EPSRC Launches Call to Establish a Future Communications Systems Early-Stage Federated Hub

Funding for multi-university or institution consortia to establish a platform in a core research area in the future communications systems space.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched an opportunity to support three federated and connected platforms in the future communications systems space.

These initial exploratory platforms will enable applicants to work flexibly in order to network with, and leverage support from, the existing communications landscape. They will also provide support for research with focus on lower technology readiness level (TRL) discovery science which should gear towards translation to high TRL challenges.

The platforms are expected to run for three years, during which time projects should:

  • Discover the pipeline of ideas and solutions to problems that cannot yet be solved.
  • Develop those technologies and emergent ideas that are not yet ready for market.
  • Exploit routes for deployment of technologies that are ready.

These activities will help EPSRC explore opportunities for further investment in future communications systems similar to the quantum technology hubs, if funding enables.

Applications will be invited covering one of the following core research areas:

  • Network of networks.
  • Wireless and wired systems and spectrum.
  • Cloud and distributed computing.

Each consortium will be a multi-university or institution consortium, with an identified lead university, and should have expertise in the areas defined. However, it is recognised that the initial programme of research cannot cover all of this. EPSRC has set up a web portal to facilitate the creation of new partnerships for any individual wishing to be involved.

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Applicants must be based at an institution eligible for EPSRC funding. Applicants must be resident in the UK and meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be employed at the submitting research organisation at a level equivalent to lecturer or above.
  • Hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project, and the host research organisation is prepared to provide all the support normal for a permanent employee.
  • Hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages.
  • Hold fellowships under other schemes (applicants should contact EPSRC to check eligibility, which is considered on a case-by-case basis).

The full economic cost of each hub can be up to £2.5 million. EPSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost, meaning grants of up to £2 million are available for each hub. Funding can be requested for up to three years.

EPSRC is holding a webinar in October 2022 for prospective applicants. Applicants are invited to register their interest in attending the seminar, after which they will be emailed with full participation details.

Interested applicants should complete an intention to submit form by 1 November 2022 (16:00).

Full applications should be submitted by the 29 November 2022 (16:00) deadline.

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