Funding opportunities

Call for Feasibility Studies

EPSRC Future Liquid Metal Engineering Hub

Call Type:  Invitation for Proposals

Closing Date: 16:00 on 12 September 2019

Summary

The EPSRC Future Liquid Metal Engineering Hub is inviting investigator-led proposals for feasibility studies on innovative research in the field of solidification science and technology. The feasibility studies should tackle key challenges and research questions not currently being addressed in one or more of three distinct areas: (1) heterogeneous nucleation; (2) grain refinement and (3) recycling of metallic materials.
The call is open to all UK academics eligible to apply for EPSRC grants and provides the primary platform for the academic community to engage with the Hub to address the grand challenges facing UK industry. Each award is limited to £30K at 80%FEC and up to a maximum duration of six months.

Key dates

Activity Date
Call launched 1 July 2019
Closing date for applications 12 September 2019
Evaluation of applications by 24 October 2019
Grants announced and feedback given by 1 November 2019
Expected start date of projects Within 3 months of receipt of the offer letter

Background

The Future Liquid Metal Engineering Hub is a £10M investment by the EPSRC with the long-term vision of transforming the global metallurgical industry by delivering a full metal circulation to address the global demand for metallic materials. A full circulation of secondary metals (with only limited addition of primary metals each year) is achieved through reduced usage, reuse, remanufacture, closed-loop recycling and effective recovery and refining of secondary metals. This will be accomplished by establishing the scientific basis, technological approach and industrial strategy for full metal circulation demonstrated through closed-loop recycling of light metals, to be applied across the manufacturing supply chain.

The Hub is hosted by BCAST at Brunel University London with academic spokes at Universities of Oxford, Manchester and Leeds and Imperial College London. It is supported by over 38 leading industrial companies with £40M financial investment. It is also backed by £19M investment of national scale up facilities in liquid metal engineering and light metal processing through the Advanced Metal Casting Centre (AMCC) and the Advanced Metal Processing Centre (AMPC) located at Brunel that is funded by EPSRC and HEFCE.

The Hub was launched in November 2015 with two key Grand Challenges (https://www.lime.ac.uk/research/):

  • To enhance the understanding of nucleation centred solidification science to underpin closed-loop recycling.
  • To develop recycling-friendly high performance metallic materials and sustainable metal processing technologies to enable closed-loop recycling.

Scope of the Call

The funding aims to support low TRL (1-3) research feasibility projects that address one of the two Grand Challenges outlined above and are complementary, but distinct to the current research being conducted by the Hub (https://www.lime.ac.uk/research/). We are looking for radical ideas in the wider field of solidification science and technologies, covering a broad range of metallic materials (eg. metals other than aluminium and magnesium) for applications in industries, preferably beyond the automotive sector. Applicants are invited to submit proposals that fit the following priority areas:

  • Understanding heterogeneous nucleation by experimental, modelling and simulation approaches.
  • Understanding the mechanisms of formation of solidified microstructures with fine grain size, uniform chemistry and reduced/eliminated cast defects.
  • Designing metallic materials tolerant to both inclusions and impurities to enable closed-loop recycling.
  • Development of sustainable solidification technologies to facilitate closed-loop recycling of metallic materials.

Feasibility studies should provide proof-of-concept results for preparation of grant proposals to relevant funding bodies including EPSRC, InnovateUK, EU and industry.

Funding available

The maximum funding available for each feasibility study is £30,000 at 80% of the Full Economic Cost (FEC). Maximum duration of the project is 6 months and funding is intended to primarily cover staff time of PI and supporting researchers to conduct their feasibility study, with the remainder supporting consumables, facilities usage charges and travel expenses. Funding for PhD students is not available and this cost should be covered by the institution.

Equipment

Funding for purchasing new equipment is not permitted.

Eligibility

This call is open to all UK academic institutions except Brunel University London, where applicants must be eligible to hold an EPSRC grant.

How to apply

Feasibility study project applications should be submitted in MS Word and/or PDF format to Professor Isaac Chang (isaac.chang@brunel.ac.uk). Applications should be no more than four sides of A4, using 2cm margins and a standard 12 pts font size. Proposal should include, but not be limited to, the following information:

  • Research title, institution name and principal investigator (PI)
  • Proposed start date and duration. (Projects should typically last for a maximum of 6 months)
  • Context, aim and objectives of the research, including a description to explain how the study fits within the overall vision of the Hub and how it supports one of the research priority areas.
  • A statement of the novelty of the proposed research, including some evidence that it is not being addressed elsewhere.
  • A description of the methodology to be used, including a timing and resource allocation plan.
  • A description of the tangible deliverables from the feasibility study (what does success look like?)
  • A plan to show how you will attract further funding if your idea is feasible and the research is successful.
  • Any evidence of industrial interest or support (Letters of support are not included in the page limit, however, they must give details of the level of support on offer).
  • A brief track record of the applicants relevant to this research area.
  • Justification of resources requested, summarising Directly Allocated (academic PI), Directly Incurred (researchers, travel, consumables, facilities usage charge etc.) and Indirect (Estates, infrastructure, etc) Costs.

Assessment process

Applications received by 12 September 2019 will be considered by an assessment panel of reviewers comprised of academic investigators of the Hub. It is expected that successful proposals will be announced on 1st November 2019. In order of importance, the evaluation criteria for applications will be:

  • Does the proposal align with the vision of the Hub and address key scientific and technical challenges?
  • Does the proposal contain scientific novelty in relation to the context and timeliness?
  • Does the proposal have the potential for the development of a funded project?
  • How relevant is the proposed work to industrial partners and other stakeholders?
  • Does the research team have the relevant track record and research facilities to complete the work?
  • Are the requested resources appropriate to deliver the proposed work?

Contacts

For more details, please contact Professor Isaac Chang (isaac.chang@brunel.ac.uk or 01895 268491). Applicants are asked to consult their University’s research office ahead of submitting a proposal to this call, in order to be clear of the requirements for meeting the deadlines set out above.