SCGC-FIRST Application Guideline

SCGC Fund for Innovation and Research in Sustainability and Technology (SCGC-FIRST): Application Guideline


Please reference this guidance when making applications to the SCGC-FIRST

Download the guidance as a Word document

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The SCGC-FIRST is a research fund open to all Oxford University academic staff from across disciplines to innovate and discover solutions to address long-term carbon-neutral targets, to help mitigate the effects of global warming, and to benefit society and communities with a passion for a better world. The Fund wishes to support visionary and imaginative open innovation relevant to global challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

 
ASEANS's leading innovation company in chemicals, SCGC, takes a special responsibility to tackle these challenges (eg. global warming and plastic waste); towards this end, SCGC has publicly committed to achieve a low-carbon and environmentally friendly society by 2030 and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. SCGC believes strongly that innovations based on chemistry, materials, and novel processes are key to meeting these bold commitments. To this end, SCGC has made an initial commitment of £1 million to create a University fund, SCGC-FIRST, which will run over four years and support applications from across the University. Successfully executed projects may be considered for substantial follow-on funding directly from SCGC.
The creation of SCGC-FIRST builds on a decade-long and highly productive strategic partnership between the Department of Chemistry and SCGC. However, the magnitude of the current challenges requires a broader collaboration among a range of relevant disciplines within the University, including cutting-edge manufacturing technology and machinery, digital systems to control manufacturing processes, and a low environmental footprint approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with clean and renewable energy sources.
 
SCGC-FIRST is seeking to support innovative projects that demonstrate distinct advantages in cost and environmental footprint over competing approaches which are already available in the marketplace or opportunities for those to be adapted to the SCGC context below. Projects should be outcomes-driven, leading toward potential solutions or inventions.
 
Broad areas and topics of interest to SCGC include, but are not limited to:

 

Energy and carbon reduction

  • carbon neutrality through reduction of GHG emissions, carbon capture, storage and utilisation, and emissions monitoring
  • low cost, low carbon footprint hydrogen production
  • materials for environmental sustainability
  • sustainable supply chains and logistics
  • novel approaches to utilisation of energy sources
  • sustainable finance and carbon accounting tools for decision-making

Environmental impacts

  • water and energy reduction, recovery, and reuse; wastewater and effluent treatment prior to discharge

Future plastics

  • circular economy of plastics: up-cycling of polymer materials and the creation of markets
  • new materials for sustainable outcomes
  • client and consumer behaviour and novel interventions to influence change

Innovation

  • open call for applications on any topic of innovation relevant to SCGC but not covered in the topics listed above.

SCGC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Siam Cement Public Company Limited (SCG) located in Thailand, is one of the largest integrated chemical companies in Asia and a key industry leader. As such, it strives to become a “Chemicals Business for Sustainability”, responsibly addressing the impact of its business on the environment and society while adhering to a commitment of transparent and fair governance of its operations.

SCGC recognises the importance of the circular economy as one of the keys to delivering on its ESG commitments, with the concept having been introduced to its business operations to increase global competitiveness and long-term sustainable growth.

SCGC-FIRST is looking to sponsor projects which may run for up to 12 months and will fund projects up to £80,000 each for the 2023/24 application round. Funding for a project exceeding the threshold may be considered but must be discussed with the SCG-Oxford University Centre of Excellence Alliance Manager. The funding opportunity is open to researchers of all Divisions, and interdisciplinary collaborations between different departments and across divisions are encouraged. 

Call Open: 10.11.2023

Application Deadline: by 16.00 (GMT), 20.12.2023

You will need to meet the following criteria to apply:

  • PIs must be Oxford University academic staff holding a contract of employment extending to at least the end of the proposed project and be hosted by a department of the University.
  • Applications from Early Career Researchers who hold independent externally funded fellowships must have their fellowship funding extending to at least the end of the proposed project.
  • Applicants seeking to establish independent research careers are encouraged.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • Researchers holding honorary, visiting positions, and PDRAs.

Additional notes on eligibility:

Applicants should clarify their eligibility with departments and departmental approvers are required to check the eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications.

All proposals will be subject to confidential peer review. The SCGC-FIRST Prioritisation Panel will be chaired by the Director of the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence (CoE), Prof Dermot O'Hare. Membership of the Prioritisation Panel will be made available on the CoE website. The Panel reserves the right to seek additional expert opinion on a confidential basis if required. Oxford researchers supported by the SCGC-FIRST will be invited to meet SCGC staff when they visit Oxford to outline and discuss their projects.

 

Awards will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Excellence and intrinsic merit of the innovative idea or concept
  • Potential for realisable outcomes and long-term impact to SCGC and society
  • A clear science-based, time-bound plan to achieve the project aims
  • Represent good value

​​​​​The University will own any IP that arises as a result of support from the SCGC-FIRST. SCGC will have rights of first refusal to take an exclusive option of the arising IP generated by the SCGC-FIRST and to support further research under a sponsored collaboration agreement (FCA 2.0) within six months of the completion of the relevant project. Additional support will be subject to a separate collaboration agreement between Oxford University and SCGC.

SCGC acknowledges that the Arising Intellectual Property from each Project and any licence granted further to the Arising Intellectual Property may be a qualifying acquisition within the scope of the National Securities and Investments Act 2021 (the “NSIA”), under which the UK Government could exercise its powers to make an order to void and invalidate any licence granted. As the acquirer of such an asset, SCGC will comply with the NSIA and consider all steps necessary to mitigate the risk of an acquisition being called in, including where appropriate, by making a notification to the Investment Security Unit of the UK Government ahead of any licence being concluded.

At the end of each project, the project team has one (1) month to submit a short account of the outcomes, publications, project highlights, and a financial statement. The project report and financial statement will be submitted to the MPLS Division, reviewed by Prof Dermot O’Hare or his nominee, and then forwarded to the Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, SCGC.

 

Oxford researchers should acknowledge support from the SCGC-FIRST in any scientific papers, trade articles or presentations that arise directly from the award. Follow-on projects that build upon the project should continue to acknowledge SCGC-FIRST alongside any additional sponsorship.

All proposals must be accompanied by a proposed budget prepared using X5, with the budget details output onto the X5 Admin output (AO). In addition, the MPLS Division requires written evidence of departmental approval by the Head of Department for each individual costing (so this must be obtained for all the departments involved in an internal collaboration).

  • All proposed investigator(s) need to seek approval from their respective Head of Department(s) (or nominee(s)).
  • A trial costing should be created in X5, using the funder SCGC-FIRST (short name SCGC-F) and the Generic scheme. The Excel output must be attached. The investigator can be named in both the proposal and X5 if necessary.

Please contact your department’s finance officer for a proposed budget prepared using X5. Download the SCGC-FIRST Costing Guideline for Finance Officers (Word document). You can also view the Costing Guideline as a webpage

Awards will be made only for the directly incurred (DIC) costs of research and DA Estates: Any unspent balances at the end of the grant period should be returned to the fund.

For clarity, the following costs are allowable:

 

Directly Incurred costs (DIC) (staff and non-staff):

  • Student stipends
  • salaries of postdoctoral researchers (full- or part-time)
  • consumables
  • minor equipment (equipment with a value of £10,000 or more would require clear justification)

 

Directly Allocated costs (DAC):

  • estates costs

 

Not Allowed:

  • overhead costs
  • DA infrastructure technicians
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator’s time
  • honoraria
  • travel to conferences

 

Note: The visa process for employing a PDRA without a current visa (right to work) can take approximately 3-4 months, so please take that into consideration when setting project start dates. To ask advice, please get in touch with your department’s HR office or the University Staff Immigration Service.

 

Any unspent balances at the end of the grant period should be returned to the fund.

 

 

 

 

Applications for SCGC─FIRST funding should be made through the online Internal Research Awards Management System (IRAMS), which can be accessed using your Single Sign-On (SSO) details. Once you are logged in, please choose the correct from the list to start your application. For the correct scheme, search “SCGC-FIRST”. If required, IRAMS guidance in the form of quick reference guide (QRG) documents for applicants can be found on the Research Support pages.

Applications must be submitted for review by the SCGC-FIRST Prioritisation Panel before 4:00 p.m. on 20 December 2023 and reviewed online by departmental approvers before 12 January 2024.

Please email scgcfirst@mpls.ox.ac.uk and/or Ms Gulcin Avul gulcin.avul@chem.ox.ac.uk with any enquiries.

If you have a potentially impactful project that falls within SCGC's research areas but does not fit with the SCGC-FIRST, please reach out the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence and/or SCGC-Alliance Manager.

Download a list of FAQs (Word document). You can also view the FAQs as a webpage.

The SCGC-FIRST Prioritisation Panel will meet on February 23 to consider the proposal. The awardees will be announced in the first weeks of March 2024. 

FAQs

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SCGC-FIRST is seeking to support innovative and imaginative projects at either a low or zero technical readiness (TRL) that demonstrate distinct advantages in cost and environmental footprint over competing approaches which are already available in the marketplace or opportunities for those to be adapted to the SCGC context (the SCGC context can be found in the Guideline here). Projects need to be outcomes-driven, leading toward potential solutions or inventions.

Awards will be made only for the directly incurred (DIC) costs of research and DA Estates. Any unspent balances at the end of the grant period should be returned to the fund. For clarity, the following costs are allowable:

Directly Incurred costs (DIC) (staff and non-staff):

  • Student stipends
  • salaries of postdoctoral researchers (full- or part-time)
  • consumables
  • minor equipment (equipment with a value of £10,000 or more would require clear justification)

Directly Allocated costs (DAC):

  • estates costs

The following will not be supported by the funds available: building costs, the salary of the Principal Investigator, new academic posts, honoraria, or travel to conferences. For clarity, the following costs are not allowable:

Not Allowed:

  • overhead costs
  • DA infrastructure technicians
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator’s time
  • honoraria
  • travel to conferences

Any unspent balances at the end of the grant period should be returned to the fund.

The Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President - New Business of SCGC or his nominee will be a member of the SCGC-FIRST Prioritisation Panel. All applications will be marked confidential. The SCGC representative will not have power of veto on any applications to the Fund.

The University will own any IP that arises as a result of support from the SCGC-FIRST. SCGC will have rights of first refusal to take an exclusive option of the arising IP generated by the SCGC-FIRST and to support further research under a sponsored collaboration agreement (FCA 2.0) within six months of the completion of the relevant project. Additional support will be subject to a separate collaboration agreement between Oxford University and SCGC.

Applicants should work with Oxford University Innovation (OUI) to identify and protect any relevant background intellectual property that would form the basis of a project before submission to the Fund.     

Yes. SCGC acknowledges that the Arising Intellectual Property from each Project and any licence granted further to the Arising Intellectual Property may be a qualifying acquisition within scope of the National Securities and Investments Act 2021 (the “NSIA”), under which the UK Government could exercise its powers to make an order to void and invalidate any licence granted. As the acquirer of such an asset, SCGC will comply with the NSIA and consider all steps necessary to mitigate the risk of an acquisition being called in, including where appropriate by making a notification to the Investment Security Unit of the UK Government ahead of any licence being concluded.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to engage with the process early and to maintain ongoing engagement as follows: 

  1. Contact your departmental grants team to notify them of your intention to apply to the SCGC-FIRST. Inform departmental admin teams that the Fund only supports directly incurred costs and Directly Allocated (Estates) costs internal departmental approval will be required after submission. Your department will need to confirm their approval of the project by the deadlines set in IRAMS (12/1/2024).  
  2. Contact Gulcin Avul, Alliance Manager, in SCGC-Oxford Centre of Excellence by emailing scgcfirst@mpls.ox.ac.uk to discuss any aspect of the scheme. 
  3. Submit your application in IRAMS by the advertised deadline.

All proposals will be subject to confidential peer review. Decisions on whether the application is successful will be made by the SCGC-FIRST Prioritisation Panel, which includes:

  • Prof Dermot O'Hare (Chair); Director of the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence (CoE)
  • Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President - New Business of SCGC or his nominee
  • Head of Division (MPLS)
  • Associate Head for Research (MPLS)
  • OUI Representative
  • Senior academic members of the University

The Panel reserves the right to seek additional expert opinion on a confidential basis if required. Oxford researchers supported by the SCGC Fund for Innovation and Research in Sustainability and Technology (SCGC-FIRST) will be invited to meet SCGC staff when they visit Oxford to outline and discuss their projects.

SCGC-FIRST is seeking to support innovative projects that demonstrate distinct advantages in cost and environmental footprint over competing approaches which are already available in the marketplace or opportunities for those to be adapted to the SCGC context below. Projects should be outcomes-driven, leading toward potential solutions or inventions.

Broad areas and topics of interest to SCGC include, but are not limited to:

Energy and carbon reduction

  • carbon neutrality through reduction of GHG emissions, carbon capture, storage and utilisation, and emissions monitoring
  • low cost, low carbon footprint hydrogen production
  • materials for environmental sustainability
  • sustainable supply chains and logistics
  • novel approaches to utilisation of energy sources
  • sustainable finance and carbon accounting tools for decision-making

Environmental impacts

  • water and energy reduction, recovery, and reuse; wastewater and effluent treatment prior to discharge

Future plastics

  • circular economy of plastics: up-cycling of polymer materials and the creation of markets
  • new materials for sustainable outcomes
  • client and consumer behaviour and novel interventions to influence change

Innovation

  • open call for applications on any topic of innovation relevant to SCGC but not covered in the topics listed above.

You will need to meet the following criteria to apply:

  • PIs must be Oxford University academic staff holding a contract of employment extending to at least the end of the proposed project and be hosted by a department of the University.
  • Applications from Early Career Researchers who hold independent externally funded fellowships must have their fellowship funding extending to at least the end of the proposed project.
  • Applicants seeking to establish independent research careers are encouraged.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • Researchers holding honorary, visiting positions, and PDRAs.

 

Additional notes on eligibility:

Applicants should clarify their eligibility with departments and departmental approvers are required to check the eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications.

Awards will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Excellence and intrinsic merit of the innovative idea or concept
  • Potential for realisable outcomes and long-term impact to SCGC and society
  • A clear science-based, time-bound plan to achieve the project aims
  • Represent good value

Yes. SCGC-FIRST is open to all Oxford University academic staff from across all disciplines.

Yes. All proposals must be accompanied by a proposed budget prepared using X5, with the budget details output onto the X5 Admin output (AO). In addition, the MPLS Division requires departmental approval by the Head of Department (or nominee) (this must be obtained for all the departments involved in an internal collaboration).

  • All proposed investigator(s) need to seek approval from their respective Head of Department(s) (or nominee(s)).
  • A trial costing should be created in X5, using the funder SCGC-FIRST (short name SCGC-F) and the Generic scheme. The Excel output must be attached. Investigator can be named in both proposal and X5 if necessary.

 

Please contact your department’s finance officer for a proposed budget prepared using X5. Download the SCGC-FIRST Costing Guideline for Finance Officers (Word document). You can also view the Costing Guideline on this webpage.

The next application deadline for applicants is Wednesday, 20 December 2023, 4pm.

The Department Approval deadline is Friday, 12 January 2024. 

The prioritising panel will meet to make decisions on this round in February 2024. Applicants will be advised the outcome of their applications soon after. Applicants should ensure that they have obtained prior permission from their department before submitting their applications.

To discuss your intention to apply to the SCGC-FIRST in your division, please send an email to the following: 

If you have general queries about the SCGC-FIRST, please contact:

Ms Gulcin Avul, Alliance Manager via scgcfirst@mpls.ox.ac.uk

You can visit the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence webpage here or MPLS Webpage here

 

 

Apply Here

 

Type of fund:

Innovation Fund

Institute/Awarded Body:

MPLS

Amount:

Up to 80K

Call Open:

10 November 2023

Application Deadline:

By 16.00 (GMT)

20 December 2023