MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met


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Images of Research: Vote NOW!

Celebrating the work of our early career and postgraduate researchers.

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Discover the fantastic work of our early career and postgraduate researchers by attending our Images of Research exhibition from Monday 2 March.

The Images of Research photography competition challenges our early career and postgraduate researchers to communicate the significance and impact of their work through a single image and a 150-word abstract.

The event, now in its second year, follows the great success of the 2018/19 Images of Research competition where Sarah Scott, third-year PhD student from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, scooped both the ‘People’s Choice’ and ‘Judge’s Choice’ awards with her submission ‘Data Incoming!’.

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This year’s shortlist includes a host of fantastic entries from our emerging researchers: 

Postgraduate  

  • Charlotte Arculus, Faculty of Education – ‘Illuminating Arts Practices in Early Childhood with More-Than-Human Technologies’
  • Carlos Bedson, Faculty of Science and Engineering – ‘Britain’s Unspoken Wildlife Tragedy’
  • Rebecca Clarke, Faculty of Science and Engineering – ‘The Long Trail Ahead in Stroke Recovery’
  • Jamila Makarfi, Faculty of Business and Law –‘Corporate Security Responsibility’
  • Alejandra Zamora, Faculty of Business and Law – ‘Fighting Extinction’

Early career 

  • Becky Alexis-Martin, Faculty of Science and Engineering – ‘Laughing in the Face of Death’
  • Su Corcoran, Faculty of Education – ‘Exploring Displaced Young People’s Belonging and Learning Experiences Through Art’
  • Emily Crompton, Faculty of Arts and Humanities – ‘Documenting Demolition: A Community Evidencing Project at Manchester’s LGBT+ Centre’
  • Sarah Fox, Faculty of Arts and Humanities – ‘Trust Women’
  • David Tomlinson, Faculty of Science and Engineering – ‘Defining Obesity: ‘BMI or Body Fat Percentage?’

Three awards are up for grabs, including the ‘People’s Choice Award’, ‘Judge’s Choice Award – early career researchers’ and ‘Judge’s Choice Award – postgraduate researchers’.

Our 10 finalist’s images will be on display throughout March in the reception of the Benzie building and you can vote for your chosen winner in the ‘People’s Choice Award’ on the Images of Research competition webpage


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Discontinuation of MRC Skills Development Fellowships

The Medical Research Council have today announced that they will no longer be offering the Skills Development Fellowship to instead provide more funding for their other fellowship schemes.

The Postdoctoral Skills Development Fellowships have played an important role in providing training opportunities for early career researchers with £68m invested in 240 fellows since it’s launch in 2011. MRC feel that it is more appropriate to develop new ways to support the postdoctoral workforce given the more interdisciplinary nature of research opportunities.

MRC still offer a variety of both Clinical and Non-Clinical Fellowships, further details of which can be found on their website.


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Research Leadership Development Journeys: Interview with Dr Shoba Arun

To celebrate the re-launch of the Future RKE Leaders programme, throughout February and March I will be posting interviews with a selection of previous Future RKE Leaders cohort members. Each kindly shared details of their research leadership development journeys, providing useful insights for those looking to develop their research leadership skills.

More details on the Future RKE Leaders programme can be found on our Research Development Sharepoint. The deadline for nominations is 12pm Wednesday 26th February.

Our second interview is with Dr Shoba Arun, Reader in Sociology and a member of the 2015 Future RKE Leaders Cohort.

Dr Shoba Arun

Please name a research leader who you admire. What is it that you admire about them?

Shoba named the senior management leaders in Manchester Met’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU). She feels they have been successful in setting a vision for PERU and building on key strengths of its members. This has enabled transformation of their work into outward facing activities that influence policy and create impact through social research. Consequently, Shoba believes the leadership team to have been key game changers in their field.

What have been the key turning points or ‘light bulb’ moments in your leadership development journey so far?

Shoba listed three key moments: attending a Diverse Leader programme accredited by the Institute for Leadership Management in 2015, becoming a mother, and successful promotion to Reader last year.

How do you bring others along with you?

Shoba’s approach is to invest in an individual’s specific strengths and support them to see the benefits of a collective vision. Shoba feels it is important for individuals to be aware of their strengths and how they can be harnessed to benefit both their career and the institution.

In what ways do you use your leadership skills to promote your research outside of Manchester Met? 

Shoba translates the skills she has developed on her leadership journey into creating legacy through all she does. This may be through small tasks such as parent-teacher interactions at her child’s school, or initiating an endowment fund for her dear friend who is missing after the disappearance of the MH 17 flight in 2014.

How did the Future RKE Leaders programme support you on your leadership development journey?

The programme introduced Shoba to different methods of approaching her current role and career ambitions. She now breaks down tasks and looks to set goals, develop strategies, and works to influence others and build relationships in her every day work. Shoba also developed the understanding that leadership is not confined to top down approaches and needs to be exercised on a daily basis, such as taking decisions, allocating resources and supporting colleagues.

How have you continued to engage with your career development since completing the programme?

Shoba continues to engage in career development through training from peers and as part of formal programmes. In particular, Shoba has attended formal training addressing teaching practice and project management. Reflecting on her recent development activities Shoba has deepened her understanding of peer support methods, diversity management and collective strength building. Shoba has seen direct benefits of her development activities to her current EU funded project, Micreate that looks to improve inclusion of diverse groups of migrant children at an educational and policy level.


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Research Leadership Development Journeys: Interview with Professor Bamidele Adebisi

To celebrate the re-launch of the Future RKE Leaders programme, throughout February and March I will be posting interviews with a selection of previous Future RKE Leaders cohort members. Each kindly shared details of their research leadership development journeys, providing useful insights for those looking to develop their research leadership skills.

More details on the Future RKE Leaders programme can be found on our Research Development Sharepoint. The deadline for nominations is 12pm Wednesday 26th February.

Our first interview is with Professor Bamidele Adebisi, Professor in Intelligent Infrastructure Systems and a member of the 2014 Future RKE Leaders Cohort.

Professor Bamidele Adebisi

Please name a research leader who you admire. What is it that you admire about them?

Bamidele named Professor Bahram Honary. Whilst at Lancaster University Professor Honary taught Bamidele on his Masters course in Advanced Mobile Communication, then went on to supervise Bamidele’s PhD and work with him during his Post Doc. Bamidele admired Professor Honary’s approach to research as he was not only interested in the fundamental science but also how the resulting research could be applied. Professor Honary worked closely with businesses and has his own successful company. Bamidele felt Professor Honary’s leadership went beyond effective management as he was interested in his team members’ lives and was always looking beyond himself.

What have been the key turning points or ‘light bulb’ moments in your leadership development journey so far?

A key ‘light bulb’ moment for Bamidele was when he realised that leadership was about service; you put in the resources and time to serve others and you do this without any strings attached. To be able to lead successfully, Bamidele also found he needed to be prepared to take on associated responsibilities. Bamidele first noticed this at school and through activities outside of work. This appreciation was then reinforced in work and by literature Bamidele has read around the topic.

How do you bring others along with you?

Bamidele feels it is important that his team recognise the value in what they are doing and that they are going on a journey together. To achieve this he works to provide clarity of purpose, clarity of vision and clarity of associated reward and benefits.

In what ways do you use your leadership skills to promote your research outside of Manchester Met? 

Leadership positions bring different opportunities such as invitations to chair and speak at conferences. Bamidele sees these opportunities as an opening to let national and international networks know what his team is working on. By collating the stories of his team’s activities, he can promote his team and the university.

Bamidele also noted that as he was in a position to influence more junior colleagues, for example his PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers. When these researchers move on to other institutions, they transfer his ideas with them, widening the impact of his experiences.

How did the Future RKE Leaders programme support you on your leadership development journey?

To begin with, Bamidele found writing the application useful as it encouraged him to think about the different ways he could contribute and pass on the benefits he gained from the course to others. Once the programme started Bamidele found it valuable meeting the participants from other faculties. They provided him with an alternative perspective and appreciation of the high quality research conducted across the university. Bamidele also valued the opportunities to meet senior university leaders and hear about their vision for Manchester Met. From this Bamidele was better able to discuss with colleagues any institutional changes that were taking place. He recognises that here he was developing his leadership role by taking on the responsibility of being a voice for the university.

How have you continued to engage with your career development since completing the programme?

Bamidele completes regular reviews (at least quarterly) of his career development, incorporating his PDR document. When thinking about his development Bamidele finds it useful to consider three key points: purpose, metric and commitment, taken from the book titled ‘How Will You Measure Your Life’, by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon. Firstly, purpose: identify where you want to get to. Secondly, metric: determine how you will get there. Bamidele feels it is important not to guess at this part. He advises speaking to others who have got to where you want to be so you can determine specific outputs. This way you can better identify the gaps in your own C.V. and then work out how to close these gaps. Finally, commitment: you need to be committed to closing the gaps so it is important to be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve.  


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New Research Development Sharepoint Site

The Research Development Team has recently launched a new Sharepoint site which you can access here.

The Sharepoint site is a place to get up to date information about events that the Research Development Team are involved in, the training’s that we have on offer and it’s home to the Research Funding Planner.

The Funding Planner is a resource to help academics plan out their future proposal by providing a list of upcoming and predicted future funding calls from a range of external funders including the Research Councils and larger charities (e.g. Wellcome).

Everyone with a University Login should be able to access the site but if you do have any issues then please contact: rachel.colley@mmu.ac.uk

Make sure to save the Sharepoint page to your favourites so that’s it’s easy to find!


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BHF Grant Applications Moving to Flexi-Grant

From January 2020 British Heart Foundation will be moving it’s application system for all their grants to a Flexi-Grant® management system. Current applications are still being processed via the exisiting GMS.

All applicants are required to complete and submit any applications currently in preparation on the existing GMS by the deadline specified on the grant they are applying for:

  • Project Grant deadline: 27th November 2019
  • Fellowship Grants (except for Nurses & Allied Health) deadline: 31st October 2019
  • Fellowships for Nurses & Allied Health deadline: 25th October 2019
  • Programme Grants, Special Project Grants & New Horizon Grans deadline: 4th December 2019
  • Infrastructure Grants and Personal Chairs deadline: 4th December 2019
  • Clinical Study Grants deadline: 5th February 2020
  • Translational Awards are not currently being accepted.

Please ensure that all outstanding grants are submitted and approved before the appropriate deadline. Any applications which have not been submitted by the Administrative Authority by the relevant deadline will be deleted and not migrated to the new Flexi-Grant® system.


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Pre-Announcement: ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge Research Director and Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has now announced its plans for delivering the Healthy Ageing Challenge, an investment of £98 million to enable businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and deliver products, services and business models that will be adopted at scale which support people as they age.

A Research Director is being sought who will provide strong, authoritative leadership on research for the Healthy Ageing Challenge. The role will involve leading and co-coordinating the successful research projects commissioned through the Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (call due early 2020). The Research Director will be responsible for the coherence of research across the portfolio of activity and for maintaining awareness of the domain and emerging evidence.

The successful application will be expected to have an outstanding track record of leadership within the area of healthy ageing, and a broad understanding of the potential for different disciples within and across the social sciences and arts and humanities to contribute to this research area.

The call for a Research Director will be led by ESRC in collaboration with AHRC and is expected to open in August 2019 with applicants indicating their intention to submit in September 2019 for a full proposal in October 2019.