Cross Research Council Responsive Mode Pilot Scheme Launched by UKRI

The pilot scheme will support interdisciplinary projects that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published full details of the Cross Research Council Responsive Mode Pilot Scheme. The opportunity will support breakthrough or disruptive interdisciplinary ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines involving different knowledge and methodological spheres. The scheme is designed to support projects that are not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes.

Awards made through the pilot scheme will be potentially transformative for the participating disciplines or lead to the creation of new disciplines. The funding is intended to support interdisciplinary research, including to:

  • Unlock new research, new approaches or new methods that would not emerge from established disciplinary thinking.
  • Demonstrate reciprocal research benefits through the involvement of distinct disciplinary perspectives and spheres of knowledge.
  • Support breakthrough or disruptive ideas and collaborations.
  • Incentivise new and unexpected types of interdisciplinary research not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes.
  • Encourage speculative, early-stage and high potential interdisciplinary research proposals, embracing new concepts, techniques, or technologies.

UKRI is seeking:

  • High quality and creative ideas that transcend, combine or significantly span research council remits.
  • New, unexpected and novel projects that have the potential to lead to breakthrough ideas and collaborations.
  • Research that can only be addressed through interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Projects combining disciplines to create new approaches to a research question, new methodologies or new ways of working.
  • Reciprocity across the disciplines, with the disciplines involved being changed or transformed by working together.
  • Projects that catalyse new interdisciplinary research through co-creation and design.
  • Ideas with no clear ‘lead’ UKRI research council for responsive mode funding including applications that significantly span two or more research council remits.

Interdisciplinary research applications that fall within a single research council boundary are ineligible. A small proportion of applications might be suitable for both this new funding opportunity and existing responsive mode schemes via the Cross-Council Remit Agreement. Applicants must determine which scheme to apply to; duplicate applications are not permitted.

The new scheme will run in pilot format over two rounds of funding, enabling UKRI to assess demand and test and refine its processes.

Applicants must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI research council funding. Grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions.
  • Research council institutes.
  • UKRI approved independent research organisations.
  • Public sector research establishments.

Applicants may apply as an individual or consortium, based in a single institute or across a number of institutions. Teams must be interdisciplinary. Applicants may act as project lead on only one application to the funding opportunity, but may be involved in any number of applications provided they have the capacity to meet those commitments.

Research organisations are asked to be mindful of the fact that only around 36 awards will be made in this first round of funding. Research organisations are therefore encouraged to prioritise diverse and distinctive ideas that tread new ground, and to help support a diversity of applicants to the scheme.

UKRI will invest a total of £65 million across two rounds in the pilot stage of the new fund. In the first round, a total of £32.5 million is available to support around 36 awards.

The full economic cost of an individual project can be between £200,000 to £1.2 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the full Economic Cost (fEC), and support is available for up to two years.

The launch of the pilot scheme is supported by a webinar for prospective applicants and professional research support staff that will present an overview of the scheme, followed by an opportunity to ask questions. The webinar will be recorded, and a copy will be published on the call webpage.

  • Webinar 1: 13 June 2023 at 13:00-14:30.
  • Webinar 2: 22 June 2023 at 10:30-12:00.

Interested participants can register to attend either webinar by filling in the survey accessible on the UKRI Engagement Hub.

Outline applications should be submitted between 8 June and 20 July 2023 (16:00 BST).

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)