1. This document sets out the arrangements for a sixth round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) in 2020-21. This is a two-stage process. We are inviting higher education institutions (HEIs) and eligible research institutes with a significant track record of research excellence to submit expressions of interest (EOIs) to apply for the capital grant on a competitive basis. Successful bidders at the expression of interest stage will subsequently be invited to submit a full bid.
2. This competition will follow the same rigorous assessment process established in previous rounds of the competition. The independent assessment panel will assess all expressions of interest supported by clear advice from the relevant UK higher education funding body, Research Council and government department if appropriate. UKRPIF is currently managed by HEFCE on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the UK funding bodies.
3. Following the passage of the Higher Education and Research Act, the current research and knowledge exchange functions of HEFCE will form a new organisation, Research England. From April 2018, Research England will be established as one of nine Councils within UK Research and Innovation. Responsibility for managing the UKRPIF programme will transfer to Research England from this date.
4. The Government has allocated £900 million to UKRPIF from 2012 up to 2021. So far, £680 million has been allocated to 43 projects across the UK in five rounds of the competition. £220 million remains available for allocation in round six. This invitation relates to that funding, which will be available in the financial year 2020-21.
5. This guidance covers both stages of the process – expressions of interest (including the initial notice of intention to submit an EOI) and the full bid submission. Annex A of this guidance is an EOI template that institutions wishing to bid in this competition must submit to HEFCE. Institutions that are successful at the EOI stage will be invited to submit a full bid and will be provided with a full bid submission template.
6. For planning purposes, HEIs are invited to inform the UKRPIF team at HEFCE of their intention to submit an EOI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Friday 10 November 2017. You should provide an indication of the likely title of the project, the level of UKRPIF funds you will be requesting and the broad discipline area or areas for the project.
7. HEIs should then submit their EOI using the template at Annex A by noon on Friday 12 January 2018. Email email@example.com for any queries regarding your bid or how to apply.
8. Institutions should ensure they will be able to meet the requirements for the fund outlined in this document before preparing to submit an EOI. Exceptionally, projects that do not meet the required levels of UKRPIF investment may be considered where it can be shown that they meet the objectives of the fund and the requirement for double matched funding co-investment, and that they extend the reach of the UKRPIF scheme beyond the balance of sectors and disciplines it has funded so far.
9. At the EOI stage, multiple bids (up to three per HEI) are permitted. Collaborative bids which bring together collective capability and resource are particularly welcome, provided the lead HEI meets the criteria for scale and quality of research. Each HEI is invited to make an additional collaborative bid beyond the total of three bids permitted for individual HEIs. A collaborative proposal should be for a coherent project across the partners, rather than a series of smaller unconnected projects.
10. At any point, potential bidders may ask about the criteria (including potential co-investment arrangements), but no feedback can be given on the relative strength of their bid. The panel will take an independent decision on the quality of the bids as outlined in this document.