Capital investment to benefit Early Career Researchers

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Registrar


The University of York operates globally, aiming to be among the best universities in the world. It aims to provide an environment that attracts and retains the very best researchers, internationally, to encourage and facilitate academic endeavour, and provide a supportive atmosphere for the development and sharing of knowledge. It continuously seeks to improve this research environment in pursuit of excellence.

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are a vibrant part of our research community, driving innovation and delivering research leadership. Across the various departments in receipt of EPSRC funding, there are ca. 200 ECRs who would be eligible for support via this award. There is substantial appetite from these ECRs for additional capital expenditure to extend the research infrastructure, and the additional capacity and capabilities afforded by new equipment represent a significant opportunity to promote further collaboration and development across the ECR community.

Planned Impact

A key short term outcome of this scheme will be improvements to the University of York's equipment infrastructure and in particular developing synergies between the research interests of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) at the University and the equipment that they need. While it is not possible to project the specific longer term impacts of the proposed capital expenditure in advance of the panel's decisions, potential for impact will be captured within the criteria for assessment. The ECR community in particular is expected to benefit through increased capacity, enhanced experience, and development of new skills both in the scientific field of their research and more widely.

The application process for these proposals will be supported as appropriate by the Research Excellence Training Team, the Business Development Team, and the Faculty Impact Manager. This will act to ensure proposals are afforded sufficient opportunity to tackle issues around ECR development: these could include leadership activities in support of fellowship applications (RETT), interactions with industry (BDT) or the creation and monitoring of impact (Faculty Impact Manager). The University will require a plan to define and capture any impact as part of the proposals submitted to the scheme.

We anticipate that the following stakeholder groups also have the potential to benefit from the award:

Industrial Collaborators: Building impact into the heart of proposals to this scheme will mean that from the earliest stages ECRs will have to consider their potential applications to industrial (and other) collaborators. This will strengthen relationships between the University and these businesses, which could vary from local SMEs to large multinationals. These businesses will benefit from increased access to ECRs with the expertise and, crucially, access to the equipment they need to help them solve industrial challenges.

Policy makers and informers: The University of York has a strong range of contacts between its EPSRC science and policy influence worldwide, including influence on the United Nations Environment Programme, World Meteorological Organisation, and UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories), and US Naval Postgraduate School (Department of Mathematics). Improving access by ECRs to the equipment they need will help to provide these policy influencers with the evidence they need to make the best possible decisions.

Equipment manufacturers: As well as the short term economic benefit of additional purchases, equipment manufacturers will develop relationships with a new generation of University of York academic staff, potentially leading to future collaborations as industrial partners and also to ensuring that their product is as fit for purpose as possible.


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