PRD Definition

This funding scheme is intended to develop the capabilities needed to underpin UK science and technology leadership in future Science and Technology Facility Council projects and gives industry the opportunity, in collaboration with approved research organisations, to apply directly to the Research Councils for funding for research and development.

The PRD scheme provides funding for research and development projects which enable STFC to deliver the science programme objectives in the areas of particle physics, particle astrophysics, nuclear physics and astronomy. Please note that proposals for project specific R&D, and small upgrades for space instruments and missions, fall within the remit of the UK Space Agency

PRD funding is available for projects which develop technology beyond that of laboratory experimentation or modelling and show that the technology can be deployed in a future project; or for demonstration projects which prove the design concept of new equipment (including software) that can then be implemented in a full scale project.

The scheme funds projects that are between the Technology Readiness Levels of 4 and 6. Definitions of Technology Readiness Levels are shown in the table below.

Technology Readiness Levels

Level; Definition
TRL 1 Basic principles observed and reported.
TRL 2 Technology concept and/or application formulated.
TRL 3 Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept.
TRL 4 Technology basic validation in a laboratory environment.
TRL 5 Technology basic validation in a relevant environment.
TRL 6 Technology model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment.
TRL 7 Technology prototype demonstration in an operational environment.
TRL 8 Actual Technology completed and qualified through test and demonstration.
TRL 9 Actual Technology qualified through successful mission operations.

Proposals are welcome from consortia comprising industrial and academic collaborations or from individual UK institutions. Resources are aimed towards:

  • Developing novel technologies, beyond the concept stage, to underpin the science programme and to place UK scientists in leading positions in future projects;
  • Supporting applications that lead towards the exploitation of STFC technology infrastructure for high priority scientific projects;
  • Exploratory technology development work prior to starting or joining a new project;
  • R&D initiatives and small upgrades to existing projects.

The PRD scheme applies to the pre-construction phase of projects and seeks to pave the way for more:

  • UK intellectual leadership in key work packages in international projects;
  • UK industrial return on construction phase contracts;
  • Knowledge transfer through collaborative developments, spin-out formation, skills transfer and intellectual property licensing;
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to new initiatives from astronomy, particle astrophysics, particle physics and nuclear physics.

Proposals to support scientific exploitation of existing projects should be made to the appropriate grants panel (Astronomy Grants Panel, Particle Physics Grants Panel, Nuclear Physics Grants Panel) and not via the PRD scheme.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000