EPSRC/MRC Call for Building Responsible Neurotechnology Research Capability

Networking grants available to build capability for responsible research across the breadth of neuro-technologies in the UK.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), is inviting proposals for ‘network plus’ grants that build capability for responsible research across the breadth of neuro-technologies. The Research Councils are looking for a balanced portfolio of networks which will lead to new collaborations, aiming to form new interdisciplinary research communities, involving a group with a range of expertise and experience, and demonstrating the added value EPSRC and MRC funding would bring in this area.

Networks should aim to bring together interdisciplinary experts with leading capabilities in underpinning research areas to explore significant research opportunities that enable the full potential of neurotechnology. Activities which target health needs are particularly encouraged. The networks will lead to new collaborations, excellent research proposals and inform ideas for future research themes. They will provide a foundation for addressing ethical questions and addressing future research within the framework of responsible innovation. Plans to address the potential for UK-wide activities across the breadth of neuro-technologies are welcomed.

Proposals can seek costs of building interdisciplinary research communities including but not limited to:

  • Investigator salaries
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Organisations of different types of workshops or engagement events
  • Summer schools
  • Part-time coordinators
  • Administrative support
  • Feasibility studies and small-scale research studies

Applicants must be resident in the UK and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • 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 give you 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

Proposals may include up to five investigators (one principal investigator and up to four co-investigators) and this core group should reflect the people setting up and leading the network. Networks are encouraged to work with a range of project partners and collaborators.

The full economic cost of a network can be up to £7.5 million. EPSRC and MRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost, up to £6 million for up to three years at 80% full economic cost. It is expected that three to six networks will be funded.

A webinar about this funding opportunity will be held on 15 September 2021 (10:00-12:00). Attendance to this event is not mandatory and is not a prerequisite for submitting a proposal.

Applicants must initially submit a mandatory expression of interest via SmartSurvey by 8 October 2021.

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