MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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


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Erasmus+ 2019 Deadlines

The deadlines and procedures for the 2019 Erasmus+ projects has been announced by the British Council and the European Commission; a summary of the deadlines can be found here.  This post outlines the support available at Manchester Met and some of the key aspects of the 2019 calls.

Support at Manchester Met

Support is available from the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office to help prepare applications to the project-based schemes including assessing the strategic fit with the scheme, supporting the development of the application including the budget and ensuring the bid is signed off.  To help this process, please note the following dates:

All projects:

  • 30 November 2018: Please notify euro_res@mmu.ac.uk of your interest in applying so we can discuss the support available.

If Manchester Met is leading a project:

  • 1 month before the deadline: Peer Review should have started.
  • 10 days before the deadline: Signed partner mandates received, WorkTribe Approval started. RKE will then facilitate signature on the bid & mandates ahead of the funder’s deadline.

If Manchester Met is a partner on a project:

  • 10 days before the deadline: WorkTribe Approval started. RKE will then facilitate signature on the bid & mandates ahead of the funder’s deadline.  If the coordinator requires the mandate sooner, approval should start 10 days ahead of their deadline to allow time for approval & signature.

For some of the key schemes, here are the key dates:

  Peer Review Deadline  Man Met Internal Approval Funder Deadline (11am UK time)
Capacity Building (Higher Education) 7 January 2019

 

24 January 2019 7 February 2019
Knowledge Alliances 28 January 2019 13 February 2019 28 February 2019
Strategic Partnerships (Higher Education) 18 February 2019 6 March 2019 21 March 2019

NB For all mobility related inquiries please contact Natalie Cunningham in the International Office (N.Cunningham@mmu.ac.uk). 

Key Changes to the 2019 Call

This is the 6th set of calls under the scheme which is due to end at the end of 2020 and therefore there are only minimal changes to the scheme.  However, some of the changes include:

  • Applications for most schemes will be managed via an online portal. Full details are emerging but support will be available both from the British Council and Manchester Met staff in due course.
  • The UK’s budget has increased though there is a particular drive to make sure funds are used by schools and other non-Higher Education institutions.
  • There are specialist funds for partnerships with Japan and additional funds for Serbia as a new Programme Country.
  • A pilot scheme to help create pan-European alliances with joint strategy, management structures and activities run by 5-8 universities. These require a significant strategic fit at institutional level.
  • The British Council has previously emphasised the following themes for 2019: (1) Tackling skills gaps and mismatches; (2) Promoting and rewarding excellence in teaching and skills development; and (3) Promoting more flexible and innovative learning.

As explained in this blog post: the UK remains eligible and – subject to the UK securing an exit deal – UK Higher Education Institutions will be able to participate throughout the scheme’s life.

To discuss any of the above, please contact euro_res@mmu.ac.uk

 

 

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EU Update – H2020 work programmes and future programmes

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After a little absence, and with the next annual updates of H2020 work programmes on the horizon, we thought a round-up might be useful to Blog readers.

Horizon 2020 – 2019 work programme refresh and Infodays

The draft priorities for 2019 calls will soon be approved, with a target date of July 2018 for publication of the final work programmes. Our colleagues from UKRO have been doing a great job in pulling together the latest intelligence on what’s likely to change.

If you haven’t taken a look yet, you can access information about specific parts of H2020 via the links below (Ed – you’ll need to be logged into the website to view. If you don’t have an account, then we’d highly recommend signing up – see below for more details):

Information Communication Technologies

Nanotech, Advanced Materials, Biotech and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing

Space

Societal Challenge 1. Health

Societal Challenge 3. Energy

Societal Challenge 5. Climate Action  there will be an Infoday relating to the 2019 call in Brussels on 11 September 2018.

Societal Challenge 6. Europe in a changing world

There will be also be an Infoday relating to the 2019 call for Societal Challenge 2 (Food Security …)  in Brussels on 25 June 2018.

As ever, if you’re thinking of applying and need advice then do get in touch (euro_res@mmu.ac.uk).

Future programmes and UK participation

The European Commission is also starting to publish it’s thoughts about programmes which will come on line with the new Multiannual Financial Framework (Ed the MFF will run from 2021 to 2027). We’ll cover in more detail in future posts, but information is starting to emerge about Horizon Europe (Ed – this will be the follow on from Horizon 2020) and a proposal has been published about the successor to Erasmus+.  (Ed – again, UKRO have developed a really helpful resource here, which gives an overview of a range of programmes)

Whilst the UK’s participation in future programmes will depend on the outcome of negotiations around our departure from the EU, the UK Government has been very clear about it’s desire to take an active and full role in Horizon Europe (Ed – this has been a theme in recent speeches made by the Prime Minister and Science Minister).

About UK Research Office
The UK Research Office (UKRO) is the European office of the UK Research Councils. UKRO’s mission is to promote effective UK engagement in EU research, innovation and higher education activities. As a subscriber to UKRO, all MMU staff can register to receive personalised alerts on funding opportunities and policy developments.


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Brexit Update: Facts & Unknowns about RKE

It’s now 15 months since the UK’s referendum on EU membership and 6 months since the formal process of leaving started.  And here in RKE we’ve been keeping an eye on what this means for Research and Project funding at Manchester Met – including after the Prime Minister’s recent speech in Florence.  Indeed, some of us have been accused of being a bit of a geek about these things.  But amongst all the hot air and political manoeuvres, there are a few things we know for certain and a few things we know we don’t know (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld):

FACT: MMU and UK Higher Education generally continue to work collaboratively with Europe

Since the referendum MMU has submitted 61 bids to EU funding schemes with over 300 European organisations.  Our academics and colleagues find working with international partners exciting, rewarding and at the heart of much good research.  MMU’s success rate has seen no change since the referendum and we’ve had some exciting successes over the last few months.

We’re in contact with colleagues at other UK institutions who are saying the same thing.  We’re also working with Universities UK International (UUKi), the UK Research Office in Brussels (UKRO), the British Council and anyone else who will listen to make sure the sector’s voice is heard during the negotiations through reports such as UUKi’s priorities post-exit and the #weareinternational twitter campaign.

AND FACT: We think Government’s listening – and want us to keep working globally, including with the EU

The Prime Minister included research in her recent speech in Florence as well as her earlier Lancaster House speech as a key issue for the negotiations.  And last month the UK government issued a Future Partnership Paper on Science & Innovation Collaboration emphasising research as part of any future relationship with the EU.  Higher Education is on the Brexit agenda and seen as part of the “offer” the UK is making for its future relationship with the EU.

The UK government is also emphasising its global research links: it recently announced new international fellowships with the Rutherford Fund.  The money for its Global Research Challenges is ramping up and look at the recent posts on this blog for international (largely non-EU) research funding from the British Academy, AHRC, ESRC, Newton Fund, HERA etc.  Elsewhere, the British Council’s 2017-20 Corporate Plan emphasises global mobility – and there’s talk of a worldwide scheme to replicate elements of Erasmus+ beyond the EU.  The funding landscape will look different but indications are that it will (continue to) be globally focussed.

FACT: The UK’s relationship with the EU will change on 29 March 2019

It’s worth restating this one, though: Because the UK has formally announced that the country is leaving the EU, then the nature of its relationship with the union will change.  There are various models out there – at the moment we don’t know which one we will end up with and it’s beyond the wisdom of this blog to make any predictions.  But, also, it’s worth remembering that NO-ONE knows – a lot of the so-called facts the media report are actually political posturing and people trying to sound wise.

In her Florence speech, the Prime Minister emphasised a desire for a transition deal lasting to the end of the current EU budget (2021) so changes are likely to be minimal at first.  And if the UK is committed to fulfilling its financial commitments for two years post-Brexit, then it is more likely we will remain part of research funding schemes until that date, too.

BUT FACT: Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ are up for review anyway

The European Commission has been reviewing both Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ ahead of revised research and mobility programmes expected by 1 January 2021.  Manchester Met has contributed to these and we’re hearing that these schemes will look to make further links between EU Higher Education and institutions outside the union to help tackle global issues and priorities.  That said, we’re not expecting massive changes to the funding but given the timing of the reviews, it’s hard to believe the UK’s future involvement with the scheme is not also being discussed.

SO FACT: There is no reason to stop bidding

The UK remains eligible for European funding.  The UK Treasury has issued a note to say that they will underwrite successful projects, even if they continue beyond our exit from the EU.  It’s not quite clear on when this underwrite covers until but we’re confident it covers projects for AT LEAST the next year.

UNKNOWN: What access we will have to EU funds beyond 2019

This is all tied in with the nature of both the “exit” deal and the “future relationship” deal – despite the above, the campaigning that the University sector is undertaking and reports in the media, we don’t know what the future EU funding landscape will look like.

It’s also worth remembering that just as the UK is working out what its relationship is with the EU will be like post 2019, the EU is discussing what its future as 27 nation states will be like without one of its biggest contributors of finance (and headaches!).  The EU could look very different in a few year’s tie and not just because the UK has left.

UNKNOWN: When we will know more

The first phase of the talks are covering the UK’s financial liabilities, the Irish border and rights of EU/UK nationals, and are due to run until at least October.  Negotiations MIGHT then turn to the future relationship; trade and the Customs Union will probably take precedence but we know that Research & Science are also seen as important.  Therefore, there may not be much news until spring 2019 and nothing certain until late 2019 when a deal (whether transitional or final, it’s unclear) will be put to national Parliaments.

FINAL FACT: MMU’s European Funding and Research Development Managers are on hand We’re here to provide advice and support across a range of funders.  We’ll update this blog if and when we know more.