Preannouncement of Second EPSRC New Horizons Call

The second stage of the pilot call will support 24-month researcher-led, high-risk discovery research projects within the Engineering and ICT EPSRC themes.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced the future launch of a second call of the New Horizons programme. The call is designed to grow the portfolio of new, transformative research ideas, with the aim to ensure the continued flow and support of novel, adventurous research ideas into the EPSRC portfolio and broader UKRI funding streams.

The New Horizons funding route is intended to stimulate creativity within the research community to give researchers time and space to test out their speculative ideas. It also aims to trial ways to minimise the bureaucracy of the application process, particularly for the applicant, and deliver a faster process compared to current standard funding routes, while maintaining robust decision making that is proportionate to the level of risk.

Whereas the first call focused on the Mathematics and Physical Sciences themes, the second call will invite proposals for projects within the Engineering and ICT themes. It will provide funding for researcher-led, high-risk discovery research focused on advancing knowledge and securing the pipeline of next-generation innovations.

A total of £10 million will be available, and projects may apply for up to £250,000 (£200,000 at 80% fEC) for up to 24 months.

All staff at UK institutions eligible to receive funding from UKRI will be eligible to apply, and more information on remit will be provided when the opportunity opens.

Jane Nicholson, Director of Research Base, EPSRC said:

‘We are committed to making the UK a place where the most creative researchers can formulate high-risk discovery proposals to deliver world-leading research.

‘We are building on learnings from the first phase of the New Horizons pilot, and this second phase in the ICT and engineering remits will inform our ongoing work to evolve our policies and secure the pipeline of next-generation innovations.’

The call will use a two-stage application procedure. The first phase is expected to open on 9 November and close on 7 December 2021 (16:00). Successful outline proposals will then be invited to submit a full proposal by the 25 January 2022 deadline.

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