MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Research Funders Response to COVID-19

Below we have summarised the responses from some of our most popular sources for Research Funding around deadlines in the midst of the COVID-19 situation. We will be updating this post daily should the situation change across these funding bodies.

If you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Research Development Team (for pre-award queries) and Research Delivery Team (for post-award queries).

Last updated: 03/04/20


Staff have been advised to work from home and are still contactable via email. If you were due to visit any of their offices please get in touch to rearrange these meetings. Funding programmes will continue with application systems still operating as normal. Call deadlines are being monitored and extensions/ re-opening calls will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate councils.

BBSRC have delayed their April deadline until Late June.

British Academy

The Flexi-Grant system is still accessible for all applications. Deadlines for currently open calls currently remain in force and applicants should submit their applications as normal.

Royal Society

Royal Society staff have been advised to work from home and office locations are closed. All funding calls remain open with their currently advertised dates (there have been no postponements).

Leverhulme Trust

Leverhulme will be monitoring the ongoing situation and take it’s usual pargmatic approach. Funding deadlines have not been affected.


All funding schemes are calls are open for applications and deadlines for all stages of applications remain as previously advertised. NIHR have set up a useful FAQ page.


The UKRO has a specific COVID-19 section available on their portal, which is available under the resources tab. There is currently an extension in place for H2020 applications.

Dunhill Medical Trust

Dunhill will not be opening their new outline Research Grant applications (due to open 23rd March). They will be announcing a new strategic plan in Autumn 2020 hopefully with new deadlines and schemes.

Wellcome Trust

Schemes remain open with their current deadlines and extensions will not be granted.

MS Society

There will be new grant rounds opening due to COVID-19 however the situation is being continuously monitored.

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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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UKRI new website launch – including a single search tool for all Research Council opportunities

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – which includes the Research Councils and Innovate UK – has today launched a new, simpler and better website.

In particular, it includes a single funding finder to see all funding opportunities from UKRI and its councils.

The new site “integrates all the UKRI corporate websites to deliver an efficient, informative, inspiring user experience – providing a strong unified voice for UKRI and its nine councils”.

The new website has a phased introduction:

  • The first phase starts today with the replacement for the existing UKRI website and a new single funding finder, which contains all funding opportunities from across all the councils. User research showed that audiences looking for funding visited on average up to five different council websites to make sure they had all the necessary information, and they found inconsistency. All the individual council websites are still existing at this stage, but they will not publish new funding opportunities.
  • The second phase of the website development will be complete during 2021 following a further stage of feedback and testing with our users. This will include the full integration of the individual council websites into one overall site.

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UKRI to stop its rolling Covid-19 rapid-response call in December

Funder transitions to ‘longer-term approach as world learns to live with and manage pandemic.

UK Research and Innovation is planning to stop its ongoing Covid-19 rapid-response call in December as it transitions to a “longer-term approach” on coronavirus, the funder announced on 27 October.

UKRI launched the Covid-19 rapid-response research call on 31 March to fund short-term projects that address the impacts of the pandemic, and later said it was seeing “an extremely high level of interest” in the fund.

However, applicants have complained of delays after some researchers waited three months for a verdict on their bids.

In July, UKRI announced changes to the call, with rapid review only to be applied to projects deemed urgent.

Now the funder has announced it will stop accepting new proposals through the call altogether by mid-December.

“We are preparing to move from the initial phase, which required an urgent response to this crisis, to a longer-term approach as the world learns to live with and manage the pandemic,” said Charlotte Deane, Covid-response director at UKRI. “This means we are closing the rolling call before Christmas.”

UKRI is now advising anyone who plans to submit any further proposals to do so well ahead of the closing date to avoid a late surge in applications.

Any proposals received close to the deadline, it said, will be processed in January, “unless absolutely essential”.

“A late surge will potentially overload our programme managers and, importantly, our many peer reviewers, who have been working incredibly hard over the past six months,” said Deane. “Close to the festive season, processing and response times will be longer than usual.”

In the future, researchers and businesses interested in applying for Covid-related funding will be encouraged to apply through standard schemes.

The funder also said it is planning to launch further UKRI strategic Covid-19 funding calls in 2021.-

Thank you to Research Professional for this article:

See more at:

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WADA: Social Science Research Grant Program

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched its 2021 Social Science Research (SSR) Grant Program.

Whilst WADA will support submissions in any of their 12 SSR priority areas, they are particularly interested in projects exploring the following:

  • Athlete pathway and athlete experience
  • Clean Sport behaviors
  • Experience of athlete support personnel in anti-doping
  • The role and influence of athlete support personnel
  • Effectiveness of anti-doping
  • Horizon scanning (learnings from other sectors/industries that can be applied to Clean Sport)

Investment is broadly tiered according to scale and scope:

  • Tier 1 – informing international, multi-sport anti-doping policy and practice (75-150k USD)
  • Tier 2 – contributing to national or single-sport programmes and interventions (20-75k USD)
  • Tier 3 – smaller scale research to pilot or examine viability of interventions (<20k USD)

Application for Tier 1 and 2 funding is via a two stage process with initial Expressions of Interest (EoI) to be submitted by 22 November 2020. (Full applications are by invitation with a deadline of 31 January 2021.) Applications for Tier 3 funding is a single stage process via an EoI (Deadline 31 January 2021).

Full details are available via the Overview and Guidance for Applicants and a webinar hosted by members of WADA’s Education Department.

If you are interested in the opportunity please contact your International Research Development Manager for support and advice:

Sally Pedley (Arts & Humanities, Business & Law, Health, Psychology & Social Care) or Margaret Eastcott (Education, Science & Engineering).

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Funding Alert: MRC Health Systems Research Initiative (HSRI) Call 8 Research Grant – outline stage

MRC have announced the next round of the HSRI call which funds research to strengthen and improve health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Applicants based at eligible research organisations (ROs) in LMICs and the UK are eligible to apply.

Deadline: 19th January 2021.

The purpose of this scheme is to provide funding to generate new knowledge to strengthen and improve health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The programme’s aims are to fund methodologically rigorous, high-quality interdisciplinary research that will:

  • generate evidence on:
    • the structure and dynamics of health systems
    • how to strengthen and improve health systems for people living in LMICs through the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes (for example strengthening governance, management, health workforce or supply chain)
  • provide evidence that is of direct relevance to decision makers and practitioners in the field, linking health systems with defined outcomes (e.g. health, confidence, financial protection)
  • demonstrate an appreciation of current theories and frameworks in health systems research and/or other social or political science theory of relevance to health systems
  • where focused on a particular aspect of the health system, proposals must demonstrate how interventions relate to and affect wider elements of the system such as governance, financing, health workforce, information systems, service delivery, etc.

Please note: Funding is available for research only; we will not fund the routine delivery of health services.

If you are interested in this funding call, please contact your research development team.

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NC3R’s Skills and Knowledge Transfer grants

Skills and knowledge transfer grants support the wider adoption and use of models, tools and technologies with proven 3Rs impacts through the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise. Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged. 

Awards are for up to 24 months with the amount requested dependent on the science and limited to a maximum of £75k (80% FEC). 

Informal outline submission is now open – the deadline to submit is 4pm (GMT) on Friday 27 November.

If you are interested in applying for this year’s scheme, register for the NC3R’s webinar at 2pm on Tuesday 27 October (GMT), which will provide further details on making a competitive application. Register via this link

Please contact your research development manager to discuss your research idea.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and their partner, Templeton World Charity Foundation, have realised two calls for the following two Grand Challenge opportunities.

Balance The Equation – A Grand Challenge For Algebra 1

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, under its grand challenges programme, invites applications for its balance the equation – a grand challenge for algebra 1 funding opportunity. This seeks solutions aimed at disrupting the deeply imbalanced system against this generation and previous generations of black, Latino, English learners and students experiencing poverty in the US, as it relates to their algebra 1 experience in 7th, 8th or 9th grade, in-class or online. Proposed solutions should be innovative supplemental resources that can be used as a support that expands access to core content while addressing a variety of student learning needs, and harnessing students’ identities, interests and creativity. This opportunity is split into two phases:

•phase one, which provides the opportunity to develop a pilot study plan together with the American Institute of Research, for which between 10 and 15 grants worth USD 100,000 are available for a period of four months;

•phase two, when awardees will be able to apply for between eight and 10 pilot study grants, each worth up to USD 1 million to support prototyping and implementation activities over a period of between 13 and 24 months.

Organisations based worldwide may apply, including non-profit organisations and for-profit companies. The application deadline is November 6, 2020.

Further information can be found here:

Grand Challenge for Human Flourishing Grant and Other Opportunities from our Partners

The Templeton World Charity Foundation invites applications for its grand challenges for human flourishing. This supports scientific research on human flourishing and aims to translate related discoveries into practical tools. They seek bold ideas and rigorous experiments that use new conceptual frameworks to move past age-old debates and lead to significant breakthroughs .Priority is given to interdisciplinary scientific research on humanity’s cognitive, affective, social, and spiritual well-being.

This is a multi-stage application process. Before picking a focal point for the discovery stage of the five-year strategy, the Foundation invites new ideas from across disciplines through an open-submission process, Request For Ideas (RFI). Ideas selected will be used by the Foundation to shape its priorities for scientific discovery. Grant development will then begin in March 2021.

Any qualified individual with substantial research experience who is employed full time at an academic or research institution may apply.

The application deadline for the first stage is November 11, 2020.

Further information can be found here:

If you are intending to apply, please contact your International Research Development Manager as soon as possible for support and advice: Sally Pedley (Arts & Humanities, Business & Law, Health, Psychology & Social Care) or Margaret Eastcott (Education, Science & Engineering).

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Newton Advanced Fellowships with China – Medical Sciences

The Academy of Medical Sciences, in partnership with the National Natural Science Foundation of China, (NSFC) have announced their new call for Newton Advanced Fellowships with China.

The call is open to applicants in China who will be provided with funding (via a UK partner) to establish and develop collaborations with the UK through a two-year fellowship starting in March 2021.

Fellows will be based in China, and are expected to be early to mid-career researchers (up to 18 years post-PhD experience) who have already established (or are in the process of establishing) a research group or research network and have a research track record.

The focus is on projects undertaking clinical and patient orientated research:

“clinical science and/or an interventional study on human participants at the individual or group level. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, but interventions could involve surgery, the administration of a drug, or be of a public health/preventative nature. 

 The eligible involvement of human participants in research could include an investigation where the experiments were conducted in vitro – for example, the use of human tissue or other biological samples, chemistry techniques, mathematical modelling or engineering, translational research and collaborative research with clinicians.” 

Full scheme guidance is available here, and the deadline for submission is 5 November 2020 3pm UK time.

If you are intending to apply, please contact your International Research Development Manager as soon as possible for support and advice:

Sally Pedley (Arts & Humanities, Business & Law, Health, Psychology & Social Care) or Margaret Eastcott (Education, Science & Engineering).

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Manchester Met BBSRC Grant Support 2021

Do you currently have a project idea in mind, which will fit the BBSRC remit? 

Your Research Development Team will be hosting further BBSRC funding support events for all academics interested in applying to the Responsive Mode Scheme

You are invited to pitch and discuss your grant idea with an expert panel. This is an opportunity to gain early input to your proposal and help ensure a best fit for BBSRC. To support you to take part in the programme, we will be repeating the session, so you can select a time to join that best suits you. You will also be provided with a full template and guidance for your pitch.  

Don’t worry if your idea isn’t quite ready, we also plan to have additional dates in December. 

We now invite expressions of interest. If you are interested in attending a session, please contact your Research Development Officer, Rachel Colley no later than Wednesday 30th September

Proposed session dates are: Wednesday 7th October: 10.00 – 11.30  and Thursday 15th October: 9.30 – 11.00