As a new lecturer in a UK university, I am willing to apply for an EPSRC "First Investigator Award". The (STEM) topic I have in mind is kind of related to autonomous nuclear operations. I have initially decided to write about this as it may maximize my chance since
I have a solid research record in robotics;
I had worked as a safety-critical systems engineer in railway industry, and I found myself a fan of safety culture for engineering products;
my university has solid infrastructure in this field and hosts a well-known research institute totally involved in such topics. So, I can get recommendation letters from them to support my application.
But a potential problem is that I am originally from a country that has a terrible relationship with the West (including the UK) in almost any context such as energy and nuclear concerns. Now, I am skeptical whether or not this issue would single-handedly lead to the rejection of my grant proposal just because of national security concerns regardless of its research merits.
So, does any body know what the assessment routines are associated with the involvement of international PIs in the research tied with sensitive sectors in the UK? I obviously don't expect to get an answer with full details of what really happens in practice behind the scene. What I hope to catch is a rough feeling of how detrimentally that problem may impact my chance for the success (given the fact that I can only apply once for this grant).
(I already asked this question from my university authorities, and as expected, they left it unanswered.)