your project involves collaborators, don’t forget to get their help in developing the plan. How will their involvement be ‘built in’ to the project to maximise impact?

Further information:

EPSRC is seeking nominations for the RCUK Review of Energy in 2010 – turn to page 4.

Inside landscapes 2 Programme paint full picture of EPSRC portfolio

Grand Challenges 3 New in Chemical sciences and engineering

3 Calls Forthcoming EPSRC funding opportunities

for stories about 4 Calling international success

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Building power links with China A MAJOR EPSRC-supported energy conference has helped to boost links between UK and Chinese researchers. More than 400 delegates attended the first International Conference on Sustainable Power Generation and Supply, in Nanjing, China. The event, held in April, was part of Supergen (a Research Councils UK Energy Programme initiative). It was organised by the UK-China Network of Clean Energy Research and hosted by the Hohai University. The UK-China Network of Clean Energy Research is a project at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Queen’s University of Belfast, and includes members from 34 leading institutions in the UK and China. The network’s mission is to establish and develop links between the leading Supergen consortia and Chinese institutions in the field of clean energy research. It promotes research collaboration, and the exchange of knowledge, expertise and best practice between UK and Chinese scientists and engineers. Contact: Haifeng Wang, Hayley Dash,

EPSRC Programme Landscape available for comment

New medical engineering centres for 21st century healthcare


is presenting a complete overview and analysis of its entire £3.7 billion portfolio of grants and awards in one place – and it is asking the research community for feedback. The Programme Landscape work captures the importance of EPSRC support to the academic sector where it provides 10 per cent of all PhD studentships and one in five of all externally funded research staff in UK universities. EPSRC’s investments cover a wide range of research and training from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. The Landscape seeks to identify at an aggregate level, key features concerning both the shape and nature of the portfolio, articulate trends and outline some of the challenges to be met if the UK is to maintain its position as a major force in international science and technology. The publication of the Landscape is particularly timely with the UK’s main competitors making “strategic choices” about where they want to focus their research to deliver jobs and growth. The Government has recently called for a serious debate about where the UK is best placed to compete in the future. EPSRC would welcome feedback from the research community on the Landscape document – that will be used in the development of its new Delivery Plan commencing in 2011.

EPSRC and the Wellcome Trust have announced four new UK centres of excellence in medical engineering to transform the future of healthcare. These centres will receive total funding of £41m over the next five years to help to develop integrated teams of clinical researchers, biomedical scientists and world-class engineers. These teams will have the capacity to invent and exploit high-tech solutions to medical challenges, potentially improving the lives of thousands of patients. The four interdisciplinary centres are: Imperial College London (osteoarthritis); King’s College London (medical imaging); Leeds University (ageing population: “50 more years after 50”); and Oxford University (personalised healthcare). Modern medicine already relies on world-class engineering to deliver the best possible care for patients, and new technologies will revolutionise clinical areas such as imaging, implants and genetics over the next few years. The ongoing challenge is to ensure new technologies are used effectively to solve important clinical problems and generate the maximum benefit to patients. Contact: Linda Sayers, Further information:

Further landscapes/default.htm


August 2009 Issue 73

New Grand Challenges in chemical sciences and engineering EPSRC is encouraging the networks to draw in people that were unable to attend the workshop and those from other complementary research areas. If you are interested in any of the above areas and wish to discuss involvement with the networks please contact the following people:

FOLLOWING consultation with the academic community and its Strategic Advisory Teams, EPSRC is highlighting four new Grand Challenges in chemical sciences and engineering. The Grand Challenges are: • • • •

Utilising CO2 in Synthesis and Transforming the Chemicals Industry ‘Dial-a-Molecule’ – 100% Efficient Synthesis Directed Assembly of Extended Structures with Targeted Properties Systems Chemistry: Exploring the Chemical Roots of Biological Organisation

Grand Challenges are defined as significant problems that need a long-term, coordinated approach from researchers to overcome and it is a mechanism being used by EPSRC in a number of different research areas. Chemical scientists and engineers identified a number of potential Grand Challenges in their research area at a two-day workshop last year. This work was further refined by EPSRC’s Strategic Advisory Teams – resulting in the four announced challenges. The teams responsible for championing these areas are now putting together network proposals to build communities of researchers around each challenge. These networks will set the research agenda, develop new research strategies and address the societal and economic impact of the Grand Challenge.


Utilising CO2 in Synthesis and Transforming the Chemicals Industry – Professor Peter Styring, University of Sheffield,

‘Dial-a-Molecule’ – 100% Efficient Synthesis – Professor Richard Whitby, University of Southampton,

Directed Assembly of Extended Structures with Targeted Properties – Professor Paul Raithby, University of Bath,

Systems Chemistry: Exploring the Chemical Roots of Biological Organisation – Professor John Murphy, University of Strathclyde, or Dr Perdita Barran, University of Edinburgh,

Contact: Katie Daniel, Claire Schofield, Further information:

To receive all the latest EPSRC call information direct to your inbox sign up for our weekly e-mail alert:

Strategic Japanese-UK Cooperative Program on “Oxide electronics, organic electronics and spintronics” Closing date: 11 August 2009 A call for collaborative UK-Japan research proposals. These are small projects focussed on people exchange. Contact: Dr Jonathan Williams,

Contributions to Next Generation Resilience – Call for Participants Closing date: 17th September 2009 The Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World programme invites expressions of interest to participate in a five-day residential event to develop innovative approaches to enhancing resilience across all aspects of infrastructure, November 15 to 19 2009. Contact: Anita Howman,

Research Council Follow-on Fund Call for Proposals Closing date: 27 August 2009 The Follow-on Fund helps researchers to bridge the funding gap between traditional research grants and commercial funding by supporting the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition. Up to 12 months funding available to develop the commercial potential of ideas generated by EPSRC research grant funding. Contact: David Mahoney,

India-UK Collaborative Research Initiative in Solar Energy Closing date: 30 September 2009 India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), in collaboration with the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, jointly invite proposals for consortia research projects focussing on Thin Film and Excitonic solar energy. Contact: Neil Bateman, New Materials Research Equipment Services – Open Call for Access Closing date: 22 November 2009 Researchers from UK higher education institutions can apply to use equipment at seven new services. These services provide free access at point of use to UK academic researchers, including travel and accommodation. Contact: Alexandra Peden,

Postdoctoral Fellowships Call 2009 Closing date: 28 August 2009 Postdoctoral fellowships call in theoretical physics, theoretical computer science, mathematical science and cross-disciplinary interfaces. Contact: George Douglas, People, Energy and Buildings Closing date: 02 September 2009 A joint call supported by EDF and the Research Councils’ Energy Programme to develop research proposals concerning human, socio-economic and socio-technical aspects of the energy efficiency of buildings. Contact: David Holtum,

Digital Economy Research in the Wild Closing date: 31 March 2010 The Digital Economy Programme invites applicants to apply for shortterm funding to perform their ‘Research in the Wild’. This call is about allowing researchers in the Digital Economy to expose and test their research ideas with potential beneficiaries. Contact: Dr Pamela Mason, Mr John Hand,

Science and Heritage Post-doctoral Fellowships Call Closing date: 10 September 2009 AHRC and EPSRC are supporting leading-edge research to explore new ways to understand the cultural and physical nature of heritage. Contact: Dr Gail Lambourne,

For upcoming ‘Future Calls’ go to


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

EPSRC Contacts Head of Materials, Mechanical and Medical Engineering Mark Claydon-Smith 01793 444440 Head of Information and Communications Technology Liam Blackwell 01793 444217 Head of Energy Multidisciplinary Applications Rachel Bishop 01793 444241 Head of Peer Review Susan Morrell 01793 444462 Head of Digital Economy John Hand 01793 444394 Head of Nanotechnology and Next Generation Healthcare John Wand MBE 01793 444335 Head of Knowledge Transfer John Baird 01793 444047 Head of Mathematical Sciences and Public Engagement David Harman 01793 444304 Head of Energy Research Capacity Jason Green 01793 444208 Head of Engineering for Sustainability Philippa Hemmings 01793 444378 Head of Cross Disciplinary Interfaces Kedar Pandya 01793 444317

‘Tell us about international success’ EPSRC wants to hear how you have used its funding to collaborate overseas. Who are you working with? Why have you chosen to work with them? And what have you achieved? International working is embedded within all EPSRC programmes and it currently invests over £560m in a wide range of international related research and training – an increase of nearly £150m on 2008. EPSRC’s international team represents the interests of UK research on the global stage, seeking to stimulate partnerships, overseas collaborations, alliances with multinational companies and cooperation with international funding agencies. EPSRC international manager Hannah Foreman said: “We want to understand the opportunities and barriers to international collaboration and enable the best UK researchers to work with the best partners from the rest of the world.” If you have an EPSRC-supported international success story, please contact Hannah Foreman, Contact: Hannah Foreman,

EPSRC International Research Funding Total = £562.8M

Head of User Led Knowledge and Skills Alan Thomas 01793 442806 Head of Infrastructure and International Jane Nicholson 01793 444065 Head of Physical Sciences Andrew Bourne 01793 444358 Head of Research Careers Strategy Lucy Brady 01793 444147 Maggie Wilson 01793 444333 Head of Business Relationships Emma Feltham 01793 444321 Associate Director Research Capability Neil Viner 01793 444310 Associate Director Mission Programmes Alison Wall 01793 444360 Associate Director Research Base Programmes Clive Hayter 01793 444440 Associate Director Economic Impact Vince Osgood MBE 01793 444084 Senior Manager International Edward Clarke 01793 444438 Senior Manager Public Engagement Katherine Miller 01793 444196 IDEAS Factory Contact Susan Morrell 01793 444462

For current grant maintenance and grant assessment queries Engineering Chris Elson 01793 444504 Technology Valerie Hibberd 01793 444560 Science Jan Tucker 01793 444046 EPSRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1ET Telephone: 01793 444000 Editor: Christopher Buratta, Circulation amendments: © Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council 2009. ISSN 1476-6485

Energy review – panel members wanted EPSRC is seeking nominations of potential members for the RCUK Review of Energy in April 2010. The aim of the Review is to benchmark the strength of the UK research base in Energy compared to the rest of the world and highlight any gaps or missed opportunities. The review will be undertaken by a panel of internationally-leading experts comprised of academics and industrialists from outside the UK. The review will focus on Energy across all Research Councils’ remits, and will cover research excellence, knowledge exchange, people and research infrastructure. The report will be presented to the research community, Research Councils and other key stakeholders to stimulate discussion and initiate the development of an action plan. The review is guided by a UK Steering Committee, chaired by Dr Sue Ion, and is organised by the EPSRC on behalf of all UK Research Councils and in conjunction with the learned societies. Panel nominees should hold senior positions, be active in their field and be highly effective in team-working situations. They should be non-UK based, although they can be UK nationals. Nominations can be made via The closing date is 31 August 2009. Contact: Jo Garrad,

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Connect: Issue 73  
Connect: Issue 73  

Edition 73 of our newsletter. In this edition: Building power links with China, New medical engineering centres for 21st century healthcare,...