MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

Leave a comment

Thoughts and advice from a Newton Fund panel reviewer

Dr Adam Taylor, Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre & Senior Lecturer in Anatomy, Lancaster University, shares what the British Council panel reviewers look for in applications to the Newton Fund.

As researchers, we’ve all been at meetings/conferences and met people who would be interesting collaborators, but for a variety of reasons it just isn’t feasible; costs, distance, or just an appropriate funding stream that provides the opportunity. The Newton Fund presents these opportunities, to engage in research and build long term collaborative links that benefit all involved, with the ultimate goal of aiding those most in need in developing countries.

As a reviewer for the British Council on their biomed review panel, I wanted to share my thoughts and insights which hopefully provide practical advice to those thinking of applying.


It varies, however there are some common themes that appear throughout which I will attempt to summarise here.

  1. Who benefits from the project? Is it relevant to economic development and social welfare?The underlying aim of the Newton Fund is to support research that has the ability to lead to a positive impact on the lives of people on low incomes, and contribute to the economic development and social welfare of the partner country in a reasonable timeframe.This criteria is potentially one of the weakest areas that applicants score in, either because it is not clearly articulated in their application how they are going to do this, or they just don’t articulate it at all.As reviewers we are realistic about the science and research contained in the application, and we don’t expect that they will right all of the existing problems overnight. However, a plausible pathway will contain details that suggest that both the UK and partner country applicants have a clear understanding of the size of the problem that they are trying to address, and how their research and results will lead to change and improvements. Again, “realistically” is the keyword, the timeframe for these benefits to work their way through this is 3-15 years.
  2. Strength of the partnership Following on from this we look at the partnership in the application, and whether this represents a viable match to accomplish what is proposed.  Partnerships can be the commencement of a new collaboration all together, or they can build from an existing collaboration, in which case they must clearly further existing links. Partnerships must also be a logical match; one side might have the technical expertise, and the other the access to data, samples or resources to be analysed.
  3. Project design and budgets As ever, a clear study design and timeline of what is expected to be achieved always helps! Where appropriate a clear budget and costing will help add weight to the project you are proposing, and show whether the outputs and objectives are realistic. Any offer of in-kind or matched funding is always welcome. This can be institutionally or from third parties, and just needs to be clearly articulated, particularly in the case of what the third party is bringing to the research.
  4. Institutional supportThere has to be support from both the UK and partner-country institutions for the project and the individual involved. Some applications detail what resources the institutions will make available and how they will help the applicants achieve the objectives – this is welcome.
  5. Capacity building and sustainabilityAlthough they may sound vague, ‘capacity and sustainability building’ are key strategic requirements of the Newton Fund. Reviewers look for clear descriptors of how this initial funding will sustain their collaboration over the longer term, beyond the initial grant period.Linked to this is the development of individuals involved; what does the individual gain and how will this be of benefit to them? And, how are others going to benefit in the longer term? This may be as simple as the learning and utilisation of new techniques to aid in front line diagnosis of a common disease found in the partner country. Longer term, this knowledge may then help to quickly diagnose many people who will then be in a position to contribute economically to the country. There are many ways that this capacity building and sustainability may appear, but it is fundamental that they are clearly articulated.

The full article can be assessed on the British Council Website

Leave a comment

Mental Health Research UK and The Schizophrenia Research Fund PhD Scholarships

Mental Health Research UK and The Schizophrenia Research Fund invite Universities to apply for a scholarship in the field of a) Children and Young People’s Mental Health and b) Schizophrenia. Each university is permit to submit ‘one’ application per scholarship for consideration.

The award(s) if successful would cover student fees (£4,195) and stipend (£14,553) over a 4 year period.

The funder supports research into:

  • The underlying causes of mental ill health
  • and Treatments for mental health problems

As we can only submit one application per scholarship, MMU is running an short internal Expression of Interest for proposals that meet the criteria of the funder. These will be reviewed by Faculty relevant Heads of RKE and Director of RKE, with one selected to be developed as MMU’s institutional application. The proposed timetable is:

Call for EOIs promoted – w/c 03rd April

  • Deadline for EOIs – Friday 28th April 2017.
  • EOIs discussed and nomination agreed by the relevant Faculty Heads of RKE and Director of RKE by 3rd May 2017.
  • Nominated bid (if any) then developed for submission deadline – 16th June 2017.

The expression of interest form  MentalHealthResearchUK EOI 2018.doc


Leave a comment

Exciting Opportunity: New assessors required for Innovate UK competitions


Promoting the UK’s strengths in innovation and technology – at Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency

Are you a UK-based health and life sciences expert? Would you be interested in helping to assess funding applications for business-led innovation projects? If so – read on!

Innovate UK’s Health and Life Sciences sector team

The Health and Life Sciences sector team at Innovate UK runs a number of different competition schemes, including the Biomedical Catalyst and the Health and Life Sciences competition, as well as occasional SBRI calls.

The Biomedical Catalyst funds projects which tackle ‘any solution to a healthcare challenge’. This means that we need assessors with expertise not just in biomedical sciences related to development of medicines and vaccines, but also in technologies used to design, develop and test medical devices and digital healthcare applications.

Health and Life Sciences competitions embrace our priority areas within health, agriculture & food, and bioscience:

  • Precision medicine, advanced (cell and gene) therapies and preclinical technologies
  • improving agricultural productivity and enhancing food quality
  • Bioscience enabling technologies that underpin new products and services across the bioeconomy

More details of our priority areas can be found on pages 15-17 of our 2016-17 delivery plan.

New assessors required for Innovate UK competitions

Applications for these competitions are peer reviewed by independent external assessors to ensure we support the best UK innovation. We are looking to recruit new UK-based assessors who have held senior positions in clinical, academic or industrial areas, and in particular those that have experience in more than one of these areas. Our assessor group is made available for the Biomedical Catalyst, the two Health and Life Sciences competitions we run each year, the Open programme (which receives applications with a Health and Life Sciences focus) and, where applicable, SBRI calls.

Assessors receive a small remuneration for each application they review. An experienced assessor tends to take 1-2 hours to review an application. We therefore limit the number of applications to ensure that an assessor can be confident to complete assessment within the allotted time frame. We match applications to assessors based on the subject area of the application and the expertise of the assessors – this does mean that we cannot guarantee in advance that assessors will receive a particular number of applications to assess because this will depend on the applications we receive for any particular competition.

How to get in touch for more details

If you believe you have the relevant expertise and experience in the areas covered by the Health and Life Sciences sector team at Innovate UK and you are interested in finding out more about becoming an assessor, please contact the team at the email address:

Further details about Innovate UK can be found here with a page dedicated to Health and Life Sciences here.


Leave a comment

Sexual health and sexual well-being: not an irrelevance to older people

Catch up with Professor Josie Tetley, Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr. David Lee, University of Manchester exciting work around sexual health and well-being across the life-course of life on the MetroPolis and the Manchester Policy Blog.



Leave a comment

Manchester Connected Health Ecosystem: Informatics for Health 2017 Programme Launched!

The scientific programme for Informatics for Health 2017 is now confirmed.

The stimulating 3 day programme incorporating Medical Informatics Europe (MIE2017) and The Farr Institute International Conference 2017 offers the opportunity to listen to speakers and thought leaders from across the field of health informatics and digital health.

Scientific Programme highlights include:

  • Over 250 presentations communicating the latest international research findings
  • A series of panel sessions featuring world-leading scientists
  • Interactive workshops focused on a number of specialisms
  • Over 230 posters and demos

Click here to view the full conference programme.

Pre-Conference Tutorial Programme:

This programme will cover key topics from UK and International Leaders in the field.  Topics include: Learning Health Systems, Text-mining in Health, mHealth Applications and Development, Care Pathway Analysis, and Health Interoperability and Standards.

Click here for more details.

You can register for the Informatics for Health 2017 Conference here.


If you require any assistance with your submission please contact the Scientific Programme Committee on

If you or your organisation would like to explore formal partnership, sponsorship or exhibiting at the event please contact and visit the website for more information

If you have any registration questions please feel free to contact the Delegate Services Team on

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.




Leave a comment

NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme

NHS - research logo

To support academics in applying to either the researcher-led or commissioned workstream of the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme, NIHR are offering two webinars (12 and 16 January 2017). These will provide you with an outline of the programme, tips for a successful application and allow you the opportunity to ask questions of the team.

Researcher-led funding opportunities Proposals on topics or research questions identified by researchers, which are within the programme’s remit.

The EME Programme funds ambitious studies evaluating interventions that have the potential to make a step-change in the promotion of health, treatment of disease and improvement of rehabilitation or long-term care. Within these studies EME supports research to improve the understanding of the mechanisms of both diseases and treatments.

The deadline for applications is 1pm, 14 March 2017. For more information about this funding opportunity, visit the NIHR website.

Commissioned work stream  funding opportunities open at present are:

  • Epilepsy
  • Improving Safety and Efficacy Through Targeted Drug Delivery
  • Novel Interventions for Treatment Resistant Depression
  • Mechanisms of action of health interventions

Full details including guidance are available on the NIHR website. The deadline for applying is 1pm, 14 March 2017.

Future opportunity’s

The below topics are likely to be commissioned during the next year. Individual commissioning briefs will be published when the call opens and will define the call details.

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Interventions to Slow the Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Intraoperative Imaging for Oncological Surgery
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies for Treating Psychological Disorders