This scheme is now closed for applications. It is due to reopen in October 2020. 

What is Frontiers Follow-on Funding?

The Frontiers follow-on funding scheme is a grant programme that allows applications for up to £300,000 over 3 years with the aim to build on, and scale up, successes from the UK National Academies’ early- and mid-career research programmes funded by the GCRF. For more information, please refer to the guidance notes. 


Who can apply? 

The Principle Investigator (PI) must be a UK-based researcher who is 0 to 20 years' post-PhD and based at a UK higher education institution. They must have been a named PI or collaborator on an award from one of the following schemes (referred to as ‘the original award’ hereafter):

  • Frontiers of Engineering for Development or Frontiers of Development seed funding (Royal Academy of Engineering)
  • Engineering for Development Research Fellowships (Royal Academy of Engineering)
  • FLAIR Fellowships (Royal Society)
  • Challenge-led Grants (Royal Society)
  • Cities and Infrastructure Programme (British Academy)
  • GCRF Networking Grants (Academy of Medical Sciences)

For full eligibility criteria, please refer to the eligibility criteria page or download the guidance for applicants. 


Who can be a collaborator?


At least one collaborator must also be named on the original award, and at least one collaborator must be based in a DAC list country (note: these two roles can be fulfilled by the same person). There may be more than one collaborator, including individuals not named on the original award. Global South partnership must be an integral aspect of the proposal, with significant consideration of how to embody best practice in equitable partnerships. 


Can I apply for more than one Frontiers Follow-On Funding grant? 

Individuals are limited to one application as the Principle Investigator (PI). However, they may be a named collaborator on more than one application. Please consider your workload and commitments in case all applications are successful. 


I am still undertaking activities on my original award. Can I apply?

If the PI on this application is the same as the PI on the original award, the original award must already be completed or be due to complete within three months of the application closing date.

If the PI on this application is a named collaborator on the original award they may apply at any stage of original award completion. However, ability to demonstrate good outcomes from the original award will be a benefit to the application.  

If you are applying before the original award has been completed, you may not have a final report ready to upload on page 2 of your application - if this is the case, plesae write a summary that is no longer than two pages of your project activities and progress to date, and a summary of the project finances so far, and upload this instead. 


Does my new project have to be related to the 'original project'?

Yes. The scheme aims to build on and scale up previously funded activities, so the application should be related to the original project. It doesn't have to be identical, as there may have been lessons learned through the original project that have caused you to change your approach or direction in some way, but we do expect the original project to contribute to the proposal in a significant way. 


Does my proposed project have to be 'engineering'? Do I have to be an engineer? 

There is no requirement for applications to focus on engineering, but they should involve technology, innovation or engineering in a significant way. As a result, the Principle Investigator (PI) does not need to be an engineer, but it is expected/highly likely that an engineer will be included in the team. 


What are the key dates for this round?

  • Monday 3 February 2020: Application submission deadline.
  • Friday 28 February 2020: Decisions communicated to the applicants.
  • Mid-March to mid-April 2020: Projects begin, initiation report submitted.
  • March/April 2020: Academy staff will assist with project mentor matching.
  • August 2020, 2021 and 2022: Mid-year progress updates due.
  • February 2021, 2022 and 2023: Annual reports due, until final report.


Eligible costs - what can I cover for staff costs?

Staff costs can include all directly incurred costs for the PI and collaborators and anyone else working directly on the project. This may include research assistants and associates, PhD students, consultants and contractors. Please note that only directly incurred costs are eligible - the funding cannot cover overheads or staff time that is not directly related to the project. 

Directly allocated costs are eligible where existing members of staff research staff will allocate time from their usual activities to work on activities directly related to the grant - this may be calculated based on hours, days, or FTE - but must not be calculated on the basis of full economic costs (no overheads). 

PhD student fees, including international student fees, are an eligible cost if the student will be working solely on the proposed project. However, applicants are encouraged to strongly justify why this cost is being requested and how it will contribute to the project, given that fees and salaries may make up a considerate part of the budget. Furthermore, in case there is a risk that the PhD project may extend beyond the lifetime of the funding applicants should give consideration to how these costs will be covered, so as to avoid a cliff-edge for the PhD student.  


Eligible costs - The project will cover costs for overseas collaborators. How should we disperse funds to them?

Dispersal of funds to collaborators is likely to be an aspect of most Frontiers Follow-on projects. Applicants should note that it is the responsibility of the PI and their research office/institution to arrange the dispersal of funds to overseas collaborators, and undertake all necessary risk assessments and contracting to do so. Research costs, including staff costs for collaborators are eligible costs. This could also include PhD researchers, research assistants, or research associates at a collaborating institution.

It is recommended that applicants consider and build in time for the dispersal of funds to collaborators, as this is a common cause of delays to projects. 


Eligible costs - the project I'd like to undertake will cost less than £100,000 per year - can I still apply?

Yes - you can apply for up to £100,000 per year for up to three years - if you'd like to apply for a smaller grant or less time, that's totally fine! Please only apply for what you need and be realistic about what you can acheive. 


How is the funding dispersed?

The lead applicant University receives all of the funding from the Academy in annual installments, then (if necessary) can disperse the funding to project partners. How this is done will vary from institution to institution - please discuss with your grants office to work out what would be the best way forward. 


Do we need a letter of support from all collaborators? 

Except in exceptional circumstances, a letter of support from every organisation who will be dedicating staff time or resources to the project is expected. This is so that reviewers can be confident that the project will be able to go ahead as envisaged in the application, and that every organisation is committed to its success. 

If you think there is a valid reason why you will not be able to provide letters of support from all organisations, please contact the programme team - running out of time to do this will not be considered a valid reason, so it is recommended that you start this process early to avoid losing out. 

My question is not listed here. Who can I talk to? 

Please contact Alice Marks on or +44(0) 20 7766 0685