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IPS Fellowships

The IPS Fellowship scheme is designed to support a knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC) professional in a position at a UK university in developing innovation and impact from its STFC-funded research outputs. It is expected that the IPS fellow will cultivate innovation opportunities by facilitating the transfer of technologies, skills and knowledge, developed through funding from the STFC Science Programme, to industry and other users of research outputs. The fellow will focus on commercial exploitation to ensure UK economic impact and strive to enhance the capacity for knowledge exchange within STFC funded departments of the host university.

Note, this is NOT a research fellowship, and a financial contribution from the host organisation is required to demonstrate the institutions support of the Fellow.

If an institution is interested in applying for an IPS Fellow, then they are encouraged to contact the office. As part of the application process, STFC can put the applicants in contact with a current IPS Fellow to help guide them in writing their case for support.

Key Dates

Call opens Call closes Estimated date of panel meeting Outcome announced
4 December 2019 20 February 2020 May 2020 July 2020
3 June 2020 3 September 2020 December 2020 January 2021

 

For any queries over eligibility or for more details about the IPS scheme, please contact the programme manager Helen Randell-Sly or assistant programme manager Ed Mansfield

Guidance notes

 

STFC offers a diverse portfolio of knowledge exchange schemes, designed to allow funding of projects from initial development right through to commercialisation. These schemes are designed to facilitate the transfer of STFC funded research into an industrial setting over a number of different stages of commercialisation.

  • Innovation Partnership Scheme (IPS)
    To transfer technology and expertise developed through STFC funding to the marketplace in partnership with industry and other academic disciplines
     
  • Follow‐on Funding (FoF)
    To support proof of concept for a project following on from STFC funded research. Partner not permitted
     
  • IPS Fellowships
    To develop an institution’s capacity for knowledge exchange and commercialisation from STFC‐funded research.
     

A full breakdown on the differences between the schemes is listed below. Please note, that each scheme has a separate application process/guidance details, and applicants are ask to ensure they have selected the right scheme when submitting proposals through Je-S.

 

IPS

Follow-on-funding

IPS Fellowships

Max duration

36 months

12 months

48 months

Max cost

£450,000

£110,000

N/A

Max STFC contribution
(80% fEC)

£360,000

£88,000

N/A

Industry support

Required

Not required

Not permitted

IP status

IP established

Plan to consider IP protection

Plan for identifying and assessing IP

Extension available?

No

No

Yes

IPS Fellowships

The IPS Fellowship scheme is designed to support a knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC) professional in a position at a UK university in developing innovation and impact from all its STFC-funded research outputs. It is expected that the IPS fellow will cultivate innovation opportunities by facilitating the transfer of technologies, skills and knowledge, developed through funding from the STFC Science Programme, to industry and other users of research outputs. The fellow will focus on commercial exploitation to ensure UK economic impact and strive to enhance the capacity for knowledge exchange within STFC funded departments of the host university. Note, this is NOT a research fellowship, and a financial contribution from the host organisation is required to demonstrate the institutions support of the Fellow.

If an institution is interested in applying for an IPS Fellow, then they are encouraged to contact the office. As part of the application process, STFC can put the applicants in contact with a current IPS Fellow to help guide them in writing their case for support.

Financial support

In order for the RO to confirm its commitment to the IPS Fellow, a financial agreement will be needed alongside STFC’s commitment. From the 100% fEC provided, a figure of 80% will be calculated by Je-S. From this, STFC will pay 50% of this 80% figure (in other words, STFC will fund 40% of the full economic cost).

In the Je-S form, the full fEC should be stated, from which the system will automatically calculate the 80% research council funded value as normal. Please include the FULL fEC here. The 40% fEC value should then be included in the case/letters of support where relevant. Please do not include these discounted values in the Je-S form.

STFC will require a letter of support from the host university (head of department) explaining how they will fund the remaining (60%) cost of the total project for the full fellowship duration. This letter should include the actual value, equal to 60% of the total project cost.

Applicants are encouraged to contact STFC if they wish to discuss this financial breakdown in more detail.

IPS Fellowships may be held at any UK university and can be single university fellowships or multi-institutional. The host university must be in receipt of active grant funding from the STFC Science Programme (particle physics, astronomy, nuclear physics and space science).

When the Fellow spans more than one institution, the partners will need to nominate a host university for the fellowship. The host university will be responsible for implementing the management arrangements for the fellowship. It is anticipated the fellow will bring experience of both technology transfer and a relevant science background. They will be expected to have a good appreciation of the STFC science programme and of the related technologies, applications and industrial sectors of users. It is not a requirement for the IPS fellow to be identified by the time of application as recruitment time will be allowed.

All the KE schemes have two closing dates a year, and are assessed by a panel of experts typically around 10-12 weeks after the closing date. Key dates can be found on the call webpage, and will be circulated to all eligible applicants following submission. Applicants should be aware that submitting a proposal in Je-S sends the application to the Universities Research Office, not UKRI. Please allow enough time before the deadline to allow the proposal to process through the Universities internal submitter pool. Please see the call webpage for more details on UKRI/STFC deadlines including the closing date and latest time for receipt of proposals. Proposals submitted after these deadlines will not be accepted.

Applications will be assessed for eligibility and sent for peer review, after which the lead PI will be invited to respond to the comments. Please note, in accordance with UKRI guidelines, applicants have 5 days to respond to these comments, unless otherwise agreed with the STFC office. Proposals will then be sent to the panel for review.

All applications should be made via the Joint Electronic submission (Je-S) platform. Je‐S is a web based system which allows you to enter information about the project overview and finances. The required documents (listed below) should be uploaded through Je-S, and labelled accordingly. Any documents not listed, such as CVs, extra results, list of publications etc. will be removed and not sent for review.

  • Je-S pro forma
  • Six page case for support (Mandatory)
  • Letter of Support from Technology Transfer Office(s) (Mandatory)
  • Letter of Support from any relevant Heads of department (Mandatory)
  • Covering Letter (Optional. Please note, cover letters will not been seen by external reviewers/the panel)
  • Other (Optional. Please note, any document uploaded under “other” will not be seen by external reviewers or the panel)

The application should be made by an individual at the lead University. This individual will be the main grant holder, and is expected to be the line manager of the Fellow upon employment.

All documents should conform to the guidelines described in the Je‐S help text.

Case for Support

The case for support should be no longer than six pages and conform to the font and margin guidelines in the Je‐S help text. Applications WILL BE REJECTED by the office for non‐compliance. Applications should address the following headings:

  • Background
    What is the STFC funded research at the host university that will form the basis of the knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities of the fellow? What Impact has been achieved previously from STFC-funded research? Please ensure all STFC funded areas are included.
  • Objectives of the Fellowship
    What  is  the  overall  aim  of  the  Fellowship,  what  are  the  objectives,  key  performance indicators and measures of success? Identify what the expected outputs will be during this fellowship. There should also be a review of the current portfolio of technologies / skills / intellectual property that the host university will bring to the fellowship programme.
  • Management and Development
    Detail the arrangements for supervising the fellow, including mentoring and guidance and ensuring professional development of the fellow. This should clearly explain how the fellow will be embedded in both the academic department and in the teams responsible for knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities at the university.
  • Job Specification
    Include the job specification that will be used for recruitment and selection of the fellow with a focus on experience relevant to a knowledge exchange position within a community of STFC-funded researchers.
  • Resources
    State the full cost of the project (fEC) and if relevant, those of any collaborating universities, and provide justification for them. STFC can reduce resource requests if they feel there is insufficient justification. Please include where the remaining costs of the fellowship will come from (i.e 50% of 80% + 20% = 60% of total project cost).

Letters of Support

  • Head of department
    Letters of support must be included from Department Heads that receive STFC funding at all named institutions.
    Letters should:
    • Be on headed paper, dated within 6 months of the application date, and signed by Head of Department or as an email with full contact details.
    • Detail their support and involvement in the fellowship in terms of specific objectives and desired outcomes together.
    • Detail how the host university will fund the remaining costs of the fellowship (60% of total project cost) for the full duration of the fellowship. The actual contribution equal to 60% of the total project cost should be included.
  • Technology Transfer Office
    A letter of support or email with full contact details from the host university’s Technology Transfer Office (or equivalent) must be included with each IPS Fellowship application. It should explain in detail how the technology transfer office will work with the IPS Fellow to support the objectives (where relevant).

Ethical considerations

If the appointed IPS Fellow becomes involved with any projects/activities that require the use of holding sensitive information on individuals (for example facial recognition etc.) they should ensure they conform to UKRI’s research integrity policy as well as any internal ethical processes at their institution.

Universities that are successful in their application for funding from STFC will be expected to start the fellowship within six months of the application assessment date. STFC reserve the right to delay start dates before an award letter is signed. IPS Fellowships must be full-time positions and are awarded for predetermined periods of up to four years.

The training and development requested for the fellow should be specific to the role (knowledge exchange and commercialisation) rather than general management training and development.

It is recognised that there may be a requirement for a significant amount of travel in the course of the fellowship. The application should provide details of how the travel budget has been determined. Personal travel is taken to include necessary collaborative visits, and attendance at conferences, workshop or symposium during each year of the fellowship, and should be based on the normal rates at the host university.

Grants submitted via Je-S are done so under their terms and conditions.

Panel assessment

IPS Fellowship applications are assessed by an independent panel comprised of members from industry and academia. View the current membership below. STFC reserves the right to make changes to the panel if needed.

Mr Stephen McGeoch – Thales Group (Chair)
Dr Andrew Spencer – University of Liverpool
Prof. David Jenkins – University of York
Prof. Derryck Reid – Heriot-Watt University
Dr Cliff Weatherup – e2v
Dr Jon Burns – AWE
Dr Karen Aplin – University of Bristol
Dr Simon Aliwell – Zartech Ltd.
Dr Alexander Cherlin – Kromek Group

When appointed to the panel, members are asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement covering all KE applications. Additionally, when any conflicts of interest arise, the panel member will be excused from any discussion regarding the related proposal.

Confidentiality and Peer Review

STFC takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the contents of applications submitted to the IPS Fellowship scheme are treated as confidential. All members of the Panel sign a non‐disclosure agreement and peer reviewers must comply with the Research Councils Reviewer Protocols – details can be found on Je‐S. Referees and Panel members are asked to declare conflicts of interest in relation to an application before they are asked to assess.

Each proposal will be assessed by external reviewers.

Response to reviewers

Each applicant has the opportunity to respond to the referee comments before the panel meeting. Applicants should be aware that we will request your response to referees approximately 4-6 weeks following the closing date of the call. All key dates (including an estimated date for this response) will be communicated to all eligible applicants following the closure of the call.

The PI Response should be no more than half a page of A4 per reviewer (Arial font size 11), and be no longer than 2 pages in total, unless otherwise stated by the office. Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in your PI response not being taken forward to the panel meeting. For more details please see the Je-S helptext.

Criteria for Assessment

Applications will be assessed against the following 5 criteria:

  • The extent to which the fellowship has a clear, well defined mechanism for achieving its objectives in knowledge exchange and commercialisation.
  • The extent to which the host university has the potential for exploitation of research outputs from STFC funding.
  • The extent to which the host university (both the department and technology transfer office) is committed to supporting the fellowship and its objectives.
  • The extent to which the fellow will be supported in their personal development as a knowledge exchange professional.
  • The extent to which the resources requested, relative to the anticipated outputs, represent an appropriate investment of STFC funds.

Resubmissions made to the IPS Fellowship scheme can be made at any time, and do not need to wait at least one year between submissions as with other KE schemes.

A resubmission should be an entirely new submission (and will be treated as such) and must contain a completed Je-S pro forma, Case for Support and all other relevant documents. The submission should contain all of the information necessary for assessment and assessors should not need to rely on the initial application for clarification. In order to highlight the response to the assessor’s comments, the applicant should submit a cover letter in which they summarise the responses made to the assessor’s comments. This should not contain extra information additional to the case for support or pro forma.

For further details please see the research grants handbook section 7.2 and 7.4.

Grants are awarded under the terms and conditions of UKRI. Please see UKRI privacy note for more

During the tenure of the fellowship, the Fellow is required to present progress updates at half yearly meetings. These biannual meetings will be attended by all IPS Fellows (PIs will be invited to attend one meeting per year), and be held at one of the Fellows host institutions. In addition, Fellows are expected to submit an annual report to STFC, including achievements from their university and highlighting any potential areas where case studies could be produced. This may include updates from STFC KE funded projects (IPS and CLASP), changes in direction or focus within the university, emerging technologies or activities IPS fellows have undertaken to promote KE within their host institution(s).

STFC have an Innovations Club designed to create a community for all who participate or share in STFC’s vision for knowledge exchange, innovation, technology and enterprise.  IPS Fellows are expected to become part of this virtual community and it is anticipated that they would play an active role in its activities and further development.

All award holders are required to submit any outputs from their FOF project on the Researchfish platform. Award holders are required to provide information about outputs arising from their work annually during the award period, and normally for at least 5 years after the award has terminated.

The host university can apply for an extension of two years at the end of the four year term. STFC will support the extension at 25% (25% of 80% = 20% of total extension cost). Applications for extensions will be assessed by the STFC office. Please contact the office if you have any questions with regards to the extension possibility. Please note, as part of the resubmission, the panel will have access to case for support on the original grant in order to check on the progress of the Fellow.

We encourage potential applicants to contact the office to discuss their proposal, and the STFC office will be able to help and provide advice on applications where appropriate. Please contact the programme manager Helen Randell-Sly or assistant programme manager Edward Mansfield.

Below is a list of links which the applicant may find useful when applying for STFC grants:
Peer review framework
Researchfish,
Equality of opportunity
Unconscious Bias
JeS Handbook
STFC Grants Handbook
UKRI Terms and Conditions

Guidance Notes (PDF, 84 KB)

Documents

IPS Fellow Equality Impact Assessment (PDF, 128 KB)

Last updated: 14 November 2019

UKRI

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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