MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Furniture and Sculpture Art Installation

Bovis Homes, the developers at Lime Road Botley, are looking to commission a series of two or three bespoke benches to be located at two of the open spaces across the development with the potential of commission a 3D sculpture to accompany one of the benches at the larger open space. The work should be a contemporary work of art. There are no preferred materials, although we feel this commission would lend itself to metal or stone and could incorporate lighting. The work should draw inspiration from local history. The benches must be functional. Our chosen artist/s will be selected on the quality of their previous work and their approach to this project. Artists will be shortlisted and interviewed by the Vale of White Horse Arts Development Officer, the Public Art Project Coordinator, a representative of the developer and a representative of the property management company.

Deadline for proposals: 23 March

Funding available: £29,000

For more information, please contact

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Advance notice – forthcoming AHRC ‘Design for Change’ Initiative

AHRC 2   AHRC will shortly be announcing a new Design initiative: “Design for Change”. Through this they  “hope to build on and enhance design thinking and practice which has already begun in a number of areas of strategic importance in Design, including design for social innovation, service design and process design. To achieve this we will be announcing a number of funding opportunities and activities in these areas over the coming months”.

AHRC aims for the priority area of Design are:
• To contribute to the development of the Design research area, identifying opportunities for advancement of the area and facilitating research at the cutting-edge of the discipline (for example that which has the capacity to address global and societal challenges, such as Social and Service Design).
• To facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to Design research, involving all disciplines that are able to make a contribution to the advancement of the Design research area.
• To support and champion Design as a research area, in its role across all domains and with the capacity to make important contributions to society, services, policy-making, the economy and human experience.
• To better understand and communicate the role that Design can play in tackling societal challenges.
• To engage practitioners and researchers with our aims and to support these groups to work together to develop strong, interdisciplinary approaches to Design research.
• To support innovation through the development of the Design research area.

Areas of strategic interest in Design:
AHRC have identified areas of strategic interest in Design where they would like to build research capacity and strengthen existing research communities. These areas have been identified as being able to make important contributions to overcoming societal and global challenges and further develop and expand the Design research area.
Some areas of strategic interest in Design are:
• Design for social innovation/social cohesion (highlights design-based practices towards collective and social ends)
• Service Design
• Process Design
• Design-led solutions for health and wellbeing and future living, for example, AHRC is a co-funder of the Cross Council initiative: “Anti-Microbial Resistance” and lead on the strand “Anti-Microbial Resistance in the Real World Theme 3 – The Indoor Environment”. It is intended that important contributions to this theme of the Anti-Microbial Resistance programme will come from within the Design research area.

Watch this space! We’ll post details of the new initiative when they emerge

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Design History Society Research Grants

The Design History Society invites applications for several research grants.

Research Exhibition Grant

This is to assist those engaged in design history research that leads to an exhibition or display. The exhibition or display may be permanent or temporary, and take a physical and/or digital format.

Deadline: 15 Mar 16

Research Travel & Conference Grant

To assist those need to travel to conduct essential research for their design history scholarship or to present new research at key academic conferences.

Deadline: 15 May 16

Strategic Research Grant

This supports original and significant research in non-Western, post-colonial and other areas, themes and methods that have either been overlooked or underrepresented in the field but are important to its future development.

Deadline: 15 Nov 16

Research Publication Grant

This assists researchers engaged in design history with the publication of their research in research-based outputs, such as peer-reviewed journal articles or books published by a university press or museum institution.

Deadline: 15 Jan 17

For more information, please visit:

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Simulation and design workshop

EPSRCs Manufacturing the Future team and Innovate UK are inviting Expressions of Interest to participate in a workshop to help identify the state of the art in fundamental simulation and modelling techniques that can help improve the design process within Engineering Design.

The workshop will focus on the following four areas:

  • Optimisation – Obtaining the best value using an automatic methodology employing mathematic and computational tools and methods.
  • Multiphysics – Multi-disciplinary coupled simulation or multi-physics simulation.
  • Materials Modelling – Characterising and modelling of structures.
  • Multiscale – The integration of detailed models of a wide range of scales (eg micro-macro, 1D-2D-3D, detailed+simplistic, etc).

The workshop will be held on the 16 July 2015 and aims to encourage discussion between a diverse range of research interests to explore current and potential research areas and identify approaches for future programmes of work. Places will be limited so if you are interested in participating in this workshop please complete the Expression of Interest form at the bottom of this page by 16:00 on 10 June 2015. Submission of an Expression of Interest will be taken to mean availability for this date and a commitment to attend if selected.

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AHRC call for applications to attend a ‘Developing participation in social design: Prototyping projects, programmes and policies’ workshop on Prototyping Design-Oriented Cross-Disciplinary Research


AHRC are inviting applications to attend a two-day ‘sprint’ workshop which will bring together practitioners and researchers from the arts and humanities and other domains, who share an interest in using academic research to address collective and public challenges.

The workshop will be held at Lancaster University on April 16-17. It forms part of Developing participation in social design: Prototyping projects, programmes and policies (see the project website (opens in a new window)), a project commissioned by the AHRC which aims to prototype new kinds of research collaboration oriented towards achieving societal change and collective outcomes. We anticipate research themes in several areas, examples of which are listed in the EoI call document (link below). Selected research consortia, who form and iterate their ideas through the sprint workshop, will have the opportunity to apply through a targeted call for Project Development Awards of up to £15,000 (fEC).

They are seeking applications to participate in the workshop from:

  • Researchers within the arts and humanities especially but not exclusively within design.
  • Researchers within other domains who are involved in working on the themes identified above who want to explore how to work with other researchers and practitioners resulting in their research having impact on collective or public issues.
  • Practitioners working on the design of public- or collectively-oriented services and assets, for example in local or central government, the third sector, or commercial or community organisations supporting, enabling or delivering public services or addressing collective issues.

Similar to other cross-disciplinary workshops such as sandpits or Research Development Workshops, this event will be designed and facilitated to:

  • Enable meaningful and creative collaboration across domains and disciplines
  • Build on existing research
  • Generate proposals for new cross-disciplinary research projects that have the potential to have significant future impact
  • Build new consortia across disciplines and domains.

The workshop will be highly participative, interactive and open to innovative ideas from participants about future research opportunities, priorities and methodologies.

Deadline for Expressions of Interest is 27th Feb 2015.  Full info and instructions are here:

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AHRC/ESRC Design Fellowships Call

AHRC 2      ESRC 2

This call offers design researchers the chance to work in collaboration with a business or public sector organisation that is interested in putting design principles into practice. The Fellowship will fund design researchers to spend up to 12 months embedded in such organisations, working on a collaborative project that will be of interest and benefit to both the researcher and the host organisation. The successful fellows will be able to undertake a research project whilst having unique access to the resources, experiences and networks of the partner organisation, while the partner organisation will be able to explore and test new ways of working in conjunction with an academic research specialising in applying design principles to practical problems and challenges.

The aim of the AHRC and ESRC Design Fellowship scheme is to create a better understanding of the role of design in service innovation and the innovation ecosystem, the economic impact of design and the value of design contributions to business and public service delivery, while also enhancing the funding opportunities available in design research. They are looking for design researchers in UK universities who are keen to apply or test ideas about service innovation in a business, public sector or similar context. The researcher will have the opportunity to work with a business or public sector organisation that has an interest in applying ‘design thinking’ principles to its operations and contribute to the evidence base on the value of design to organisations and the broader economy.

The AHRC and ESRC have developed a partnership with three organisations that are interested in hosting a funded Design Fellow within their organisation: The Design Council, Skills Development Scotland and The Cabinet Office Policy Lab. Applicants are also able to apply to this call in collaboration with an alternative host organisation or business of their choice.

Funding will be available to support Research Fellows for a period between 6 months and a year on a full time (i.e. 100% FTE) or part time basis (not less than 50% FTE). The funding is available on a Full Economic Costs basis with the AHRC meeting 80% of the FEC. Awards must start between 1st August 2014 and 31st December 2014 inclusive.

Deadline is 24th April 2014 and the full Call for Proposals can be found here:


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Visualising Research data: A competition for designers, graphic artists, programmers and anyone with an interest in data visualisation

Visualising data   AHRC 1      Can you present complex data to tell a compelling story that anyone will be able to understand?

Every year our seven Research Councils, funded by UK tax payers, spend around £3 billion on research that improves lives and the world around us. Research Council funds are awarded on the basis of applications made by researchers, which are subject to independent, expert peer review. Applications are judged by considering a combination of factors, including their scientific excellence, timeliness and promise, strategic relevance, economic and social impacts, industrial and stakeholder relevance value for money and staff training potential.

Key data from the seven Research Councils are now available from one place – Gateway to Research – – enabling anyone to interrogate grants awarded, publications, people and organisations.

AHRC, BBSRC and the British Library are inviting designers, graphic artists, software developers, programmers and anyone with an interest in data visualisation to enter the ‘Visualising Research’ competition and produce images that will show how this public funding contributes to research in the UK.

Entry forms will be available from the ‘Visualising Research’ website ( on 27th January with a closing date of 21 March 2014.  There is a £2,000 cash prize for the winner.

There will be a workshop at the British Library on 24th Jan for anyone considering entering the competition who wants some inspiration, information about the Gateway to Research database and to meet potential collaborators. Representatives from the AHRC and BBSRC will be there on the day, as well as data visualisation evangelists (Guardian Digital Agency) and developers (Cottage Labs) who have worked with the data.

There is no charge for the workshop and lunch and refreshments will be provided but please sign up by 15 January 2014 as places are limited.

Note: You do not need to attend the workshop to enter the competition.

See the Visualising Data and AHRC websites for details.