Net zero digital research infrastructure coordinator and network (Grant)

Apply to become the net zero digital research infrastructure (NZ DRI) coordinator to develop and lead an NZ DRI network. You will build and maintain community engagement across disciplines and accelerate the path towards NZ DRI. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding.

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Contents

Summary

Apply for funding to become the net zero digital research infrastructure (NZ DRI) coordinator to develop and lead an NZ DRI network. 

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

This is the first of a two-stage process:

  • stage one: funding is available for a coordinator to write an application for an NZ DRI network (six months). The full economic cost (FEC) can be up to £150,000

  • stage two: funding will be available for the coordinator to develop and lead the NZ DRI network (up to £3.35 million, ending by 31 March 2028) 

UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Eligibility

Before applying for funding, check the following:

·         UKRI eligibility guidance for applicants

·         eligibility of your organisation 

UKRI has  introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

Standard UKRI eligibility rules apply. Your application should be led by an eligible project lead based at eligible UK based organisations in accordance with standard UKRI practice.

This funding opportunity is open to eligible researchers at:

·         higher education providers

·         eligible research institutes

·         NHS bodies

·         approved public sector research establishments (PSREs)

·         approved independent research organisations (IROs)

·         approved research technology organisations (including Catapults)

We encourage multidisciplinary research and collaborations with other UK organisations.

You must have the capacity to fulfil the coordinator role for the network until March 2028, if the network application is successful. If you consider that your specific circumstances might lead to difficulty fulfilling the role, then outline a mitigation plan in your application (for example, having a co-coordinator).

Note, the network will have a flexible fund for the research community to develop and test new innovative approaches to sustainability and net zero, however the appointed coordinator will not be eligible to apply to this fund. This is to counter any perceptions in the community that holders of such posts have preferential access to funding. This applies to the named individual(s) only and does not extend to members of their research department or organisation.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

·         career breaks

·         support for people with caring responsibilities

·         flexible working

·         alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI and NERC’s diversity and inclusion action plan.

Objectives

Aim

The aim of this funding opportunity is to support a net zero digital research infrastructure (NZ DRI) coordinator to develop and lead an NZ DRI network, to build connectivity across different disciplines and ultimately accelerate the path towards an NZ DRI in the UK.

The process will be in two stages:

  • stage one aims to provide funding for an NZ DRI coordinator to write an application for a national cross-domain NZ DRI network 

  • stage two aims to provide funding for the NZ DRI coordinator to develop and lead an NZ DRI network and associated activities

Applications are currently being invited for the first stage of the process, for an NZ DRI coordinator to write an application for an NZ DRI network. 

Scope

A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a global and national priority. In 2020, UKRI published the UKRI environmental sustainability strategy which outlined UKRI’s aspiration to be net zero for its entire research undertaking by 2040, including reducing and mitigating all carbon emissions from its owned operations.

UKRI has an extensive portfolio of digital research infrastructure, which is essential in underpinning the research and innovation ecosystem. However, it also requires carbon-intensive technology production processes and substantial energy consumption, making it a significant contributor to carbon emissions in the UK research community.

In 2021, UKRI commissioned the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) to undertake a scoping study to investigate how UKRI can achieve NZ DRI. The outcomes of the scoping study show that for UKRI to achieve its target of reaching net zero, it will require a combination of low-carbon technical innovation along with a connected interdisciplinary community to incite societal and behavioural change.

UKRI wishes to build on the work from the scoping study and take forwards some of the DRI-specific outcomes and recommendations. As such, NERC, on behalf of UKRI are providing funding for an NZ DRI coordinator to develop and lead an NZ DRI network to bring about transformational change and accelerate the path towards NZ DRI. This funding is part of phase two of UKRI’s digital research infrastructure investments.

Stage one NZ DRI coordinator objectives

Funding under this opportunity will be stage-gated.

Initially, UKRI wishes to fund an NZ DRI coordinator, who can be from any discipline, to bring together and lead the interdisciplinary community to develop an application for an NZ DRI network.

Within stage two, UKRI wishes to fund the coordinator to convene and lead an inclusive national NZ DRI network. Applications are currently being invited for the first stage of the process. It is expected the coordinator role will be between 0.6 and 0.8 full-time equivalent (FTE).

During the initial six-month coordinator grant, we expect the coordinator to:

  • engage academics, industry, policymakers, DRI users and other stakeholders when developing the network application, to identify key challenges, barriers and opportunities for coordinated activity 

  • develop a detailed application for the second stage of this funding, to develop a UK NZ DRI network. This should include, but is not limited to:

·         detail on how the network will be inclusive and actively seek to achieve national reach, across domains and disciplines, and across the landscape of UKRI owned, partly owned, and other DRI investments

·         a clear plan for developing coordinated and integrated activities across the network (this should also include an element of prioritisation, following the community engagement)

·         a plan for how the network will collaborate with UKRI to implement some of the DRI-specific NZ DRI scoping study recommendations

·         a stakeholder engagement plan with a strong focus on bringing together the interdisciplinary community

·         a plan for the network structure, composition and governance

·         a comprehensive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) plan

·         detail on how the network will ensure alignment and knowledge exchange between the interdisciplinary community, the private sector and the wider UKRI portfolio (including infrastructures and facilities that have previously been awarded funding to develop their approaches to net zero, and the UKRI environmental sustainability team’s net zero programmes)

·         an effective monitoring and evaluation plan

·         a clear communication plan for how the impacts and outputs of the network will be communicated to a wide audience

The long-term goals for the coordinator are to:

  • develop and lead an established, coherent and connected NZ DRI network across different disciplines and stakeholders 

  • contribute towards the development and implementation of new innovative approaches for net zero DRI, improving the UK’s evidence base and informing strategies to help meet UKRI’s 2040 net zero target and broader environmental and sustainability goals 

  • enhance utilisation and engagement with net zero approaches for DRI across the UK, inciting societal and behavioural change across the interdisciplinary community 

Stage two NZ DRI network objectives

During the lifetime of the network, we expect the coordinator to:

  • build and maintain community engagement, knowledge exchange and connectivity across diverse disciplines and stakeholders including academics, industry, policymakers, DRI users and other stakeholders to derive common and interconnected learning from across the UK landscape 

  • provide innovative leadership to the network, enabling the network to increase our knowledge and actionable insights towards NZ DRI, and drive these forward to action 

  • work with UKRI including the UKRI DRI, Environmental Sustainability and Open Research teams to consider, and where agreed, implement the DRI-specific recommendations from the DRI net zero scoping project  

  • monitor outcomes from the wider UKRI NZ DRI portfolio (including infrastructures and facilities that have previously been awarded funding to develop their approaches to net zero, and the UKRI environmental sustainability team’s net zero programmes). This may involve participating in relevant UKRI DRI advisory groups, delivery groups or board meetings, where required

  • manage a flexible fund as part of the network, allowing the research community to develop and test new innovative approaches to sustainability and net zero in a variety of digital research infrastructures. The coordinator will be required to include a breakdown of costs in the network application (stage two of the process), with a detailed justification for all resources and costs requested. It is anticipated the flexible fund will be approximately 50% of the network budget at a minimum. Note, the appointed coordinator will not be eligible for this funding to counter any perceptions in the community that holders of such posts have preferential access to funding. This applies to the named individual(s) only and does not extend to members of their research department or organisation

  • share evidence-based best practice with DRI facilities, promote and champion interdisciplinary NZ DRI to facilities in the community, and raise the profile of the network and its activities in all relevant communities

  • support monitoring and evaluation activities as required, by, for example, capturing data, monitoring outcomes from the network, providing oversight of how the network activities lead to interventions, outputs, outcomes and impacts

  • maintain regular dialogue with UKRI (NERC) and provide updates and reports to the cross UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure Committee

The full expectations for the network will be provided prior to stage two of this funding opportunity. Note, there will be a fixed funding profile for stage two of this opportunity.

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.

Co-coordinators

Applications are welcome for co-coordinators. In this case, the distinct roles and responsibilities of the two coordinators must be clearly set out.

There can be a maximum of two co-coordinators. One should be listed on the application as ‘project lead’ and one as ‘project co-lead’.

Co-coordinators must make clear to the panel how they would work together effectively and co-lead the wider consortium.

For applications with co-coordinators, the application must demonstrate that the co-coordinators jointly fulfil the assessment criteria.

Geographic focus

The coordinator will be based at a UK-based research organisation. The aim of the coordinator and network is to accelerate the path towards NZ DRI in the UK. However, the network may choose to engage and draw upon the expertise of international DRI experts to learn from examples outside of the UK.

Reporting requirements

The successful coordinator will be required to comply with standard UKRI reporting requirements. In addition, they will be required to report on progress to NERC Head Office (on behalf of UKRI) via scheduled monthly meetings and provide updates to the UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure Committee.

Note, if the network application is successful, additional reporting requirements will be in place to assess compliance with statements of expectation and to monitor objectives.

Duration

The coordinator grant must start on or before 1 July 2024 and will be for a duration of six months. Upon successful submission of an application for a network (and continuation of the coordinator), additional funding will be awarded, and it will be required to finish on or before 31 March 2028.

Funding available

For this initial stage of the process, the full economic cost for the grant can be up to £150,000 for six months. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost. It is anticipated that the coordinator role will be between 0.6 and 0.8 FTE.

For the second stage of the process, up to £3.35 million will be made available for the successful coordinator to apply for. We will pay 80% of the FEC. This award must finish on or before 31 March 2028. 

What we will fund

For this initial stage of the process, funding can be used for:

  • coordinator(s) time

  • networking activities

  • workshops

  • administrative support

  • associated estates and indirects

Further details on what can be applied for in the second (network) stage will be given to the successful coordinator in due course.

Data management 

You must adhere to UKRI open research policy and NERC data policy and complete the ‘Data management and sharing’ question.   

Responsible research

Through our funding processes, we seek to make a positive contribution to society and the environment. This is not just through research outputs and outcomes but through the way in which research is conducted and facilities managed.

All NERC grant holders are to adopt responsible research practices as set out in the NERC responsible business statement.

Responsible research is defined as reducing harm or enhancing benefit on the environment and society through effective management of research activities and facilities. Specifically, this covers:

  • the natural environment

  • the local community

  • equality, diversity and inclusion

You should consider the responsible research context of your project, not the host institution as a whole. You should take action to enhance your responsible research approach where practical and reasonable.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays

  • disruptive working patterns and conditions

  • the loss of ongoing work

  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant, and their wider team, to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Dates

Assessment process

This opportunity is a two-stage process:

Stage one: net zero digital research infrastructure coordinator

  • this is aimed at identifying a coordinator to convene the interdisciplinary community to write a proposal for an NZ DRI network

 Stage two: net zero digital research infrastructure network

  •  this will be a closed opportunity, only the successful coordinator will be eligible to apply to develop and lead a NZ DRI network. The deadline for applying will be October 2024. If successful, the network grant will start in January 2025

Applications are currently being invited for stage one of the process, for a NZ DRI coordinator to write an application for a NZ DRI network.

Shortlisting panel

Applications will be assessed and shortlisted by an expert panel in April 2024. Following initial shortlisting, a maximum of five applicants will be invited for interview in May 2024.

We anticipate interviews to be held during the weeks commencing 13 May and 20 May 2024.

Applications that do not clearly address the assessment criteria will be rejected.

UKRI reserves the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Interview

For shortlisted applications, an expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants. You will be required to provide a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. The panel will then make a funding recommendation. 

We expect interviews to be held in May 2024.

NERC on behalf of UKRI will make the final funding decision.

Feedback

If your application was discussed by a panel, we will give feedback with the outcome of your application. Panel feedback will be provided within six months of the funding opportunity closing date to all applicants by email.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity. 

Assessment process 

This opportunity is a two-stage process:

Stage one: net zero digital research infrastructure coordinator

·       this is aimed at identifying a coordinator to convene the interdisciplinary community to write a proposal for an NZ DRI network

Stage two: net zero digital research infrastructure network

·        this will be a closed opportunity, only the successful coordinator will be eligible to apply to develop and lead a NZ DRI network. The deadline for applying will be October 2024. If successful, the network grant will start in January 2025

Applications are currently being invited for stage one of the process, for a NZ DRI coordinator to write an application for a NZ DRI network.

Shortlisting panel

Applications will be assessed and shortlisted by an expert panel in April 2024. Following initial shortlisting, a maximum of five applicants will be invited for interview in May 2024.

We anticipate interviews to be held during the weeks commencing 13 May and 20 May 2024.

Applications that do not clearly address the assessment criteria will be rejected.

UKRI reserves the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Interview

For shortlisted applications, an expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants. You will be required to provide a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. The panel will then make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held in May 2024.

NERC on behalf of UKRI will make the final funding decision.

Feedback

If your application was discussed by a panel, we will give feedback with the outcome of your application. Panel feedback will be provided within six months of the funding opportunity closing date to all applicants by email.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment criteria

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision

  • approach

  • applicant capability to deliver

  • coordinator role

  • ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

  • resources and cost justification

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Further details of the Network call assessment criteria will follow in a subsequent call document.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment criteria

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision

  • approach

  • applicant capability to deliver

  • coordinator role

  • ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

  • resources and cost justification

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Further details of the Network call assessment criteria will follow in a subsequent call document.

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a webinar on 8 March 2024 between 3:30pm and 4:30pm UK time. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

How to apply

Click here to start application on the UKRI Funding Service: https://funding-service.ukri.org/OPP509/apply/546

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system. We will publish full details on how to apply when the funding opportunity opens.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the UKRI Funding Service, but we expect co-coordinators to also contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

Watch our recording on how to apply for an opportunity in the UKRI Funding Service.

To apply: 

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

1. Confirm you are the project lead.

2. Sign in or create a UKRI Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org 

3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the UKRI Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this Funding finder page. 

4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office. 

5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.

6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI. 

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should: 

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words 

  • insert each new image onto a new line 

  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit) 

  • ensure that files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format 

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.

For more guidance on the UKRI Funding Service, see: 

Deadline

We must receive your application by 16 April 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

NERC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your UKRI Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

NERC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on What NERC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word count: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers

  • policymakers

  • the public

  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context

  • the challenges the coordinator(s) will address

  • aims and objectives

  • potential outcomes and benefits

Core team

List the project lead, and if applicable the project co-lead, and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)

  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)

Only list one individual as project lead. 

The project lead is responsible for setting up and completing the application process on the UKRI Funding Service.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications

Application questions

Vision

Word limit: 750

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work: 

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)

  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area 

  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs 

  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to include:

  • the key aims and ambitions you hope to achieve as the NZ DRI coordinator, why it’s important and why you will succeed

  • an initial vision for the network in four years’ time and beyond, including the intended outcomes (noting this will be further shaped by the community engagement and is subject to the network application being successful)

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the UKRI Funding Service.

Approach

Word limit: 750

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives 

  •  is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed  

  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology

  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed

  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts 

  • describes how your research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:  

  • outline how you will convene the interdisciplinary community to identify key challenges, barriers and opportunities for coordinated activity, including who you intend to involve (this may be in the form of a community engagement plan)

  • outline how you will engage stakeholders across the whole of the UKRI remit, including the arts and humanities, biological, engineering, environmental, physical and social sciences

  • outline how you will use your existing knowledge and understanding of the complexities and emerging issues related to DRI and net zero, and how you will build on this to identify and prioritise actions at a national level

  • outline how you will build effective, long-term partnerships with the private sector and government, enabling you to both learn from and influence technology companies net zero strategies

  • provide a detailed project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar

  • include how much time you expect to commit to the role and how you will manage other existing commitments while undertaking it

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the UKRI Funding Service.

Applicant capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

How will your experience and track record enable you to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide evidence that you have:

  • a track record of leading and managing complex interdisciplinary research and delivering demonstrable impact

  • a track record of working inclusively across a broad range of disciplines, bringing together varied approaches and interest

  • knowledge of the current UK DRI landscape and emerging issues related to net zero and an ability to take an all-inclusive, overarching view of the UK DRI landscape

  • a profile within the research community for research excellence and the ability to act as a figurehead for the UK NZ DRI community

Guidance

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the ‘How to apply’ section.

The word limit for this section is 1,500 words: 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and 500 can be used for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your co-coordinator have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.  

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills you bring:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge

  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships

  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community

  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit  

Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.  

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Coordinator role

Word limit: 1,000

What skills and abilities do you have that will enable you to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of the right skills and expertise, as per the person specification below, to enable you to convene the interdisciplinary community and lead the network if the subsequent application is successful. You should identify any gaps and explain how you will fulfil these aspects. You should give relevant examples where possible.

Person specification
Thought leadership

You must demonstrate:

  • an ability to assemble key information across disciplines to build a compelling narrative and communicate this, effectively, to the right stakeholders at the right time

Inspirational team leader

You must demonstrate:

  • an ability to guide and inspire others and to identify and maximise potential in others

·         experience of leading and managing successful interdisciplinary programmes or projects that resulted in delivering impact at a national or international level

Strategic thinker

You should:

  • be a strategic thinker who is focused on ensuring the interdisciplinary research achieves maximum impact, and has considered the pathways to achieve this impact

  • demonstrate an aptitude for identifying, exploring and developing research opportunities more broadly and across different interfaces

  • demonstrate where you have positioned yourself to take-up opportunities and have the ability to make decisions to deliver your vision

Communication and engagement skills

You must demonstrate:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  • an ability to implement comprehensive stakeholder mapping to identify key audiences and develop strategies for inclusive engagement

  • skills for effective knowledge exchange, or the ability to facilitate others to carry out these tasks across the interdisciplinary community and private sector

Partnership management skills

You must demonstrate:

  • you are able to foster effective, long-term partnerships with the private sector, government and DRI users, including establishing and maintain relationships with relevant private sector colleagues and policy makers. You should demonstrate you are able to develop and take forwards a shared vision, determine clear roles and responsibilities and maintain partnerships in the long-term

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response   

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations

  • how you will manage these considerations 

  • consideration for preventing environmental harm and enhancing environmental benefit in line with NERC’s responsible business statement

 If you are collecting or using data, identify: 

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further re-use of data 

  • formal information standards with which your study will comply 

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the UKRI Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the resources requested, which can include:

  • coordinator(s) time

  • networking activities

  • workshops

  • administrative support

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want to be assured that:

  • all resources are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified

  • the project will make optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes

  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

References

Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information's integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Supporting information

Background 

In 2019, the UK government set a national target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aligning with the Paris Agreement's goals. The approach advocated by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) emphasised a balanced pathway, focused on innovation and moderate behavioural change, to reduce emissions. Subsequently, in 2022 the UK government published the UK Digital Strategy which further emphasised the pivotal role of a robust digital research infrastructure in the national transition to net zero.

In 2020, UKRI published its own environmental sustainability strategy, which outlines its aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for its entire research undertaking by 2040, including reducing and mitigating all carbon emissions from its owned operations. UKRI has a vast portfolio of DRI which underpins the research and innovation ecosystem and is critical for researchers, policymakers and innovators. The digital research infrastructure system includes:

  • large scale compute facilities, including high-throughput, high-performance, and cloud computing

  • data storage facilities, repositories, stewardship and security

  • software and shared code libraries

  • mechanisms for access, such as networks and user authentication systems

  • people: the users, and the experts who develop and maintain these powerful resources

UKRI DRI’s portfolio is ever expanding due to the rapid increase in digital tools and technological advancements. Therefore, it is essential that we align the expansion of DRI with our environmental sustainability goals to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2040. In order to achieve our ambitions, we must engage and inspire the interdisciplinary UKRI research community to incite societal and behavioural change across the UK. Therefore, UKRI are providing funding for a NZ DRI coordinator to enable alignment and knowledge exchange between the interdisciplinary community, enabling the development and implementation of new innovative approaches for NZ DRI, and ultimately helping to accelerate the path towards net zero DRI in the UK.

Supporting links

Net zero computing: scoping UKRI’s journey to sustainable digital research infrastructure

UKRI digital research infrastructure

UKRI policies and standards

NERC policies and standards

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a webinar on 8 March 2024 between 3:30pm and 4:30pm UK time. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

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  • servitude

  • human trafficking

  • forced and compulsory labour

 We are committed to the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Supporting links

Net zero computing: scoping UKRI’s journey to sustainable digital research infrastructure

UKRI digital research infrastructure

UKRI policies and standards

NERC policies and standards

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren't provided on this page

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. To manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline and/or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your application, contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity, contact digitalenvironment@nerc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the UKRI Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Phone: 01793 547490 

Our phone lines are open: 

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm 

  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

You can also find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information 

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, contact digitalenvironment@nerc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: Net Zero Digital Research Infrastructure Coordinator; sensitive information; your UKRI Funding Service application number. 

Typical examples of confidential information include:  

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)  

  • declaration of interest  

  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant capability to deliver’ section  

  • conflict of interest for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.