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UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres

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UK Research & Innovation invites outline proposals for Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres. Up to £22.5 million (at 80% FEC) is available to support up to five Centres for up to four years from 1 October 2020.

The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres, will each conduct interdisciplinary research that accelerates understanding and solutions to enable circularity of a resource flow (materials, material systems, products and/or services), including consideration of (multi-) sector contexts.

The UK has potential to grow and prosper sustainably by transitioning to a more circular economy, where resources are processed with sustainability, waste minimisation and efficiency in mind, and where product lifecycles are optimised to generate more economic and social value before recycling and/or reuse. However, this transition requires clear, evidence-based, implementation pathways, with broad underpinning research evidence. It must provide not only technical, technological and scientific advances, but also the social, behavioural, cultural, ethical, environmental, economic, legal and regulatory understanding required to support a successful transition.

To address this, the £30 million UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Interdisciplinary Circular Economy programme will be delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Innovate UK. This fund will support the creation of up to 5 interdisciplinary research centres, and a Coordinator who will lead an integration hub.

UKRI are running a concurrent call to appoint the Circular Economy Coordinator, who will build a proposal for the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub, providing national leadership and coordination, and driving knowledge exchange across the Centres and wider research and innovation landscape. Details of the Coordinator call are available; we recommend that potential applicants read both call documents to familiarise themselves with the scope and format of the overall programme.

The call is led by EPSRC for administrative purposes only. UKRI welcomes and encourages applications led by and involving any discipline. Arts and Humanities expertise and perspectives are certainly required to enable any successful transition to a more circular economy.


UKRI will be running two webinar (interactive online meeting) sessions to give potential applicants to both calls an opportunity to learn more about the programme. These will run on:

  • 17 October 11:00-12:30
  • 22 October 13:30-15:00.

The webinars will cover:

  • Background Information
  • Vision and Objectives of both Calls
  • Eligibility and Funding Restrictions
  • Assessment Criteria

There will also be an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about this activity.

If you would like to attend, please register your interest by emailing UKRI identifying which webinar you wish to attend.

Both webinars will cover the same information. Instructions on how to access the webinar will then be sent to you. The deadline for registration will be 24 hours before each webinar.

We recommend that attendees read both call documents in preparation for their webinar.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 05/12/2019

Submit an Intent to Submit by 16.00 on 19 November 2019 via the following SmartSurvey link.

Deadline for outline proposals is 16:00 on 5 December 2019.

How to make an application

This call has a two-stage process. The first stage invites outline proposals for a Centre focused on a resource flow with consideration of (multi-) sector contexts. Applicants are expected to have assembled the majority of the core interdisciplinary team but will have an opportunity to add to membership before the second stage, if their outline proposal is prioritised at this first stage. Both single and multi-institution proposals are welcome. At this first stage, applicants must:

  • submit an Intent to Submit, and
  • submit an outline proposal

Principal Investigators of 8-12 outline proposals will then be invited to submit a full proposal at the second stage.

Please see the call document below for further details.

Further Information

Circular Economy Centres call document (PDF, 764KB)


Applicants are encouraged to contact UKRI to discuss their interest in applying for an Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre.

For questions regarding AHRC remit within the call please contact tim.pank@ahrc.ukri.org.

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