MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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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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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

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Wearable and Sensor Technology and the Internet of Things for Healthcare

This Call is a part of a programme of support for research and innovation that is operated by the Central Manchester Foundation Trust’s Research and Innovation Division and that is targeted to deliver the Trust’s overall research strategy. We aim to build our capacity and capability to help shape and lead the future of healthcare and delivery, working for patients and our local economy. The call is made possible through a programme funded through the CMFT Charities Innovation Fund.

The availability of technology that can be embedded in Wearables including the use of smart materials, sensors and user interfaces (Apps) are growing rapidly. Technology advances – including miniaturisation, enhanced connectivity, improved usability, reduced cost, increased reliability and extended battery life are moving this from a technocrat domain into mainstream practice.

Wearable technology is often commonplace in other sectors such as transport, communications and education but is now beginnings to find a place in the delivery of care and helping patients to be more confident in the self-management of their own health and wellbeing. The technology is not only amenable for direct care but can be effective in supporting some of the broader aspects of our operations including estates and patient experience.

This call seeks applications from areas of clinical practice, healthcare delivery and hospital services that could be changed and improved through the use of connected Wearable and Sensor technologies. Applications will require a CMFT staff member as a lead or as a partner.

A total of £50,000 is available to support successful applications. There will be further support for continued development of proposals that demonstrate good commercial potential.

To provide information and insights into the possible uses and potential of these technologies we are arranging a workshop where experts in the field will describe some of the technologies that are available. These will be held on site in Citylabs and the date for this will be announced shortly.

An application form is now available online at URL

alternatively; a downloadable version of the form is available from Fatma Rumash email:
The closing date for applications is 5pm May 31, 2017.


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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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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


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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.