3DP-RDM Feasibility Studies – Call for proposals

This blog post was last updated on 13th February 2015 to include a link to the budget spreadsheet that should be submitted with proposals.

“Defining the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing” (3DP-RDM) is a new 2-year project that contributes to the EPSRC’s “Manufacturing the Future” theme, and which is being funded through the EPSRC/ESRC’s recent “Re-distributed Manufacturing Call for Networks“. The project is led by Dr Tim Minshall (PI) at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, and by Prof. Phill Dickens (Co-I) at the University of Nottingham. Dr Simon Ford, also based at the Institute for Manufacturing, is the Network Coordinator.

The objective of 3DP-RDM is to convene a multi-disciplinary research and multi-industry user network that provides the required breadth and depth of research capabilities to define and disseminate the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing. The first stage in this process was a scoping workshop that was held at the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge on 30th January 2015.

Feasibility study competition
The primary function of the network is to fund 4-6 feasibility studies across the two years of the network. A competition in 2015 will lead to 2-3 feasibility studies being conducted, with this competition replicated in 2016.

These feasibility studies should explore:

  • The features of 3D printing (3DP) technologies that help enable re-distributed manufacturing (RDM)
  • How re-distributed manufacturing may accelerate the diffusion of 3DP technologies, and vice-versa
  • Sector specific and generic aspects of 3DP-enabled re-distributed manufacturing

Examples of specific themes that connect 3DP and RDM and which could be investigated through feasibility studies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The economics of 3D printing, including assessment of the cost advantages
  2. The protection of intellectual property and competitive advantage, including the protection of copyrights
  3. Manufacturing issues such as the quality of materials and recyclability
  4. Education issues and the presence of the necessary skills in the labour market
  5. Manufacturing standardisation.

Outputs from the scoping workshop will will soon be available on this blog and may also suggest further themes that could be explored.

Budgets for feasibility studies should be £35k-65k at 100% full economic costing. The feasibility studies should be completed by 31st December 2015.

These budgets can include investigator/researcher time, travel and subsistence appropriate to delivery of the project, and small scale consumables. Equipment is eligible following EPSRC standard conditions: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/research/facilities/equipment/

As the grant holder, the University of Cambridge is responsible for allocating funding to successful proposals and will reimburse subcontracting organisations at 80% full economic costing.

Guidelines on eligibility can be found here. Eligible organisations include all UK Higher Education Institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies, along with research institutes for which the Research Councils have established a long-term involvement as a major funder. Other independent research organisations (IROs) may also be eligible and a list of such organisations is available here.

Submitting proposals
Proposals should be submitted using the structure of the template provided here. They should not exceed 1000 words and can contain a maximum of 5 figures. This proposal should be accompanied by a completed budget template provided here.

Proposals should be submitted to the 3DP-RDM Network Coordinator, Dr Simon Ford (sjf39@cam.ac.uk) by 12:00pm on 2nd March.

Selection criteria
Proposals will be assessed by a review panel of academics, with funding decisions based on the decision of this panel. Applicants should consider that the following criteria will be considered by the review panel when assessing the proposal:

  • Opportunity criteria
    1. Strategic importance: how well does the proposed study link to issues identified by policymakers?
    2. Future potential and impact: what is the potential impact of conducting this study?
    3. Synergy opportunities: how well does the proposed study complement other projects and engagements?
    4. Learning potential: how novel is the anticipated learning from the study?
    5. Timing and relevance: how important is it that this study be conducted now?
  • Feasibility criteria
    1. Quality: how well is the complete plan articulated?
    2. Applicant’s domain expertise: how capable is the applicant in the proposed area of study?
    3. Alignment with applicant’s existing research: how well aligned is the proposal with the applicant’s existing research?
    4. Resources: does the applicant have the necessary researcher(s) available to complete the project within the first year of the network and submit deliverables by 31st December 2015?
    5. Management: are clear management processes and responsibilities articulated in the proposal?

Key dates
30 January: Announcement of feasibility study competition at 3DP-RDM Scoping Workshop
2 March: Deadline for feasibility study proposal submissions at 12pm
18 March: Review of submissions completed, with winners announced shortly thereafter
1 April – 1 July: Feasibility studies begin
17-18 September: Interim reporting at 4th EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Conference, Churchill College, Cambridge
31 December: Deadline for deliverables from feasibility studies
14-15 January 2016: Provisional dates for dissemination workshop and 2016 scoping workshop

Further information
Contact the 3DP-RDM Network Coordinator Dr Simon Ford (sjf39@cam.ac.uk).


[Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Rocky_Valley_labyrinth_Tintagel.jpg%5D

The 3D printing ‘revolution’: what’s behind the hype?

Dr Tim Minshall, Principal Investigator on the Bit by Bit: Capturing the value from the digital fabrication revolution and 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing (3DP-RDM) projects, discusses the 3D printing ‘revolution’.