MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Research Professional recently shared an article about how useful your Research Office can be and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

We may not be researchers but the Research Office can be a real help when you are thinking about writing a bid – and not just because you need us to develop your budget and navigate the institutional approvals!

Illustration of creative ideas conceptFUNDERS We know them. If you have a research idea but you’re not sure which funder you stand the best chance of success with, we will help you explore the funders and get to the bottom of what it is they want to identify where your research best fits amongst them.

FUNDING CALLS We read funding calls all day and we know what to look for when picking out key bits: where the emphasis lies and what the funder is really looking for in a proposal. If you’re not sure you are ticking the right boxes or would like some guidance on any particular scheme, we can help you with that.

TIMESCALES Sometimes it can be a difficult thing to establish a timeline either for writing a research proposal or for carrying out the project itself. Your Research Development Manager can help you to think realistically about your goals and map out how much time you will ideally spend on each aspect of the proposal or project.

LAY REVIEW Your Research Office can be a helpful place to get a lay person’s perspective on your proposal. When your project goes off to the funders for consideration, it is likely that those reviewing it aren’t going to be experts in your field. If your Research Development Manager is having a hard time grasping what your research is, then there’s a possibility that those reviewing it will too, and a project that isn’t easily understood is less likely to be funded than one that is.

You can read the full article here, but the main point is that we are here to help every step of the way so make sure you get in touch so we can get started!

Contact the Research Office:

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British Academy Funding Call – International Fellowships 2023

The British Academy is inviting applications to their International Fellowships Programme. The programme intends to provide support for outstanding early career researchers to make a first step towards developing an independent research career through gaining experience across international borders. Each award is expected to involve a specific and protected research focus with the award-holder undertaking high quality, original research.

The overarching aim of the International Fellowships Programme is to attract and retain emerging talent in the UK and build a globally connected, mobile research and innovation workforce. The objectives are to:

  • Attract talented international early career researchers to establish and conduct their research in the UK.
    Support international early career researchers to pursue high-quality and innovative lines of research.
  • Provide international early career researchers opportunities to acquire and transfer new skills and knowledge through training and career development.
  • Foster long-term relationships through networking opportunities and the International Fellowships alumni programme.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must have a PhD, or applicants in the final stages of their PhD will be accepted provided that the PhD will be completed (including viva) before the start date of the Fellowship. Confirmation of award of the PhD will be required before any Fellowship award is confirmed.
  • Applicants should have no more than seven years of active full time postdoctoral experience at the time of application (discounting career breaks, but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).
  • Be working outside the UK.
  • Not hold UK citizenship.
  • Be competent in oral and written English.
  • Have a clearly defined and mutually-beneficial research proposal agreed with a UK host researcher.
  • Applicants should ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

Duration and Value of Award

The International Fellowships offer support for three years and the award is offered at 80% FEC. Applicants may apply for research expenses of up to £12,000 and relocation costs of up to £8,000. Applicants will need to justify the level of research expenses and relocation costs requested in their application.

Applicants may also be eligible to receive follow on alumni funding following the tenure of their Fellowship to support networking activities with UK-based or international researchers.

From this round onwards, the British Academy International Fellowship award-holders will no longer be classified as visiting researchers on a stipend, but salaried employees. Award-holders will receive a reasonable salary set by their host institution. Fellowships awarded in the 2023 round will be awarded for three years instead of two. These changes will help to enhance the awards that the Academy can offer, ensuring that we can continue to support and attract excellent international early career researchers to engage with the UK.

Changes to the British Academy International Fellowship are based on programme evaluations to attract outstanding early career researchers who wish to make a first step towards developing an independent research career through gaining experience across international borders. The Academy has secured additional funding from Government to trial extending the fellowship for a third year; a decision on whether to retain this change in subsequent years will be made in the next 12 months.

The deadline for applications (and institutional approval) is 28th March 2023, 5pm. Further details about the scheme can be found here. If you are interested in applying, please contact your Research Development Manager.

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LUPUS UK 2023 Research Funding Rounds

LUPUS UK is an established grant making charity, recognised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as a non-commercial partner funding research of clear value to the NHS as a result of open competition with high quality peer review.

In 2023 LUPUS UK will have two research funding rounds with individual applications capped at £25,000. The charity will look to support applications which focus on:

  • Smaller pilot studies, which will lead to applications to major funders for large-scale research trials
  • Enabling grants for basic science support, which would enable larger projects by providing essential data for large grant applications.
  • Medical meetings, which would facilitate improvements to the understanding of the causes, prevention and treatment of lupus, and its research.

Spring Funding Round

Applications must be received by LUPUS UK before 5pm on Friday 31st March 2023. Applicants will be advised of the decision in the week commencing 22/05/2023.

Autumn Funding round

Applications must be received by LUPUS UK before 5pm on Friday 22nd September 2023. Applicants will be advised of the decision in the week commencing 20/11/2023.

If you are interested in the funding opportunity please contact your Research Development Manager.

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Free NIHR Online Masterclass: Essential Guide to Grant Applications

Funded and hosted by the NIHR Research Design Service South Central this free three-day masterclass, taking place on the 8th – 10th March 2023, on how to write a strong grant application is for anyone thinking of applying for research grant – either from the NIHR or from other open, competitive, peer reviewed sources of funding.

If you have an idea for a health or social care research proposal but require help with writing a grant application, this event is for you!

Key topics of focus

  • writing a convincing application with a good structure, flow and argument;
  • presenting a strong methods section, including statistical, qualitative, health economics and patient and public involvement (PPI) elements;
  • having a good project plan;
  • engaging with sources of external support for your research;
  • making your research idea clear and compelling to reviewers
  • offering important tips on writing, along with guidance on what reviewers will be looking for in an application.

plus an optional one-to-one session with RDS advisors who will allow attendees to work through aspects of their own research ideas with experienced methodologists and facilitators.

Who should attend?

This event is open to UK-based health care professionals, social care and public health practitioners, health researchers and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) who are intending to apply to any NIHR or other open, competitive, peer reviewed funding programme in the 12 months following the masterclass.

When and where?

  • Date: Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th March 2023, 09:10-15:00 each day (exact times TBC). There will be optional one-to-one sessions with RDS advisers from 15:00 on each of the three days.
  • Venue: Online

What will be covered during the masterclass?

The final programme is in development, but the following (and more) will be covered:

Getting your message across to reviewers quickly and clearly

  • Sales pitch and writing style
  • Communicating the importance of your work: what’s the story?
  • What funding panels look for in applications
  • The importance of the research question, title, aims & objectives
  • The importance of plain English and the plain English summary

Showing reviewers you can deliver I: the methods section

  • Expectations and common mistakes in presenting methods sections
  • How to present statistics sections
  • How to present health economics sections
  • How to present qualitative sections

Showing reviewers you can deliver II: demonstrating credible support & potential impact

  • The importance of good project management
  • The importance of good patient and public involvement
  • The Importance of equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Showing the potential for tangible outputs and impact
  • What is ‘intellectual property’ and how to deal with it
  • The importance of good pre-submission review

Reserve your place

Enquiries to:

The NIHR Research Design Service can offer expert advice and support on all aspects of designing and developing applications for NIHR and other funding bodies. To find out about your local RDS, go to

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Know Your Funder: Medical Research Council

The Research Development Team are delighted to announce that on 14th February at 12pm we welcome Dr Ross King (Programme Manager) from the MRC to the next in the series of the Know Your Funder sessions. The MRC funds research at the forefront of science to prevent illness, develop therapies and improve human health so this is an excellent opportunity to gain further insight into the Council. The first half of this session will be a presentation by Dr King, followed by a Q&A session in the second half – so please bring along your queries! 

To register your attendance, please follow the link to the Know Your Funder pages.

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Funding Opportunity – Sandpit: novel computing for UK defence and security

Apply to attend a 5-day interactive interdisciplinary sandpit to develop novel low size, weight and power (SWaP) computing projects for UK defence and security applications. There will be a combination of days online and in-person.

Sandpits are predominantly residential and involve up to 30 participants. Participants selected to attend must do so for the full 5 days. The URKI welcome contact from individuals with additional needs for whom specific provisions may need to be made.

Funding Amount£3,000,000
EOI Closing Date28th February 2023, 4pm
Sandpit Event24th – 28th April 2023


You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

How to apply

You must complete an expression of interest to apply.

Attendance at the sandpit does not guarantee UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact your Research Development Manager.

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Know Your Funder: Sony Research Award Program

On February 28th, we are delighted to welcome our guest speaker, Damjan Stamcar (Principal Technology Analyst at Sony Technology Partnerships Europe), who has responsibility for the Sony Research Award Program (Sony RAP) in Europe.

An entertaining and engaging speaker, Damjan will talk a little about Sony RAP and Sony’s wider priorities to give you insight into the programme and some helpful tips for those of you thinking of making an application.

There are a wealth of opportunities for colleagues from a range of disciplines, so please take a look at the technology areas supported here, and join us if you think you have research ideas that might be a good fit for Sony RAP, or you just want to hear more. You can register your place here, and we look forward to seeing some of you at the session!

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IMPORTANT: Research Council transition to the new Funding Service from JeS – please note changes and pauses to grant schemes

In 2023, all research councils will transition from the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system to the Funding Service. This means that all applicants, grant holders, research support staff, reviewers and panel members must transition to using the new Funding Service.

This process will affect opportunities for different councils in different ways.

When transitioning opportunities, councils will uphold the commitments laid out in their strategic delivery plans and seek to minimise disruption for applicants. This includes their commitment to providing the research community with increased forward notice for opportunities, which remain open for longer periods of time.

Always open opportunities
Some UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) responsive mode opportunities are open-ended, without a closing date for applications. These opportunities will need to close on the Je-S system and reopen on the new Funding Service in a planned transition during the first half of 2023. Closing dates will be advertised at least 8 weeks in advance.

Councils that run open responsive mode opportunities (Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)) are planning how best to approach this transition to minimise disruption to users.

When an opportunity closes on Je-S and reopens on the Funding Service it will have revised application questions and assessment criteria. Any application will need to answer these revised questions.

Therefore, when an opportunity is closed on Je-S, they will not transfer any applications which are incomplete. This means that if you have not submitted your application in Je-S before the opportunity has closed you will need to make fresh submissions on the Funding Service.

Once the opportunity closes in Je-S you will no longer be able to submit applications on Je-S; however, you will be able to see or download your draft applications if you wish.

Responsive mode opportunities that have closing dates
Other councils (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)) run their opportunities (including responsive mode) with application deadlines. Therefore these councils do not have to consider transitioning open responsive mode opportunities.

UKRI cross research council responsive mode pilot
The UKRI cross research council responsive mode pilot has recently been announced.

This pilot opportunity will support breakthrough or disruptive interdisciplinary ideas not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes and is a new and distinct opportunity from those described above. The outline stage for the first round of this opportunity will use Je-S and we expect the full stage to use the Funding Service.

The Funding Service is being developed in an iterative way, which means new functionality and features will be introduced and refined over the course of 2023 and beyond.

Councils are committed to giving researchers and research organisations the information they need to plan in good time for the transition to the Funding Service, including timelines for closing opportunities in Je-S and reopening them on the Funding Service.

Transitioning to the Funding Service
Find out more about each council’s transition plans and the associated changes to their responsive mode funding opportunities by visiting their dedicated transition pages.

Please see the UKRI info page for all info and the links to the info for each Council:

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Pre-announcement: UKRI cross research council responsive mode pilot scheme

The UKRI have announced a pilot scheme that will support breakthrough or disruptive interdisciplinary ideas not routinely funded through existing UKRI responsive mode schemes.

Awards will be potentially transformative for the participating disciplines or lead to the creation of new disciplines. The full economic cost of your project can be between £200,000 to £1.2 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost. We expect to make around 36 awards. Funding is available for up to 2 years.

What are they looking for?

This funding is designed to support new interdisciplinary ideas emerging from the research community outside current disciplinary boundaries. The UKRI will support projects that transcend, combine or significantly span disciplines, involving different knowledge and methodological spheres.

This is a new scheme that the UKRI are piloting over 2 rounds of funding, allowing them to assess demand, and test and refine their processes. We will run an outline stage ahead of inviting full applications. They expect research organisations to ensure applications from their institution fit the scheme’s objectives.

The UKRI anticipate making around 36 awards in this first round and ask that research organisations are mindful of this number. They encourage research organisations to prioritise diverse and distinctive ideas that tread new ground, and to help support a diversity of applicants to the scheme.

The deadline for applications (and institutional approval) is to be confirmed. Further details about the scheme can be found here. If you are interested in applying, please contact your Research Development Manager

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NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research Webinar

A free informative national webinar will be taking place on the 6th February 2023 at 9.30 am, hosted by the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS), highlighting the NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) funding programme.

Speakers for the webinar include:

  • the Director of RDS East of England (RDS EoE), who will talk about the help available for applicants
  • a Programme Manager from the HSDR team, who will give an overview of the HSDR remit
  • a former HSDR panel member, who will speak about what the panel are looking for in an application
  • two current HSDR grant holders, who will describes their studies

We hope this informative session will provide an insight into the funding stream and support those who are currently preparing bids for submission.

This event is free but please register your attendance via Eventbrite.

Further information, including a programme and webinar link, can be found on the Eventbrite page in due course.        

If you require any assistance please, contact RDS EoE at

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Funding Opportunity: Artificial intelligence innovation to accelerate health research

Apply for funding to develop innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to be applied to health challenges.

Proposals from multidisciplinary teams are welcomed within priority areas in AI for health from across the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) remit.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £750,000 and UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Once the funding opportunity opens, you must submit an ‘Intent to submit’ declaration by 28 February 2023 to be able to submit a full proposal.

Projects must start by 1st October 2023 and will be funded for 18 months. Projects must end by March 2025 and no further extensions beyond this duration is allowed.


If you are interested in applying or would like to discuss the opportunity further, please get in touch with your relevant Research Development Manager.