The PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity
invites proposals from its existing academic partner universities (including those brought in by SRF and Demonstrator awards, see https://www.petrashub.org/petras-nce/about/ for list of our academic partners
) for collaborative short-term partnership and engagement activities in the cybersecurity of devices and networks at the edge of the internet research to be undertaken jointly with user partners.
Through this call, PETRAS aims to provide a more spontaneous way of engaging with user partners, when opportunities arise for secondments, joint short-term research collaborations, international collaborations etc. Please refer to Suggested Eligible Activities Section for further details.
The EPSRC SDTaP Call required that part of the PETRAS core funding should be held in a designated account to support the Centre’s academic members to undertake collaborative partnership, impact, and engagement activities, which would stimulate and strengthen PETRAS’s engagement with industry (particularly SMEs), and government, and responding to user-inspired challenges.
Hence, PETRAS is utilising a proportion of its core funding to establish this rolling internal call and provide a platform to fund short term opportunities (in responsive mode) to enable its existing academic partners engage in such partnership engagement activities when they arise.
The total PETRAS funding available for this call is £432k (at 80% Full Economic Cost (fEC)). We expect to release funds in stages over the next c. three years to support projects/ activities through this call as follows:
Table 1 – PETRAS Opportunity Fund rounds and budget
Duration: Activities of normally up to 6 months or less (budgetary constraints apply as detailed below). Whilst PETRAS will not mandate the precise duration of the proposed work, it is anticipated that activities will have durations of 6 months or less.
Applicants: Each activity should involve at least one, new or existing,User Partner(s) from industry, public sector and/or international non-PETRAS academic collaborators (based on pairing of best-with-best approach) with strong background in the Centre’s research programme. Proposals must be co-created with the User Partner(s) and/or international non-PETRAS academic collaborators and be convincing in the depth of the partner commitment. Whilst matched funding is not essential, it is highly recommended. A clear Letter of Support should be provided for each listed partner detailing their contributions and how they will actually collaborate in the work. Proposals must be led by an investigator from one of PETRAS’ existing academic partner institutions, who is eligible to hold an EPSRC grant. They would be responsible for the development and delivery the activity and for reporting on the outcomes and budget.
Award: We expect activities to normally last up to six months and the indicative maximum budget per activity is c. £60k at 80% fEC, allowing 6-month PRDA deployments where necessary. It is not expected that such PDRA deployments would be filled by new staff.
All applicants should cost their activities using the same process as they would cost an EPSRC grant. Successful proposals will receive 80% fEC of their budget from PETRAS. It must be recognised that an application to this call requires a commitment to provide the remaining 20% fEC from their own resources. All costs should be inclusive of VAT and/or any other applicable tax. A guide of fEC and the EPSRC’s position on its payment is available at: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/howtoapply/fundingguide/
. If successful, the applicants’ institutions will be expected to provide complimentary 0.1 FTE of investigator time (PI & CoI time) to match the 0.1 FTE PETRAS is providing as part of this call.
Eligible costs: Costs under a new project/activity may include UK-based staff time for PIs and Co-Investigators (CoIs) (up to 0.1 FTE equivalent combined) and postdoctoral research associates (PDRA), associated indirect and estates costs , travel and subsistence, plus consumables for the activity, all subject to EPSRC rules and requirements. The activity costs can also include meetings and workshops as required. Equipment funding is not available through this call. Resources to fund User Partners are not allowable (this includes sub-contracting to a User Partner).
Grant Management: Details on how to access funding will be provided to those departments that have received awards. Awardees will be expected to manage the accounts as per normal EPSRC rules.
Examples of eligible activities
Joint short projects with SMEs
This would require contribution by the SME, but could support KTP-like activity through academic staff deployment within the SME.
Secondments into industry and public sector
Similar to the above, but pertaining to PETRAS User Partners of any size or sector who have pledged support for the Centre. A typical project might be for the academic secondee to learn, first-hand, about User Partner knowledge needs or in-house know-how.
Support for short term visits designed to bring specific expertise to bear on User-identified research challenges. Visiting staff to work in host university, or alternatively short-term visits might support working between PETRAS academic partners, to transfer capability between universities.
Short-term collaboration with international non-PETRAS academic institutions (based on pairing of best-with-best approach)
Short collaborative projects (including visits) to create tangible outcomes for the partner institution(s) as well as developing the PETRAS knowledge base.
Other activities to support impact development
These might include the development and deployment of tools for dissemination and collaboration with the User Partners. It might also contribute to the costs of project/ activity workshops. PETRAS would also consider organisation of a series of workshops with relevant work leading to producing a joint report as a fundable activity through this call.
How to Apply
All applications to be completed electronically by deadline (1stAugust 2022). You can apply by scrolling to the bottom of this page and selecting 'Apply'.
Note: Applicants must seek approval from their organisation prior to submission
Assessment of Proposals
As part of a suite of demand management measures, to help alleviate pressure on all involved with our review process and to provide opportunity for the whole of PETRAS community to consider bidding, other than in exceptional circumstances applicants may only apply once, either as a PI or CoI for each round of this call (see Table 1).
Eligible proposals submitted to this call will be reviewed and commented on by the Opportunities Fund Review Panel who may solicit the opinions of outside experts if appropriate. If the Review Panel deems that an application is fundable through this call, then it will be subject to final approval by the Chair of the Governing Board and endorsed by an off-line write-around to the Operations Group.
The applicants will be contacted by PETRAS to inform them of the Review Panel’s funding decision on their submission. Under normal circumstances, the Review Panel will consider applications within 2-3 weeks of receipt. Where necessary, the applicants may be given feedback and ask to submit a revised proposal to address recommendations from the Review Panel. Successful applicants will then be allowed to move on to the contract execution phase.
The terms of the PETRAS Centre Collaboration Agreement will apply to any successful applicant. They will be expected to participate in Centre activities and duties, including reporting, dissemination and communication activities.
Deliverables, Reporting and Quality Assurance
While the academic partners funded through this call will deliver individual and novel outcomes, they will also be expected to be collaborative with, have clear relation to and be synergistic with, work ongoing in the PETRAS Centre. They will be expected to participate in coordination and dissemination meetings/events and to report regularly to the PETRAS Centre Management Team.
Under normal circumstances, all deliverables from successful activities will be expected to be in the public domain, and published and disseminated through the normal academic and other publication channels. In addition, applicants are encouraged to present their work at conferences, workshops, networks, and other dissemination events, and costs associated with doing so may be budgeted in the proposal.
Any publications and other outputs/dissemination resulting from work carried out under this grant must acknowledge EPSRC funding via PETRAS. The recommended text to be used is as follows: “This work has been supported by the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity, which has been funded by the UK EPSRC under grant number EP/S035362/1”.
Research Data and Open Access Publications
In addition, the applicants’ proposed work will also be reviewed by PETRAS’s Ethics Group. The remit of this group is to keep a register of the PETRAS funded project/activities’ ethics applications and where relevant consider issues particular to IoT security research that may require the expertise not available on institutional ethics boards.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
In line with the UKRI Diversity Principles and our main funder EPSRC’s expectations, PETRAS expects that equality and diversity are embedded at all levels and in all aspects of applicants’ proposals.
We are committed to supporting the research community in the diverse ways a research career can be built. This includes career breaks, support for people with caring responsibilities, flexible working and alternative working patterns. With this in mind, we welcome applications from researchers who job share, have a part-time contract, need flexible working arrangements or those currently committed to other longer, large existing grants. Please see EPSRC’s Equality and Diversity webpages at https://epsrc.ukri.org/funding/equalitydiversity/
for further information.