MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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NC3Rs-BBSRC Joint Highlight: New approaches to ageing research

NC3Rs-blue-square-2013BBSRC logo

The BBSRC and NC3Rs are collaborating on a joint funding highlight notice to encourage the development of new and innovative models and approaches for ageing research, which reduce the current reliance on mammalian models, as well as address the gaps in terms of scientific utility and relevance to human ageing.

Applications should focus on the biology of ageing and the development of new models and approaches which could minimise the use of mammalian models, as well as providing new insights into the molecular, cellular and physiological events of ageing (and their association with disease).

Areas in scope include, but are not limited to, the fundamental biological mechanisms of the ageing process across the lifecourse, for example improving understanding of how ageing impacts on homeostasis/physiological function in the musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, immune, cognitive, circadian and sensory systems.

The types of models and approaches the funders envisage will be supported include, but are not limited to:

  • Cellular and tissue engineered systems (e.g. using stem cell technologies, human tissue)
  • Systems biology approaches
  • Mathematical and computational models
  • Clinical and population data
  • Non-mammalian organisms (e.g. Drosophila)1.

Proposals can be submitted to either the BBSRC or NC3Rs depending on the focus:

  • For the NC3Rs: Models of the ageing process with relevance to human disease and/or the development of co-morbidity.


A workshop will be held on 1 September 2017 in central London to bring together experts in ageing and age-related diseases, researchers using animal and non-animal approaches, and other stakeholders. The aims of the workshop are to discuss the advantages and limitations of existing model systems and the specifications and requirements for effective models of ageing, and to provide networking opportunities for developing collaborative, interdisciplinary research proposals.

Register for the event HERE

Please can you contact your Research Development Manager if you are interested in this funding opportunity.



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NIHR Public Health

NiHR for Public Mental Health

The NIHR Public Health Stream has released the following two commissioned calls:

17/53 Changing Drinking Behaviours

Research Question: Which interventions in built, natural and/or social structural environments are effective* in modifying drinking behaviour and/or social norms, and minimising harm?

The commissioning brief can be accessed  HERE

17/55 Promoting Independence among older people and disabled people

Research Question: What are the most effective* interventions which support (or create the conditions for) independence* in the everyday lives of older people, or disabled people** of any age?

The commissioning brief can be accessed HERE

The deadline for first stage proposals is 14th November 2017.


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Transformative Research call 2017-18 – Internal Expression of Interest



ESRC have announced the fourth round of the ESRC Transformative Research Call.  Due to the highly ambitious nature of this call they are only allowing us to submit two applications.

We are therefore running an internal MMU Expression of Interest call. EOIs should be completed on the form available here: eoi-transformative and submitted to Gareth Cantello in RKE, by Friday 25th August 2017

EOIs will then be reviewed by an expert panel including relevant Faculty Heads of RKE and applicants will be informed of the outcome on 8th September 2017.

Call info

The aim of this call is to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative research ideas at the frontiers of the social sciences, enabling research which challenges current thinking to be supported and developed.

Call details

This call specifically encourages applicants to design a research question(s) that is both highly ambitious and creative. Applicants should also consider the potential scientific impact of their research proposal and the potential economic and societal impact. More information can be found on the ESRC Impact Toolkit at:

Funding and duration

Grants supported under this call will be funded for up to 24 months in duration and must start no later than 30 September 2018. The value of the award shall not exceed £250,000 (at 100% fEC). The ESRC expect to fund 10-12 transformative grants in this call.  The deadline for submission of the selected applications is 31st October 2017.

Transformative research

For the purpose of this call, the ESRC broadly defines transformative research as involving pioneering theoretical and methodological innovation, engaging unusual disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary perspectives, challenging conventional academic thinking and/or involving the novel application of theory and methods in new contexts.. The expectation is that the transformative research call will provide a major stimulus to novel developments of social science enquiry which will lead to having transformative impact on society. The ESRC recognises that research will attract an element of risk, which they expect will be conducive to high reward.

Some of the possible characteristics of transformative research include:

  • results that will radically change accepted thinking in the social sciences or that could lead to a paradigm shift in its field
  • research that is ethically sound, but which is likely to involve an unusually high degree of risk for the researcher and/ or participants, with the expectation of it producing high rewards
  • research that engages unusual disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and/or methodologies
  • research that challenges widespread methodological and theoretical assumptions of typical social scientific enquiry
  • research that is carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge and new thinking/insights which will lead to having transformative impact on society.

ESRC priority areas

The transformative idea also needs to address one (or more) of the ESRCs five priority areas as identified in its Delivery Plan 2016-2020 (

These are:

  • Productivity
  • Understanding the Macro-Economy
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Housing
  • Ways of Being in a Digital Age

Whilst proposals may include a range of disciplinary approaches, proposals must be at least 50 per cent social science in disciplinary focus. This includes the focus of the research, the principal investigator, and other personnel involved.

Full details are here:

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AHRC New Generation Thinkers 2018 – call now open

Katherine Cooper

This pioneering scheme aims to develop a new generation of academics who can bring the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience through working with the media. It’s a chance for early career researchers to cultivate the skills to communicate their research findings to those outside the academic community.

Each year, up to 60 successful applicants have a chance to develop their media skills, including programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops. Of these up to ten will become BBC Radio 3’s resident New Generation Thinkers and benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own programmes for the station and a chance to regularly appear on air. There will also be the possibility of working with BBC TV, a number of speak opportunities and the chance to become a regular blogger.

Applicants do not have to be funded by the AHRC to apply; the scheme is open to all early career researchers based in a UK Research Organisation (either Higher Education Institution or Independent Research Organisation [IRO]). We also encourage those people who have previously applied unsuccessfully to the scheme, even if they made it to the workshop. For guidance on eligibility, please see the Research Funding Guide

We welcome applications from researchers working in all areas of the arts and humanities. This year we are again extending the call for researchers who work in areas of social sciences and medical science whose work intersects with the arts and humanities. There are a series of interfaces, and many areas of common ground between.

The aim of the scheme is to provide a development opportunity for early career researchers to cultivate the skills to communicate their research findings to those outside the academic community. The scheme wants to find the new generation of academics who can bring the best of the latest university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience.

Applications should demonstrate an engaging and stimulating programme but also demonstrate an ability to talk about other subjects areas within the arts and humanities in an accessible and refreshing manner, with awareness of the wider listening audience. AHRC recommend that you listen to the 2017 winners’ programmes on BBC iPlayer Radio and read both the Call Guidance (PDF, 215KB) and Conditions of Entry (PDF, 108KB).

Closing Date: 12/10/2017

Full details are here:


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International Research: Newton Fund


A number of opportunities are currently available via the British Council as part of the Newton Fund. These are initiatives which can support you in developing and expanding links internationally. Full details are available on the Newton Fund website. Amongst the opportunities are the latest announcements for Institutional Links and Researcher Links, which can help you to develop links with specific countries:

Opportunity Country UK Funder Deadline
Newton Fund Institutional Links Grants  Egypt, Turkey, Thailand


British Council 19 Sept 2017


Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshops China, Philippines


British Council 19 Sept 2017


Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grants


Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa British Council 19 Sept 2017


If you’re interested in applying for these or any other opportunities then please do get in touch with the Research Development Team (


As readers of the Blog will be aware, UK research funding is taking on a much more international flavour, with a number of new opportunities aligned to research which will have demonstrable benefits to countries receiving official development assistance (Ed – for those of you interested, there is a list of ODA recipient countries via the OECD website here).

The Newton Fund is a key initiative in which UK funding bodies including the UK research councils, Innovate UK, British Council and academies and learned societies have partnered with funding agencies in target countries to support science and innovation partnerships. In some cases these are thematic, addressing a specific challenge area and in others they are more general capacity building activities. In all cases, the key driver is responding to the needs of the partner country and activities need to be ODA compliant (Ed – there are some helpful pointers on the Newton Fund website here, and colleagues in the Research Development Team can help you to think about whether your project ideas fit requirements).


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British Academy Moving to Flexi-Grant from August 2017


The British Academy has announced the implementation of its new Grants Management System, Flexi-Grant, which is currently being developed, and will replace the e-GAP2 system from 1 August 2017.

The main difference between the two systems is the requirement for referees to provide their references before an application can be submitted and approval given.

Flexi-Grant will go live on 1 August 2017 using a phased approach and the estimated timetable for opening calls for various schemes is listed below:

August 2017:

Mid-Career Fellowships call opens

Postdoctoral Fellowships call opens

September 2017:

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants (Round 2017-18) call opens

Tackling the UK’s International Challenges (tbc)

GCRF: Sustainable Development Programme (tbc)

October 2017:

BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships call opens

British Academy Rising Star Engagement Awards call opens

April 2018:

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants (Round 2018) call opens

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Pre-call announcement: 4th HERA Joint Research Programme

The Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Network are pleased to announce the implementation of a new Joint Research Programme “Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe” (HERA JRP PS).

The aim of the HERA JRP “Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe” will be to deepen the theoretical and empirical cultural understanding of public spaces in a European context. The programme has been designed to facilitate a broad range of cultural approaches to conceptualising public space, its structural and processual formations, and its possible outcomes in terms of, for example, integration, exclusion, disintegration, fragmentation, hybridization, amalgamation or transmission.

Collaborative research projects under this topic should explore the dynamics through which public spaces shape, and are shaped, by cultural activity, and how various forms of dis/integration can be understood in relation to such spaces.

The expected publication date of the Call for Proposals for humanities-led proposals to this HERA Joint Research Programme is 24 August 2017, with the deadline for submitting Outline Proposals on 24 October 2017.

For more information, please visit the AHRC.