MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Metropolitan University

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AHRC ‘Science in Culture’ Development Awards – pre-call notification

AHRC 2       science in culture    Pre-announcement: The AHRC will be announcing a new call under the Science in Culture theme for Innovation Awards in November 2013.

Successful proposals to the Innovation Awards call are expected to expand and explore the Science in Culture theme in new and innovative ways.  In the context of this call, innovation can take a number of forms:

• Exploring new inter-disciplinary methodologies and approaches drawing on both the arts and humanities and the sciences

• Developing reciprocal collaborations of a new nature or in new or emerging fields of collaborative enquiry between the arts and humanities and the sciences

• Addressing innovative and inter-disciplinary research questions co-produced through dialogue between the arts and humanities and the sciences

In most cases, successful proposals will be expected to be innovative on a number of levels in order to expand the Science in Culture theme (please see AHRC Science in Culture theme page and external Science in Culture theme page (opens in new window) for more information about the theme), but they are not expected necessarily to be innovative in each of the areas listed above.  For example, a project may fall within a field of collaborative research enquiry that has already been addressed by other projects, but may be utilising new methodologies or collaborating with other disciplines (from the arts and humanities or the sciences) that may not have previously been involved in cross disciplinary research on the given research topic.  Ultimately, it is up to the applicant to make a strong case to the panel for the innovativeness of the project and the ways in which it will contribute to and expand the Science in Culture theme.

It has been noted by the AHRC, the Science in Culture Theme Leadership Fellow and the Science in Culture Theme Advisory Group that there are a number of disciplines which have either not yet applied for funding under the Science in Culture theme or which have not been successful under the theme.  We would like to encourage applicants from the full range of the AHRC remit to consider applying to this and future Science in Culture calls.  While an application that is from a previously unfunded discipline under Science in Culture would not be considered innovative in and of itself, there is a very strong opportunity for disciplines which have not previously been funded under the theme to develop highly innovative projects and contribute to the theme in new and exciting ways.

In considering applications under this call we will be particularly looking for proposals which develop reciprocal relationships between researchers in the arts and humanities and the sciences and which demonstrate the potential to lead to benefits and advances in both the arts and humanities and in the sciences.

Whilst developing new insights and areas of enquiry, projects should also outline, where appropriate, how they will build on, and connect with, the existing portfolio of research in the Science in Culture theme. All projects will be expected to show how they will enhance the current portfolio of research under the Theme and contribute to the broader development of the Theme, for example by addressing issues of cross-cutting interest within the theme.

Funding of up to £80K is available on a full economic costs basis with AHRC meeting 80% of the fEC.  Awards should last for a maximum of 12 months and are expected to start between October 2014 and April 2015.  Approximately 10 awards are expected to be funded through this call.

Closing Dates

 Timetable (subject to change)

Call launch:  November 2013

Closing date:  late February 2014

Panel:  April/May 2014

Notification of funding outcomes:  by end of May 2014



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Countdown to Horizon 2020 – six weeks to go!

CountdownThe announcement of the first calls for Horizon 2020 on 11 December 2013 is fast approaching, and in readiness colleagues at UK Research Office have started to prepare some really useful information on different areas of Horizon 2020. When you get to the site just select the area you’re interested in from the left hand menu to access more information. This is a great starting point if you’re interested in getting a quick overview (Ed – the information which sits behind the guides is not finalised yet, so if you see something of interest do get in touch – there might be new information to share!).

If you haven’t already signed up to UKRO’s portal, we’d encourage you to do so and set up a personal profile. You’ll need to be logged into the site to read the guides and there’s also up to the minute news on events and opportunities. For more information on UKRO and the services they offer, take a look here.

As ever, if you’re interested in Horizon 2020 please get in touch – – we’d love to hear from you!

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The Health Foundation: (Tender) How do people value self management support interventions? A study using discrete choice methodology

Health foundation

The Health Foundation are currently seeking proposals from experienced researchers in the field of health economics and/or healthcare operational research to undertake a research project on self-management support. The research project will focus on the operation of discrete choices where people with a long-term condition are involved in deciding whether to participate in self management support interventions.

There vision is for a more person-centred health care system that helps people to successfully manage their own health and care. One of the ways that we aim to encourage and inspire transformation is by sharing the evidence for change and supporting health services to put it into action.

Self management support approaches have been most commonly applied and investigated in the context of long-term conditions and have the potential to alleviate the pressure on health and social services. However, evidence regarding how a range of self management support approaches are valued is currently limited.

The study should be conducted from a UK NHS healthcare perspective and may be of a local or national initiative. The maximum available budget is £160,000 inclusive of all relevant VAT and the research should be completed within eighteen months.

Closing date: 12 noon on Wednesday 20 November 2013.
Interview date: Wednesday 11 December 2013.Further information avaliable in the Tender document:
And the health foundation webiste

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Horizon 2020 for ICT – still work to do!

Horizon%202020Yesterday, colleagues from the National Contact Point for ICT and Enterprise Europe Network provided an update to an assembled gathering of business, public sector and academia at City Tower. Although focused on the ICT area, the event also touched on the support that will be available to SMEs and the new SME instrument.

Update on ICT in Horizon 2020

Much of the content around ICT confirmed messages that we’ve already received from other sources, but one message from all presenters was clear – there are still some unknowns (in some cases read as ‘things that we can’t talk about publicly yet’) and the Commission still has work to do to finalise the ICT components of Horizon 2020 to everyone’s satisfaction. As such, we could see some reshaping (and possible removal) of opportunities.

As you may have picked up already, ICT opportunities won’t sit in their own box as has been the case with previous programmes. However, colleagues suggested that there may soon be tools to help you do this more easily, so watch this space!

In terms of insight into what the Commission wants, there were no ‘hot technologies’ or ‘silver bullets’ identified (perhaps not surprisingly), but there was a strong suggestion that it’s worth keeping an eye on what is being funded through the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) area of Horizon 2020 for an indication of future emphasis. It was interesting to hear one presenter refer explicitly to the area as being used as an ‘observatory’ by the Commission.

A number of (familiar) key messages for success were reiterated – partnerships are crucial, you need to demonstrate impact, you need to make your passion come across in your proposal and crucially, no matter how good your idea seems to you, you need to fit with what the Commission wants to fund.

What about SMEs in Horizon 2020?

As well as the ICT focus, presenters touched on some of the changes to support for SMEs in Horizon 2020. From a high-level description it seems as if the new SME instrument may have some parallels with existing national schemes such as Smart. The suggestion is that there will be support for different stages from idea to market and that this will involve a combination of hard cash and access to expertise and mentoring, with cash support tailing off as products near market.

What seems to be fairly likely is that the day of universities as an RTD Performer, addressing the majority of SME’s research needs for large portions of the grant they receive from the Commission are over. There may still be opportunities for providing access to facilities and complementary expertise as a subcontractor, but we’ll need to see the detail to be sure.

The reality of being an SME in European projects … and in the real world

Bringing the world of ICT and the SME perspective together, an interesting addition to the programme was a presentation from Vin Sumner of Clicks and Links Ltd. Clicks and Links have dipped their toe in the European funding ocean with some success – and some frustration – and Vin was very open in sharing his experiences with the room.

He was quick to acknowledge the advantage that getting involved in grant-funded projects can have over other sources of financing and the benefits that he’s drawn from participation and expanding his network. He also noted that this isn’t a quick win situation and urged fellow SMEs to bear in mind that it needs to be about more than just the money. If your involvement fits with your strategy and what you want to achieve it’s great, if not then it might not be the right opportunity.

Amongst the insights it was obvious that some of the ‘quirks’ that larger organisations take for granted and can easily absorb such as delays to start dates and retaining payments prove real hurdles for SMEs. Whilst the focus was obviously on Europe, it was a timely reminder of how challenging it can be for SMEs to interact with large organisations and with systems which have not been designed with them in mind. It also gave some food for thought on how a little bit of empathy could go a long way to helping develop strong links with SMEs.

More information

We have been promised copies of the presentations from the event, which include access to what looks to be a very helpful website, so if you’d like to receive a copy please do get in touch (

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Funding opportunities with the NIHR – highlight notice

NIHR2*Highlight notice for the current researcher-led call – research in homeless populations invited*

The Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA Programme) is interested in receiving outline applications to the researcher-led workstream, to advance existing knowledge on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of particular therapeutic interventions in the homeless population. For more information, please visit the HTA researcher-led call webpage.

The HTA Programme is also looking for research questions for its commissioned workstream. For further information and to access the research suggestion from, please see the website.

For those interested in the above topic, the Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme are seeking applications to their commissoned workstream to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of integrated homeless health and care services. For more information, please visit the HS&DR commissioned call webpage.


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Global Innovation Initiative: International Research Collaboration



The Global Innovation Initiative (GII) is a shared commitment of the United Kingdom and the United States to strengthen research collaboration between universities in the UK, US, and selected countries. GII will award grants to university consortia focusing on interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related issues of global significance that foster cutting-edge multinational research and strengthen international partnerships.  The grants are intended to bring mutual benefit to higher education institutions in the UK, US and selected countries with emerging economies through the enhancement of institutional ties and the development of multilateral relationships. 

Proposals that address the following STEM-related themes will be accepted for the first year’s competition:

  • Energy, environment and climate change
  • Agriculture, food security and water
  • Global health and wellbeing
  • Urbanisation

New or existing research partnerships comprised of at least one higher education institution in the UK, the US, and at least one selected country are invited to apply for a GII grant. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the US Department of State have identified the following emerging economies as designated countries for the first year of the GII:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia

Institutions from these countries must be attached to either a UK or US-led proposal to be deemed eligible.

How to Apply
Two parallel grant competitions will be offered in the UK and the US.  Partnerships must identify either a UK or US-lead institution, which will be responsible for the application submission, grant reporting and fiduciary requirements. Partnerships led by a UK institution must apply through the UK competition administered by the British Council, and those led by a US institution must apply through the US competition administered by the Institute of International Education.

A higher education institution may be involved in multiple, distinct proposals but cannot submit the same proposal through both the UK and US application streams.

Further details of the call can be found here:

The deadline for applications is 16 December 2013.