Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pass Notes: EPSRC Regional Event

Ooo! Regional Event! Brilliant! Is that like the Radio 1 Roadshow? Um..

I love the Radio 1 Roadshow! Gary Davies, Bruno Brookes, Sinitta singing her latest hit...Hmm. I think you'll be a little disappointed with the EPSRC Regional Event, then.

What? Are there no celebrities? Not even a minor pop star? No, I'm afraid not. Although EPSRC's Liam Blackwell does bear a passing resemblance to Evan Davis off Dragons' Den.

He's not exactly the Hairy Cornflake, though, is he? Well no, but he is very knowledgeable about the changes to the EPSRC's peer review process for deciding on equipment.

Is that anything to do with 'Bits & Pieces'? In a way, yes. When EPSRC's capital budget was cut by 50% they had to decide what they were going to do about equipment costs.

50%! Blimey! Blimey indeed. It meant that EPSRC had to rethink how it was going to share out what was left.

I imagine they came up with something simple and transparent. Hmm. Well. If you are applying for less than £10,000, it goes through the normal channels. However, if it's for £10,000-£121,588 you'll only get 50% of the costs, and you'll have to share the equipment and justify the costs. More than that, and the equipment can't be limited to a single project. The application will get seen by a separate Strategic Equipment Panel, and you'll have to sign your name in blood, and get a special dispensation from the Queen.

Really? Well, the last bit was stretching the truth a little...

So did Evan – I mean Liam – say anything else? He did give some hints and tips for those wanting to apply for equipment costs. Before you do anything else, talk to EPSRC about your plans. Check whether the same or similar equipment is available at your university or elsewhere...

Slow down! I'm trying to write this down, but my Simon Bates pen has run out. Just listen and try to remember it. So talk to the EPSRC; check whether similar equipment's available close by already; work out how you're going to share access, and charge for it; and check how hard it is to actually get that bit of kit.

So basically do your homework first. You're not as stupid as you look.

It's all the Radio 1 Roadshows I used to listen to. There's nothing you can't learn from Steve Wright in front of an excitable audience on the seafront at Bridlington. Hmm.

Do say: Hello, you don't know me, but I hear you have a Large Hadron Collider going spare...

Don't say: I can pay you in Radio 1 merchandise.

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