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Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics

CAPE Grand Challenge 2021 call deadline extended 19 March 2021

Deadline extended for CAPE Grand Challenge 2021 call for project outlines to be submitted by 19 March 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 new 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.


£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.

Research Topics

Your proposal should address one of the following areas:

  1. High density distributed optical fibre temperature/strain aliasing signal decoupling technology (more detailed description of this topic here).
  2. Autonomous positioning technology based on random images (more detailed description of this topic here).
  3. Optical polarization-independent large-angle beam-steering and beam-splitting technologies with fast switching time.
  4. Novel LiDAR beam steering solutions.


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 the CAPE Partner that suggested the topic, and they will indicate which proposal(s) most closely meet their needs and 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


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)


Submission of final project proposals


Announcement of Awards


How to apply

Please complete a project outline form (download here) and return to by 19 March 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