MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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H2020 – Work programme 2018-20 is here!


Slightly later than originally anticipated, the work programme for the final phase of Horizon 2020 has now been published and the first calls launched.

As well as the areas that will be familiar to those with an interest in Horizon 2020, we also see the launch of the European Innovation Council (EIC), which brings together a number of support measures to foster ‘breakthrough, market-creating innovation’.

The table below provides links to selected annexes of the work programme which set out topics for each of the key areas and associated deadlines.

As ever, if you’re considering a proposal, please do get in touch (

You can also take advantage of our visit from Ian Devine of UKRO next week (31 October 2017) to find out more about the work programme and some of the thinking behind priorities. To book your place, please visit the registration page here. If you can’t make the 31 October 2017, Ian will also be speaking at the Universities of Salford and Manchester (1 and 2 November 2017). Please contact us for more details of  how to register (

Horizon 2020 – Priorities and deadlines (details relating to the European Research Council can be found here).

Pillar Area Key 2018 Deadlines


Excellent Science – reinforcing and extending the excellence of the European research base Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)
FET Open May
FET Proactive March, May
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Innovative Training Networks January
Research and Innovation Staff Exchange March
Individual Fellowships September
Research Infrastructures March
Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies – developing technologies and innovations to underpin tomorrow’s business Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (NMBP) January (Two Stage), February, March, April
Information and Communication Technologies January, April, August, November
Space March
Societal Challenges – addressing major policy priorities of Europe 2020 strategy Societal Challenge 1: Health, demographic change and wellbeing February, (Two Stage), April, (Single Stage)


Societal Challenge 2: Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy


February (Two Stage)
Societal Challenge 3: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy January, February, April, September, October, November, December


Societal Challenge 4: Smart, Green and Integrated Transport January (Two Stage), April (Single Stage)
Societal Challenge 5: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials February (Two Stage)
Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies March
Societal Challenge 7: Secure Societies  August
Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation  September, November
Science with and for Society April
European Innovation Council (EIC) See FET Open

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ESRC-DFID Development Frontiers Research Fund call open

A new funding opportunity is being launched as part of a decade-long partnership between the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) which aims to place innovation and appetite for risk at the centre of world-class research.

Sitting within the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research, the Development Frontiers Research Fund aims to fund innovative, strategic and catalytic research with the potential to radically impact on sustainable development concepts or practices, or lead to new thinking and action on poverty reduction.

Proposals are invited for projects with a full economic cost (fEC) value between£200,000 and £300,000. Projects can be between 12 and 18 months long, but must finish no later than 31 March 2019. They expect to fund around 14-18 awards, depending on the quality of the proposals received.

This call has been designed to enable researchers to conduct exploratory, small-scale projects with a view to developing ideas, collaboration, and research capacity for future larger grants for other calls, whether to ESRC or DFID or other funders. This second call within the Development Frontiers Research Fund will support innovative, interdisciplinary research that is focused on new ways to tackle the challenges encountered at the intersections between poverty, environmental sustainability and conflict/fragility in specific developing country contexts

West Africa:Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sao Tome, and Principe Togo

Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan

South/Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines ,Timor Leste

This call is open to proposals from researchers based anywhere in the world. A requirement of this call is that at least one developing country researcher and at least one early career researcher must be included in the research team, either as principal investigator or co-investigator

NOTE: Eligible research organisations from the UK and other developed countries can lead on a maximum of up to two proposals to this call so, if you are interested, please get in touch with your Research Development Manager a.s.a.p.


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Understanding the pathways to and impacts of a 1.5°C rise in global temperature

The Natural Environment Research Council, in collaboration with the Department of Energy & Climate Change, invites proposals for its call on understanding the pathways to and impacts of a 1.5°C rise in global temperature. This aims to advance our understanding of the research needs and provide timely evidence to inform policy following the introduction of the 1.5 °C limit in the Paris agreement. The three potential areas to be addressed are the following:

•linkage between the cumulative level of future net emissions of greenhouse gases and future temperature increases in the 1.5-2.0°C range;

•feasibility of pathway options that limit warming to 1.5°C and their additional consequences;

•environmental impacts of a 1.5°C temperature rise compared with 2°C.

This call will support seven projects worth up to £100,000 each.

The deadline for proposals is 18 Aug 16.

For more information, please visit NERC.

For support with your application, please contact Research Development.

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NERC Improving Health with Environmental Data

The Natural Environment Research Council invite proposals for their call on improving health with environmental data. This supports projects that aim to identify and fill knowledge gaps about the potential use of environmental data in support of improved health outcomes in the UK, focusing specifically on air pollution and environmental hazards alongside health and biomedical data.

Closing date: 12 July 2016

Applicants must attend the brokerage event to be held on the 10th May in Edinburgh in order to be eligible to submit proposals.

For more information, please visit NERC.

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Valuing Nature Programme : Understanding Ecosystem Stocks and Tipping Points


The programme aims to better understand and represent the complexities of the natural environment in valuation analyses and to consider the wider societal and cultural value of ecosystems services by extending the concept of value beyond perceived market value. It is delivering this through a mix of research, network and cross‐discipline and impact activities.

Call closes: 4pm 5 May 2016

For more information, visit NERC.

For support during your application, please contact Research Development.

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2nd ECATS Aviation and Climate Conference

Following the successful 1st Environmentally Compatible Air Transport System (ECATS) conference in 2013 hosted in Berlin, we are delighted to announce the 2nd ECATS conference for later this year:

2nd ECATS Aviation and Climate Conference
Athens, Greece
7-9 November 2016

This scientific conference will give the opportunity to present state-of-the art research, will review recent achievements and at the same time will provide a strategic perspective on future directions. The conference program will present research in plenary sessions with specific break-out sessions allowing in-depth discussions and poster presentations.

Papers on the following topics are welcome:

1. Alternative Fuels
2. Climate Impact of Aviation Emissions
3. Interdependency Modelling
4. Green flight

Abstracts submitted to by 15 May 2016.

All further details will be announced on the ECATS website.

Register by contacting and you will periodically receive updated information.

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NERC Delivery Plan 2015/16




The NERC Delivery Plan 2015/16 is entitled “the Business of the environment”, and it has a strong focus on partnerships to address environmental challenges. NERC is the UK’s leading funder of environmental science that helps:

• Understand and predict how our planet works

• Manage our environment responsibly as we pursue new ways of living, doing business, escaping poverty and growing economies

During 2015/16 NERC will develop new partnership research programmes to address critical societal and economic challenges:

Habitable planet – how conditions for life are maintained by the cycling of volatile elements within the deep Earth and their exchange with the atmosphere

Air pollution and human health in developing mega-cities – bring UK environment, technology and health research funding together with Indian and Chinese resources

Environmental microbiology for human health – improve public health through fast and efficient identification of microbial pathogens and allergens in the environment

Variability in atmospheric circulation and weather – understand unusual and prolonged weather patterns in the UK, western Europe and Asia

Future climate for Africa – enable resilient planning, adaptation and development, based on ‘decision-relevant’ evidence on medium-term climate change in sub-Saharan Africa (with DfID)

During 2015/16 NERC will participate in a portfolio of multi-Research Council and government initiatives:

Soil quality – sustain ecosystems and the services they deliver to people, such as food, flood and disease regulation, carbon storage, clean water. Supports the agri-tech growth strategy. Partnership with BBSRC, Defra, US-NSF

Valuing nature – support Natural Capital Committee by funding multidisciplinary research (with Defra, ESRC and AHRC) to understand how the state of the natural environment affects the performance of the economy, and individual health and well-being

Tree health – multidisciplinary research to help the UK manage manage trees and wider ecosystems exposed to pests and diseases such as ash and oak die-back. Partners are Defra, BBSRC, ESRC, Forestry Commission, Scottish & Welsh Governments

In postgraduate training, NERC will:

• support at least 240 new students every year through our doctoral training partnerships (DTPs)

• establish two new centres for doctoral training (CDTs) to deliver PhD training priorities in: soil science (with BBSRC); managing and mitigating risk using big data (with ESRC)

• fund new Advanced Training initiatives to deliver non-PhD training priorities, including data and information management, and cutting-edge maths and statistics

In 2015/16 NERC partnerships will contribute to specific industrial sector and technology growth strategies:

Oil & gas – partner with Heriot Watt University to build a new Scottish Centre for Earth and Marine Technology. NERC will also fund a new centre for doctoral training (CDT) in oil & gas

Agri-tech -partner with BBSRC to launch new research and innovation programmes in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture

Big data and the information economy – invest in the translation of data to provide environmental products and services through SMEs (with TSB), and the Environmental Science to Services Partnership (with Met Office, Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey)

Robotic technology – partner TSB to help monitor carbon storage sites beneath the North Sea, and SMEs in the maritime and defence industries

During 2015/16 NERC will take further action to boost investments through partnership working:

• strengthen partnership with TSB through emerging catapults and catalysts, especially in satellite applications, offshore energy, future cities and big data

• invest in autonomous vehicles and sensor technology to lever business, ETI and TSB funding

• Phase 3 of the NERC-led RAPID international programme to observe variability in Atlantic circulation and how it affects European climate. Partnership with Met Office, US (NSF, NOAA), and Germany to drive technology innovation in autonomous marine robotics.

• invest in world-leading research to improve understanding of the weather system, and build scientific advances into weather forecasting (with Met Office)

• new research programmes with India and China to study monsoon variability, air pollution, soil degradation and low-carbon cities (the latter with EPSRC)

The full document can be found here: