MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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


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Funding for Research with Syrian Academics

The Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) has funded research and academics/scientists who are at grave risk so they can continue their work and their knowledge be preserved since the 1930s.

Cara are currently funding the Syria Research Fellowship Scheme (SRFS) as part of the Cara Syria Programme. They state that:

The aim of the Syria Programme is ‘To nurture and enable future opportunities for Syrian academics by facilitating professional connection and collaboration and continued academic development and contribution whilst in exile, as a major part of Syria’s intellectual and cultural capital and a group that is vital to the future of Syria.’

The scheme will fund up to 8 research projects, each lasting 9 months and with a maximum value of £15,000. The research team will need to involve a Principal Investigator (in this case, from Manchester Met) and two Syrian academics in exile in the Middle East as a result of the current Syrian Crisis.

A key criteria is that any funding will need to demonstrate both “impact and relevance to Syria or to Syrian populations in exile, and which support the integration of Syrian academics into the international arena”.  The scheme is open to all academic disciplines and further details can be found on Cara’s website or from the International Research Development Managers.

 

 

 

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Manchester Met Process for GCRF Global Engagement Networks Call

UKRI have announced an opportunity for UK institutions to support partners in ODA countries as they develop Global Engagement Networks to tackle Global Challenges. As this is a new type of networking call with specific eligibility and design rules, Manchester Met are putting in a process to support applications to this scheme including an initial, internal selection process.

To help support the development of these bids, Manchester Met are asking interested staff to complete a short form, based on the call form, to be completed by Monday 17th September so we can check eligibility & support the development of these projects.

Those projects selected internally will then go through the funder’s two phase application process:

  • Phase 1: Eligibility, relevance & fit to call checks.  11/10/18 1600
  • Phase 2: Full application to be peer reviewed.  Date TBC.

Further details and the form are available from researchapplications@mmu.ac.uk

Call Details

The focus of the Global Engagement Networks are partners in ODA countries who will receive the majority of the funding though there is a possibility of a UK partner acting as a Co-Director (this role can also be fulfilled by a partner in an ODA country).

The call asks that the Director (based in a research institution in an ODA country) will:

  • Develop and deliver a clear strategy to grow a new multi-disciplinary network to find innovative solutions to development challenges.
  • Focus the network on one of the 6 portfolios: Cities & Sustainable Infrastructure; Education; Food Systems; Global Health; Resilience to Environmental Shocks & Change; Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises & Forced Displacement.
  • Include research/non-researcher links and should include academic, business and stakeholder communities in DAC countries as well as staff at all career levels (postgraduate to professorial).
  • Increase engagement of fellow experts in ODA countries with GCRF and other development opportunities
  • Identify & provide letters of supports from the first 5 network members

UKRI will provide funds for structured activities to enable knowledge sharing and networking but NOT salary costs/attendance fees for these events.  However, funds will cover the Director, Co-Director (max 1), a Network Manager (usually based in the lead country) and some admin/overhead costs.  The maximum value is £150,000 and we anticipate between 1 and 3 networks will be funded per priority.


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Erasmus+ Calls in 2019

The British Council is already looking forward to its 2019 calls for Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships.  These projects help EU-wide collaborations develop resources and networks to improve teaching/education in all disciplines and for all learners.

In 2019 we’re expecting the UK’s priority themes to be:

  • Tackling skills gaps and mismatches
  • Promoting and rewarding excellence in teaching and skills development
  • Promoting more flexible and innovative learning

Deadlines for Strategic Partnerships are expected to be the third week of March 2019.   The UK remains fully eligible for Erasmus+ in the coming year and in 2018 there was about a 1 in 3 chance of success for Strategic Partnership applications led by UK partners.  Further details will be published on the British Council website in due course and, of course, available from euro_res@mmu.ac.uk


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Brexit and Participation in EU-Funded Projects including Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

There continues to be much discussion about the future of the UK in European Funding Schemes.  Below is a summary of what we know in order to provide reassurance that the UK can continue participating in projects funded by the EU.  A version can be downloaded here to share with partners and further details are available from euro_res@mmu.ac.uk

EU Summary July 2019 Image

[1] “UK Participation in Horizon 2020” (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, March 2018)  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/686810/Horizon_2020_Core_lines.pdf
[2] Joint Report from the Negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government (UK Government & European Commission, December 2017) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/665869/Joint_report_on_progress_during_phase_1_of_negotiations_under_Article_50_TEU_on_the_United_Kingdom_s_orderly_withdrawal_from_the_European_Union.pdf
[3] Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (European Commission, March 2018) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/draft_agreement_coloured.pdf
[4] Chancellor Philip Hammond guarantees EU funding beyond date UK leaves the EU (13 August 2016) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-philip-hammond-guarantees-eu-funding-beyond-date-uk-leaves-the-eu
[5] Funding from EU programmes guaranteed until the end of 2020 (24 July 2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020
[6] PM speech on our future economic partnership with the European Union(2 March 2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-our-future-economic-partnership-with-the-european-union
[7] European Council (Art. 50) (23 March 2018) – Guidelines (European Council, March 2018) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/33458/23-euco-art50-guidelines.pdf


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The Minister, the Civil Servant and the Vice Chancellor

I am afraid this is not the start of a salacious tale but actually a reflection of some of the meetings I’ve been to recently.  And at each of them, I’ve been left feeling hopeful about European & International funding, whatever the Prime Minister does (or does not) say in her latest Brexit speech (2 March).  And here’s a few reasons why:

  1. European and International Research is valued at the heart of Government. 

When Sam Gyimah, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, took questions at Manchester Met last week, he emphasised the importance of research and the importance of continued participation in Horizon 2020.  He’s working with his EU counter-parts towards continued UK participation, contingent on excellence and value for money, as well as establishing research agreements with countries such as China, the USA and Israel.

  1. Research underpins multiple UK policies

But it’s not just the Minister for Universities who thinks research is important as it features in other national strategies.  Manchester Met’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Exchange gave a presentation recently about the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy and how it mapped on Manchester Met in terms of our location, research strength and networks.  Likewise, through the Global Challenges Research Fund, research is being linked to international development.  Research remains important to the UK, its economy and its role in the world.

  1. Work is well underway to ensure continued UK participation in EU-funded Research

At a presentation by a Civil Servant from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, it was clear that the department is carefully preparing for a range of scenarios post-Brexit.  There is quiet hope for continued UK participation in EU research projects up to the end of 2020 and detailed work happening to ensure a smooth transition as the UK leaves the EU.  There’s lobbying for continued participation in the Framework 9 programme when it launches in 2021 – and the UK’s and EU’s politicians seem genuinely aware of the importance of British Universities.

  1. Research is at the heart of what we do as a university. 

At his all-staff presentation, the Vice Chancellor talked of Manchester Met as being involved in knowledge generation, dissemination and translation.  He emphasised how our research informs our teaching and, indeed, all our work as an institution.

And there’s some really interesting international activity happening at the moment, ranging from work on historic site preservation in Myanmar to European research infrastructure development, from improving speech & language therapy in Rwanda to creating tools to help Hydrogen Education in Schools.   All these are funded by different funders and are at different stages in the research process: from early stage conception to translation & dissemination.

When closing the Question & Answer session with the Minister for Higher Education, Manchester Met’s Vice Chancellor ended by saying that it is easy to look back but we should look forward as there are many positive things happening in the sector, including in EU & International research. So keep your eyes on this blog for further updates on research policy and funding opportunities as things will continue to evolve rapidly.


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GCRF: 7 Questions & Links about Official Development Assistance through Research

In the Chancellor’s Budget Speech (22 November 2017), he’s confirmed that there’s an additional £2.3bn in the research budget to make sure the UK is a world leader in research & innovation.  As alignment of research to international priorities continues to increase in importance, we thought it might be helpful to set some of the opportunities in context and give a quick reminder of where to find out more information about opportunities.

What is the Global Challenges Research Fund? 

The UK government has committed to deliver a key element of its international aid (Official Development Assistance, ODA) through “cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues affecting developing countries”.  The resulting Global Challenges Research Fund aims to use research & innovation to reduce poverty, address development challenges and build capacity in developing countries.

Why is the government funding GCRF? 

The UK government has committed to spending 0.7% of GDP on International Aid.  Meanwhile, in Autumn 2016 the government committed to spending an extra £2 billion on research and wants to ensure the UK has a University sector which delivers global impact.  At a time when budgets are tightening, one of the ways that government can make both targets is by creating an explicit link between research and international development.  Through careful selection, each £1 invested in the Global Challenges Research Fund can be counted as an additional £1 in the Research AND International Aid budgets.  This funding also helps the government meet some of its other international aspirations: improving & maintaining the UK’s influence and brand as well as helping the UK deliver its commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

What sort of research can be undertaken? 

The UK Research Councils state that: The GCRF aims to support excellent research that directly contributes to the development and welfare of people in developing countries.  These projects need to demonstrate benefits to those countries in receipt of international aid (ODA recipient countries).  This can either be through activities to enhance capability & capacity in the target country and/or research which is aligned to the key challenges faced by that country. GCRF funding is challenge-led, focusing on research which will support Equitable Access to Sustainable Development, Sustainable Economies and Societies, and Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice.

Which countries are eligible? 

The funding is target at the countries which are in receipt of Official Development Assistance (ODA), as defined by the OECD, and there’s a handy map on the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) website.

 How much money? 

The UK government has committed £1.5bn by 2020-21.  In 2016-17 there is £112m in the budget but by the final year this will have increased to £492m.

Who are the big funders? 

GCRF funds are being distributed via:

There are also parallel funding streams for funding Research in Development. The Newton Fund brings together UK funding agencies with their counterparts in countries in receipt of ODA.  Through a set of partnership agreements, the Newton Fund supports activities including developing links, research and translation of research, which align to the priorities of the partner country in question. Money will also be invested in combatting disease and drug-resistant infection through the Ross Fund and the Fleming Fund.

What do we need to consider in order to be ready to bid?  

In order to be ready to bid for funds, there are four key questions which should be asked:

  • Is the project addressing economic development and welfare in the country in question?
  • What evidence is there of the need for this project from national and international strategies?
  • Are the countries involved on the DAC List of ODA Recipients?
  • Do you have existing links in the country, with delivery partners and/or academics?

Where can we find out more? 

  •  GCRF calls managed through the UK Research Councils are listed on the RCUK’s specific page and the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) also maintains a wider list of funding opportunities here.
  • You can also find opportunities using Research Professional (Ed – all Manchester Met academics have access to Research Professional. If you have any issues accessing please let us know (researchapplications@mmu.ac.uk))
  • The Blog! We regularly share key opportunities.

Manchester Met’s International Research Development Managers (Margaret Eastcott & Christopher Grinbergs) in conjunction with colleagues in Research & Knowledge Exchange are available to discuss opportunities and provide more information.


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Erasmus+: 2018 Deadlines Announced

The first deadlines for Erasmus+ calls in 2018 have been announced. There have been a few changes to the detail of the schemes and also an increase in the budget so do get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.  The UK remains eligible for the and the UK Government has agreed that any award will be underwritten by the UK treasury if it extends beyond March 2019. Below are the key schemes and deadlines and Christopher Grinbergs (c.grinbergs@mmu.ac.uk) is available to discuss the scheme and help develop projects.

KA1 – Mobility of individuals in the field of education and training for Mobility for staff & students between HEIs in Erasmus+ countries of up to 12 months.  NB Contact – Natalie Cunningham (International Office) for internal deadlines and procedures. 

KA2 – Capacity building in the field of higher education these are multilateral partnerships between HEIs and other agencies to improve quality, management, governance, innovation and modernisation of HE, particularly in the partner country. Each country and region has specific priorities.  Funds: €500k to €1m over 2-3 years.  Deadline: 8 February 2018

Jean Monnet actions fund work in European Union studies through Modules, Chairs, Centres of Excellence, Associations, Networks & Projects.  Deadline: 22 February 2018

KA2 – Knowledge Alliances fund innovation between HE, business & the broader socio-economic environment (e.g. joint curricula, educational activities with companies) and projects which develop entrepreneurial mind-set & skills.  Maximum Funds: 2 years: €700k, 3 years: €1m.  Deadline: 28 February 2018

KA2 – Strategic partnerships in the field of education and training fund EITHER outputs to share existing or new products or innovative ideas OR the development or reinforcement of networks to share ideas, practices and methods.  Maximum funds: €450,000 over 36 months. Deadline: For Higher Education Projects: 21 March 2018.  For Youth Projects the first deadline is 1 February.