We have earmarked an amount of funding that will be made available to network partners through a bidding process. All the activities will be announced through all our communications well in advance of the closing dates. Eligibility criteria will be clearly signposted as well as the requirements for each scheme we announce. For each round, a panel will be convened. Selections will be made, and all applicants will be informed of the outcome. Funding rules as dictated by UKI/EPSRC will be followed at all stages. All funded applications will be tracked by the network manager and reporting collected from funded projects periodically (the reporting will not be too onerous but will be designed to cover accountability for the funds used). The funding sandpits will be designed around specific themes, however the sandpit environment will allow the study areas to ‘shift’ as required.
We wish to make Bionics+ a sustainabe activity after the lifetime of the grant. Two key factors determine the long-term sustainability of this network: People and Finances, we have the following plans for each as follows: People: We will nurture a strong mentoring culture in our community. This will be the legacy of the Bionics+ network. We believe that once that is in place, good practice is passed on generation-by-generation. A further aim of this network is to upskill PhD researchers within a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem, especially post-COVID. Many of our current PhD students have lost a lot of internship and travel experience that they would have had if the world was not affected by COVID. With our plan of action and by coming together, we are determined to offer our students unique research opportunities and help generate career pathways creatively. Finances: We will set up a Charitable Trust or Foundation in the Bionics+ network name. The trustees will be drawn from the community. Working beyond any single university, this legal organisation will be tasked to receive, accumulate and increase assets or income of the Bionics+ network in the longer term. Income streams include: 1) philanthropic funding; 2) fundraising activities, e.g., Gala dinners, in collaboration with individuals, companies or other Trusts; 3) small/nominal registration fees of the annual conference and specialised workshops (during the course of the project); 4) standard registration fees of the annual conference and specialised workshops after the completion of this project.