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Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics


Call for outline proposals deadline 10 December 2021

The CAPE Grand Challenge Award is a competition for the best project outlines aligned with strategic research themes proposed by the CAPE partners. The winning submissions will be developed into full CAPE project proposals in collaboration with one (or more) CAPE Partners; this could lead to a seed project (i.e. ‘proof-of-concept’) or a larger project as appropriate. The competition is open to researchers and academics in the University of Cambridge.

Objective of Call

The objectives for the competition are:

  1. Formulate new CAPE projects that are well aligned with CAPE Partner’s strategic interests and drawn from a wide cross section of the University
  2. Increase engagement with CAPE from the Partners
  3. Expand scope of CAPE projects into new areas of interest to the Partners
  4. Increase interdisciplinary participation in CAPE projects.

Research Topics

Your proposal should address one of the following areas selected by CAPE Partner BIACD:

Topic 1.    High reliable signal transmission requirements

In continuous rotational structures, the usual method of signal transmission is a metal slip ring, which has some weaknesses including: a) a structure size is too large for multi-signal transmission, b) There exists a mechanical wear and tear, pollution during long-term run that will result in isolation and decrease of the transmission performance.

A goal of this project is to develop a novel transmission form with reduced size, that supports circuit and improves stability in a long-term run.  

The requirement of transmission:

  1. two-way transmission
    one-way Bit rate: 100Mbit/s
  2. The size of transmission connector: ≤⌀30 mm×30mm
  3. Signal processing of requirement for circuit:
    •  Size: ≤40mm×60mm×15mm
    • Electric power: +5V
    • Consumption: not larger than 1W
    • input signal: Multiple RS-485 series input
  4. Application environment: metal sealed space (⌀500 mm×500mm), relative rotation of internal components.
  5. MTBF: 100,000 h

2.    MEMS Technology 

  • To address MEMS resonator noise and non-linear vibration issues
  • Design of high-accuracy Silicon-based resonant accelerometer.


£1,000 will be awarded for a Grand Challenge submission that is developed into a project proposal with a CAPE Partner. The Acorn Fund will fund a maximum of four awards. CAPE reserves the right not to issue an award if the criteria for the project are not fulfilled and there is no guarantee that the project proposal will be funded.

All research project proposals resulting from the CAPE Grand Challenge between the winner and partner/s will follow standard CAPE project approval procedures and will operate under the terms of the CAPE Partnership Agreement.


The competition is open to researchers and academics in the University of Cambridge. Project ideas may be submitted by early stage researchers who do not have PI status, but each submission must include one applicant eligible for PI status within the University who  could lead any resulting project.


Proposals will initially be evaluated by BIACD to identify which proposal(s) have the potential to form the basis of a full CAPE project proposal which they would support. Selection of shortlisted submissions to be taken through to full proposal stage will be made by the CAPE Steering Committee.



Call for Proposals announced


Extended Deadline for Expression of Interest

December 2021

CAPE Partner consideration of submissions, which may include exploration with PIs to clarify/shape the project ideas


Selection of shortlisted submissions by CAPE Steering Committee


Development of full project proposal by PI(s) with Partner(s)

January 2022

Submission of final project proposals to the CAPE Steering Commitee


Announcement of Awards


How to apply

Please complete a project outline form (download here) and return to by 10 December 2021.

Further Information

If any queries, please contact Ms Denisa Demko (CAPE Coordinator), CAPE Office, 9 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0FA

Tel:                         +44 (0)1223 748343