Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Address a societal challenge relating to security or the environment

Start application

Apply for funding to address a societal challenge within the remit of STFC’s security theme, environment theme, or both.

You must work in an STFC lab or facility, or be currently funded through an STFC core science programme area:

  • particle physics
  • astronomy
  • particle astrophysics
  • solar and planetary science
  • nuclear physics
  • accelerator science.

You can apply for a share of up to £2 million for up to three years.

Once open, STFC will manage applications through the new UKRI Funding Service. You will not be able to apply on the Je-S system. For more information contact the funding service team on support@funding-service.ukri.org.

Who can apply

Applicants and co-applicants must be:

  • currently or previously funded through the STFC core science programme (Principal Investigators only)
  • academic members of staff or research fellows
  • resident in the UK or employed by an STFC-approved overseas research organisation
  • employed by, or have written agreement from, the organisation submitting the proposal.

For full details on the eligibility of organisations and individuals to receive STFC funding, see STFC eligibility of applicants. Applicants are encouraged to contact the UKRI Funding Service Helpdesk if they’re unsure of their eligibility for this opportunity.

Applicants

Applicants must have a link (current or previous) to STFC funding in one of the STFC core science programme areas outlined in the introduction at the start of this page.

Applicants who have received STFC funding not in their name (for example, through a PhD or post-doctorate position) are still eligible to apply. Also eligible for CLASP funding are applications from:

  • STFC facilities
  • CERN
  • ESO
  • UK Space Agency
  • ESRF.

If applicants have any concerns over eligibility, they’re encouraged to email support@funding-service.ukri.org.

Research office professionals

You cannot apply for this opportunity (CLASP 2022) on our Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S). It is one of the opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

We’ll contact research offices at organisations whose members have not previously applied through the Funding Service. This is to create a UKRI Funding Service account, with administrator status. This will give you:

  • oversight of every Funding Service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit CLASP 2022 applications, which must be received by 25 January 2022.

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation applying for CLASP 2022, but have not already received an invitation to open an account, email support@funding-service.ukri.org.

As an administrator, you will be responsible for the final submission of the application to UKRI. Please ensure internal deadlines are made to clear to applicants from your organisation.

We’re running a webinar for research offices from organisations with potential applicants to the STFC’s CLASP scheme on 8 December.

Register for our webinar on the new research office functionality (Eventbrite).

Co-applicants

Co-applicants are welcome. They can be from different academic departments to the main applicant or from organisations outside of STFC’s remit, so long as they have relevance to project delivery. They do not need to be in receipt of core STFC funding.

Project partners

Project partners are organisations that are not eligible to hold UKRI’s grants. Project partners are welcome to apply in collaboration with an eligible academic partner.

Project partners are expected to contribute towards the project through donations or aid in kind. They must also demonstrate they possess the relevant technical capabilities and capacity to meet the project’s objectives.

Any project partner must have a strong UK presence and be actively contributing to the UK economy.

What we're looking for

CLASP 2022 is looking to support the de-risking of research and development processes for industry through supporting projects that:

  • develop technology demonstrators and industry-ready prototype systems
  • move the maturity of technologies towards commercialisation.

The scope

The scope of this opportunity has been developed in collaboration with colleagues from the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office. See the links listed below for more information. These are just examples. We’ll accept all applications within the remit that meet applicant eligibility criteria.

For details of broader government research and innovation interests, visit:

Collaboration and exchange

CLASP encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and welcomes co-applicants or joint applications from other departments (especially social sciences) where appropriate. This is to encourage the exchange of technology, research and the unique expertise the STFC community has to offer.

Industry and charity project partners who can contribute to projects are actively encouraged, but not essential.

Project cost

The overall budget for CLASP 2022 is £2 million. STFC anticipates this will fund multiple projects, ranging from short feasibility studies to larger developmental projects.

How to apply

The CLASP 2022 application process takes part in two stages:

  1. submission of an outline proposal
  2. invited submission of a full proposal, if successful at stage one.

We strongly encourage you to read how we’ll assess proposals in stage two, detailed in ‘additional information’, before you apply for stage one.

Stage one questions

What follows is a copy of the sections and questions you’ll need to complete and answer for your stage one application on UKRI’s Funding Service. You cannot apply for stage one of this opportunity on Je-S.

Applicants will need to take the following steps to apply:

  1. select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page
  2. this will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a two minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password
  3. start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘how to apply.’ You can save your work and come back to it later
  4. once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing
  5. once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.

Make sure you get any necessary approval from your organisation in advance and give your research office plenty of time before the closing date.

If you’re submitting a proposal as a joint application, then only the lead organisation should submit a proposal at this stage.

1. Details and summary

Application name

This should be the title of your proposed project.

Limited to 20 words.

Description of your research idea

Describe your idea and its relevance to CLASP 2022’s focus on Security and Environment. This is to give assessors an overview of your proposal.

You should also:

  • provide a brief overview of the challenge you’re looking to address
  • include an explanation of why your idea is different or an improvement to current technologies or processes
  • mention co-applicants, contributors and other organisations who you plan to work with and underpinning science
  • summarise how long it will take and how much it will cost.

Limited to 500 words.

2. Case for support

Provide a case to support your application for funding, using the following four subheadings. Make sure you include enough information for assessors to decide whether to invite you to stage two.

Provide a technical outline, including why your research idea is new or different

Explain the technical background of the project, its link with STFC funded research, and the degree of novelty or improvement, or both, over current technologies and processes. You’re encouraged to include any proof-of-concept data that has already been developed. Up to three images can be referenced and supplied in a single 8MB PDF file that also includes a Gantt chart.

Describe the impact your idea will have on the challenge areas of security and environment

Make clear the ultimate goal of the project and give details of the way in which development of this technology will address the societal challenge(s) identified.

You should:

  • clearly explain the challenge, and how the proposed technology will help address it, compared to how it’s currently done
  • describe the societal and economic impacts that the project is expected to deliver to those inside and outside of the consortium and the timescale for the deliverables
  • describe the current technology available and give details of how this technology is an improvement
  • describe the social and environmental benefit to the UK that will arise from the proposed work.

Provide a dissemination and implementation plan

Outline the route or potential route to exploitation in order to meet the impact target.

Include:

  • further development and financing requirements if anticipated
  • any regulatory alignments required
  • the identification of end user beneficiaries
  • the names of co-applicants who will make significant contributions to your research.

Provide a timescale, outline work plan and risks associated with the project

Together with a Gantt chart, detail the timescale of the project including what steps will be taken to develop the technology over its course. Include justification for any collaborations, any anticipated risks, and project partners also involved in the project. The Gantt chart must be provided in a single 8MB PDF file, which can also include up to three images to support.

Limited to 1,500 words.

3. Resources and costs

Provide details of your expected resources and costs, ensuring they accurately reflect the funding you’ll need. Reviewers will scrutinise them as part of their overall assessment of your application.

A degree of estimation is expected for some costs, such as consumables and travel, but carefully work out the other costs, like staff and equipment. We recommend that you work with your research office for this part of your application, as they’ll be familiar with the process. Make sure you leave enough time for them to review this section before submission.

Directly incurred costs arise as a direct consequence of your project taking place. They must be actual, auditable and supported by invoices.

Directly allocated costs are incurred whether the project takes place or not and are estimated at project level. For example, technician time and estates costs.

Indirect costs represent the costs of central and distributed services shared by other activities that are not project-specific. For example, human resources and IT.

Exceptions can include:

  • travel and subsistence
  • equipment
  • biological costs
  • charge-out facilities
  • postgraduate students.

4. Justification of resources

Provide a commentary of how and where your costs will be incurred, and what they’ll be used for. Ensure you provide details of project partners and what they’re contributing. Any capital requests should also be stated.

Limited to 250 words.

5. Supporting organisations

Provide details of any relevant letters of support from end users and partners.

You’ll need to detail each partner organisations:

  • organisation name
  • registered office address or website address
  • total amount of direct contributions, indicating the value in pounds. For example, cash, equipment, materials, seconding of staff or other direct contributions
  • total amount of indirect contributions, indicating the value in pounds. For example, use of facilities, staff time and other indirect contributions.

In addition, you must upload a single 8MB PDF containing all relevant letters or emails (from a significant and responsible person) of support. Each letter or email should:

  • confirm their commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • detail the nature and equivalent value of any in-kind contribution, and period of support
  • detail the nature and value of any cash contribution, and period of support
  • state whether they wish to claim minor costs, such as small consumables specific to the project.

How we will assess your application

The CLASP panel will assess stage one applications. This will take place in late February 2022, with the outcome announced in March 2022.

For an application to be considered for stage two, it must demonstrate that it.

draws on an area of expertise supported by the STFC core science programme, as listed in the ‘Who can apply’ section, and fits into one or both CLASP 2022 themes, security and environment.

If an application demonstrates both these requirements, then the panel will assess it for the following criteria:

  • technical excellence, including likelihood to deliver
  • impact on the challenge area and relevance to scheme
  • dissemination and implementation plan, including suitability of project partners (and letters of support if relevant).

The panel will give each proposal an overall score based on how well it meets these criteria. The scoring benchmarks are:

  • 1 = The proposal is unsatisfactory, it does not meet one or more of the assessment criteria
  • 2 = The proposal is weak, it meets the assessment criteria but has major weaknesses or limitations
  • 3 = The proposal is good, it meets the assessment criteria well but with clear weaknesses or limitations
  • 4 = The proposal is very good, it meets the assessment criteria well but with some weaknesses or limitations
  • 5 = The proposal is excellent, it strongly meets all the assessment criteria.

Applications that score less than three will not usually progress to stage two.

If the panel shortlists an application for stage two, they’ll assign the applicant a panel mentor. The panel mentor will help provide strategic advice and guidance on how to shape their stage two proposal.

An insight into the assessment criteria required for stage two is outlined in the ‘additional information’ section.

Contact details

If you have any queries, difficulties creating an account or signing in, or need any other help with the UKRI Funding Service.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org.

Additional info

Stage two assessment process

The stage two assessment process may include a 30-minute interview, including presentation, in August 2022. STFC will give successful applicants full details of stage two requirements following stage one.

Applicants should bear in mind the following assessment criteria for stage two.

Scientific and technical merit:

  • scientific quality, including current technology status, objectives and deliverables
  • risk management
  • novelty regarding any existing technology
  • strategic fit to the opportunity, including proposed technology readiness level gains throughout project
  • implementation plan, including letters of support.

Societal impact:

  • articulation of societal benefit including non-monetary benefits, for example: time saved, patients’ care improved
  • knowledge exchange plan, including dissemination of expertise into the challenge area
  • demonstrating commitment from end users
  • regulatory alignment and engagement, where relevant
  • consideration of societal sensitivities. For example, reduced plastic and data security.

Economic impact:

  • likelihood of commercialisation and route to market, including project partner support
  • economic benefit, both UK and globally, including cost savings
  • business plan. For example, market need, market size, competitors, value, and location
  • IP management plan.

Added value:

  • the extent to which the resources requested, relative to the anticipated outputs, represent an appropriate investment and value for money of STFC funds
  • degree of support from project partners, both during research and after funding, if relevant
  • future of the project after CLASP funding.

Supporting documents

Additional guidance notes CLASP 2021: security and environment (PDF, 327KB)

CLASP equality and inclusion assessment (DOCX, 33KB)

Security challenge areas for CLASP 2022 (PDF, 77KB)

Defra challenge areas for CLASP 2022 (PDF, 69KB)

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