MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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AHRC and ESRC drop inclusion of PhD studentships in open research bids

AHRC 2   ESRC   The Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council have announced that they will only support PhD students in strategic areas.

The councils say that, from 1 November, no funding will be provided for project-linked students on applications to the ESRC’s responsive-mode research grants scheme and the AHRC’s open-call research grants scheme. The change, announced on 25 July, brings them in line with all of the other research councils except the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Of 63 relevant AHRC grants awarded in the financial year 2012-13, 24 had project studentships attached and so would have been affected by the changes.

An AHRC statement said it would only provide studentships through targeted calls “where there is a case for developing capability in a specific area”. However, it added that funding for postgraduate training is still “the largest single scheme in our funding” as it receives more than £40 million each year.

The ESRC will fund project studentships through strategic calls, such as centres, large grants and professorial fellowships, and both councils will provide continued funding through doctoral training centres.

The councils say any applications submitted before 1 November, and those undergoing review, will be honoured.


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Royal Society scheme announced!

This scheme builds bridges between parliamentarians, Civil Servants and some of the best research scientists in the UK.2011-06-23-Miller-Nguyen390

Participating scientists are paired with either an MP or civil servant and the Royal Society supports them by arranging a ‘Week in Westminster’ and reciprocal visits.

The scheme aims to help MPs and civil servants establish longstanding links with practising research scientists and to help research scientists understand political decision making and its associated pressures.

Since 2001 over 180 scientists have been paired with MPs and Civil Servants.

Previous participants include Rt Hon John Denham MP, Nick Clegg MP, Julia Goldsworthy MP, Ed Vaizey MP and Anne Snelgrove MP as well as Civil Servants from across government and scientists from universities and research centres across the UK.

In 2012, the Royal Society hosted the first event for alumni of the scheme. This was an opportunity to meet and to discuss their experiences, and how they have used their experience in both parliamentary work and research.

Benefits for MPs and civil servants
Cloning, GM crops, Climate Change and nanotechnology: these are issues at the forefront of debate in Parliament. The Royal Society offers this scheme as an easy way to provide MP’s with the opportunity to explore the science behind their decisions. By pairing a MP or Civil Servant with a leading scientist, both gain an understanding of the work behind the fundamental issues involved in each field.

Andrew Stunell MP and Dr Martin Attfield
Benefits for scientists
The Royal Society Pairing scheme offers scientists the opportunity to understand the policy process and explore methods of sharing their knowledge with Government. Scientists will be paired with either an MP or Civil Servant. They will spend time together in their Laboratory and in turn in their paired MP’s constituency or Civil Servant’s Government office. All scientists will participate in a ‘Week in Westminster’ providing a valuable insight into how science policy is formed.


Applicants are required to have at least two years postdoctoral research experience. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate good communication skills, and in particular, an ability to communicate their research to a lay audience.

To apply for this scheme see website

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EPSRC call: “Research in the Wild – Internet of Things 2013”

EPSRC-logoEPSRC have released a call entitled Research in the Wild – Internet of Things 2013.

The Digital Economy Theme wishes to encourage user-driven research in the emerging area of Internet of Things.

Internet of Things (IoT) describes a set of technologies, systems and methodologies that underpins internet-enabled applications based on physical objects and the environment seamlessly integrating into this information network.

The deadline is 16:00 24 October 2013.

For further details please see the EPSRC page here

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Research Professional – Broadcast Demonstration – Tuesday 23rd July

research-professionalResearch Professional runs a series of live online broadcast training sessions, these take place on the fourth Tuesday of each month between 10:00am and 11:00am (UK time).

The next session is 10:00am Tuesday 23rd July. Please follow this link to attend:

Each session will provide an introduction to the Research Professional platform, demonstrate how to locate funding opportunities that match your interests and show how to set up email alerts to keep you informed of new developments.

You can view these demonstrations from your own PC and choose to receive sound either via you computer’s mic and speakers, or by phoning in to a voice conference. You will be able to ask the presenter questions using a text chat feature.

Other dates of the next demonstrations are as follows:

27th August 2013
24th September 2013
22nd October 2013
26th November 2013
28th January 2014
25th February 2014
25th March 2014

For further details, please see the Research Professional page here.

There is also further guidance and help on using Research Professional here.

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Impact – Guidance for Applicants and Reviewers from EPSRC

EPSRC have released the film below “EPSRC Pathways to Impact: Your Pathways to Impact Plan” as well as tips regarding impact.

Tips gathered from participants in the impact sessions at the 2010 EPSRC Regional Meetings:

  • Make sure you cover the full range of impacts shown in the diagram (see below).
  • Be specific about what you are going to do during the lifetime of the project to facilitate the pathways to impact.
  • Remember to ground the impact activities clearly in the context of your research project
  • Think ‘outside the box’ and be creative and innovative.
  • But be realistic and don’t over-egg the pudding.
  • Avoid sentences using the phrase ‘the usual…’.
  • Don’t waffle – only use as much of the two sides as you need.
  • Have the reviewer criteria in front of you when writing your proposal.
  • Remember you can request resources for pathways to impact activities as long as they are project-specific and justified.


For the further details please see the EPSRC page here.

There is also detailed guidance available on the definition of impact, and how to prepare a ‘pathways to impact’ document on the RCUK Pathways to Impact site.

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Breaking Funding News: Wellcome Trust Sustaining Health



Welcome Trust’s new Fund launched to seed new thinking in sustaining the future of health

Under the new scheme, researchers can apply for up to £250 000 support for up to two years to kick-start pilot projects in the areas of behaviour change, global nutrition, health impacts of climate change and ecological public health. Extraordinary projects will be eligible to apply for up to £500 000. The scheme is open to both academic and not-for-profit research institutions and commercial companies.

Detailed Information:

Humanity faces profound questions about how our planet can sustain nine billion people by 2050. With the trend of urbanisation, the majority of the world’s population now live in cities. There is a global nutrition crisis, with dual problems of undernutrition and obesity. Meanwhile, environmental and population changes have major implications for issues including food and nutrition security, access to clean water and sanitation, and natural disasters. In meeting these challenges and delivering culturally, socially and economically appropriate solutions, research has a critical role to play.

Aims of the awards
The small awards are designed to open up research avenues that will ultimately lead to work with a significant impact on human health. Pilot projects may address any aspect of the interplay between health, environment and nutrition, but a focus on health is key. Projects are not required to cover issues related to both environment and nutrition.
Wellcome Trust’s scoping work highlighted the explosion of data in the public and private domains, and the importance of harnessing its value for society. In recognition of this, the Trust would particularly like to see proposals with the potential to unlock the power of data by making it more relevant, available, accessible and useful (e.g. by formatting to permit inter-linkage). The size of these awards makes them well suited to projects that exploit existing datasets or pilot novel approaches to data collection and exploration.
Projects outside of this theme, but relevant to the Sustaining Health area in other ways, are also welcomed.

Wellcome expect these awards to stimulate collaborations and build capacity for interdisciplinary research. They believe that high-quality research in this area requires the development of new interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships, particularly between biomedical (including public health) researchers and those working in social, economic, environmental, climate, agricultural, development and computer sciences.

Additional background information from the Trust:

The Wellcome Trust Strategic Plan includes a specific challenge in the broad area of ‘connecting environment, nutrition and health’. This embraces the research themes of behaviour change, global nutrition, health impacts of climate change, and ecological public health.

Public health is seriously threatened by a lack of access to nutritious food, clean water and sanitation, by poor air quality, and by environmental (including climate) change. These interlinked dangers are developing in parallel with dietary choices and lifestyles that are contributing to an unprecedented burden of obesity and chronic diseases.

In light of this, and building on the Wellcome Trust Strategic Plan’s challenge in the broad area of ‘connecting environment, nutrition and health’, we have launched this Sustaining Health awards scheme. We want to support work, embracing the research themes of behaviour change, global nutrition, health impacts of climate change, and ecological public health, that will yield deeper insights into the issues at stake and develop strategies to mitigate the risks to human health.

This call aims to stimulate the formation of creative partnerships that bring together the diversity of competences required to tackle these complex problems and inform the global response through multidisciplinary research

Deadline for concept notes 27 August 2013

Further information can be access on the Trusts Website and

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European Opportunities: Ambient Assisted Living

aal_logoThe European Commission has proposed the extension of funding for research into Ambient Assisted Living, which will run alongside the new Horizon 2020 programme.

The Ambient Assisted Living  Joint Partnership (AAL JP), is in its own words:

“a funding activity that aims to create better condition of life for the older adults and to strengthen the industrial opportunities in Europe through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).” ( )

The new proposal suggests that AAL JP will receive over EUR 700 million between 2014 and 2020. Funding to support AAL JP will come from the European Commission, industrial partners and EU Member States. You will need to have European partners to apply for funding and you should link with industry – in particular SMEs.

For those of you interested in how we can harness the power of ICT for healthier ageing, AAL JP may hold some opportunities. Keep an eye on the blog and the AAL JP website for more information!