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Internal News - 22 February 2007

UK/US Collaboration Open Call

Researchers are invited to an Open Call for pump priming travel and collaborative bid development awards for the Sustainable Environments and Alternative Fuels Theme of the SETsquared UCSD, UCI UK US Collaboration Programme.

Interested academics should contact Miles Davis in RIS (ext 4795) and are invited to a short lunchtime presentation to provide further information on the awards and the process on Monday 5 March at 12:30pm in 1WN 3.12.

Overview and Expression of Interest

Researchers from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, UCI and UCSD are invited to make applications for pump-priming awards provided by the SETsquared UKUS programme specifically designed to stimulate collaboration between PI’s in the area of sustainable environments and alternative fuels.

For the purpose of this call 'Sustainable Environments' is defined to cover: intelligent buildings, materials, sensors and sensing, micro energy generation and storage, communications and data fusion, emissions and waste, social aspects and life cycle studies.

A number of travel awards of £1,750 and around seven bid development awards of £20,000 are available to this environmental theme of the programme until the end of 2007.

1. Overview

The purpose of this SETsquared - Southern California programme is to develop lasting value creating relationships around the high-technology research and development clusters of South England and those in Southern California for economic benefit.

Specifically, the programme seeks to seed relationships between academics at the Universities of California San Diego (UCSD) and Irvine (UCI) and academics at the Universties of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey and academics at the University), and where appropriate also with researchers in industry around existing or planned applied collaborative research activity. It also aims to link together the early stage technology enterprise communities from business angels and knowledge transfer professionals.

Funding of £1.5m has been made available for the programme by the UK Government’s Office of Science and Innovation from April 2006 over two years (£750k pa). The programme will seek to seed these relationships by funding a number of activities in both the Applied Collaborative Research theme and the Start-Up theme. Much of the funding will be available to potential collaborators through awards for travel, applied research bid development and business development. This document specifically explains the objectives of the Applied Collaborative Research theme of the programme, its main foci, the awards, the application process and is specifically seeking calls focussed around sustainable environments and alternative fuels.

If you are a start-up company looking for support, please contact the Programme Administrator, Claire Judd to obtain the Start-Up Award Overview Pack.

2. Aims of the awards

In order to develop lasting value creating relationships between our academics and deliver real benefit in terms of research excellence and exploitation opportunity the programme seeks to seed a number of collaborative research projects between academics in South England and Southern California.

Theses collaborations are expected to harness the combined expertise, know how and unique assets of our institutions to accelerate the flow of innovative technology and processes through to the market for the benefit of both regions.

The programme will fund travel awards to stimulate interaction between academics and will also fund larger bid development awards to enable researchers to work together to build up relationships that could lead to robust collaborative bids to research funding organisations.

3. Programme History and Focus

The May 2006 Programme Launch Trip involved 10 senior academics and 6 research support staff from the SETsquared Universities attending over 100 meetings with academics at UCI and UCSD. The recommendations from that trip were discussed at a subsequent SETsquared Board meeting and it was agreed that the majority of pogramme resource should be focused on developing opportunities in three areas:

It was felt that these areas provided most tangible opportunities for long term collaborative applied research success between the six institutions. Other PI to PI collaborative opportunities were also identified beyond the three themes and therefore it was also agreed that some limited funds should be made available to encourage collaboration outside the three identified sub-themes.

Researchers from each of the Universities have been selected to champion each sub-theme. The Steering Group for this Sustainable Environments and Alternative Fuels call is:

University of Bath: Gary Hawley
University of Bristol: Nishan Canagarajah
University of Southampton: George Attard
University of Surrey: Ravi Silva
UCSD: Paul Linden
UCI: tba

Peter Hooper of the University of Southampton’s Research Support Office will be the chief coordinator of this sub theme.

4. Awards

International Travel Awards are available for a fixed amount of £1,750 to cover the costs of travel, subsistence and accommodation. Travel awards will enable initial or accelerated relationship building with the aim of bringing about applied collaborative research between researchers at our respective Universities.

Bid Development Awards are also available for up to £20,000. These are likely to cover activities that will lead to collaborative bids for research funding. Activities may include small collaborative proof-of-concept projects and development projects, project management, short secondments, bid writing and related travel. Bids involving a connection with industry will be viewed very favourably. A number of travel awards and around seven bid development awards are available in 2007. Only bids generating funding for applied research will qualify e.g. the research that has potential commercial application or is relatively close to market.

Qualifying projects will have participants as follows:
either: one or more researchers from SETsquared universities AND one or more researchers from UCI and/or UCSD AND one or more industrial partners (that may be based anywhere)
or: one or more researchers from SETsquared universities AND one or more industrial partners based in Southern California. AND (optionally) industrial partners (based anywhere) or: one or more researchers from SETsquared universities AND one or more academics from UCI and/or UCSD.

Bids including more than one researcher from SETsquared Universities will be viewed favourably. Where appropriate, projects can include academics from other Universities outside the SETsquared Partnership, UCI and UCSD.

Examples:-
- Building on existing collaborative research between SETsquared Universities and Southern Californian Universities where commercial partnership is now appropriate.

- Integrating industry or researchers from Southern California into existing academic-industry collaborative research programmes. The programme would seek appropriate industrial companies based in Southern California and/or UCI or UCSD academics to participate in existing academic-industry collaborative research programmes operating in South England.

- Introducing industry or researchers from Southern England to existing Southern California collaborative research programmes. By identifying collaborative research programmes that already exist in Southern California and, where the programmes constitutions allow, brokering introductions to these programmes for SETsquared university researchers, and/or corporates based in Southern England. E.g. Calit2.

- Seeding new applied research programmes by targeting SETsquared university academics already involved in applied research and seeking to link them to appropriate academics in Southern California or targeting UCI or UCSD academics already involved in applied research and seeking to link them to appropriate academics from South England.

5. Application process

The process has two stages: Expression of interest and Award application.

An applicant should first fill out an Expression of Interest Form which will have to be signed by their Head of School. See related links. Further information can be obtained from the local research support team: Miles Davis

The completed Expression of Interest Form should be sent to the Programme Administrator Claire Judd

With a completed Expression of Interest Form, the local research support teams will work with the applicant to better understand what award type is most suitable. They will pass the application through and initial assessment, including the local Enterprise Director and the Programme Director as well as a member of the US team.

Assuming that the application is to be moved forward the applicant will then work with their research support team member to fill out either a more detailed Travel Award Form or a more detailed Bid Development Form.

The Travel Award Form will require a small amount of additional information regarding the specific trip and a clear statement of the objectives to be delivered during and from that trip. The Travel Award Form will be available from the research support teams, but only after an Expression of Interest Form has been filled in and assessed. Final approval of a travel award will be made by the UK Programe Director, the Local Enterprise Director and a senior member of the US team.

The Bid Development Form will require more detailed information regarding the planned activities to be funded, or the proof-of-concept work planned and how the funds will be used. The Bid Development Forms will be available from the local research support team, but only after an Expression of Interest Form has been filled in and assessed. Final assessment of the bid development award will be made by the sub theme steering group members, together with the UK programme director, the SETsquared Enterprise Directors and a senior member of the US team.

5. Draw down of award funding and reporting

It will be the responsibility of the local research support manager to maintain a record of how the award enables progresses. A set of milestones and deliverables will need to be agreed between the local research support manager and the successful applicant before funds can be accessed. A Reporting Form has been developed for this part of the process.

In the event of a successful application, a letter will be sent to the applicant communicating the award and explaining how to drawdown the funds.