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COVID-19 pandemic recovery – call for proposals

Do you have an idea or innovation that could help mitigate the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in physics and for members of the physics community?


The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to acute challenges facing physics and the physics community across the UK and Ireland, and worldwide.

We consulted IOP members about the impacts of COVID-19 early in the pandemic. We know that these impacts, from both the virus itself and the restrictions introduced to lessen its spread, have been felt widely in business and industry, education and research, and by individuals and families.

COVID-19 has affected homes, schools and workplaces, and society and the economy at large. And we are aware of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds or disadvantaged backgrounds, who may require particular support and who we wish to see better represented within an inclusive physics community.

We have worked to provide support for the physics community throughout the crisis, for example by switching to online provision of many of our services, by developing content to support home learning, by offering support for career development, skills training, and mental health and wellbeing, and by actively promoting the Benevolent Fund as a means to offer direct assistance to those facing hardship.

However, the situation continues to evolve. While some of the challenges and impacts became apparent immediately, others are likely to emerge and be felt over much longer periods of time – and in ways we have not yet detected.

We now want to throw the weight of the IOP's Challenge Fund behind innovative work addressing some or all of the challenges that have arisen for the physics community because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge Fund is about accelerating the achievement of the aspirations set out in our strategy ‘Unlocking the Future’. Overcoming the affects of COVID-19, its legacy and its impact on the physics community is vital to achieving this.

What we’re looking for

We are inviting concept notes from prospective partners, whether organisations or consortia, to work with us on the next phase of our response to COVID-19. Proposals should provide evidence for the need/s they seek to address, and identify the beneficiaries of the work.

Proposed activities should align with the IOP's strategy and accelerate the achievement of any or all of the IOP’s strategic ambitions. Concept notes should also demonstrate how outcomes and benefits will be sustained beyond the end of the project.

Activities should be accessible, inclusive and seek to increase participation from under-represented groups. Equality, diversity and inclusion must be clearly defined in concept notes.

We would especially welcome concept notes that focus on supporting those in their early or mid-career in physics and/or ideas for projects that work with at least one IOP group, branch or national committee.

How to apply

Please submit a Concept Note using our standard form.

This call will stay open indefinitely and you can submit your Concept Note at any time.

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 on the Financing page.

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

Please note that due to the large number of concept notes we receive and assess, we are unable to offer feedback at the first stage.

More information on the application process

Logo: IOP Challenge Fund COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Institute of Physics