Proposals Invited for STFC Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP)

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) runs the Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) initiative to support the application and commercialisation of STFC research in four key societal challenge areas: energy, environment, healthcare and security. Applicants must demonstrate that their project is developed from core STFC technology or research, or in STFC labs.

CLASP is intended to support the de-risking of R&D processes for industry through the development of technology demonstrators and industry-ready prototype systems. The aim is to cover Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 3-6, therefore proof of concept must have been achieved.

The key challenge areas for CLASP 2021 are healthcare and energy. Projects may cover one or both of these areas. The project themes suggested within each challenge area are currently key to central government (the NHS and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) but they are not mandatory – applications on any theme submitted within the healthcare and/or energy remit will be accepted. This enables applicants to have a degree of flexibility when developing their applications. The 2021 suggested/example themes are:


Community care

Emergency treatment

Improved diagnostics


Mental health and rehabilitation

Healthcare environment monitoring


Industry and hydrogen

Carbon capture utilisation and storage

Advanced modular reactors

Smart energy

Energy storage

Applicants should aim to address current market needs by working closely with end users and are encouraged to seek support or engage with appropriate industrial partners.

The Principal Investigator for any CLASP proposal must be funded through the core STFC science programme (ie particle physics, astrophysics, nuclear physics, space science/astronomy, accelerator science or computing in support of these) or be a member of STFC staff (including within the national laboratories/facilities, including CERN, ESO and ESRF). Applicants must also meet UKRI eligibility criteria.

The lead research organisation must be eligible to hold UKRI grants (this includes approved higher education institutions, research council institutes and independent research organisations).

There is an annual fund of around £2 million for CLASP projects. It is anticipated that a number of projects will be funded per year, ranging from feasibility studies to larger developmental projects. Projects are funded for up to three years.

Application is via a two-stage process (initial outline application followed by a full proposal). The outline application deadline is 14 January 2021 (16:00) and the full application deadline (for invited applicants only) is 20 May 2021.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.