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Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics


Call for outline proposals deadline 5 December 2022

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:

1.    MEMS and related structures
BIACD are interested in a number of aspects of MEMS-based structures and other micromachined silicon structures. Areas of interest include 

  1. Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer (CMUT)
  2. Silicon-based MEMS Vibration Sensor Technology
  3. Silicon-Based Microfluidic Heat Sink
  4. Getter technology for MEMS vacuum packaging
  5. High Precision Silicon-based MEMS Oscillator Technology
  6. High Quality Factor Silicon Based Capacitive Resonant Structure
  7. Mechanism study on the effect of impedance of the output characteristics of silicon-based MEMS capacitive sensors

For the requirements for each of these items and the suggested research areas please consult Topic 1 MEMS and related structures.pdf

2.    The Optimization Analysis of Components and Micro-structure of Magnetic Materials with High Magnetic Permeability and Low Noise
High performance magnetic shielding materials are required for spin exchange relaxation-free (SERF) atomic magnetometers used for cardiac and cerebral magnetic measurements. We are looking to fund research into the design of materials with initial permeability of not less than 5×104 and conductivity not higher than 0.1Ω-1∙m-1 to lay the foundation for testing and calibration of a high-performance SERF atomic magnetometer. For more details see Topic 2 High performance magnetic materials.pdf


£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 extended


Deadline for Expression of Interest

December 2022

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 2023

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 5 December 2022.

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