Build a network to research sustainable agri-food for net zero

Please note that the funding amount and the investigator eligibility have been updated on this page.

Apply for funding to develop a research network that will focus on improving the sustainability of the agri-food system.

You must be:

  • based at an eligible UK-based organisation
  • working in a science discipline.

Co-investigators can be from any discipline.

Your network is expected to:

  • focus on improving the sustainability of the agri-food system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • build new interdisciplinary partnerships across the UKRI portfolio
  • be informed by stakeholders
  • develop plans for future research and innovation.

The full economic cost of your network can be up to £5 million. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project can last up to 36 months.

Who can apply

Institutional eligibility

Standard UKRI eligibility criteria apply to this opportunity and applicants from eligible UK-based organisations are invited.

Institutions and researchers normally eligible for UKRI funding include:

  • higher education institutes
  • research institutes
  • approved public sector research establishments
  • approved independent research organisations.

Applications from organisations or individuals that are not eligible will be rejected.
Please note each institution may lead on only one application, however institutions may be a partner in multiple applications.

Investigator eligibility

Research in sustainable agri-food for net zero requires an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, applications are encouraged from broad multidisciplinary teams.

The principal investigator must be working in a science discipline.

Co-investigators from across UKRI’s remit, from disciplines outside those directly linked to agri-food and from other eligible research organisations may be included to bring new ideas and perspectives to the net zero challenge.

Individuals may only be on one full proposal application in total as either a principal investigator or a co-investigator.

Investigators must be academic employees (lecturer or equivalent) of an eligible organisation and must be a resident in the UK.

Any fellows holding fellowships aimed primarily at the postdoctoral level are not eligible to apply.

UKRI fellows, Royal Society fellows, Wellcome Trust fellows and Royal Academy of Engineering fellows holding fellowships aimed at later career stages are eligible to apply.

Holders of fellowships under other schemes that provide financial support for additional or support staff should check with the contacts for this opportunity to establish eligibility. This may be given on an individual case-by-case basis rather than as blanket eligibility for all fellows under any scheme.

Principal investigators should normally hold a permanent post, but fixed-term employees may be eligible provided that:

  • UKRI can be satisfied that the host research organisation is prepared to give the individual all the support normal for a permanent employee
  • there is no conflict of interest between the investigator’s obligations to UKRI and to any other organisation or employer.

The term of employment of a fixed-term employee must extend beyond the duration of the proposed research project.

Co-investigators are expected to meet all the eligibility criteria for principal investigators except for the requirement to hold a contract that extends beyond the end date of the proposal.

Further information on the eligibility of investigators.

What we're looking for

Vision

The purpose of this opportunity is to establish a single Network Plus (network plus research) on sustainable agri-food for net zero, to convene and catalyse an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder community and support feasibility projects. These projects will explore how sectoral transformation can be most effectively catalysed.

The Network Plus will provide research and innovation evidence in support of strategies to sustainably reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the agri-food sector. The Network Plus will also consider approaches to adapt UK agri-food systems to ensure sustainability and increased resilience to climate change and the resulting environmental impacts, including:

  • biodiversity loss
  • changes in land use
  • other ecosystem services.

This Network Plus will support the radical transformation of the agri-food system required to enable the UK to meet its net zero target.

Identifying the most effective route to such transformation will require a coordinated and interdisciplinary research and innovation approach that covers the wider agri-food system and agri-based ecosystem services, as well as consumer and producer behaviour changes.

It will also require the development of supporting digital technologies and coordinated, reliable datasets, and the alignment of stakeholders expertise and priorities across the UK agri-food landscape.

Scope

UKRI seeks to support a Network Plus that does the following:

Facilitate working together across the agri-food system

It must facilitate researchers working together from across the agricultural, biological, natural, environmental, physical, engineering, economic and social sciences. It must also help researchers work with:

  • other disciplines, for example, data science
  • stakeholders, in the UK agri-food system, (from primary production to consumption and waste) such as business and policy makers.

Take a whole system perspective

It must take a whole agri-food system perspective covering the full UK agri-food system, from primary production (agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture) and food processing (food and drink manufacture) to food retail, consumption, and waste management.

However, we expect an appropriate focus on primary production, as this is the main source (Nature) (71%) of emissions from the sector.

Complement previous and current UKRI investment

To add value to the current landscape, including building on new opportunities highlighted by previous networking activities, it must complement:

  • previous and current UKRI investments
  • those of other funders in the agri-food space.

Identify challenges and propose future research

It must:

  • identify ambitious ‘real-world’ challenges to which interdisciplinary research can contribute
  • propose an agenda for future research that would support transition of the UK agri-food system to net zero, while reversing biodiversity loss and ensuring resilience of the system.

Collaborate across the UK and address UK production

It must reach across the UK and be a new collaboration involving contributors with a wide range of experience and expertise. It should primarily address UK production but any impacts that can be translated to the production of food imported into the UK are welcomed.

Create new connections

It must create new connections by bringing together disciplines not currently engaged with agri-food challenges to realise new opportunities for impact in the sector.

Researchers from different disciplines will have much to contribute and the Network Plus should be inclusive and inspire change. In particular, researchers from some engineering and physical science and economic and social science disciplines with much to offer should be encouraged to participate in the Network Plus so they can:

  • forge new links with established agri-food stakeholders
  • collaborate with academics already active in agri-food
  • aim to contribute to tackling the challenges in the sector.

Expectations for the Network Plus

Provide leadership

The Network Plus will provide leadership by:

  • establishing an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder community that spans across UKRI’s research and innovation remit and includes key actors and major stakeholder groups in the agri-food sector
  • delivering a roadmap setting out a research and innovation trajectory with clearly defined short, medium and long-term delivery targets.

Facilitate community connections

The Network Plus will facilitate community connections through establishing new collaborations and partnerships. These will identify the key priorities and co-design transformative research and innovation projects that would deliver visible and measurable impact towards addressing the key challenges, with particular attention to the needs of farmers and the wider society.

Engage in active dialogue with stakeholders

The Network Plus will engage in active dialogue to ensure the research and innovation community is involved in:

  • discussing the short, medium and long-term issues
  • defining practical problems for which strategies and trajectories for possible solutions are required to facilitate a sustainable transition of the UK agri-food sector to net zero by 2050.

Support a portfolio of interdisciplinary feasibility projects

The Network Plus will support a portfolio of projects which will identify areas where significant impact can be made towards achieving net zero through further research and innovation.

It is expected that part of the funding for research activities of the Network Plus is used to support the inclusion of disciplines currently not having a significant impact in agri-food. Applications are required to demonstrate how their proposal will address this broadening of the interdisciplinary base of the agri-food community.

Provide input into UK policy

The Network Plus will provide input into UK policy for the agri-food sector by supporting evidence-based work to inform:

  • strategy
  • policy
  • regulation
  • skills needs.

Improve knowledge exchange, translation, and commercialisation

The Network Plus will improve knowledge exchange, translation and commercialisation to facilitate impact.

Themes

Consultation with the research and user communities has identified that a systems approach is necessary to significantly progress the complex challenge of achieving net zero.

Such an approach should consider the wider agri-food system and agri-based ecosystem services, as well as consumer and producer behaviour changes, supported by large and reliable data sets to develop digital technologies for effective monitoring.

Whole systems approaches are needed so that trade-offs are understood by engaging with the resource priorities and time pressures across the entirety of agriculture and food. Therefore, applicants should ensure that the network is structured to encourage a whole systems approach and interdisciplinary working.

UKRI’s priorities in the area of agri-food can be broadly considered under four thematic areas embodied in a systems view:

  • sustainable environment:
    • climate change and planning for resilience
    • biodiversity and other environmental co-benefits
    • soil health and function
    • land management and use from field to landscape scale
  • sustainable primary production:
    • livestock and management of emissions
    • plant and animal breeding and genetics for adaptation and resilience
    • novel agricultural systems and technologies, for example alternative protein production, controlled environment, precision farming and use of robotics and autonomous systems
    • reducing fertiliser, manure, slurry and organic matter related emissions
  • sustainable processing manufacturing and consumption, for example:
    • decarbonising food and drink manufacture (for example refrigeration)
    • consumer behaviour and dietary preferences
    • producer response to changing consumer preferences
    • understanding cultures, traditions and social movements around food and farming that can be barriers to adoption and influence social acceptability
  • agri-food systems and bioeconomy, for example:
    • decarbonising farms (including machinery and vehicles), on farm energy generation, bioenergy crops
    • net zero agri-food business models and policy, facilitate adoption of new production practices
    • circular economy for agri-food system to better make use of waste streams
    • sensing, efficient, and effective measurements to better understand the production of GHG in the agri-food system
    • complex system modelling, data analysis, artificial intelligence, digital twin development to inform the necessary changes in agri-food.

The examples given under each theme are indicative and represent a non-exhaustive and non-prescriptive list. Applicants are expected to structure the themes and priorities within their application as they consider most appropriate.

Proposals should clearly explain the approach(es) that would be taken to ensure the Network Plus covers thematic areas in an integrated manner.

Funding available

We will invest a total of £4 million to support one Network Plus (at 80% full economic cost). This funding amount has been confirmed since the call went live and applicants who submit an expression of interest will be informed of this confirmed amount.

An award will be made for up to 36 months duration.

Funding requested under the ‘directly allocated’ cost heading may include investigators’ salaries. The principal investigator and up to 10 co-investigators can request funds to cover their salary costs for the time spent on setting up and leading the Network Plus. The salary costs of Network Plus participants should not be included in the proposal.
Funding requested under the ‘directly incurred’ cost heading may include the following costs.

Travel and subsistence

Travel and subsistence can be requested when enabling members of the Network Plus to meet to exchange ideas and expertise. This may include visits by or to experts overseas. This may also include travel and subsistence costs to support secondments. Where possible, collaborators should meet their own travel costs.

Administrative support

A sufficient level of administrative support should be requested to ensure the coordination, management and smooth running of the Network Plus. Reasonable costs for monitoring and dissemination of the network’s output can also be included.

Organisation of activities

Funding can be requested for costs involved in running activities such as:

  • networking events
  • expert working groups
  • debates
  • online discussion forums
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • problem-solving workshops.

Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the range of activities that could support the delivery of the Network Plus goals.

Research

Research activity to support the research strategy developed within the Network Plus. Funds can be requested for:

  • postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) staff
  • consumables
  • travel and subsistence
  • any other costs eligible under ‘directly incurred’ headings.

This is likely to include a budget for feasibility studies (but not to demonstrator phase or beyond technology readiness level four) that can be allocated to researchers at other universities. We expect this to be a nationwide effort involving the best people.

Applicants will need to think carefully about how this feasibility studies budget will be commissioned, processes for the allocation of funds must be fair and transparent.

Please note that the feasibility funds will be restricted to UKRI current research organisation eligibility, but will not be bound by standard UKRI investigator eligibility criterion.

It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to ensure ongoing governance to ensure correct usage and accountability of the funds. UKRI would expect some examples of the types of projects at the application stage, but the research challenges should evolve during the Network Plus activities and should be co-created with stakeholders and be collaborative in nature.

Engagement and access

Funds can be requested for engagement activities, such as engaging with farmers and accessing agricultural sites.

Activities to identify and disseminate key research challenges in the area

Funds can be requested for activities, such as horizon-scanning studies.

Activities to facilitate impact and advance policy

Funds can be requested for activities, such as reports, websites and briefings

Secondment support

Funds can be requested for support including scoping of potential opportunities, travel and subsistence.

Activities to support career development

Funds can be requested for activities including training, knowledge exchange visits and mentoring.

Activities to connect users, industry, and other stakeholders with the research base

Funds can be requested for activities including stakeholder workshops and engagements with farmers and small and medium sized enterprises to support participation.

Communication costs

Funds can be requested for communication costs and for additional equipment such as personal computers and web servers.

Equipment

Funds can be requested for equipment to support networking, events and communication.

Equipment over £10,000 is not available through this opportunity. We will not be funding laboratory or research equipment for this opportunity. We will only support equipment to facilitate communication, networking, and events.

Further information on allowable costs.

Please also see additional grant conditions in the ‘additional information’ section to help shape your proposal.

How to apply

This opportunity will use a three-stage process.

1. Expression of interest

There is an expression of interest stage for the opportunity. Expression of interest is mandatory for those considering applying as a principal investigator and recommended for co-investigators.

Submit your expression of interest on Smart Survey.

This is for potential applicants to register their interest in being principal investigators or co-investigators and in attending the Network Plus development workshop.

In addition to your details the expression of interest will ask for your expertise, your vision for the Network Plus and what you will bring to the Network Plus. To support the creation of the best Network Plus proposals we will share applicants’ details on the expression of interest with all those who also submitted an expression of interest.

The expression of interest stage closes on 20 October 2021.

A Network Plus development workshop will be held for those submitting an expression of interest. The workshop will allow participants to explore how the Network Plus can achieve its aims and enable an opportunity to connect with complementary investigators

Outputs from the workshop will be shared with all those who submitted an expression of interest.

2. Intent to submit

Following the Network Plus development workshop, those who wish to submit a full proposal to the opportunity as a principal investigator must complete an ‘intent to submit’.

Information on how to complete the intent to submit will be sent to all those submitting an expression of interest.

Details of the principal investigator, any co-investigators currently involved in the application and the title of the application will be requested in the intent to submit. The ‘intent to submit’ information will be published on this page in order to support the creation of the best interdisciplinary bids. New co-investigators can be added after the intent to submit has been completed.

UKRI must receive your intent to submit by 16:00 on 6 January 2022.

3. Full proposal

Principal investigators must have submitted an expression of interest to be eligible to submit a full proposal.

To facilitate the inclusion of principles for the Network Plus created at the development workshop each full proposal must include at least one investigator who attended the development workshop.

Applicants should ensure they are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place. You should prepare and submit your proposal using the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

When adding a new proposal, you should go to documents, select New Document, then select:

  • ‘create new document’
  • council: EPSRC (this is just the route the proposal will take but this is a UKRI process)
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • ‘UKRI Sustainable Agri Food for Net Zero Network Plus’ on the project details page.

The title of your application should be ‘UKRI Agri-food Network Plus: [your project title]’.

After completing the application, you must ‘submit document’ which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration. Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process. Applicants should allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the opportunity closing date.

UKRI must receive your application by 16:00 on 17 February 2022.

Document guidance

You should attach all your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Advice on writing proposals.

UKRI will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for. All relevant parts of the ethical information section must be completed.

Read further guidance on completing the ethical information section of the Je-S form.

If there is too large a volume of proposals to be processed by the method described above, then UKRI reserves the right to alter the process. Any changes to the process will be communicated to all those who submit an expression of interest.

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted.

Case for support

Up to a maximum of 11 sides of A4.

Three sides of A4 on the track record of the core Network Plus team, highlighting evidence of relevant experience and expertise the applicant team has in running networks or activities requiring comprehensive management.

Five sides of A4 for the scientific case to include:

  • how the proposed Network Plus addresses the scope, expectations and themes as described in the ‘what we are looking for’ section
  • details of the prioritisation of activities and areas of focus for the Network Plus for the first 18 months of the grant
  • details of how the Network Plus will convene and catalyse an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder community and develop a roadmap for future funded research and innovation
  • a dissemination plan for the outputs of the Network Plus and the impact this may have on shaping the net zero agri-food research agenda
  • potential for collaboration within the Network Plus and how this might lead to support for new research in emerging fields.

Three sides of A4 for the management plan to include:

  • details of plans for the interdisciplinary feasibility studies funds, including the commissioning and ongoing governance to ensure correct usage and reporting
  • details of the Network Plus advisory board which should include 50% from ‘users of the research’ such as members of the farming community, government, business and others
  • details of how the structure of the Network Plus will be managed to ensure strong interaction between the different components of the Network Plus
  • details of how equality, diversity and inclusion will be embedded in the Network Plus
  • details of the governance of the Network Plus and the advisory board
  • clearly defined milestones, deliverables and key performance indicators (KPIs) on engagement of academic communities, stakeholders, roadmap generation and awarding of feasibility funding
  • plans for self-sufficiency beyond the end of the project.

Workplan

One side of A4.

Justification of resources

Two sides of A4.

CVs

Up to two A4 sides each.

Only for:

  • named postdoctoral staff
  • researcher- co-investigators (research assistants who have made a substantial contribution to the proposal and will be employed on the project for a significant amount of time)
  • visiting researchers.

Letters of support

No page limit.

These must be included from all project partners included in the Je-S form.

Project partners are encouraged to demonstrate the relationships that the Network Plus will develop.

Host organisation letter of support

Two sides of A4.

Your host organisation letter of support should include:

  • recognition of the fact that the host organisation will be responsible for administering the grant of this national network on behalf of all Network Plus partners and members
  • details of specific support that will be given to the applicant team (including investigators, management team and administrators) in managing the Network Plus budget, commissioning the funds and on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Stage one: expression of interest

Applicants submitting an expression of interest will be invited to a network development workshop. However, if the number of applicants submitting an expression of interest exceeds the capacity of the workshop format then a selection process will be used.

An independent interdisciplinary panel consisting of external experts will be convened to screen the expressions of interest and advise UKRI on those to prioritise for invitation to the workshop. In the event that this process is required, the expressions of interest will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • the potential to contribute to the vision and scope of the network
  • the potential to contribute to research at the interface between disciplines
  • the ability to work in a team
  • the ability to explain research to non-experts
  • the ability to contribute to the development of research strategy.

The selection panel will consist of external experts, looking to ensure a mix of disciplines and experience. Based on the strength of evidence provided against the assessment criteria, the panel will be asked to rank applications to attend the workshop.

Once the ranking has been finalised, the panel will be asked to separate the ranked list into a number of bands (groupings which represent applications of a similar quality). In deciding which applicants to invite, UKRI will consider the number and balance of applications across the expertise, starting with the highest band.

While considering the balance, UKRI may decide to progress an application banded lower than another providing a quality threshold is met. The ranking information may also be used to aid decisions. For example, to distinguish between applicants from the same area and in the same band where it is not desirable to progress them all.

Please note that we may not be able to give individual feedback to applicants not invited to the workshop as we may be processing a very large number of applications.

Failure to be invited to the workshop does not exclude an applicant from participating at the full proposal stage. Applicants that have submitted an expression of interest but are not invited to the workshop can still be part of a consortium for the next two stages provided they meet other eligibility conditions.

Stage two: intent to submit

The intent to submit is mandatory for all prospective principal investigators, but it will not be assessed.

The purpose of the intent to submit is to:

  • give visibility of the network applications being created to facilitate the building of the best applications
  • enable UKRI to appreciate the volume and spread of full proposals to expect, in order to better plan and prepare for the assessment process.

Stage three: full proposal

An independent interdisciplinary panel consisting of external experts (the sift panel) will review the full proposals and shortlist a maximum of five proposals to be invited for interview.

Prior to the sift panel, UKRI will pre-screen the full proposals to ensure they are within the scope of the opportunity (see scope of the opportunity in the ‘what we are looking for’ section). Only proposals that fit the remit of the opportunity will progress to the expert sift panel.

Principal investigators will receive feedback on the preliminary assessment of their proposals by sift panel members and be given the opportunity to respond before the final assessment and shortlisting at a sift panel meeting.

Proposals shortlisted based on recommendations of the sift panel will then be invited to an interview for the final selection of one proposal to be funded. The interview panel will produce a ranked order of the shortlisted proposals on the basis of which the funding decision will be made.

Principal investigators invited to the interview should bring along up to two other members of the team (this could include project partners).

Assessment criteria: expert sift panel

Network Plus full proposals will be assessed against the assessment criteria detailed below by an expert sift panel:

  • track record of the principal investigator and co-investigators as presented in the case for support, including the scientific and technological capabilities of the team
  • extent to which the proposal aligns with the scope and expectations of the opportunity
  • the ambition, adventure, transformative aspects and intended outcomes of the proposed Network Plus activities
  • potential to convene an interdisciplinary multi-actor community and catalyse the development of new and emerging research areas and build interdisciplinary research collaborations
  • potential to identify ambitious ‘real world’ research and innovation challenges within each of the UKRI net zero agri-food thematic priorities (see priority themes above) with consideration of multi-stakeholder perspectives across the agri-food supply chain
  • potential for the Network Plus to advance the UK’s capabilities in sustainable agri-food for net zero, as well as the UK’s economy and society
  • extent to which the Network Plus complements and builds upon other UK funded research activities and existing networks.

Proposals will not undergo postal peer review but will be assessed by a sift panel with shortlisted proposals called for interview.

Assessment criteria: interview panel

Applicants will be assessed at an interview panel against the assessment criteria listed below, resulting in a final rank ordered list.

Fit to opportunity (primary)

The alignment of the research programme to the scope and expectations of the opportunity, making reference to:

  • strength of alignment to sustainable agri-food for net zero challenges where interdisciplinary systems research can have the biggest impact
  • potential to catalyse the development of new and emerging research areas and build interdisciplinary research collaborations
  • potential to identify ambitious ‘real world’ research and innovation challenges within each of the UKRI net zero agri-food thematic priorities (see priority themes listed in the ‘what we are looking for’ section) with consideration of multi-stakeholder perspectives across the agri-food supply chain
  • potential for the Network Plus to advance the UK’s capabilities in sustainable agri-food for net zero, as well as the UK’s economy and society
  • extent to which the Network Plus complements and builds upon other UK funded research activities and existing networks
  • potential for sustainability of the activity after the lifetime of the grant.

Quality (primary)

The ability to convene and catalyse an interdisciplinary research and innovation community, making reference to:

  • the ambition, adventure, transformative aspects or potential outcomes
  • the suitability of the proposed activities
  • appropriate engagement and dissemination plans to accelerate impact and form an agenda for future research in the area.

Applicant and partnerships (secondary)

The ability to deliver the proposed project, making reference to:

  • track record of the applicant team in relevant research, leadership and management of complex partnerships and networks covering the broad interdisciplinary academic landscape
  • evidence of thought leadership, responding to strategic and policy drivers
  • sufficient administrative support for managing the Network Plus
  • appropriate range of expertise of core Network Plus members
  • evidence of user engagement, co-creation and support (financial cash or in-kind) and ability to engage with users
    evidence of host institution support, specifically focusing on support given to the applicant team in managing the Network Plus budget, commissioning feasibility funds and on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability.

Resources and management (secondary)

The effectiveness of the proposed planning and management and whether the requested resources are appropriate and have been fully justified, making reference to:

  • the appropriateness of the requested resources
  • the effectiveness of the proposed management structure and plans
  • appropriateness of the commissioning of funds for feasibility studies and on-going governance to ensure correct usage and accountability
  • appropriateness of the requested resources to support community building, responsible innovation and public engagement
  • how equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded in the management of the network.

Feedback

Feedback will consist of comments from the expert panel. Further feedback from the sift panel or interview panel may be given.

The funded project will be available on UKRI Gateway to Research (GtR) and other related platforms of UKRI councils (for example Grants on the Web) when applicants are informed.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask a question about this opportunity

BBSRC Sustainable Agriculture and Food

Email: saf@bbsrc.ukri.org

EPSRC Energy and Decarbonisation Team

Email: energy@epsrc.ukri.org

Get help with Je-S

Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to the Je-S helpdesk.

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

Background

The sustainable transformation of agri-food systems is vital to support the UK government’s emission targets for 2035 and 2050.

This year the UK will host the UN Climate Conference COP26. This backdrop frames a critical timeliness of opportunity for the agri-food research and innovation community to develop an integrated agricultural research and innovation agenda. This agenda will contribute to a net zero carbon future and improve the health of the natural environment.

Additional grant conditions

In addition to the standard terms and conditions for grants, successful applicants will be required to fulfil the following additional grant conditions (AGCs). Please ensure that this is resourced for accordingly in the application. Also, please note the exact wording of these conditions may change.

In the standard terms and conditions of research grants, the words “we”, “our” or “us” refer to the relevant council of UKRI awarding the grant and “you” or “your” refer to the research organisation in receipt of the grant.

Community network expectations

This grant is awarded on the understanding that the project will undertake a wider networking role with the research and user community outside its membership.

This may involve coordination of activities such as meetings, workshops, or seminars on behalf of UKRI. A dedicated website must be set up within six months of the start of the grant and regularly maintained to provide a resource for engagement with the wider community.

This grant is expected to further develop the network, including its academic and user (such as policy, business, non-governmental organisations) membership, throughout the period of funding in order to maximise its impact on a wide range of disciplines. As a part of the grant, the network must identify ambitious ‘real-world’ challenges which require interdisciplinary approaches and form an agenda for future research and innovation in the area.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In addition to RGC 3.4, you are expected to prepare a full equality, diversity and inclusion plan for the duration of this grant to demonstrate best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the lifetime of this funding award. This must be recorded through the grant reporting process.

Project officer appointment

We will nominate a project officer who will be your primary point of contact. The project officers will ensure that the project is being run in accordance with the terms and conditions and in line with financial due diligence. The project officer should have access to all documentation of governance and reporting bodies, in so far as it relates to the administration and application of the grant. As funding administrators, all our staff have agreed to maintain the confidentiality required by all parties involved in our funded research.

Advisory board appointment

This grant must establish and run an independent advisory board, or equivalent body, to oversee the running of the Network Plus and provide advice on the strategic direction and activities of the project. The terms of reference and membership of this group (at least 50% independent membership and an independent chair) should be agreed with UKRI. The project officer will be expected to be represented at meetings of the advisory board and other appropriate meetings for the duration of the grant.

It is expected the first advisory board meeting will be held within four months of the start date of the project and there will be two meetings a year with contact outside of the meeting when appropriate.

Flexible funds

Notwithstanding standard grant condition RGC 4.4 (PDF, 177KB), the sum awarded under the heading of ‘flexible funds’ can include both directly incurred and directly allocated expenditure. These funds must be reported on the final expenditure statement (FES) as awarded on the offer letter and a breakdown of the expenditure must be submitted along with the FES. If a breakdown of this expenditure is not received the final expenditure statements will be returned.

Standard grant conditions apply to all other funds awarded on this grant.

Awarding of flexible funds

In addition to RGC 2.6, where you are expected to hold a competition to distribute a proportion of funds awarded to a third party, this competition will be carried out in accordance with the principles of peer review upheld by us.

Prior agreement on the process stages and assessment criteria must be sought from us and agreed by the advisory board in advance. You and any third party recipient must comply with expectations of the use of public money for the purpose of this grant. All expenditure incurred, irrespective of source, must comply with these expectations.

Publicity and branding

In addition to RGC 12.4 (PDF, 177KB) publication and acknowledgement of support, the grant holder must make reference to UKRI funding and include the UKRI logo and relevant branding on all online or printed materials (including press releases, posters, exhibition materials and other publications) related to activities funded by this grant.

Progress reports

In addition to the requirements set out in RGC 7.4.3 (PDF, 177KB), the grant holder is responsible for providing annual progress reports against non-financial performance metrics. A detailed list of performance metrics and instructions for reporting will be agreed with the grant holder and advisory board upon commencement of the grant.

Monitoring

In addition to the requirements set out in standard UKRI grant conditions RGC 7.4 (PDF, 177KB) ‘research monitoring and evaluation’ and RCG 7.5 (PDF, 177KB) ‘disclosure and inspection’, we reserve the right to instigate a review of all or part of the grant at any stage during the lifetime of the award as well as after the grant has finished.

A mid-term review of this grant will take place to assess the performance of the grant in line with the peer reviewed body of work, published scheme assessment criteria and key performance indicators, milestones and deliverables.

We will give you due notice of the date of any review and will provide details of the terms of reference and documentation required. Any review will be conducted by an expert panel, which will make recommendations to us for the grant’s future.

Fixed start date

Notwithstanding RGC 5.2 (PDF, 177KB) ‘starting procedures’, this grant has a fixed start date of 01 June 2022 and no slippage of this date will be permitted.

Expenditure may be incurred prior to the start of the grant and be subsequently charged to the grant, provided that it does not precede the date of the offer letter.

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