QMUL ECR Capital Award

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Department Name: Physics


QMUL's EPSRC ECR capital award will fall into two strands:

1. A funding call open to those who have secured initial EPSRC grant funding in the eligible period, and where up-front investment in equipment will significantly enhance the likelihood of success in securing larger funding, such as fellowships or responsive mode. Often, low-medium value equipment is crucial to getting the preliminary results necessary to make the case for more substantial funding. ECR cohorts can struggle to access funding as this intermediate level, as due to historic funding restrictions it was not possible to add this to first grant applications, and equipment calls are typically targeted towards higher value items.

- Funding to purchase equipment which will form the basis of a new shared workshop facility. This funding will be matched by the institution, and we anticipate that this shared facility will establish a culture of collaboration across three of our academic Schools at QMUL: Engineering and Materials Science, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, and Physics and Astronomy.

The objectives of the call are as follows:

- To provide capital investment with substantial and demonstrable, but not exclusive, benefit to Early Career Researchers.
The funding will be split into two streams, one with explicit benefit primarily to early career researchers, and one with a wider benefit that will significantly benefit the widest possible group of ECRs.
- To build on the culture of collaboration, equipment sharing and maximising the usage of equipment that is underway in research organisations.
The funding used to support the shared workshop facilities is explicitly designed to create a culture of collaboration. In addition, researchers who have equipment funded through the specific scheme to support First Grant holders will be asked to identify potential for equipment sharing in other research groups, and other Schools where relevant.
- Fulfilling the wider EPSRC aim of supporting the maintenance and development of World Class Laboratories.
Although QMUL regularly invests in its facilities, this funding will be used specifically to improve our laboratory environment for ECRs, allowing high-specification equipment to be purchased which would not be easily accessible to these researchers through other external funding routes.

Planned Impact

This proposal will support the procurement of £175k of research equipment that will enhance the research of our cohort of EPSRC-funded/remit early career researchers, with the investment likely to impact research productivity over a projected 10-year time period. In order to maximise the impact from the investment, the procured equipment will support a range of activities align with major multidisciplinary and cross-School/Faculty research groupings including;

- Institute of Bioengineering (http://www.bioengineering.qmul.ac.uk)
- Materials Research Institute (http://www.materials.qmul.ac.uk)
- Centre for Digital Music (http://c4dm.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/index.html)
- Institute of Applied Data Sciences (https://www.applieddatasciences.qmul.ac.uk)

Research activities using the equipment cover a wide range of key EPSRC research areas within, but not limited to, the Digital Economy, Energy, Engineering, Global Uncertainties, Healthcare Technologies, Living with Environmental
Challenges and Manufacturing the Future themes. Further the proposal aligns with the EPSRC Research Infrastructure strategy.

Due to the nature of the proposal, the precise nature of impact arising from individual projects using the equipment cannot be specified at this time. However, this proposal will deliver broad impact across the following areas, over the timescales indicated in parentheses:

- Research staff using the new equipment (immediate)
- Skills development and training of staff/students (immediate, months, years)
- Scientists within and peripheral to the research activities using the equipment (months, years)
- Development and dissemination of new techniques (months, years)
Economy and wealth creation
- Development of new products (months, years)
- Support inward investment and development of new companies (years)
- Improved quality of life through innovation and product development (years)
- Improved health via medical technology innovation (years)
- International development via ODA-compliant research (years)
- Enhance understanding of science/technology via public engagement activities (months, years)


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