MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

Leave a comment

A very Euro Christmas to you all!

2016 has been a very eventful year from a European perspective. You’ll all be aware of the happenings in June 2016 and subsequent debate, but there’s been a lot of good Euro news here at Manchester Met that has given us much to smile about. The following is just a quick snapshot of some of the highs of the past twelve months.

Starting with Horizon 2020, Prof Tristan McKay’s group are part of a European team developing therapies for Batten Disease through the BATCure project which aims to improve the lives of the estimated 1 million + children affected by this group of conditions. Moving out of the lab and towards the intersection of computing and biological imaging Prof Rene Doursat and colleagues will be lending their expertise to the ImageInLife Innovative Training Network. ImageInLife will train young European researchers in imaging complex biological systems. Taking our computing in a slightly different direction are Drs Keeley Crockett and Jim O’Shea, who are working with other research organisations and border agencies in the iCROSS project to examine new approaches to border control based on some of our existing technology (Silent Talker).

In the business arena, Prof Sally Randles’ new SMART-map project is connecting industry with research and civil society organisations to encourage responsible technology development and colleagues including the Prof Sue Baines and Prof Alberto Paucar-Caceres are working with European partners to make more links between the research base and business through the SAUNAC and DiTEM Erasmus + projects. Sally’s work on responsibility in research and innovation (RRI) comes to the fore again in the JERRI project, which will develop and pilot plans for RRI at two of the EU’s largest Research and Technology Organisations, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany and TNO in the Netherlands.

Our ground-breaking work on apprenticeships is also being recognised at the European level, with Liz Gorb’s SME Gap Erasmus + project which focuses on exchange of best practices with other European players.

We’ve also seen our first Horizon 2020 projects in Arts and Humanities. Ulysses Sengupta and Rob Hyde will lead Manchester Met’s contribution to the Manchester hub of SynchroniCity, a large-scale IoT pilot creating a network of reference zones across Europe. And, in a truly interdisciplinary endeavour, Prof Felicity Colman will lead a philosophical think tank in developing recommendations for ethics in ICT based research through her Ethics of Coding project.

In the field of education, our knowledge is feeding into improving the quality of teaching in the UK and abroad through a range of Erasmus + projects. Dr Geraldine Lee-Treweek contribution to the TEACHER and REFLECT LAB projects will (respectively) develop new approaches to pre-school teacher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and support the application of inquiry based learning. Prof Nicola Whitton’s contribution to the Learning Games project will share our expertise in the use of play in education with others across Europe and Rebecca Patterson and John Rainer will be using drama (and more particularly Shakespeare) to develop approaches to teaching English Language and European Values through the UDSTEL project. Geraldine features again with her PAPYRUS project, which will help to upskill youth workers to respond to the refugee crisis.

Coming back to research, Drs Bethan Owen and Ling Lim will be applying our climate change modelling expertise in the ATM4E project, which will explore the potential for environmentally-optimised flight operations.

Staying with the sustainability theme, a final mention for our colleagues in International Office who have secured funding from Erasmus + to enable staff mobility, which will allow a team from Manchester Met to build on their relationship with the College of African Wildlife Management through a series of activities planned for 2017.

And with that, have a very Euro Christmas and we look forward to working with you in the New Year!

Leave a comment

Europe: Festive Funding Opportunities


In a pre-Christmas flurry, a few opportunities have been announced which may be of interest to readers:

  • Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) – IMI has announced its tenth call for proposals supporting research in a variety of areas including hypoglycaemia; use of big data in diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer; improving care for patients suffering from acute or chronic pain; patient perspectives in medicines lifecycle; and personalised medicine in autism spectrum disorders. Deadline for stage one proposals is 28 March 2017 and details can be found here.
  • SESAR – has announced their new call for proposals on research focused on optimising Air Traffic Management (ATM) performance and intelligent air transport. The deadline for full proposals is 22 March 2017 and details on topics supported and conditions can be found here.
  • QuantERA – QuantERA is a new initiative which will support research in the field of quantum technologies, with the UK’s involvement supported by EPSRC. In a recently published pre-announcement, QuantERA have flagged that they will launch a call for proposals in January, with a likely deadline for stage one proposals of 15 March 2017.

In other news, those of you with Swiss partners will be interested to hear that Switzerland and the EC have successfully completed negotiations which will grant Switzerland the status of an Associated Country within Horizon 2020. This allows Swiss organisations to participate in Horizon 2020 on an even footing with EU Member States.

As ever, if you are thinking of applying, or would like more information about any of the enclosed do get in touch (!

Leave a comment

ESRC Secondary Data Analysis – Highlight Notice for Dept of Education

ESRC    Funding for this highlight notice is being provided by the Department for Education in order to produce insight into policy areas of interest to the Department and to promote the use of relevant datasets. The highlight notice provides up to 18 months funding for grants with an overall limit of £200,000 (100 per cent full Economics Cost (fEC). It is expected to fund around two projects in 2017.

Proposals submitted to this highlight notice must address at least one of the themes outlined below:


  • Teacher quality/subject specialism and the link to social mobility; what works in recruitment and retention of teachers and leaders
  • Social mobility: regional differences in early years, school choice and Higher Education attainment
  • The gender pay gap – using household level data to understand the within household GPG
    • How does time from birth to return to work vary across the income distribution?
    • Within households that have a child and a parent returns to work is gender or pay level the biggest determinant of which parent returns? For example: is it always the men who return, irrespective of pay?
  • Further education – choice and quality, what works?

This highlight notice relates to the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) and no other ESRC scheme. All  SDAI scheme requirements, such as the inclusion of an early career researcher are also required for the highlight notice apart from the requirement to use ESRC funded data resources or infrastructure.

Some resources which are likely to be particularly useful in investigating these areas include:

  • National Pupil Database (NPD)
  • Longitudinal Surveys: including the first and second cohorts of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England; the Millennium Cohort Study and Understanding Society
  • Labour Force Survey
  • Family Resources Survey

However, the use of any secondary data resource is acceptable provided applicants are able to access it (proof of this right should be included in proposals where access is difficult).

The deadline is  16.00 on 10 March 2017.

Proposals funded through the highlight notice should start in September 2017 (for a period of up to 18 months).


Leave a comment

Early Career Fellowship (social science)

SocialFB   The Independent Social Research Foundation will launch a call on 23rd Jan 2017 for early career researchers (not more than 10 years post-PhD)  in the social sciences.

Grants of up to £50,000 are available  to provide full relief from all teaching duties and all associated academic administration for a period of (up to) one year. Research expenses should be funded with matched funding from the host institution.

ISRF  are looking to fund research which uses new approaches to existing problems.  Eligible research is: “Innovative research which breaks with existing explanatory frameworks so as to address afresh empirical problems with no currently adequate theory or investigative methodology. Innovation may also come from controversial theoretical approaches motivated by critical challenge of incumbent theories. Interdisciplinarity in the generation of new investigative initiatives may be achieved by combining, cross-fertilising, and so transforming empirical methods and theoretical insights from the social sciences. Projects ranging across the breadth of the social scientific disciplines and interdisciplinary research fields are welcome, and relevant applications from scholars working within the humanities are also encouraged”.

The deadline for Fellowship applications will be 3rd March 2017.


Leave a comment

Focus on JPIs – opportunities for funding


Those of you interested in European funding may find a new guide to opportunities for funding offered by the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) useful. JPIs offer a mechanism for bringing together funding from different Member States to support research in areas of common interest.

Projects need to be multi-country, but can offer opportunity for smaller scale projects than Horizon 2020. As with Horizon 2020, specific challenges are defined in the calls.

The UK is a full member of the following JPIs, with contributions managed through Research Councils and others:

Urban Europe – supporting research focused on increasing sustainability and ‘livability’ of urban environments SUGI/Food-Water-Energy Nexus call open – full details here

Cultural Heritage – supporting research which has the aim of safeguarding cultural heritage No calls open at the momen– details of future calls will appear here

Water – research contributing to achieving sustainable water systems for a sustainable economy in Europe No calls open at the moment, but expect future calls on Water-related UN Strategic Development Goals (2017) and Closing the water cycle gap – sustainable water management (2018) – details of calls will appear here

More Years Better Lives – research offering a contribution to addressing issues associated with demographic change and the ageing population Call expected in January 2017 pre-announcement here NOTE: UK involvement is not yet confirmed

Climate – research to transition towards a low-emission, climate-resilient economy, society and environment No calls open at the moment – details of future calls will appear here

FACCE-JPI – research to support sustainable agricultural production and economic growth, balancing the emerging bio-economy with he need to restore and retain biodiversity Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here

JPND – research into neurodegenerative disease  Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here

Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life – research focused on health, nutrition, health and physical activity to prevent or minimise diet-related chronic illness No calls open at the momen– details of future calls will appear here

JPI AMR – research to reduce the incidence of bacterial infection, create approaches for rational use of antibiotics and develop diagnostic tools and better surveillance methods  Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here NOTE: UK involvement is not yet confirmed

Oceans – marine and maritime research and technology development No calls open at the momen

In all cases the UK’s membership doesn’t automatically mean that UK participation is guaranteed, so you should always check that the UK has signed up to specific calls (Ed – it makes sense for the UK to prioritise involvement where the call topic and national priorities align well. If there isn’t a strong alignment UK funders will sometimes choose not to invest meaning that UK researchers can’t participate on a funded basis).

As ever, if you’re interested in applying for any of the above or would like to discuss your ideas then please do get in touch (



Leave a comment

NIHR Event: From research idea to funding application – putting your grant proposal together support event

NiHR for Public Mental Health

This free event is now open for registration. 

Registration and the event flyer is now available on the event website.

Details: 14 February 2017, 9.30 am to 4.00 pm – The Liner Hotel, Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool, L3 5QB. 

This NIHR Research Design Service North West (RDS NW) event is for health and social care professionals and researchers in the North West of England who want to develop and submit an application to NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) or another NIHR research funding stream.