MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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****AHRC Connected Communities talk*****Prof George McKay*****Change of date******

Please note that the scheduled talk by the AHRC Connected Communities Leadership Fellow, Professor George McKay, has been rescheduled from Weds 5th March to Wednesday 26th March.

The time and venue remain the same – 1.30-2.30pm, Manchester Lecture Theatre.  If you have already booked then I believe you will be reissued with new tickets via Eventbrite.

If you haven’t yet booked a place then you can do so here:

Prof McKay is one of two academic Leadership Fellows who were  appointed by the AHRC in 2012 ” to provide intellectual leadership and play an important role in the shaping and development of activities within the Connected Communities Programme, as well as undertaking their own individual research activities relevant to the Programme. The Fellows play an important role in connecting research under the Programme, identifying cross-cutting issues and supporting the development of collaborations and partnerships”.  He will be talking about the programme and research opportunities within it.



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RKE score a hit with Impact and Engagement Training!

This week saw the roll out of the first in a series of impact and engagement training events by RKE’s Sam Gray and Laura Peters. The first hour-long session, hosted by Sue Caton and Julie Marshall in Health, Psychology and Social Care was delivered to interested academics and postgraduate students. Leaning heavily on experiences of impact gathered through MMU’s recent submission to REF2014, the training also included guidance on the Pathways to Impact agenda, how to capture and record impact on an ongoing basis and how to maximise the impact of research through social media, case studies and links with the University’s press office.

Speaking about the workshop Sam and Laura said, “There’s a big appetite for learning about impact and engagement at MMU, and across the sector more generally right now. The REF has obviously been a huge driver for this agenda through the introduction of impact case studies but everyone that we talk to is seeing the relevance of impact to their work. What’s great about MMU is that we have bucket loads of great examples and are gaining a reputation for some innovative work in this area. Running the session at Gaskell was fitting because you’ve got Juliet Goldbart, Katherine Runswick-Cole and Juliet Marshall (to name a few) who are all finding really interesting ways of connecting their research to the outside world. They’ve helped to establish arts-based projects, used music as a cultural hook and were recently successful with a British Psychology Society grant to establish radio shows focused around disability issues. These are the kinds of innovative ways of working that will enable engagement and impact to flourish”.

Dr Julie Marshall from the Research Institute for Health and Social Change said, “The excellent impact session run by Laura and Sam, gave a great overview of what impact is and really got us thinking about the need to consider impact, in its widest sense, from the first moment that you begin to plan a research project”.  Co-organiser, Dr Sue Caton, also from RIHSC said “Sam and Laura’s session was packed full of information and materials to help explain why impact is so important. I am currently writing two funding applications so I was able to get straight back to the office to develop and improve the impact plans!”

If staff are interested in hosting their own impact workshop or would like to know more about how they can embed impact and engagement into their work then they should contact or call 0161 247 1664.

RKE is hosting scheduled staff development sessions on Engaging Stakeholders and Building Impact into your Research and much, much more….for further details go to

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Joseph Rowntree Foundation – call for study on Destitution in the UK

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation invites proposals on the subject of destitution in the UK.

This study will develop a conceptual map of destitution which provides insight into the types of people affected, pathways into and out of it, drivers, risk factors and protective factors. It will answer the questions of how much destitution there is in the UK, who is affected by it, how this has changed in recent times and what the drivers are of rising, falling and changing destitution.

The budget for this call is £180,000, to be divided between one or more projects (preferably one) . Deadline is 26th March.

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Six writing habits to avoid in grant writing – great article from a fellow Blogger

Adam Golberg Adam Goldberg is the Research Manager at Nottingham Business School who writes a really super Blog on research funding in the social sciences called ‘Cash for Questions’ (which we’ve referred to here before).  He doesn’t post very often but when he does it’s always useful stuff such as his latest post  which summarises some very useful tips on what to avoid in your writing style in grant applications (which we wholeheartedly endorse)

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Announcing the Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed fund – opens for applications on 3rd March


The Social Tech Seed fund opens for applications on 3rd March 2014

Social Tech Seed supports entrepreneurs that are focusing their talent and technology on tackling some of the big social issues in sectors including education, employability and healthcare. The programme will offer up to £50,000 in funding, as well as business support, to nurture, develop and test early-stage ventures using digital for social impact.

Before you apply, why don’t you come and speak to us about your project?

On 26th February Nominet Trust willl be holding a web chat to give you the opportunity to find out more about what they look for in a social tech venture. You will have a chance to find out more about the types of projects they support and their current investment strategy.

The web chat starts at 10am and will last about 90 minutes, giving you the chance to hear more about them and ask any questions you have online – Book now!

They are also hosting a Nominet Trust meet-up event in London on 5th March. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet members of the Nominet Trust team, hear more about their work and talk to them about your project, before applying. So if you’re in London on 5th March  – Book now!

Note from RKE:  Universities are eligible to apply. Nominet say:

We will consider applications from entrepreneurs, teams, start-ups or organisations who want to apply their talent and technology to address UK social issues

We can only invest in projects run by a registered organisation; these may include: Charities, Not-for-profits, Community group,s Schools, PTAs, universities or other educational establishments, Statutory bodies e.g. local authorities, Commercially-run organisations that act as social enterprises, Other grant-making bodies to make awards on our behalf.

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Do you have an innovative digital based idea that has the potential to address a specific societal challenge?

chest    fp7CHEST (Collective enHanced Environment for Social Tasks) is a 30 month EU R&D project to promote the development of digital based innovations that have the potential to address key societal challenges. In addition to the online community platform that will facilitate the sharing and exchanging of ideas, CHEST will also invest up to €2.5 Million in seed finance for highly innovative ideas through the launch of two open funding rounds. Social entrepreneurs will be invited to propose new ideas for evaluation and if successful will receive financial support. The CHEST community will also evaluate and discuss the ideas of others.

Who can apply?…… You as a Social innovator. Individuals, companies, Public organisations, in fact anyone who could not only benefit from financial support for the realisation of their idea but who would like to have their ideas evaluated for their potential value by other entrepreneurs from within the crowd community.
Who will participate in the CHEST community? Any organisation who has an interest in addressing key societal challenges including higher education institutions, foundations, venture capital firms, business incubation and creativity networks, idea management companies, crowdsourcing software providers and many more.
What we are looking for? Any IT based innovations that have the potential to address societal challenges. This could be a solution to key economic, social and environmental challenges or even ideas that have the potential to change the way communities share data to improve their everyday life. Applications will be assessed by both the crowd and external independent evaluators for potential societal impact.

CALL 1 – Call for Ideas ***now open*** Deadline: 4pm, 30th April

Award of up to €6K to investigate an innovative idea. Activities could include:

  • initial planning to take the project to prototype, including assessing costs,
  • timescales and funding requirements
  • market research regarding the need and feasibility of the idea
  • assessment of the innovation and competitive landscape

Applications will be submitted via the CHEST platform and assessed by the Community with a crowd-sourcing approach.

CALL 2 – Call for Partners. Opens March 31st 2014

Award of up to €150K to develop a technologically innovative ‘market ready’ product, service or process. Activities could include:

  • advanced prototype development and evaluation (resulting in a market ready deliverable)
  • market testing
  • marketing strategies

Applications will be submitted via the CHEST platform and will be assessed by independent expert assessors, according to the EC rules. This category of funding will seek to support social innovations which are considered strategically important both in the type of social challenge targeted and in potential impact.

Call 3 – Call for Application (opens July 31 2014)
The third call will seek to support the best projects that were derived from Strand 1 (Call for Ideas). The call will also invite submissions from new applicants with up to €60K available per project . Activities should aim to advance the innovative idea through to the development of a prototype/demonstrator of a technologically innovative product, service or process. Successful applicants will also be requested to complete a short business plan indicating routes for future exploitation.
Applications for Call 3 will be submitted via the CHEST platform and will be evaluated by independent external experts, according to the EC rules and guidelines.

You can find information on the CHEST project, the competitions and the detailed guidelines for Call 1 at:

Note from RKE:  As this funding opportunity is arising from a European Commission funded Framework 7 project, please be aware that it is presumably open to applicants across all EU Member states.


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Neuroscience and Education Foundation Funding: Using Neuroscience to improve education

education endowment foundationwellcometrust_logo

Education and Neuroscience is a new £6 million funding scheme, launched by the Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in January 2014. This one-off scheme aims to develop, evaluate and communicate the impact of education interventions grounded in neuroscience research.

They are looking for interventions or approaches that use understanding from neuroscience research about the mechanisms of learning to improve education. The interventions or approaches should aim to improve pupil attainment, especially that of disadvantaged pupils. Successful proposals will build on the existing evidence about effective teaching and learning practices, and explain how these practices could be made more effective or efficient using evidence from neuroscience.

To ensure that the neuroscience is properly interpreted and applied in meaningful and feasible ways within the classroom, we are keen to encourage collaborations between educational researchers, teachers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists and psychologists and other academics who may have insights into applying neuroscience to learning (such as in the fields of rehabilitation or sports science).

The Wellcome Trust and EEF have undertaken several pieces of work that we hope will support applications to this funding scheme and these can be found below.

Proposals should:·

•Focus on raising the attainment of pupils aged 5-16 in UK schools. We are particularly interested in approaches that seek to improve the outcomes of disadvantaged learners and would expect applicants to be willing to work in challenging schools.

•Convey a deep understanding of the relevant neuroscience and have a clear rationale for how applying what we know from neuroscience will make a difference to learning outcomes. We are looking for initiatives that understand what good teaching and learning looks like, and use neuroscience to enhance this. Projects will only be funded if there is an explicit causal hypothesis relating a finding in neuroscience to a novel intervention, not if neuroscience simply explains the basis of already established and proven education interventions.

•Be informed and supported by encouraging evidence of an impact on attainment. If available, evidence of the impact of the approach being proposed should be provided. We also would like applicants to outline how their proposal applies the findings of rigorous research. Please refer to the Teaching and Learning Toolkit and the supporting documents outlined below.

•Be practical, appropriate, affordable and scalable. Our aim is to identify interventions and approaches that, if shown to be successful, could be taken on by other schools. Therefore we are only interested in testing initiatives that are practical and affordable for schools. We also need to understand what training and support is needed so that schools and teachers can use the intervention effectively.We are willing to consider projects that require a development phase in order to finalise the intervention before testing its impact.

•Be willing and able to be independently evaluated. We will rigorously evaluate the attainment impact of the projects, wherever possible by randomly allocating which schools or pupils receive it. We will appoint an independent evaluator, and work with successful applicants to design an appropriate evaluation plan. Note that this does not need to be included in your project plan and budget.

•Be led by not-for-profit organisations. If profit-making companies are involved in the delivery of the intervention, we would expect them to provide substantial subsidies or co-funding.

Further details can be accessed here