MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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‘Changing the Story’: Large Grants research funding that considers how civil society organisations can support children and young people in post-conflict settings

Changing the Story Large Grants: Applications open 1 May

The GCRF programme Changing the Story: Building inclusive civil societies with, and for, young people in post-conflict countries is delighted to launch its Large Grants funding scheme for researchers at all levels, supporting research that considers how civil society organisations (CSO) can best support children and young people in post-conflict settings.

A key aim of Changing the Story is to deliver the first large-scale comparative study of CSO practice across a range of post-conflict societies, confronting the challenge of building strong institutions for the delivery of social justice for young people.

Adopting quantitative and qualitative, co-production and action-research methodologies, Changing the Story is working in partnership with researchers at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Independent Research Organisations (IROs) across the UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA)-recipient countries, using our research findings to develop new methods, case studies and practical toolkits, for engaging children and young people with the many ways that violent national pasts continue to impact on their communities and countries. In the process we seek to generate new theory, as well as making a significant intervention both on the ground and at policy level.

This Large Grants scheme is the third round of projects to be administered by Changing the Story, and follows five proof of concept projects that are situated in Cambodia, Colombia, Kosovo, Rwanda and South Africa and eleven projects across 12 countries funded by our ECR Grants scheme, which closed in December 2018.

CTS Large Grants Awards range from £50,000-£100,000.


Changing the Story is a collaborative project which explores the following research questions:

  • What lessons can be learnt from the ways in which CSOs have attempted to deal with the legacy of past violence on the key issues facing young people in these societies today?
  • How can these lessons be shaped into practical, and sustainable, development projects on the ground, localising best practice to the situation faced by specific communities?
  • How can CSOs most effectively share best practice internationally? What are the higher-level policy implications of our research findings for development agencies and multilateral bodies seeking to roll out more extensive programmes on post-conflict resolution?

The project team applying for the CTS Large grant must be multi-institutional. It must include at least two researchers – one from the UK and one from an ODA-country, one of whom must be the Principal Investigator. It must also include at least one CSO partner working in the ODA recipient country.

Call Opens: 01/05/2019

Closing Date: 14/06/2019

Results expected: July 2019. Earliest start date for research: 15 September 2019

Please see:




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‘What Works Centre for Wellbeing’ linked funding opportunities with ESRC/AHRC

what works wellbeing 220px-esrc_logo  AHRC 2

There are currently 2 funding opportunities administered by the ESRC in connection with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

1) Approaches to Understanding and Measuring Wellbeing

The ESRC and the AHRC, in partnership with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW),  invite proposals for innovative research projects that focus on a wide range of methodologies and approaches to understanding and measuring wellbeing.

Proposals are welcome that will look at a vast range of definitions of wellbeing, as well as different methodological approaches to the measurement of wellbeing. This could include debate and comparative study around different understandings and views of ‘wellbeing’ in addition to investigating different methodologies to utilising data resources to inform the measurement of wellbeing in varying contexts. The successful team will be expected to work closely with the WWCW Hub and any existing research projects.

The What Works Wellbeing Centre say:

Getting measurement right is important

Measurement enables us to make comparisons, track progress and articulate what success looks like using verifiable indicators. But measurement is also difficult, particularly when the phenomenon you are trying to measure is as complex as wellbeing. And imperfect measurement can focus attention in the wrong places.

The measurement of wellbeing has come a long way in recent years. We now have an agreed indicator set from the ONS, which includes four subjective measures of wellbeing. There is a growing recognition of the importance and validity, particularly of subjective measures of wellbeing, to understand the impact of government policy and local interventions.

Measuring the right things

But as the appetite to apply a wellbeing lens grows, the challenges and limitations of our existing toolkit of measures raises some important questions for research, policy and practitioners alike.

For example, when valuing the impact a policy:

  • How do you account for who’s wellbeing is affected, and what weightings would be appropriate to ensure policies improve overall wellbeing as well as reduce wellbeing inequalities?
  • How do wellbeing goals at a central level translate to measures that can be measured and implemented by different agencies?
  • How would you account for tradeoffs between different determinants of wellbeing?
  • What does the use of a single measure for wellbeing, such as life satisfaction miss or under-emphasise in terms of the aspects of life and society that we value (eg. power, sustainability) and how can these be accounted for?

It is questions like these that we are hoping that the Methods and Measures project will address.

We are looking forward to receiving proposals from teams of academics that want to work with us to explore some of these complex conceptual and empirical issues, in a way that will demonstrate both the value and pragmatism of a wellbeing approach, and working with that team to develop, translate and apply the outputs of this research project

Applicants can apply for up to £550,000 (100% fEC) of which UKRI will contribute 80%. The intention is to fund one grant. Deadline is  20 June 2019, 16.00. A shortlisting panel meeting will be held in June and interviews will take place in July. Funding decisions will be communicated to applicants by the end of August 2019. The successful grant must start by 15 November 2019

Full details:

2) Highlight notice for ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative

The Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) features ad-hoc competitions in collaboration with ESRC’s partner organisations. These calls may focus on exploitation of other datasets or research questions identified by the partner organisations that differ from those in the standard call. In these instances additional funding will be available which will be ring-fenced specifically for these projects.

What Works Centre for Wellbeing – highlight notice:

ESRC, in partnership with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW), is seeking to fund up to six projects (dependent on quality of proposals and funding available) via a highlight notice to ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) open call, we are inviting innovative proposals on ‘Understanding Wellbeing’ using secondary data.

Projects should use existing data resources to explore the concept of wellbeing in a range of contexts, including but not limited to:

  • work (including flexible, informal and self-employed)
  • community relationships (including trust, empowerment, belonging, social connections, loneliness and isolation, living conditions)
  • finance (including debt, financial uncertainty/precarity)
  • health (Including improving mental health and wellbeing through changes to nutrition, physical activity, arts/cultural intervention etc.)
  • wellbeing inequalities (for individuals or groups)

Deadline is 31 July 2019 for the November panel. Funding is available for up to 24 months with a maximum ESRC funding contribution per project of £300,000 (100% full Economic Cost (fEC)), of which ESRC will contribute 80%).

Successful research teams will work with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing for the duration of the project. Applicants must therefore contact the centre before applying. Applicants should also include relevant expert members of the WWCW as co-investigators or partners on the project

For full details (including a video on the opportunity) please see:


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AHRC: Cultural Heritage, Migration and Indian Diasporas – Research Networking call


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) are pleased to announce a joint call for Research Networking projects addressing the theme of ‘Cultural Heritage, Migration and Indian Diasporas’.

Funding of between £30,000-£45,000 per project for UK applicants is available on a full economic cost (fEC) basis with AHRC meeting 80% of the fEC.  Matched resources are available from ICHR for Indian applicants. Awards should have a duration of up to 9 months and will be expected to start between 1st November 2019 and 1st Febuary 2020. It is expected that 4-5 awards will be made under this call.

The aim of this Research Networking call is to allow researchers in the UK and India to build interdisciplinary networks and partnerships that will explore and develop key issues arising from the scoping workshop held in Ahmedabad in January 2019. It is hoped that these awards will stimulate debate in response to the key challenges raised at the workshop; build partnerships between academic and non-academic communities in response to these challenges; and lead to the development of longer-term collaborative research projects between researchers in the UK and India.

Proposals must address one of the following five themes:

  • Indian diasporas and cultural markets
  • Digital technology as a bridge
  • Cultural Heritage Transformations
  • Identities and Migration
  • Cultural Heritage Institutions as gateways to diasporic cultures

Deadline is 6th June 2019

You can find the full call document here:


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Funding Call: The Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK’s International Challenges 2019. Key themes: European identities and/or borders.

British Academy

This programme provides UK-based researchers at any career stage – and active in any discipline within the social sciences and the humanities – with an opportunity to develop and lead interdisciplinary research projects which bear on existing understanding of the international challenges and opportunities which the UK has faced, is facing and/or will face.

In this round the British Academy invites applications which relate to the theme of European identities and/or borders.

The projects will aim to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Enhance public, cultural and/or policy understanding of international challenges past, present and future through the expertise of the humanities and social sciences;
  2. Develop through the humanities and social sciences the awareness required to address matters of international concern;
  3. Engender new or deepen existing international interdisciplinary research collaborations in the humanities and social sciences in order to yield new understanding for culture, policy and/or research agendas;
  4. Further cross-learning between disciplines and/or between academic, policy, cultural, practitioner and public communities on issues that are topical, under-explored or necessitate reframing.

Eligibility requirements

The lead applicant must be based at an eligible UK university or research institute, and be of postdoctoral or above status (or have equivalent research experience).

Collaboration between researchers in different disciplines and institutions is particularly encouraged, where appropriate, given the nature and aims of this programme, and applications may include named co-applicants and other participants from overseas.

Value and duration

Awards are up to £50,000 and 18 months in duration.

Funding can be used to support research expenses and consumables; travel and subsistence; networking, meeting and conference costs; and research and/or clerical assistance (postdoctoral or equivalent).

NOTE: there is no provision for investigator salary or replacement teaching costs.

More info, including the detailed scheme notes is available, here:

If you are interested please contact your Research Development Manager a.s.a.p.


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Pre-call announcement from Joint Programming Initiative in Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPICH): Conservation & Protection

The Joint Programming Initiative in Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPICH) is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity for transnational proposals. The Conservation and Protection call will support research into strategies, methodologies and tools to safeguard and use the physical components of our cultural heritage. It invites research projects that take a global approach to preserving Europe’s heritage and which result in a better understanding of our history, traditions and culture, of our individual and collective identities, and ultimately of our well-being. The total budget for the call for transnational projects is approximately 6.96 million Euros. The participating countries in this call are: Belarus, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom.

The main eligibility criteria are:

• Duration of projects: up to 36 months;

• Each project proposal must comprise of at least three research teams, each based in an eligible institution in a different country participating in the Conservation and Protection Call. The maximum number of research teams in a project proposal is five.

• Applications must be in accordance with the eligibility requirements relevant for the national research teams in the transnational research consortia and not exceed the maximum budgets to be requested therein.  For the UK that means we follow the AHRC rules.

The Call for Proposals will open on Wednesday 1st May 2019 and the deadline for submission of proposals will be  Sunday 30 June 2019, 14:00 CEST.

A JISC Mail list has been set up to help researchers or interested partners to find partners in other countries and organisations for the JPICH Conservation and Protection Call. To use this service, you need to subscribe at the following link:

For further info please see the PDF available here:


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AHRC workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage, Migration and the Indian Diaspora’

AHRC 2   The AHRC has announced a call for UK researchers to attend a workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage, Migration and Indian Diaspora’  in Ahmedabad, India on the 30-31st January 2019. Organised in partnership with the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), the event will bring together academic experts from both countries to explore how the experiences of the Indian diaspora and migratory movements have shaped Indian cultural heritage, and the importance of this heritage to the sustainable development of India.

A key aim of the workshop is to enable researchers from the UK and India to reflect on the achievements of the AHRC/ICHR programme so far as well as network and develop partnerships with a view to submitting proposals to a research networking call thereafter.

Expressions of interest to participate in the workshop are invited from UK-based researchers meeting the AHRC’s standard eligibility requirements from all disciplines within the arts and humanities.  In order to identify new and emerging areas for collaborative UK/India research, the workshop will focus on the following thematic areas:

  • Indian diaspora and cultural markets – How does the Indian diaspora contribute to cultural relations between India and the rest of the world?
  • Digital technology as a bridge – How is digital technology changing the relationship/s between the Indian diaspora and cultural heritage?
  • Cultural Heritage Transformations – Through the process of migration, what is gained, adapted and preserved in terms of tangible and intangible cultural heritage? How does cultural heritage change within the context of migration and what are the implications for the concepts of authenticity and integrity?
  • Cultural heritage as a driver of migration -What are the push and pull factors between forms of cultural heritage and Indian migration? How does it influence and shape the process of migration?
  • Resourcing migration – How can cultural heritage institutions better support the Indian diaspora and international researchers who study its associated processes and impacts?
  • Identities and Migration – What is the relationship between cultural heritage and migration with regards to the formation of multiple identities and contested heritage?

Applicants should have a particular research interest in the topics noted above and be able to articulate this in their expression of interest.

The AHRC expects to support the attendance of around 20 UK-based researchers, with the ICHR identifying a similar number of Indian academics.

The deadline is imminent – 12th Dec – but the application is just a 250 word short bio and a 500 word justification of your suitability to win a place via a simple online form.


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Applying for research funding – is it worth it?

Adam Goldberg is Research Development Manager in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham. He runs an excellent blog called ‘Cash for Questions’ in which he shared this interesting and useful article.

A version of this article first appeared in Funding Insight on 6th March 2018 and is reproduced with kind permission of Research Professional. For more articles like this, visit

Success rates are low and applications are more and more time consuming to write. Is it worth it? Here’s a quick list of considerations that might help you reach a better decision.

While the latest success rates from UK research councils showed a very modest overall improvement after five consecutive annual falls, most observers regard this as a blip rather than as a sign of better times to come. Outside the Research Councils, success rates are often even lower, with some social science/humanities fellowship schemes having single digit success rates.

While success rates have fallen, demands on applicants have steadily risen. The impact agenda has brought first the impact summary and then the pathways to impact statement, and more recently we’ve seen greater emphasis on data management plans and on detailed letters of support from project partners that require significant coordination to obtain. It would be one thing if it were just a question of volume – if you want a six or seven figure sum of what’s ultimately public money, it’s not unreasonable to be asked to work for it. But it’s not just that, it’s also the fiddly nature of using JeS and understanding funder requirements. I’m forever having to explain the difference between the pathways to impact and the impact summary, and there are lots of little quirks and hidden sections that can trip people up.

But beyond even that, there’s the institutional effort of internal peer review from research development staff and senior and very busy academic staff. Whether that’s an internal review mandated by the research council – shifting the burden of review onto institutions – or introduced as a means of improving quality, it’s another cost.

Given the low success rates, the effort and time required, and the opportunity costs of doing so, are we wasting our time? And how would we know?

The research

  • Do you need funding to do the research? If not, might it be a better idea just to get on with it, rather than spend a month writing an application and six months waiting for a response? And if you only need a small amount of funding, consider a smaller scheme with a less onerous application process.
  • Do you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve? If you can’t identify some clear research questions, and what your project will deliver, the chances are it needs more thinking through before it’s ready to be turned into an application.
  • Are you and your team passionate and enthused and excited about your proposal? If you’re not, why should anyone else be?
  • Is your research idea competitive? That’s not the same question as ‘is it good’? To quote a research director from a Canadian Research Council – it’s not a test, it’s a contest. Lots and lots and lots of good ideas go unfunded. Just because you could get something in that’s in scope and has at least some text in every box doesn’t mean you should.
  • Is your research idea significant? In other words, does it pass the ‘so what, who cares’ test? My experience on an NIHR funding panel is that once the flawed are eliminated, funding is a battle of significance. Is your research idea significant, would others outside your field regard it as significant, and can you communicate its significance?

Your motivations

  • Are they intrinsic to the research – to do with the research and what you and your team want to discover and achieve and contribute…. or are they extrinsic?
  • Are you applying for funding because you want promotion? When you come and talk to me and my colleagues about ‘applying for funding’ but have less a coherent project and more of a list of random keywords, don’t think we don’t know.
  • Is it because you/your research group/school is being pressured to bring in more funding? Football manager Harry Redknapp’s tactical instructions to a substitute apparently once consisted of “just flipping run around a bit” (I paraphrase) and I sometimes worry that in some parts of some institutions that’s what passes for a grant capture strategy that values activity over outcomes.
  • Is it because you want to keep researchers on fixed term contracts/your promising PhD student in work? That’s a laudable aim, but without the right application and idea, you risk giving them false hope if the application is just to do more of the same with the same people.

Practical considerations

  • Do you have the time you need to write a competitive application? Just as importantly, do your team? Will they be able to deliver on the bits of the application they’ll need to write? As Yoda said, “do or do not, there is no try” (Lucas, 1980). If you can’t turn your idea into a really well written, competitive, proposal in time, perhaps don’t.
  • Do you have your ducks in a row? Your collaborators and co-Is, your industry, government, or third sector partners lined up and on board? Are your impact plans ready? Or are you still scratching around for project partners while your competitors are polishing the fourth iteration of the complete application? Who are your rivals for this funding? Not relevant for ‘open’ calls, but for targeting schemes, who else is likely to be going for this?
  • Does what you want to do fit the call you’re considering applying for? Read the call, read it again, and then speak to your friendly neighbourhood Research Development professional and see if your understanding of the call matches hers. Why? Because it’s hard for researchers to read a call for proposals without seeing it through the lens of their own research priorities. Make sure others think it’s a good fit – don’t trust yourself or your co-Is to make that decision alone.
  • Is this the best use of your time right now? Might your time be better spent on impact, publishing papers from the last project, revising a dated module, running professional development courses?

A companion piece on the costs and benefits to researchers of applying for funding will be republished on Cash for Questions next week.

You can find the Cash for Questions blog here: