Frontiers Program Feedback for next Round

1 August 2019

The successful applicants for the first round of the Frontiers Program were announced in April this year, and attention has now turned to the next round which is anticipated to open in October.  While the guidelines aren’t expected to change significantly, there will be some adjustments. As Co-Chair of the Assessment Panel, I am very keen to get your input on what you think could be explained more clearly.

As might be anticipated for such a new and different Program, the first round of Frontiers applications has highlighted that there were differing expectations about what the Program is and what it will deliver. This was evident in the applications themselves and also in subsequent reactions from our members in the research community.

While the successful applicants for Round 1 were quite different from each other, they had several things in common and there are already some lessons learned that will inform the process for the next round:

  • Proposals need to clearly define the problem they are seeking to address and articulate the solution. Frontiers is about big ideas, but there also needs to a genuine need and a clear and deliverable goal.
  • While the proposed solution has to be feasible it also needs to be bold and innovative. Frontiers potentially offers ten years of funding, so it is about more than just the next incremental step.
  • There needs to be a clear articulation of how the proposal plans to deliver a real outcome. Securing the initial year’s funding is only the first stage; applicants need to be thinking of the long-term right from the start.
  • Understanding the global context and the point of differentiation in terms of the approach and/or the technology is critical. Remember, the judging panel has international experts and a proposal that seeks to simply duplicate research happening elsewhere is not likely to impress.
  • Track record, the team and governance are all critical. Again, the ultimate goal is to secure up to ten years’ funding. Is the proposed structure sustainable, and can it accommodate change and expansion over time as the project progresses towards the outcome?

As a previous or potential new applicant, please get in touch with me if you have specific ideas on how the guidelines could be improved.

Nadia Levin
CEO and Managing Director


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