MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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Tips for qualitative researchers seeking funding – what NOT to leave out of your grant applications

Some good points on here….

This Sociological Life

It is grant reviewing season and I’ve been reading through some very interesting applications from some accomplished qualitative researchers in the social sciences and media studies. The rationale and background for projects are usually very well described and justified, as are the track records of the applicants.

But I’ve seen some common areas across several of the applications that need more detail. These are:

  1. There is often not enough (or sometimes even any) information about the approach taken to analysing the qualitative data you are collecting. Simply saying you are ‘using NVivo to analyse the data’ and leaving it at that is not enough. NVivo seems to have become a magic word to use to explain and justify qualitative data analysis. But it is just a data management tool. I want to know what you are going to do with it. There are many approaches to analysing qualitative data. Which…

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Are you interested in the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant? Drop- in session for any questions on 3rd May

British Academy Leverhulme-Trust1-300x168

RKE are holding a drop-in session  on Weds 3rd May, 1-2pm, for anyone considering an application to the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant scheme – deadline 24th May.

We’ll be in GM224 in Geoffrey Manton for that hour, available to answer any quick questions you might have, share examples of successful applications and demonstrate the egap application system, so please do call in.

These awards are up to £10,000 in value, tenable for up to 24 months, and are intended  to cover the cost of expenses arising from a defined research project in the humanities or social sciences.

(Note: all external grant applications need a full economic costing completing and approved by your Faculty so please do contact your Research Development Manager for assistance).





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Pre-announcement: ESRC-ICSSR call for collaborative research on urban transformations in India

ESRC    The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) are pleased to pre-announce a joint call for collaborative projects between UK and Indian researchers. Projects will seek to enhance understanding of urban challenges and issues in India and achieve economic and social impact in India.

In order to refine the scope of the call and prioritise limited funding on the most pressing issues, the ESRC, ICSSR and RCUK (Research Councils UK) organised a workshop with academics representing institutions from across the UK and India in March 2016. Participants took part in a range of activities and discussions in order to establish key issues which would benefit from UK/India collaborative research under the Newton Fund.

The call is expected to open shortly, at which point a full specification and further information on the relevant dates will be provided.

Themes that are expected to be encouraged include:

  • urban planning, governance and management
  • formal and informal populations
  • place and space: challenges and solutions
  • health, sanitation and labour issues
  • small towns and dynamics of changes.

The ESRC has allocated up to £1.75 million, with matched resources from ICSSR. It is expected that four to six research projects will be awarded under this call.

Please see our funding opportunities for updates on this call as they become available.

UK awards will be funded through the Newton Fund – a five year programme that aims to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies.


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ESRC Pre-call announcement for Open Research Area proposals (collaborating with France, Germany, Netherlands, Japan)


Pre-call announcement

The partners for the Open Research Area in Europe (ORA) are pleased to announce their fifth joint call for proposals, due to open in spring 2017.

Similar to the previous call, four European funding organisations are participating in the fifth ORA call: ANR, France; DFG, Germany; NWO, Netherlands; and ESRC, UK. Proposals will be accepted for research projects in any area of the social sciences involving researchers from any combination of two or more of the participating countries (excluding bilateral applications from French-German teams).

In this call, JSPS, the Japanese core national funding organisation, will again collaborate with ORA as an associate partner. Applicants to the ORA call are encouraged to seek partnerships with Japanese researchers. JSPS will open a specific call for Japanese researchers. Japanese projects associated with the ORA proposals will be encouraged to submit proposals to this call for funding. Further information will be provided with the upcoming call for proposals.

In 2016, the ORA scheme underwent a programme evaluation. According to the results, ORA remains a very popular scheme, and the partners will implement measures to manage demand. The upcoming call, therefore, will introduce a procedural change and follow a two-stage procedure consisting of an outline proposal and a full proposal. Only after positive review of the outline proposal are applicants allowed to submit a full proposal.

The call for proposals will be published by the end of April. DFG will be the lead agency, and full details will be available on the DFG website.

The closing date for outline proposals is 5 July 2017.

Please see:

And contact your Research Development Manager for help and advice

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Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Programme – Call for EOIs

Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust have opened a call for their Doctoral Scholarships Programme: This grant (which had one previous call in 2014) is intended to support the next generation of doctoral scholars by offering:

  • Ten awards of £1.05 million to UK universities
  • Each will fund 15 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships –  five scholarships must be offered in each year of the three-year grant
  • The awards are offered in a subject area or thematic area that applicant universities have identified as a research priority
  • The chosen area should be sufficiently broad to sustain five doctoral students in each of the three years of the grant, but it should also have a clear and coherent overarching thematic identity
  • Bids submitted by a named PI and accompanied by a supporting statement from a designated representative, i.e. PVC for Research
  • Closing date: 18 July 2017

Key criteria:

  • Applications must comply with Leverhulme’s particular values and approach to grant-making e.g. boundary spanning, not suitable for RCUK, open to risk, intellectual curiosity, etc. See here:
  • The strength of the case made by the University for the choice of subject area that has been identified as a priority for doctoral training at that institution. For example, does the chosen subject area support a research priority that is identified in the university’s strategic plan? Does it contribute to an existing area of research excellence? Or will it enable the university to innovate in a new field of research?
  • How well the proposed scholarships fit within the applicant university’s current provision for doctoral training, and the extent to which the award would provide added value
  • The extent to which the scholarships will deliver a legacy for the university’s research in the chosen area, and how well this legacy will be sustained beyond the three years of a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships grant.

As we can only submit one application, MMU is running an internal Expression of Interest for proposals that meet the criteria (delivered by a research team, but led by one named Principal Applicant). These will be reviewed by PVC for RKE, Faculty 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 27th Feb

  • Deadline for EOIs – Friday 31st March
  • EOIs discussed and nomination agreed at the Faculty Heads of RKE meeting – Thurs 6th April
  • Nominated bid (if any) then developed for submission by Leverhulme deadline – 18th July.

The Expression of Interest form is here.

A list of the awards is 2014 is here.

Given the nature of this opportunity, we suggest to talk to your Research Centre Head so that EOIs can be coordinated. If you have any questions, please contact your Research Development Manager.

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Small grants from Manchester Statistical Society

The Manchester Statistical Society invites applications for its Campion grants. These support research on social and political economy issues in greater Manchester and north-west England.

Applications are particularly welcomed from researchers such as PhD students with support from their supervisors. Proposed research projects are expected to require modest funds that cannot be raised from their existing funding sources and to be consistent with the aims of the society.

Grants do not typically exceed £5,000. Deadline is 31st March.