MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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How to turn your bid from fundable to funded – Research Professional article

leeds      Research Prof    Very sensible advice on what makes a good research grant application from the Research Office at the University of Leeds isoutlined in a short article here:

You can find more tips and best practice advice on our RKE  web pages which now  includes a ‘Bidding Toolkit’




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Horizon 2020 ICT Proposers’ Day – Networking for ICT Researchers



The European Commission’s DG CONNECT have now opened registration for an information and networking event to be held in Florence in October 2014. The ‘Proposers’ Day’ will combine networking sessions (where you can pitch your project ideas) with information sessions on preparing and submitting proposals. It’s also likely that there will be a number of satellite workshops in the build-up to the main event.

The event will focus on priorities for the 2015 Calls for Proposals across the Horizon 2020 Programme and will attract researchers with interest in a range of topics such as robotics, e-Government, digital representations of health data, Big Data and cyber security. The event website gives a list of the topics that are included and you can register here.

As ever, if you’re thinking of attending we’d love to hear from you ( The feedback we’ve had is that these events are really useful, so we’d advise you to book early!

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RKE: End of Year social @Ormond | Friday 27 June

Ormond buildingRKE’s popular Last Friday Social draws to a close this academic year with our End of Year Social @Ormond – RKE’s home turf, being held in the Council Chamber this Friday.

RKE Teams members will guide you through the labyrinth of  doors and stairs and a few more doors (lift option available) to the chamber.   

Hosted by RKE but carrying no formal agenda, this is a chance to swap ideas and discuss collaborations. It’s an informal opportunity for academic staff to come together and meet their colleagues. There will be an honesty bar and a suggestions box – the rest is simply your space, the atmosphere laid back.

I’m there, book me on!

Details, details…

Where: Council Chamber, Ormond Building, All Saints Campus

When: 27 June 2014, 4-6pm


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Alzheimer’s Society: Fellowships and Project Grants

Alz Society Logo

New fellowship and project grant round opens

The Alzheimer’s Society have released a series of fellowships to provide more relevant and timely support for post-doctoral researchers. They now offer Junior Research Fellowships for people within 4 years of finishing their PhD and Senior Research Fellowships for people between 3 and 10 years after PhD. As well as a Clinician and Health Professionals Training Fellowships which offer funding for clinically trained professionals to work towards a higher research degree.

The annual Project grant round is also open and you will be please to know that they have increased the maximum value for project grants to £400,000 (for projects over a three year duration) to support any kind of dementia research.

The deadline for submitting an application for either the project or the fellowship applications is midday on the 19 September, with decisions communicated by the end of March 2015. To apply for funding via the online application system, which can be accessed here

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Wellcome Trust expand the remit of their ‘Medical Humanities’ and ‘Society & Ethics’ schemes (backed up with an expanded budget too…)

wellcometrust_logo I attended a Wellcome Trust regional roadshow last week at the University of Manchester.  The Trust are on the road to discuss the expansion of the their Medical Humanities, Research Resources and Society and Ethics funding streams, which are now open to a wider range of applications from the humanities, the social sciences and the arts.

The Medical Humanities stream encourages bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address important questions at the interface of medicine, health-related sciences, and the wider humanities, including the arts and social sciences. This used to be essentially the History of Medicine but from this year an historical component is not required and they will consider application from any humanities discipline.

The Society and Ethics stream supports research that examines the social and ethical aspects of biomedical research and health, with the aim of addressing tractable, real-world problems. Again , remit has expanded and now encompasses a much broader social science remit to include health and well-being rather than a narrow bio-ethics focus.  e.g. animal husbandry, maternal mortality in Mexico, ethics in end of life care. They described this as a “big leap” for the Trust requiring a recalibration of their reviewing committees so that appropriate expertise is in place.

The Research Resources stream underpins research across the medical humanities and the social sciences by supporting cataloguing and preservation projects of significant primary source material in libraries and archives in the UK and Ireland.

Looking primarly at the top two strands above, they offer a range  of grant schemes ranging from PhD Studentships through the career pathway up to Senior Investigator.  Full details of these are on the Wellcome Trust website but to summarise the key points from the workshop:

a) Fellowships (Post-Doc)

This scheme supports individuals at all stages of their career not in established academic posts, wishing to undertake a period of research. The majority of applicants are 5-10 years post-doc. Strong preference is given to applicants with a good prospect of achieving an academic career as a specialist in medical humanities. Funds posts of up to 3 years and associated research expenses.

b) University Awards

This scheme allows universities to attract outstanding research staff by providing support for up to five years, after which time the award holder takes up a guaranteed permanent post in the university. The post is fully funded (plus research expenses)  for the first 3 years with salary contribution tapering away in years 4 and 5 to become the responsibility of the University.

A monograph and other substantial publications are expected to result from an award, so teaching and other non-research commitments are expected to be minimal during the period of full Wellcome Trust support. Very competitive.

c) Investigator Awards 

Investigator Awards build on Wellcome’s strategic goal of supporting the brightest researchers with the best ideas and extend our successful fellowships funding model to researchers in established academic posts (i.e. those who have permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contracts of employment salaried by their university or research institution).

With respect to Medical Humanities, they wish to encourage bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address the important questions at the interface of science, medicine and the wider humanities (including the social sciences and the arts). They expect that the funded research will further develop our understanding of the impact of medicine and medical sciences on human and animal health.

These Awards support world-class researchers who are no more than five years from appointment to their first academic position but can already show that they have the ability to innovate and drive advances in their field of study. The Awards provide flexible support at a level and length that is sufficient to enable exceptional researchers to address the most important questions about the historical and cultural contexts of health and disease

At the roadshow they described this scheme as their “flagship” for those in established positions. There are separate schemes for New (no more than 5 years post-PhD) and Senior Investigators.  Applicants need an outstanding track record (appropriate to their career stage of course).  Projects should be “visionary” and joint applications can be made. There are no hard and fast rules but typically project applications would be in the region of £250k – £500k for New Investigators and £350k – £1.5m for Senior level. Note: the investigators salary costs are not funded through the grant so the money goes on research assistance, symposia, public engagement, travel, and some buy-out. On average, applicants devote an average of  40% fte over the course of the award (this could be 0% in one year and 100% in another). Now 2 deadlines per year.

d) Small Grants

Up to £5k. Can apply on a rolling basis – there are no deadlines. This scheme is for small-scale research projects, scoping exercises or meetings. Research trips under this scheme may be to consult libraries or archives.

This scheme can also provide institutions with financial support for conferences (or a session within a conference), symposia, seminar series, and so on.  You cannot apply for external conference attendance though.

There are also some ‘Opportunity profiles’ for these schemes on the Research Professional website:


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ESRC Delivery Plan 2015-16 now published. Here’s a summary….

ESRC  Along with the other Research Councils (see our other Blog posts), ESRC  have just published their Delivery Plan 2015-2016.  All the Research Councils publish Delivery Plans as a final product of  Government Spending Review. The Plans set out each Council’s funding priorities and outline the activities that they intend to undertake over a given period i.e. this is the document gives some genuine signposts  as to what is coming up over the next couple of years.

You can read the full document here: but to summarise some key points:

  •  They will maintain their 3 Strategic Priorities but focus funding in 2015-16 in seven key areas:

–          Big Data

–          Business Innovation

–          Social Science of Environmental Change

–           Urban Transformations

–          Epigenetics

–          Education

–          Europe

(full descriptions of these areas are in the Plan)

  • Will begin commissioning the next phase of Doctoral Training Centres informed by an independent evaluation of the current network and shaped by the priority areas above
  • Their vision will deliver more ‘transformative research’ which pioneers theoretical or methodological innovation;
  • revolutionise the UK’s data infrastructure through greater use of transactional and administrative data. Will direct a proportion of their research and training awards towards the use of existing national datasets
  • identify and support ‘frontier science’
  • work more with TSB, strengthening contribution of social science
  • extend partnerships, especially international, through schemes such as the Newton fund
  • Deliver research that supports growth through targeted investments in areas that increase our understanding of business innovation, and improve learning and life chances for the next generation of employees and business leaders
  • Continue increasing leverage through partnerships e.g. ESRC will get co-funding from private enterprise
  • Develop Data Science skills and capacity in partnership with other funders
  • Maintain focus on impact

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Horizon 2020 – And then there were four … Israel joins H2020


Israel has now joined the growing list of countries to have concluded an association agreement to allow it to participate fully in Horizon 2020. The agreement does have certain restrictions, as the agreement respects pre-1967 borders. This means that entities based in the Occupied Territories (Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem) are not able to participate.

As with other countries with association agreements (Norway, Iceland and Turkey), this now means that eligible Israeli partners can participate on an even footing with EU Member States.

In practical terms this means organisations from Israel can participate in and lead proposals on a funded-basis and that partners from Israel count towards the minimum requirements for consortium. The decision is applied retrospectively from the start of Horizon 2020, so will apply to any proposals that are currently being reviewed.

The Commission have issued FAQs designed to provide more information and these are available here.

Negotiations are ongoing with Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova and the Faroe Islands. Both Armenia and Ukraine are also interested in becoming associated, and updates are expected on potential participation later in the year.

Although negotiations remain on hold with Switzerland, details of national funding to cover Swiss participation are anticipated within the next month.

For more information on funding for non-EU countries in Horizon 2020 take a look at the European Commission’s ‘Open to the World’ publication.