Call for Fundamental Research and Feasibility Studies

Winning bids- 2021


Resilient bio-safe surface technologies

Call open: 10 February 2021
Deadline: 10 March 2021, 5 pm

The EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing is keen to promote digital technologies to innovate cost-effective scalable manufacturing of bio-safe surfaces. Reliable bio-safe surface engineering technologies require multi-disciplinary research efforts to address the growing need in this area. DSM Network wants to act as a catalyst to promote stronger collaborations between manufacturing and biological sciences while taking advantage of the modern digital technologies and tools.

DSM Network is keen to fund up to two feasibility studies elucidating novel understanding of the importance of surfaces from a fundamental modelling perspective to demonstrate how frequently touched surfaces can make a difference to the mode of microbial transmission. We are equally interested to understand what makes a particular surface protective against a particular type of pathogen and not others.

We aim to fund two Fundamental Research and Feasibility Studies in this round.

  • Projects should not exceed a duration of 6 months with deliverables reported every 2 months.
  • Each project is capped at a value of £20k in total based on a typical IAA cost model (no overheads or estates costs allowed).
  • This funding cannot be used for the purchase of equipment or to support PhD studentships (top-up) in line with extant EPSRC funding rules.

    Proposals demonstrating stronger bio-contributions to enhance resilience of engineered surfaces will particularly suit this call. Adoption of digital tools to achieve scalability in the manufacturing of engineered bio-safe surfaces would be desirable.

    Proposals are expected to address challenges at low Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs 1-3). Proposals should demonstrate the potential to have significant wider impact in the digital/surface manufacturing sectors.

    The Network has a strong commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). Priority will be given to those bids that leverage additional funds for the benefit of the Network and/or are led by ECRs and/or are led by under-represented groups in engineering.

    The following criteria will be used by the review panel when assessing the proposals:
  • Proposals driven by novel science
  • Multidisciplinary and clear demonstration of “discipline-bridging” activity
  • Demonstration of digital tools and technologies, such as use of modelling and simulations
  • Led by early career researcher/under-represented group in engineering
  • Potential for development of future funding applications
  • Strong demonstration of impact
  • Leveraging additional funding
  • Standard EPSRC rules apply.

    Should you be in any doubt regarding your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact

    Eligible organisations include all UK Higher Education Institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies, along with research institutes for which the Research Councils have established a long-term involvement as a major funder. Other independent research organisations (IROs) may also be eligible. Further information on the Eligibility criteria and List of Eligible institutions could be found here.

    Each project is capped at a value of £20k in total based on a typical IAA cost model (no overheads or estates costs allowed). This project funding can be used to cover the following.
  • Directly Incurred: PDRA staff costs, Consumables (maximum £10k), Travel and subsistence, PDRA training and development (maximum £2k).
  • Directly Allocated: Investigator time (maximum 20%), Technician time (maximum 30%).
  • All Estates, Infrastructure technician and Indirect costs are ineligible.

    Awards will be made via a short written application.

    We value equality and diversity. In order to reduce potential impact of any form of bias and that the selection of projects are on the basis of merit as per the selection criteria, a two part form will be used. and track record information.

    Part 1 will contain contact details, project team and track record information. Part 2 is where you would be required to outline the Case for Support, which will be considered anonymously by a selection committee or a panel of experts. Please ensure that the form is completed in Century Gothic 11 and that neither of the parts are more than 4 pages each. References can be included as an appendix. A breakdown of the allocation of the funds with a short justification for each category is also required.

    The budget should be submitted via a separate template with the application form.

    Completed forms should be emailed to by 5 pm on 10 March 2021.

    In addition to the specific outputs outlined in your proposal, each feasibility study project team is required to:

  • Present work (in progress or completed) to annual conferences or Network Events.
  • Provide the DSM Network with an information sheet on the project and the impact it has made (e.g. >outreach, further funding awarded, collaborations made, IPs generated, technology developed) for a ResearchFISH submission to EPSRC as DSM Network contribution.
  • Ensure that the work is acknowledged as being supported by EPSRC and DSM Network when promoting projects, either through articles, papers or presentations. Both EPSRC and DSM Network branding should be visibly included on any presentations.

    Call for proposals: 10 Feb 2021

    Deadline for submission: 10 March 2021, 5 pm

    Successful proposal announcement: Mid April 2021.

    All feasibility studies should have to complete within the given time-period as per individual project timelines.

    If you encounter any issues while downloading doc (Microsoft Word) version of the application forms, please contact

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