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C-DICE Short Term Placements – Open Call for Proposals (HEI to HEI)

The Centre for Postdoctoral Development in Infrastructure, Cities and Energy (C-DICE) is pleased to announce an open call for short-term (up to one month in duration) placement proposals. These collaboration awards are an opportunity for Postdoctoral and Early Career Researchers to engage with the C-DICE network, which brings together 18 higher education institutions (HEIs) from across the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). The ERA and UKCRIC organisations that have joined the C-DICE collaboration are listed the end of this document along with their associated facilities. In addition to HEI to HEI placements, C-DICE offers a variety of opportunities, including longer-term secondment opportunities (with a particular emphasis on industry-HEI engagement), sandpits, hackathons and bespoke training courses.

Themes

The overarching goal of C-DICE is to accelerate progress towards a net-zero society by 2050 by building and sustaining the advanced skills base required to create a pipeline of world-class talent for the Infrastructure, Cities and Energy (IC&E) sectors. Proposals that address this challenge should include one or more of the following:

  • Research in infrastructure, cities and/or energy
  • Research using UKCRIC and ERA facilities
  • Knowledge exchange between collaborating C-DICE HEIs
  • Networking benefits for Postdoctoral and Early Career Researchers (PD&ECRs)

Call Details

This call for proposals is made possible by a grant from the Research England Development (RED) fund allied to in-kind commitments from the collaborating HEI partners. The maximum placement duration is 1 month at 1.0FTE or equivalent (i.e. 22 working days) and minimum placement duration is 10 working days. Funding is available to cover travel, subsistence and/or consumables costs related to a PD&ECR placement up to a maximum of £1,500. The RED fund will contribute 100% of these costs. Salaries will be paid by the home institution as part of its commitment to fund personal and professional development of PD&ECRs (e.g. under UKRI or similar grants) or its pledged in-kind contribution. [In cases where this would require a no-cost extension to an EPSRC grant, EPSRC has agreed to grant this automatically on request.]  C-DICE aims to fund 80 of these placements over its 4-year duration ending 31st December 2024. The selection process is managed by the C-DICE Development Strand, led by Professor Chris Rogers and managed by Amy Beierholm at the University of Birmingham.

Eligibility

C-DICE target audiences are PD&ECRs as defined by “a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies and/or while undertaking research as a member of staff at a collaborating institution”.  The proposed activities must be relevant to the overarching goal and in alignment with C-DICE themes.  The PD&ECR must be currently employed by an HEI (home institution) or C-DICE affiliated partner.  The placement must take place in a C-DICE network HEI (host institution).

Case Study 1 – flexible work

Over a 5-month period, a Postdoctoral or Early Career Researcher spends between 10 and 22 days (e.g. 1 day per week) to work at a C-DICE HEI on a “Business Model for Net Zero” dimension to extend the scope of a current infrastructure, cities and/or energy research project.

Case Study 2 – ERA and UKCRIC cross-collaboration

An ERA Postdoctoral or Early Career Researcher spends 1 month at a UKCRIC facility investigating an energy-related topic for an infrastructure or cities application, or vice versa.

Case Study 3 – remote working

A Postdoctoral or Early Career Researcher from a C-DICE affiliated partner spends 2 weeks working remotely with academics from a C-DICE HEI to engage in knowledge transfer to explore the possibilities for deeper collaboration.

This funding is not intended for permanent teaching staff / lecturers.

Timeline

Collaboration grants will be awarded between 2021-2024, with the date for placement completion being 30th November 2024.

  • Deadline for applications:
    • 3rd November 2021 at 12:00
    • 2nd February 2022 at 12:00
    • 4th May 2022 at 12:00
    • …and on the first Wednesday of every quarter thereafter
  • Notification of awards will be made within one month of each deadline.
  • In exceptional circumstances, such as to take advantage of an opportunity that emerges at very short notice, applications can be considered between these dates where a case can be made.

Submission Procedure

Proposals may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline.

  • Sign up to Inkpath and link to C-DICE. Here’s how.
  • Sign up to activity DPAB0001 to receive the link to the online form.
  • Complete a short proposal form online, to include:
    • Applicant details (education & employment background)
    • Research proposal concept and objectives
    • Alignment to themes
    • Budget justification and requested funding
    • Cover letter (optional, to provide context)
  • Letters of support (simple acknowledgement of collaboration from home & host institutions) to be attached as evidence to the Inkpath activity.

A narrative CV (optional), to be attached to the Inkpath activity. For guidance, go to this UKRI page.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by Chris Rogers (acting as chair), one member of the C-DICE leadership team representing both ERA and UKCRIC, and the C-DICE Programme Manager against the following criteria:

  • Alignment to the C-DICE overarching goal and C-DICE themes
  • C-DICE connection (either home or host institution must be in C-DICE network)
  • Evidence of benefits of the collaboration
  • Quality of proposed research plan
  • Potential impact and ability to realise impact
  • Justification of proposed budget

Applications with matched funding are welcome, but not necessary.

After the Placement

  • Confirmation of expenditure
  • Outcomes (e.g. publications, engagement activities) for ResearchFish
  • A short final report (template provided)

C-DICE Collaborating HEIs

University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Loughborough University – C-DICE Core partners

Aston University, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick, British Geological Survey, Keele University – ERA institutions

University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, UCL – UKCRIC institutions

ERA Facilities

To find out more about the ERA facilities, click here.

  • Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage (BCES) – University of Birmingham
    • Hot and Cold Thermal Materials Manufacturing Laboratory
  • British Geological Survey
    • Hydrates and Ices Laboratory
  • Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research – University of Birmingham
    • Hydrogen Production by Electrolysis (alkaline, PEM, solid oxide)
  • CPL Industries Production Site – Immingham
    • Hydro-Thermal Carbonisation (HTC)
  • Cryogenic Engineering Lab – Loughborough University
    • High-Speed IR Imaging System
  • Energy Innovation Centre – Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick
    • Battery Testing
    • Cell Manufacturing (Cylindrical and Pouch)
    • Hardware in the Loop (HIL) Lab
    • Materials Laboratory
    • Second Life and Wireless Testing Facility
  • European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) – Aston University
    • Advanced Biomass Processing Facility
  • GeoEnergy Research Centre – University of Nottingham
    • Geo-Energy Test Bed (GTB)
  • Hyper Pilot Plant – Cranfield University
  • Integrated Energy Storage Testing and Verification Facility (IESTV) – University of Leicester
    • Battery Energy Storage System
    • Photovoltaic Emulator
    • Ultracapacitor Energy Storage System
  • Loughborough University
    • Advanced Facade System Component Development and Characterisation Lab
    • Latent Heat Energy Storage Laboratory
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre
    • Thermal Technology Companies Manufacturing Assessment and Support to Factory in a Box (FIAB) Demonstrators
  • Research Accelerator Demonstration (RAD) Building – University of Nottingham
    • High Performance Compression and Expansion Lab (HPCEL)
    • High Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HP-XPS)
    • Hydrogen Systems Test Bed
  • Trent Basin Community Energy Scheme – University of Nottingham
    • Community Energy Demonstrator
  • Tyseley Energy Park – Birmingham
    • Thermal Catalytic Reforming Reactor (TCR)
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Leicester
    • New Cell Chemistries, Electrolytes and Material
  • University of Nottingham
    • Solid Loop Adsorber
  • University of Warwick
  • Vehicle and Tribology – University of Birmingham
    • DRIFT (VERTEX 70 FT-IR Spectrometer)
    • HSense
    • SMPS-TSI
    • TGA Pyris 1 PerkinElmer
  • Warwick Thermal Energy Facility – University of Warwick
    • Binder Heating and Drying Chamber
    • Calvet Calorimeter
    • Dilatometer (TMA)
    • Environmental Chambers
    • Heat Flow Meter (HFM)
    • Large Solar Simulator
    • Rubotherm Magnetic Suspension Balance
    • Setaram DSC
    • Simultaneous Thermal Analyser (STA)
    • Thermal Conductivity Meter
    • Xenon Flash Analyser (XFA)

UKCRIC Facilities