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Funding Call: Technology Touching Life Networks

Technology Touching Life (TTL) is pleased to announce a £3m call for Networks, jointly supported by the BBSRC, the EPSRC and MRC.

Deadline: 27 Jul 2017 outline, February 2018 full (invitation only) – with a start date of June 2018

Funding: £3m for 3-6 networks (max amount £1m for 36-48 months)

Webinar at 10:00 am on July 5th to provide an opportunity for those not attending the Technology Touching Life (TTL) workshops to learn more about Technology Touching Life. 

The aim of TTL is to foster interdisciplinary research into innovative, and potentially disruptive, technological capabilities that will drive world-leading discovery research in the health and life sciences

Networks are intended to be UK-wide and be open to participants from different disciplines and institutions.

It is essential that user engagement is considered in the wider network membership.

Each proposal must explain the fit to the scope of Technology Touching Life and demonstrate evidence of how they will connect with on-going excellent research in the UK to grow and develop the network.


The purpose of this call is to:

  • Support a number of complementary community networks focused on TTL research challenges and opportunities;
  • Stimulate and grow interdisciplinary connections around different aspects of TTL, strengthening research capacity, capabilities and methodologies;
  • Provide, through the networks resources, funding for pump-priming research, collaboration building and skills development (especially for early career researchers). 
  • Encourage interaction and engagement between researchers and potential end users in academia, industry, healthcare and other sectors.


Successful networks will:

  • Focus on research into the development of novel techniques and technologies based on new advances in fundamental engineering and physical sciences;
  • Identify relevant and appropriate health and/or life sciences research challenges that the technology would help address in the short-medium term;
  • Offer a series of structured activities that build bridges between disciplines and find creative ways to enable knowledge sharing, enabling co-development of ideas between physical science/engineering and life science researchers to deliver a step change in technology and research capabilities;
  • Develop interdisciplinary research communities that are nationally and internationally connected;
  • Deliver research agendas and strategies to address the challenges and opportunities presented by TTL. Working collaboratively – along with existing research groups - with Research Councils to identify the future needs and scale of opportunity for TTL;
  • Pump-prime a range of innovative projects and collaborations identified by the networks and provide a forum to enable them to lead to more competitive, collaborative, and integrative research proposals;
  • Communicate broadly and openly, promoting the research area, providing updates on developments and findings, and highlighting opportunities for engagement and support;
  • Maximise impact through end user engagement, nurturing early career researchers and supporting the interdisciplinary skills sets needed pursue the identified research directions.


There is a two stage application and assessment process:
1. Outline – offline, via email ttl@rcuk.ac.uk
2. Full proposals – via Je-S

Proposals should include:

  • Explanation of how the chosen area of focus fits to the aims of TTL, and how these aims will be furthered through the activities of the network. The scientific focus should be positioned clearly within the state of the art, be of importance and have the potential for high quality interdisciplinary research;
  • Initial membership (including applicants) and their expected contributions, as well as anticipated involvement of other research communities and plans for encouraging and building wider membership;
  • Clear objectives of the network and explanation of how network funding will enable those objectives to be met;
  • Proposed range of specific activities the network will undertake in order to develop cross-disciplinary working and new research concepts;
  • Description of how the network will support and enable early career researchers working at this interface and how relevant non-academic users and other stakeholders will be included within the network;
  • Description of how funding for feasibility projects and collaborative interchange will be awarded;
  • Details of network governance (e.g. through a steering group) and plans for knowledge dissemination and sustainability.


Research not in scope for this call, include:

  • Medical/Clinical devices (in development for end-point clinical utility rather than basic research purposes) and Healthcare Technologies (including biomedical engineering for diagnostic or therapeutic application)
  • Research solely focusing on data analysis or mathematical/statistical approaches that are not integrated into a broader technology led project e.g. data mining/re-use, development of databases for sharing research data
  • Large scale infrastructure, or direct application of off-the-shelf technology to research 
  • Incremental technology development that does not incorporate developments based on EPS approaches


The assessment criteria and application form (word) are available through the link at the top of this email.

Please ensure to read the full call guidance and accompanying documents/links.

published on: 25 May 2017