NNUF Larger Projects Competition 2023


144 NNUF access proposals have been awarded to groups from 31 different UK organisations, with a small number of international users. A total of 223 individual researchers have accessed NNUF facilities with funding from the access scheme, including 66 PhD students and 46 PDRAs. Although the average project size has increased over time, there have been only a few single large proposals or projects. We believe that these larger projects have been disproportionately impactful and this Larger Projects Competition is designed to encourage and select a number of proposals of this type.

Current opportunity

The EPSRC has released a further tranche of funding to the NNUF access scheme, and the Management Group is launching the NNUF Larger Projects Competition with the aim of:

  • Providing a rapid step change in scope, pace, ambition and impact of work in the NNUF facilities
  • Underpinning UK ambitions to address net-zero, security of supply and security priorities, and the critical nuclear skills base.
  • Supporting the UK’s Net Zero and Energy Security ambitions through the development of new nuclear technologies, and underpinning the missions of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the defence sector.
  • Offering for the first time Facility-led projects. The Facilities have a unique overview of their capabilities and their user communities, and can therefore identify wider opportunities for larger collaborative programmes not easily identified by individual user groups.
  • Fostering new research collaborations between multiple NNUF facilities and/or multiple user groups.

£1.0 m is available for this initiative, and we are looking to fund 4/5 large projects. All the work must be complete and invoiced before the end of March 2024.

The process

The Larger Projects Competition will seek to support a small number of larger projects, typically in the range £150-250k (but outside this range in exceptional circumstances, by prior agreement with the NNUF Management Group). To ensure alignment with the NNUF mission, all applications will need formal endorsement by at least one suitable UK industry partner or UK end user. (We recognise that some partners and end users have difficulty producing formal letters of support on a short timescale so we will be flexible in the sources and forms of endorsement we will accept.)


  • End July: Application deadline (using the normal NNUF application form). Early applications welcomed.
  • End August: Decisions
  • Start Date: No later than 1 Oct 2023
  • End Date: No later than 15 March 2024

While we do not intend to be prescriptive, we envisage that proposals may be either Facility-led collaborations of multiple user groups focussed around one or more facilities; or User-led collaborations of one or more user groups accessing complementary facilities.


  • All proposals must be submitted as a single application.
  • All proposals must include an estimate of facility access charges.

Because time is so limited, we encourage potential PIs to discuss any questions about project suitability or delivery with the NNUF Management Group (Chris Grovenor, Malcolm Joyce, Francis Livens) as soon as possible.