There are few things that bring as much joy to an academic as receiving an approval email from EPSRC (on Monday morning!). My First Grant proposal Software Defined Cognitive Networking: Intelligent Resource Provisioning For Future Networks (EP/P033202/1) has been assessed through the EPSRC peer review process and has been recommended for funding. I am very pleased to see all four reviewers unanimously giving the best score available (6 out of 6), which are highly valued by the EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel April 2017 (ranked 3rd out of the 11 proposals). The 2-year project is set to start in August 2017 and to be joined by a Research Associate (starting in early 2018) and at least one PhD student (funded by the host institution). I am pleased to have Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Aruba and Lancaster University as the partners, who have been very supportive from the very beginning.
EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering. First Grant is a funding scheme set up by EPSRC to help “early career academics” establish their research leadership. In ICT area, First Grant usually sees a higher success rate compared with the regular Standard Grants and yet it’s nothing less than a tough hunger game. Every eligible person has only one shot in First Grant. You wouldn’t even think of writing the first letter of your proposal before establishing a strong research track record and evidence of networks. A proposal (including several mandatory sections) normally takes six-month to write and often re-write while you fulfil your standard teaching and admin duties. In the proposal, the PI must prove its expertise (and potentials) in his research area and also managerial skills in project management, finance, and impacts generation. Once submitted, the proposal will then go through a rigorous reviewing process where EPSRC invites comments from several field experts from academia and industry. The assessment criteria include Quality, Importance, Impact, Applicant, and Resources and management. A panel, organised a few times a year, will then collect all new proposals accompanied with their reviews and determine which ones to fund. Needless to say, I am very proud to see my work being recognised and awarded by a prestigious funding body.
I will publish more posts on my First Grant journey, project partners, and all the people who supported on the way. For now, back to exam paper marking!