EPSRC ICT Pioneers competition for PhD students (£2-3k prizes)

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The EPSRC has launched a second ICT Pioneers competition for PhD researchers. Prizes from £2,000 to £3,000, and you do not have to be an EPSRC-funded researcher to take part.


EPSRC Press Release - PN 17/12 - Issue Date: Wednesday 14 March, 2012

EPSRC launches second ICT Pioneers competition

Full details of the programme, including application advice and expression of interest forms can be found on the UK ICT Pioneers 2012 webpage.

Closing date: 12 noon, Wednesday 13th June 2012

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is today launching its second Information and Communication Technology competition – ICT Pioneers, following its success last year.

The competition aims to recognise the most exceptional UK PhD students in ICT-related topics who are able to communicate and demonstrate the excellence and exploitation potential of their research.

ICT Pioneers is a unique partnership between EPSRC and key stakeholders offering five cash prizes of £2,000 with a chance to win a bonus prize of £1,000.

The 2012 competition is being sponsored by: BCS, HP, EPSRC, Imagination Technologies, ARM, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and BT.

This exciting competition is open to all second and third year UK postgraduate research students in ICT-related subjects. ICT-related subjects include but are not restricted to Electronics, Communications, Computer Science and Human-Computer Interfaces and Photonics.

Last year’s overall winner, Jens Christensen of the University of Cambridge, was recognised for his research into acoustic pulse recognition, a project with a new approach to touch screen technology. Jens got the chance to present his research at the Cheltenham Science Festival.  He said: “Selling your abilities and your research is an integral element in attracting funding or perhaps even starting your own business. The ICT Pioneers competition has given me the confidence and insight to pursue a career within or outside of academia”.

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC said: “The level of innovation in last year’s competition was outstanding and we hope to see this matched in the 2012 event.  The future for ICT research in the UK is exciting and it is clear to see how science and engineering research can be a driver for economic growth.”

The competition is currently accepting Expressions of Interest from applicants.
The deadline is 12 noon, Wednesday 13 June.

In this first stage of the competition, applicants need to demonstrate how their research is pioneering, how it will be of potential benefit to industry, either in the UK or further afield and show their personal contribution to the research.

Applications can be submitted in up to two of the competition categories, listed below.

  • Technology Everywhere
  • Innovation for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Transforming Society
  • Information Overload

PhD students do not have to be funded by the EPSRC to participate in this competition.

Stage 2: Applicants who are successful at Stage 1 of the competition will be asked to present their research to the competition sponsors in an innovative, eye-catching way. As with Stage 1, the judges will be looking for evidence of high-quality research backed up by clear ideas on how their research could be exploited.

Stage 3: Finalists and their supervisors will be invited to a VIP research exhibition and awards event, attended by senior government and business representatives, in London during November 2012.

Finalists will be given the opportunity to produce a more in-depth presentation of their work which will be judged on the day of the event.  Around four candidates are expected to be shortlisted for each category prize of £2,000.

Winners on the day will then be given the opportunity to win a further cash prize of £1,000 in the Elevator Pitch.

Bonus Prize: Elevator Pitch

Prize winners will be invited to participate in a “Dragon’s Den”-type live pitch at the November event. The panel will consist of industry experts and investors and finalists will be given five minutes to pitch their ideas to potential funders of the next stage of their research – this could be to a Research Council, charity or venture capital investor depending on their research.

Full details of the programme, including application advice and expression of interest forms can be found on the UK ICT Pioneers 2012 webpage.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk

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