Capital Award Support for Early Career Researchers at the University of Leeds

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


The Capital Award Support for Early Career Researchers at the University of Leeds aims to align with EPSRC's World Class Labs initiative to provide key underpinning capital equipment of benefit to early career academics in particular across a wide range of research disciplines. The award will closely align with the capital investment strategy of the University of Leeds in providing flagship technologies to capitalise on challenge-led interdisciplinary research, create new funding opportunities and deliver impact.

Four items of capital equipment are proposed which fulfil a need across multiple Schools and Faculties, benefiting Early Career Researchers as well as the wider academic community. The items, which are primarily spectroscopy and microscopy equipment, will each fill a unique gap in terms of range and/or resolution in our current facility capabilities.

The University is matching the EPSRC Award through a contribution of £225K enabling the four items to be purchased, each co-funded by the EPSRC and the University.

Planned Impact

Early Career Researchers often lack the experience felt to be needed to apply for grants that are sufficiently large and cross-disciplinary to purchase larger items of equipment. However, this EPSRC Early Career Researcher Capital Equipment proposal will allow Early Career Researchers to do just that. The University of Leeds has been very successful over the past three years in recruiting and hiring approximately 150 Early Career Researchers as University Academic Fellows (UAFs), 60 of which conduct research within the remit of EPSRC. These tenure-track potential future academic leaders have worked together to identify several pieces of equipment that will positively effect their research productivity and scientific impact substantially. The guaranteed priority use of this equipment will enable Early Career Researchers to develop as successful independent researchers at the cutting edge of their fields. The research that can be achieved with this equipment, and the University's commitment to Early Career Researcher career development through calls such as this, will significantly enhance future grant or fellowship applications. This is also particularly useful for younger Early Career Researchers, such as Postdoctoral Research Assistants, who will be given the opportunity to use these instruments in developing projects to show their independent research activity. This is a necessary and highly advantageous step for Postdoctoral Researcher Assistants in successfully applying for independent research fellowships and promotion to lectureships, further impacting their career.

Bespoke workshops and training will be focused on the potential for use of this equipment in interdisciplinary collaborations, further enhancing the impact of the research achievable because of the new instrumentation. Internationally recognised successful research often has a high degree of interdisciplinary collaboration. This is the type of research that can lead to step-changes in scientific fields and significant societal impacts.


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