We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP)

STFC runs a Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) to support the application and commercialisation of STFC research in four key global research challenge areas; Energy, Environment, Healthcare, and Security.

CLASP 2021; Healthcare and Energy

The key challenge areas for CLASP 2021 have been identified as Healthcare and Energy. STFC invites applications for projects which will apply STFC technology/research to to one or both of these areas. Projects should aim to help address societal challenges currently facing these sectors. Example project ideas provided by the NHS and BEIS can be found below.

Healthcare Challenge areas

Energy Challenge areas

Key Dates

  Call opens Call closes Estimated date of panel meeting Outcome announced
EOI stage 10 November 2020 21 January 2021 February 2021 late February 2021
Full stage 11 March 2021 20 May 2021 August 2021 September 2021

Guidance notes


The STFC scheme Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) supports the application and commercialisation of core STFC research in four key global research challenge areas; Energy, Environment, Healthcare, and Security. The call runs yearly focussing on 2 of the challenge areas which rotate biennially.

CLASP is designed to support the de-risking of R&D processes for industry through the development of technology demonstrators and industry-ready prototype systems, raising the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 upwards, towards commercialisation.

Project themes are suggested within each challenge area but are not dictated allowing applicants flexibility when developing their applications. The total budget for this CLASP call is £2 Million, it is anticipated this will fund number of projects ranging from short feasibility studies to larger developmental projects.

Applicants should aim to address current market needs in their application by working closely with end users and are encouraged to seek support or engage with appropriate industrial partners.

It is recommended that applicants strengthen their application to this scheme by either partnering with a collaborator or obtaining letters of support from relevant parties (e.g. sector specific organisations /individuals, regulators) demonstrating their support.

A project partner cannot receive funding directly and would be expected to contribute to the project through either direct or indirect contributions. Although this is not mandatory for this scheme, it is strongly encouraged. Furthermore, applications should also consider data ownership, ensure ethical innovation practises and appropriate regulatory pathways where appropriate.

Prior to submitting a grant applicants are encouraged to read the research grants handbook for details on STFC grants, as well as terms and conditions.

CLASP 2021: Energy and Healthcare

The CLASP 2021 call key challenge areas have been identified as Energy and Healthcare. Applications are invited which address a specific challenge within one (or both) of these themes. The remit of these themes is broad and can include any relevant area, please see some examples below.


  • Community Care
  • Emergency treatment
  • Improved diagnostics
  • Sustainability
  • Mental health and rehabilitation
  • Healthcare environment monitoring


  • Industry and hydrogen
  • Carbon capture utilisation and storage
  • Advanced modular reactors
  • Smart energy
  • Energy storage

This CLASP call has been developed alongside colleagues from the NHS and BEIS. Specific Challenge areas for these organisations can be found on the CLASP webpage. For broader government priorities, please visit the Department of Transport, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, or the NHS Areas of Research Interest.

Please note, these areas and challenges are just suggestions/examples, and any applications submitted within the Healthcare and/or Energy remit will be accepted.

CLASP encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and we welcome Co-applicants/joint applications from other departments (e.g. life science, chemistry etc.) where appropriate. This is to encourage the exchange of technology/research and the unique expertise the STFC community have to offer. Industry and/or charity project partners who can contribute to projects are actively encouraged, but not essential.


Proposals must clearly demonstrate the underlying science/technology behind the project originated from the STFC core Science Programme (Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Space Science, Accelerator Science, or computing in support of these), or at the STFC facilities, CERN, ESO or ESRF is also welcome.

Applications will be assessed by the STFC External Innovations office staff for eligibility following submission and can be rejected at this early stage if they do not fulfil the requirements of the scheme.

Lead Applicants

The lead applicant on any CLASP project should currently or previously be funded through the core STFC science programme (see above) or be a member of STFC staff. Applicants must also meet the UKRI eligibility criteria defined in the Research Grants Handbook.

If an applicant has received STFC funding, but not in his/her name (for example through a PhD or post-doc position) then they are still eligible to apply for the CLASP scheme, provided they meet the UKRI criteria. Applicants are encouraged to contact the office if they are unsure about their eligibility for this call.

STFC employees working at one of the national laboratories are fully eligible to apply.

Lead Research Organisation

The lead Research Organisation (RO) must be eligible to hold UKRI grants; i.e. be an approved UK Higher Education Institution (HEI), Research Council Institute (RCI) or Independent Research Organisation (IRO) eligible for UKRI funding. Full details of approved RCIs and IROs can be found on the UKRI website. For further information applicants should refer to the STFC Research Grants Handbook.


Co-Applicants are welcome and can be from different academic departments to the Principle Applicant. Co-Applicants do not have to be in receipt of core STFC funding. Joint applications from different institutions are welcome, so long as the Principle Applicant is based at the lead RO. Joint applications from other organisations do not have to be in receipt of core-STFC funding, so long as they have relevance to project delivery.

Non‐Academic Organisations

As CLASP is designed to help commercialise STFC research and technology to help solve a specific challenge, the lead applicant should be from an eligible academic institution. Non-academic organisations may apply for CLASP funding as part of a joint proposal, if they are eligible to hold UKRI grants. Please see the webpage for a full list of current institutions.

Project Partners

Organisations not eligible to hold UKRI grants, such as industry, research/training organisations and not‐for‐profit operations etc. must apply in collaboration with a lead academic partner and demonstrate that they possess the relevant technical capabilities and capacity to meet the scheme's objectives.

These collaborators are expected to be Project Partners – donating funds or aid in-kind to a project. Furthermore, as this scheme is UK funded, any collaborating organisation must have a strong presence in the UK.

This CLASP call has a limited budget for capital/equipment. Applicants are therefore required to contact the office before submission to discuss the inclusion of equipment in their application. Any capital/equipment requested should follow standard STFC guidelines:

  • Funds for equipment purchases costing £10k (inclusive of VAT) or less may be sought as a Directly Incurred cost, provided that the equipment is essential to the effective conduct of the research and is not already available to the host Research Organisation. Single items of equipment costing less than £10k should be included in Other Directly Incurred costs.
  • Items of equipment costing between £10k and £138k (£115k excluding VAT) must include evidence that the option of using existing equipment has been investigated. STFC expects to contribute 50% the cost of such equipment items, and the remainder should be funded elsewhere.
  • For single items of equipment over £138k (£115k excluding VAT), three quotes should be provided with the application. A 2-page business case outlining the strategic need for the equipment is also necessary.

Any requests for capital will be subject to first come, first serve, and STFC reserves the right not to fund the request, even if the project is funded.

The call will open for Outline applications on 10 November and will close 4pm 14 January 2021.

Applications will be assessed by the panel as soon as possible after the closing date. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application when the call opens. Other key dates will be circulated amongst eligible applicants shortly after the outline call closes.

Applicants should be aware that submitting a proposal in Je-S sends the application to the Universities internal submitter pool, not UKRI. Please allow enough time before the deadline to allow the proposal to process through any internal processes. Proposals submitted after these deadlines will not be accepted.

Please see the call webpage for more details on UKRI/STFC deadlines including the closing date and latest time for receipt of proposals.

The CLASP application is a two-stage process. Applicants are invited to submit an initial Outline application which will be assessed by the CLASP panel for technical excellence, impact on the challenge area, and relevance to the scheme. Please note, the outline application is not peer reviewed.

Following the Outline stage, successful shortlisted applicants will be invited to develop full proposals with assistance and advice from STFC External Innovations staff and CLASP panel members if required. At this final stage of the process applications will be sent for external peer review, followed by invited applicant (PI) response.

Applicants may be invited to present their final proposals directly to the CLASP Panel, followed by a question and answer session. All proposals will then be assessed by the panel, and a final ranking list produced.

All applications must be submitted using Je-S (Joint Electronic Submission) for both the Outline stage and the full stage. Further details on the application process can be found below.

To submit an outline application, please select the following in Je-S:

  • Council: STFC
  • Document type: Outline
  • Scheme: CLASP Outlines
  • Call/type/mode: CLASP Healthcare/Energy 2021

The Outline application should consist of:

  • Je-S pro forma
  • Three-page case for support (Mandatory)
  • Project Partner Letter of Support (Mandatory, if a partner is listed)
  • Letter(s) of Support from users/other interested parties (Recommended)*

*Please note, only one letter of support is allowed to be submitted in Je-S. If you wish to submit more than one, please merge them together into a single pdf file.

Joint applications are allowed into the CLASP scheme, provided both leading organisations are eligible to hold UKRI grants (please see above for more details). Any industrial collaborators should be listed as project partners. Only the lead organisation should submit a Case for Support and Letters of support. Other institutions only need to submit a Je-S pro forma.

Outline Case for Support

The case for support should be max three pages and conform to the standard UKRI format (font Arial size 11, with 2 cm margins around each page). The document should contain enough detail to allow the panel to make an informed decision as to whether the application is strong enough to be invited to a full submission. The case for support should include:

  • Technical Outline - explain the technical background of the project, its link with STFC funded research, and the degree of novelty and/or improvement over current technologies or processes. The inclusion of any proof of concept data already developed is encouraged.
  • Impact on the challenge area - describe the ultimate goal of the project and give detail of the way in which development of this technology will address the societal challenge(s) identified. This should include evidence of the route to implementation, interaction with any regulatory bodies/end users, and potential exploitable outputs from your project. You should:
  • Clearly explain the challenge, and how the proposed technology will help address it, compared to how it is currently done.
  • Describe the societal and economic impacts that the project is expected to deliver to those inside and outside of the consortium and the timescale for the deliverables.
  • Describe the current technology available and give details of how this technology is an improvement.
  • Outline the route or potential route to exploitation of outcomes post project completion, including further development and financing requirements.
  • Beneficiaries - describe the social benefit to the UK that will arise from the proposed work. Also identify the academic end user beneficiaries of this research.
  • Timescale and Outline work plan - briefly describe the time scale of the project, and what steps will be taken to develop the technology over its course. Include justification for any collaborations and project partners also involved in the project.
  • Estimated costs – provide the estimated cost of the project, a breakdown of how they will be used, and any contributions from project partners. Any capital requests should also be stated here. Please note, these costings are not final and can change when a full stage application is made. Any changes to these costs should be updated for the full submission.

Following the outline stage, successful applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal though Je-S. To submit an outline application, please select the following in Je-S:

  • Council: STFC
  • Document type: Standard proposal
  • Scheme: CLASP
  • Call/type/mode: CLASP Healthcare/Energy 2021

This application should consist of:

  • Je-S pro forma
  • Six page case for support (Mandatory)
  • One page Gantt chart (Mandatory)
  • Two page data management plan (Mandatory)
  • Two page knowledge exchange plan (Mandatory)
  • Letter of Support from Technology Transfer Office (Mandatory)
  • Letter of Support from each Project Partner (Mandatory, if a partner is listed)
  • Letter(s) of Support from any interested organisations/potential users (Recommended)

All documents should conform to the guidelines described in the Je‐S help text. Any additional documents such as CVs, additional results, list of publications etc. will not be sent for reviewers during our peer review process.

If this is a joint proposal where funds will be held by more than one institution, the PI from each institution must submit a separate Je-S application with the same title. Only the lead application is required to submit the Case for Support, Gantt chart, Data Management Plan and any letters of support. See Je-S Helptext for setting up joint proposals.

Full application Case for Support

The case for support should be no longer than six pages and be in font Arial, size 11 with 2 cm margins. It is the responsibility of the principal applicant to ensure that information is worded in such a way as to protect commercial, confidential, or sensitive data. STFC will assume that the applicant has obtained necessary permissions from any party that may be involved in the application. The six-page Case of Support must include the following;

  • Background and Aim

Describe the STFC funded research that will form the basis of this project.
Detail the knowledge exchange has taken place between the applicants and industry/policy makers/any other relevant users (if any).
State the aim of this application
Describe who will benefit from this project and subsequent commercialisation.

  • Technical Summary

Provide a detailed account of the current status of the technology you are proposing and the plan for development.
This should include justification of why you are best placed to carry out the work.
Describe the novelty of the proposal and/or the expected improvement over current technologies or processes relevant to the chosen challenge.

  • Beneficiaries and Impact

Explain the potential impact of the project, detailing who would benefit from the technology.

  • Work Plan and Risk Analysis

Describe and give details of specific work packages, assigning responsibility for work packages between partners (if required). Applicants should show that they have identified risks and developed alternative strategies to mitigate these. Applicants should consider both technical, programme and, where relevant, commercial risks.

  • Resources

State the resources requested by the applicants and if relevant, the project partner, and provide justification for them. The CLASP Panel may reduce resource requests if they feel there is insufficient justification.

  • Project Deliverables

Identify the direct outputs of the project at the end of this grant (please be specific).

  • Software development plan (if applicable)

Where the proposal includes software development, a plan should be submitted with detail relative to the significance of the software development in the project, see Annex 2.

Knowledge exchange plan

A 2-page business plan should be submitted alongside the case for support. In Je-S, this should be attached as “Knowledge exchange plans,” and should contain information on;

  • Freedom to operate

Provide evidence that you have freedom to operate (e.g. a summary of the results from patent searches), identification of any IP and detail how it will be protected. Please note, a summary of the IP position should be further detailed in the Letter of Support from your Technology Transfer Office.

  • Market research

Applicants should describe the size of the market opportunities which may open up as a result of this project. This should include details about; the current nature, size, and growth of the market, and the predicted market share taken by the outcomes of the project. Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from the Research Office and/or Technology Transfer Office on market research.

  • Competitor analysis

Applicants should provide the details of any competitor technology, or alternate solution to the same problem. This should include; name/location/size of the company, the name of the product/service and its cost, along with any strengths and weaknesses, and explain how the proposed project will offer improvement.

  • Route to market

Applicants should list any exploitative outputs from the product (e.g. what you are going to sell, detail the projected sales and identify the target customers, including the customer profile (size of target market, geographic location etc.) the estimated Bill of Materials (BoM) should be included for the product and indicate what percentage this is likely to be of the selling price).

Provide evidence for your statements about the target market of any product developed based on the potential beneficiaries, and outline your strategy for developing market share and why you have chosen this market method, i.e. what is the proposed channel to market and what are the key barriers to allow entry to the market and how will they be overcome.

Describe the predicted investment and mechanism required post-project to complete commercialisation or successfully apply the technology into real practice, e.g. policy, regulation, improvement of existing process, etc. Explain the estimated costs required and timescale needed to have a product ready. Details on any regulatory requirements should be included.

For disruptive products/services, details on the route to market, the market size, and how the project will seek to explore the market potential should be provided.

Letters of Support

Project partners

Letters (or e-mails) of support must be included from all named partners. In addition, you can include letters of support from other relevant parties not directly involved in the project but who support the objectives (for example potential end users). All letters should;

  • Be dated within 6 months of the submission
  • Be no more than two sides of A4 in length
  • Detail their interest and involvement in the project in terms of specific objectives and desired joint outcomes
  • Detail the projected market size, customers, and sales
  • Describe how the company will commercialise the technology beyond the project
  • Detail specific contributions to the project (either cash or in-kind) with a justifiable monetary value. These contributions should be also be stated in the Case for Support

More information on project partners and letters of support can be found in the research grants handbook.

Technology Transfer Office

A letter of support from an applicant’s Technology Transfer Office (or equivalent) must be included with each CLASP application. It should specifically relate to the proposal (i.e. it should not be a generic letter of support) and explain in detail how the university sees the project being taken forward and how the university intends to support the work involved. It should also outline the current and anticipated Intellectual Property (IP) position (has a patent been filed / granted) of any involved parties.

Please note, Je-S only allows a max of 3 letters of support to be uploaded, and so letters of support may be merged together into a single pdf document if needed.

Data Management Plan

It is anticipated that all applications will produce or collect data during the proposed project. The development of a data management plan which is submitted as an attachment to the JeS pro forma is mandatory for all CLASP applications. The plan should be no longer than two pages of A4. The plan, together with any costs associated with it, will be considered and assessed by the normal peer review process. The data management plan should explain how the data will be managed over the lifetime of the project and, where appropriate, preserved for future re‐use. Applications that do not have a data management plan will not be accepted. Please see the research grants handbook for more information.

Collaboration Agreements

If successfully funded, all CLASP projects including more than one organisation (either academic, industry, or eligible research organisation), are required to submit a signed collaboration agreement between all named partners. This should include details of how IP will be managed. This must be submitted to the STFC office before the project can start. Grants will not be allowed to start until the agreement is received by the STFC office.

Example model research collaboration agreements that may be used as a basis for specific agreements between partners have been developed through the Lambert toolkit for collaborative research.

Data Protection

Grants submitted via Je-S are done so under their terms and conditions. Please make sure you have permission from any relevant bodies before submitting any sensitive data. STFC will not be held accountable if data submitted has been done so without the relevant permissions sought.

Ethical considerations

Projects that involve receiving or holding sensitive information on individuals (for example facial recognition etc.) should ensure they conform to UKRI’s research integrity policy. Although an ethical statement will not need to be submitted alongside any proposals, all the involved researchers should consider the requirements. STFC reserves the right to suspend any grants that do not meet these requirements.

Both the Outline and Full-Stage CLASP applications are assessed by an independent panel, consisting of standing members and invited experts to the specific themes of the call, from both academia and industry. Only the full proposal will be sent to external peer review.

Panel assessment

Both the EOI and full-stage CLASP applications are assessed by an independent panel, consisting of standing members and invited experts to the specific themes of the call, from both academia and industry. For this call, there will be representation from both the NHS and BEIS representing the challenge areas.

Standing CLASP Panel:

Jim Wharfe – Independent environment consultant (Chair)
Giles Hammond – University of Glasgow
Harry Barraza – LGC Group
Peter Jarritt – NHIR Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Cooperative
Peter Huggard – STFC: RAL Space
John Allen – Elekta Ltd.
Mark Bray – BAE Systems
Robert Thompson – Heriot-Watt University
Claire Jones – AWE Ltd.
Dhiren Kataria – University College London
Peter Dobson – University of Oxford
Paranjothy Karunaharan - Aerospace Medic Ltd
Jadu Dash – University of Southampton
Jim Halliday - UK Energy Research Centre

Sector Specific Panel Members

Ian Newington – NHIR/NHS
Phil Cohen – HMG Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Confidentiality and Peer Review

STFC takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the contents of applications submitted to CLASP 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. Reviewers and Panel members are asked to declare conflicts of interest in relation to an application before they are asked to assess. Please visit the webpage for details on STFC policy regarding peer review.

Outline assessment

Following the Outline proposal submission deadline, all applications will be sent directly to the panel and do not undergo peer review. The panel will then decide which applications should be invited to make a full submission, and which should be rejected. Proposals will be assessed on:

  • Technical excellence (including likelihood to deliver)
  • Impact on the challenge area and relevance to scheme
  • Dissemination and implementation plan (including suitability of project partners/letters of support if relevant)

Full stage assessment

Invited applicants will be assigned a panel member to assist in the preparation of a full proposal. Following the submission deadline, full stage applications will be sent to external peer review. where each proposal will be assessed by external reviewers, one of whom must be nominated by the applicant. The applicant’s nominated reviewer should not be a current or previous collaborator, personal friend or family member, neither should they be from the applicant’s or collaborator’s home institution. Should it arise that a reviewer is in violation of this, the nominated reviewer will not be invited to review. Applicants should use Je-S to indicate their suggested reviewer.

Following Peer Review a second panel meeting will take place, where applicants may be invited to give a brief presentation on their project which is followed by questions from the panel.

Full stage assessment criteria

Proposals must demonstrate that they draw on an area of expertise supported by the STFC core science programme (astronomy & space science, particle physics & particle astrophysics, nuclear physics and the computing and accelerator programmes supporting these) or STFC’s staff in laboratories and facilities.

In the panel meeting, proposals will be assessed under the four assessment criteria listed below:

Scientific and technical merit

  • Scientific quality (including current technology status, objectives and deliverables)
  • Risk management
  • Novelty regarding any existing technology
  • Strategic fit to call including proposed TRL gains throughout project
  • Implementation plan (Letters of support)

Societal Impact

  • Articulation of societal benefit including non-monetary benefits (e.g. time saved, patients care improved etc.)
  • Knowledge exchange plan, including dissemination of expertise into the challenge area
  • Demonstrating commitment from end users
  • Regulatory alignment/engagement (where relevant)
  • Consideration of societal sensitivities (e.g. reduced plastic, data security etc.)

Economic Impact

  • Likelihood of commercialisation and route to market; (including project partner support)
  • Economic benefit, both UK and globally, including cost savings
  • Business plan (e.g. need, size, competitors, value, and location)
  • IP Management plan

Added value

  • The extent to which the resources requested, relative to the anticipated outputs, represent an appropriate investment of STFC funds (value for money)
  • Degree of support from Project partners both during research and after funding (if relevant)
  • Future of the project after CLASP funding

If the proposal is from CERN, ESO, or the ESRF, then the extent to which the proposed knowledge exchange collaboration will enable CERN, ESO or ESRF technology to be exploited by UK industry or non‐STFC academic sectors will be considered.

Response to reviewers

Each applicant has the opportunity to respond to the reviewer’s comments before the full proposal panel meeting. Applicants should be aware that we will request your response to reviewer comments approximately 5-7 weeks following the closing date of the call. All key dates (including an estimated date for this response) will be communicated to any eligible applicants following submission.

The PI Response should be no more than half a page of A4 per reviewer (MAX 2 pages), submitted in Arial font size 11. This should be submitted within 5 working days of receipt.

Please note, a collaboration agreement between all collaborators must be sent to the STFC office, including details on the ownership of any IP, before funding can start. Failure to do so will mean the grant will not be activated. For further details please see accepting your offer and getting your funding.

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

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

We strongly encourage potential applicants to contact the office to discuss their proposal. The STFC office will be able to help and provide advice on applications where appropriate. Please contact the Senior External Innovations Programme Manager Wendy Carr or Programme Manager, Ed Mansfield with any queries.

CLASP Guidance Notes



Case study

Mini hybrid camera improves tumour diagnosis


For any queries over eligibility or for more details about the CLASP scheme, please contact the Senior External Innovations Programme Manager Wendy Carr or Programme Manager Ed Mansfield.


Last updated: 23 September 2021


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000