‘Physics Careers’ - call for proposals

Could you provide access to innovative digital careers information, opportunities for skills development and training that is grounded in the future needs of the UK and Irish economies?


The first targeted call for proposals for the IOP Challenge Fund is on the theme of ‘Physics Careers’.

In our work on developing the strategy, many of those we consulted with spoke about the value of improving how we showcase the differing opportunities of a career in physics, how people can relate to these opportunities and how they are able to access them in an inclusive way. This was also highlighted as a priority area in our consultation with the physics community on the longer-term impact of Covid-19.

The IOP is inviting concept notes from a partner or consortia to show how, if funded, they would provide access to innovative digital careers information, opportunities for skills development and training that is grounded in the future needs of the UK and Irish economies.

What we’re looking for

We have identified a number of actions and interventions that would help to achieve this vision. Concept notes should respond to some or all of these activities but priority will be given to the proposal judged to be most impactful.

  • Use an evidence-based approach to liaise with relevant government departments and regulatory bodies to encourage higher education institutions to offer technical courses for graduates who may be facing short- to medium-term unemployment in areas such as clean energy (e.g. carbon capture, offshore wind, nuclear technology, etc.) that will support the economy post Covid-19.
  • Develop careers’ advice that is accessible, inclusive and supports IOP’s new public campaign, ‘Limit Less’, which is aimed at encouraging young people to continue with physics after the age of 16, and IOP’s Ecosystem programme which seeks to develop an inclusive and supportive environment for those continuing with physics after the age of 16, whether in school, further education, university or the workplace.
  • Create partnerships with research councils, further education (FE) colleges and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to develop a programme of employer engagement and showcase events for final-year undergraduates, graduates, apprentices/trainees, and PhD students.
  • Work with industry to enhance careers support e.g. CV writing, interview preparation and expert workshops on developing the skills highlighted by the World Economic Forum as those most in need by employers (e.g. complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, etc.).
  • Provide virtual training programmes on Python, LaTeX and work-ready skills that will better equip graduates for the job market.

Activities should be accessible, inclusive and seek to increase participation from under-represented groups. Preference will be given to bids that provide innovative digital solutions.

Concept notes should demonstrate how outcomes and benefits will be sustained beyond the end of the project. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion must be clearly defined in concept notes.

How to apply

Please submit a Concept Note using our standard form.

Submit your proposal by: 21 Dec 2020

We will review proposals on the above date and decide if the Call will remain open.

Following initial concept notes, those who are invited will be required to provide a full proposal containing a budget based on anticipated costs. All costs should be detailed within the project template provided with the full proposal. The IOP will assess proposed budgets based on a consideration of likely impact, quality and value for money.

Costs eligible for funding include: staff time, travel and subsistence, equipment and marketing. View further information on eligible and ineligible costs in the FAQs.

Funding requests can be for any amount above £100,000. All prospective partners should be able to bring some co-funding or in-kind support to the proposal.