EPSRC DecarboN8 Network Plus seedcorn funding call and sandpit
We are pleased to announce the next round of DecarboN8 Seedcorn Funding.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please register your interest for the sandpit process by 5pm on Tuesday 19th January 2021.
This is a challenge-based call and will involve a multi-stage online sandpit process and engagement with DecarboN8 stakeholders. The aim of this is to support applicants to co-design high quality research projects which respond directly to real-world transport decarbonisation challenges in the North of England, building in local knowledge and resources.
For this round of seedcorn funding, a total of £250,000 (£200,000 at 80% fEC) is available. Proposals are invited for projects of up to 6 months duration.
As this is seedcorn funding, we do not anticipate funding a small number of very high value bids. Whilst we are not setting a maximum value, applicants should be aware that we expect to share the £250,000 between up to 5 projects.
Applications are encouraged for activities such as:
- Exploratory research studies
- Secondary data analysis
- Comparative case study research
- Inter-disciplinary activities such as workshops
Working with our regional partners we have identified a list of indicative topic areas, which align with our thematic priorities. The list is not prioritised in order of importance nor is it intended to be comprehensive or restrictive in nature and we actively encourage ideas in areas not listed.
- What approaches are needed to convert a Paris-Compliant carbon budget to transport carbon budgets at a sub-national scale?
- What do we understand about car-dependent areas? What is different about options, attitudes and appetite for change? How can these areas be encouraged to set targets and decarbonise more quickly?
- How should we electrify transport? This might include questions of the fleet size, vehicle right sizing, urban realm considerations and the equity implications of different approaches. Interactions with local electricity network capacity and models for funding upgrades and use may also be in scope. We are interested in different electrification scenarios which look at shared futures and how it will interact with other modes. Projects might look at different use cases and place combinations. Note that electrification is the core focus of the DTE Network+ and we will only consider specifically place-based proposals.
- Is there a case for accelerated adoption of hydrogen for heavy vehicles in the North? What aspects of geography or activity mix, fleet structure and usage patterns make hydrogen adoption more important and where might electrification fit better? How important is multi-modal adoption (e.g. rail and ports) to the case? Note that hydrogen is the core focus of the H2 Network+ and we will only consider specifically place-based proposals.
- How can we incorporate an understanding the embodied energy of transport infrastructure investment and maintenance programmes and vehicle construction and maintenance into decision-making? How can these emissions be reduced? For vehicles how can different fleet mixes of bikes, e-bikes and scooters contribute to lower overall embodied emissions?
- What innovations are necessary to incorporate micro-logistics (e.g. cargo bikes, micro consolidation, micro rail freight) into the delivery chain? How else can last-mile delivery be tackled through changes to planning and regulation of the sector?
- What rapid transport decarbonisation options exist for rural areas? Is there potential for a rural MaaS service? How should areas with significant visitor travel such as National Parks respond?
- What urban interventions can stimulate a reduction in total vehicle ownership and an increase in non-motorised modes? This might include research into the role of 15-minute neighbourhoods, step-change investments in active modes or new mobility services. How do we understand more about the variation in uptake between different communities and different authorities?
- What are the impacts of better active travel provision on economic vitality of an area? How important are road-space reallocations which to non-motorised modes? How do places that reduce parking compare with places which refuse to take out parking? In what kinds of places does this matter most?
- What innovations could cut carbon through a more activity or community-led approach? Whilst workplace and school travel planning is widespread, this is less true of other activities, yet they comprise around 70% of all transport carbon emissions – is this an opportunity?
- What could accelerate a return to public transport in the North after Covid19?
- Who wins and who loses in different transport decarbonisation strategies? What are the distributional impacts of decarbonisation and how do these vary spatially and by community, class, gender, race, age, dis/ability, etc? What can be done to deliver a just transition?
Within these topics we recognise there may be scope for:
- Interpreting new data sources to provide carbon insights
- Developing open access tools or activities which communicate transport decarbonisation policy options and trade-offs to different audiences
- Understanding barriers to uptake and action amongst citizens, businesses, and government stakeholders.
|09 December 2020||Sandpit Registration opens|
|19 January 2021||5pm deadline for sandpit registration (now closed)|
|19 January 2021||Asynchronous Online Activities begin|
|02 February 2021||Online Workshop 1|
|10 February 2021||5pm deadline for intention to submit|
|12 February 2021||Online Workshop 2|
|11 March 2021||5pm deadline for 500-word project summary|
|March 2021||Regional Youth Climate Assembly online interviews (23, 26 and 30 March)|
|29 April 2021||5pm deadline for full applications|
|10 May 2021||Decisions announced|
|01 July 2021||Earliest project start date (latest start date is 1 Oct 2021)|
Intention to submit (online form – now open) Deadline: 10 February 2021
Project Summary form (Word: 65kb) Deadline: 11 March 2021
Full Stage Application form (Word: 72kb) Deadline: 29 April 2021
Sandpit registration (online form – now closed)
Help and FAQ
If you have any questions about the call which are not answered in the call guidance, please email DecarboN8@leeds.ac.uk
We will publish (anonymised) responses to your questions below, to help other applicants.
I missed the first sandpit am I still able to apply for seedcorn funding?
Yes. However, please be aware that the deadline for Intentions to Submit is 5pm on 10th February! Only proposal teams who indicate their Intention to Submit by this date will be eligible to submit full stage applications.
I missed the first sandpit workshop can I still attend the second workshop?
Yes. If you intend to apply for the seedcorn funding and you are submitting an Intention to Submit (deadline 5pm on 10th Feb) please plan for a researcher from your team to attend the second sandpit workshop on 12th Feb. The sandpit process is intended to help you develop your ideas and write a more competitive proposal. If no one from your team can attend we can send you the recorded presentations and links to the resources that were shared. If you did not register for the first workshop please email DecarboN8@leeds.ac.uk to request access to the sandpit.
I have several ideas that might fit this call, but appreciate I’m only allowed to be on one as PI. Is it allowed to submit more than one ‘Intention to submit’ as PI?
Please only submit one Intention to Submit (as a PI). We understand that your project idea may develop and change before you submit your full stage application.
I have a project in mind involving partners that are not currently listed as Potential Project Partners. Can I work with an organisation that is not on the list?
We encourage you to develop partnerships with any organisations relevant to your proposal. They do not need to be on our database. The list is there simply to help those who may not already have a partner in mind and would benefit from the matchmaking service.
The project I have in mind does not match any of the challenges listed above. Can I still apply?
Yes so long as your proposal relates to transport decarbonisation with a focus on the North of England and meets the eligibility criteria. The list above represents a set of challenges identified by our regional partners which align with our thematic priorities. It is not intended to be comprehensive or restrictive in nature and we actively encourage ideas in areas not listed.
What do you mean by societal readiness?
These slides from the first sandpit workshop explain what we mean by societal readiness.
What do you mean by ‘place-based’ transport decarbonisation? Are comparative studies eligible?
For more information on what we mean by place-based, please refer to DecarboN8’s submission to the Department for Transport’s consultation about the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, in which we cover the question in detail.
Place-based transport decarbonisation research can indeed be comparative, but please refer the document for ideas about how to make a comparative study more place-based.
Are teams with international collaborators (but a UK Primary Investigator) permitted to apply?
Yes, so long as the work directly links to a place in the North of England.
Is it only the PI who can participate in the sandpit process?
If the PI is not available for one or both of the workshops they can delegate another member of their project team to attend.
Can Local Authorities apply for this funding?
All projects must be led by an academic at a UKRI-registered UK Research Organisation. Local Authorities, businesses, or third sector organisations that have a project in mind can partner with a local researcher. If you do not already have connections with local researchers you can join our Project Partner database which is shared with applicants who are looking for project partners. Details on joining the database are available here
I am near the end of my PhD I have not completed my viva yet. Am I eligible to participate in this sandpit process and apply for the seedcorn funding?
We define an early career researcher as any academic who has been awarded a PhD but has not yet held a research grant of £100,000 (at 100% fEC) or more. Unfortunately, if you have not yet successfully completed your viva, you are not eligible to apply for this funding. You must also currently be employed as a researcher or and academic at a UKRI-registered UK Research Organisation to be eligible
DecarboN8 Seedcorn Fund: Round 1 (closed 27 February 2020) – read about the funded projects
EPSRC DecarboN8 Network Plus funding call 2: Rapid Response Road-space Reallocation (RRRR) (closed 27 May 2020) – read about the funded projects
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