MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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Horizon 2020 – Draft topics announced


Following consultations and much work by the Horizon 2020 Advisory Groups and others, the European Commission have now published a set of draft scoping documents for 2018/20.

Although still subject to ratification (and as such open to some change), these documents give a clear indication of key topics which are likely to be adopted later in 2017. They set outline the main priorities over the next three years for each area of Horizon 2020 and will be used as the basis for developing work programmes.

You can access a zip file containing all of the scoping documents here. As these documents are in the public domain, you can also share them freely with your potential collaborators.

As ever if anything catches your eye, you want to know more, or just need help navigating the information do get in touch (

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A very Euro Christmas to you all!

2016 has been a very eventful year from a European perspective. You’ll all be aware of the happenings in June 2016 and subsequent debate, but there’s been a lot of good Euro news here at Manchester Met that has given us much to smile about. The following is just a quick snapshot of some of the highs of the past twelve months.

Starting with Horizon 2020, Prof Tristan McKay’s group are part of a European team developing therapies for Batten Disease through the BATCure project which aims to improve the lives of the estimated 1 million + children affected by this group of conditions. Moving out of the lab and towards the intersection of computing and biological imaging Prof Rene Doursat and colleagues will be lending their expertise to the ImageInLife Innovative Training Network. ImageInLife will train young European researchers in imaging complex biological systems. Taking our computing in a slightly different direction are Drs Keeley Crockett and Jim O’Shea, who are working with other research organisations and border agencies in the iCROSS project to examine new approaches to border control based on some of our existing technology (Silent Talker).

In the business arena, Prof Sally Randles’ new SMART-map project is connecting industry with research and civil society organisations to encourage responsible technology development and colleagues including the Prof Sue Baines and Prof Alberto Paucar-Caceres are working with European partners to make more links between the research base and business through the SAUNAC and DiTEM Erasmus + projects. Sally’s work on responsibility in research and innovation (RRI) comes to the fore again in the JERRI project, which will develop and pilot plans for RRI at two of the EU’s largest Research and Technology Organisations, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany and TNO in the Netherlands.

Our ground-breaking work on apprenticeships is also being recognised at the European level, with Liz Gorb’s SME Gap Erasmus + project which focuses on exchange of best practices with other European players.

We’ve also seen our first Horizon 2020 projects in Arts and Humanities. Ulysses Sengupta and Rob Hyde will lead Manchester Met’s contribution to the Manchester hub of SynchroniCity, a large-scale IoT pilot creating a network of reference zones across Europe. And, in a truly interdisciplinary endeavour, Prof Felicity Colman will lead a philosophical think tank in developing recommendations for ethics in ICT based research through her Ethics of Coding project.

In the field of education, our knowledge is feeding into improving the quality of teaching in the UK and abroad through a range of Erasmus + projects. Dr Geraldine Lee-Treweek contribution to the TEACHER and REFLECT LAB projects will (respectively) develop new approaches to pre-school teacher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and support the application of inquiry based learning. Prof Nicola Whitton’s contribution to the Learning Games project will share our expertise in the use of play in education with others across Europe and Rebecca Patterson and John Rainer will be using drama (and more particularly Shakespeare) to develop approaches to teaching English Language and European Values through the UDSTEL project. Geraldine features again with her PAPYRUS project, which will help to upskill youth workers to respond to the refugee crisis.

Coming back to research, Drs Bethan Owen and Ling Lim will be applying our climate change modelling expertise in the ATM4E project, which will explore the potential for environmentally-optimised flight operations.

Staying with the sustainability theme, a final mention for our colleagues in International Office who have secured funding from Erasmus + to enable staff mobility, which will allow a team from Manchester Met to build on their relationship with the College of African Wildlife Management through a series of activities planned for 2017.

And with that, have a very Euro Christmas and we look forward to working with you in the New Year!

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Europe: Festive Funding Opportunities


In a pre-Christmas flurry, a few opportunities have been announced which may be of interest to readers:

  • Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) – IMI has announced its tenth call for proposals supporting research in a variety of areas including hypoglycaemia; use of big data in diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer; improving care for patients suffering from acute or chronic pain; patient perspectives in medicines lifecycle; and personalised medicine in autism spectrum disorders. Deadline for stage one proposals is 28 March 2017 and details can be found here.
  • SESAR – has announced their new call for proposals on research focused on optimising Air Traffic Management (ATM) performance and intelligent air transport. The deadline for full proposals is 22 March 2017 and details on topics supported and conditions can be found here.
  • QuantERA – QuantERA is a new initiative which will support research in the field of quantum technologies, with the UK’s involvement supported by EPSRC. In a recently published pre-announcement, QuantERA have flagged that they will launch a call for proposals in January, with a likely deadline for stage one proposals of 15 March 2017.

In other news, those of you with Swiss partners will be interested to hear that Switzerland and the EC have successfully completed negotiations which will grant Switzerland the status of an Associated Country within Horizon 2020. This allows Swiss organisations to participate in Horizon 2020 on an even footing with EU Member States.

As ever, if you are thinking of applying, or would like more information about any of the enclosed do get in touch (!

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Focus on JPIs – opportunities for funding


Those of you interested in European funding may find a new guide to opportunities for funding offered by the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) useful. JPIs offer a mechanism for bringing together funding from different Member States to support research in areas of common interest.

Projects need to be multi-country, but can offer opportunity for smaller scale projects than Horizon 2020. As with Horizon 2020, specific challenges are defined in the calls.

The UK is a full member of the following JPIs, with contributions managed through Research Councils and others:

Urban Europe – supporting research focused on increasing sustainability and ‘livability’ of urban environments SUGI/Food-Water-Energy Nexus call open – full details here

Cultural Heritage – supporting research which has the aim of safeguarding cultural heritage No calls open at the momen– details of future calls will appear here

Water – research contributing to achieving sustainable water systems for a sustainable economy in Europe No calls open at the moment, but expect future calls on Water-related UN Strategic Development Goals (2017) and Closing the water cycle gap – sustainable water management (2018) – details of calls will appear here

More Years Better Lives – research offering a contribution to addressing issues associated with demographic change and the ageing population Call expected in January 2017 pre-announcement here NOTE: UK involvement is not yet confirmed

Climate – research to transition towards a low-emission, climate-resilient economy, society and environment No calls open at the moment – details of future calls will appear here

FACCE-JPI – research to support sustainable agricultural production and economic growth, balancing the emerging bio-economy with he need to restore and retain biodiversity Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here

JPND – research into neurodegenerative disease  Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here

Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life – research focused on health, nutrition, health and physical activity to prevent or minimise diet-related chronic illness No calls open at the momen– details of future calls will appear here

JPI AMR – research to reduce the incidence of bacterial infection, create approaches for rational use of antibiotics and develop diagnostic tools and better surveillance methods  Call expected in January 2017 – pre-call announcement here NOTE: UK involvement is not yet confirmed

Oceans – marine and maritime research and technology development No calls open at the momen

In all cases the UK’s membership doesn’t automatically mean that UK participation is guaranteed, so you should always check that the UK has signed up to specific calls (Ed – it makes sense for the UK to prioritise involvement where the call topic and national priorities align well. If there isn’t a strong alignment UK funders will sometimes choose not to invest meaning that UK researchers can’t participate on a funded basis).

As ever, if you’re interested in applying for any of the above or would like to discuss your ideas then please do get in touch (



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Horizon 2020: National Contact Points visit Manchester


Our good friends at the University of Manchester will be hosting a number of representatives from the UK’s National Contact Points on 13 December 2016 to talk about Horizon 2020 future calls.

The event will be held in the Manchester Institute Biotechnology Lecture Theatre and the agenda for the day will be as follows:


If you are interested in attending, then please register by completing the short survey here.

This is a great opportunity to hear how different areas of the programme will shape up post 2017 and also to make links with colleagues at the NCPs and University of Manchester.

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Save the date! UKRO Visit on 20 January to update on European opportunities

UKRO and Horizon 2020

We’re pleased to announce that we will be welcoming our UK Research Office European Advisor, Ian Devine, to Manchester Met on 20 January 2017.

Ian will be providing an update on Horizon 2020 and European funding opportunities for all those of you who are interested in the programme and you will be able to hear more about the support on offer to you from the RKE Office.

We are also hoping to be able to announce a couple of guest speakers, who we think you may be interested to hear from.

We’ll update on the full agenda (and guest speakers) via the Blog, but for now, if you’re interested please let us know ( and hold 09.30 – 13.00, 20 January 2017 in your diaries!

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Horizon 2020: FET Open, Info Days and Shift2Rail


In a bid to try to clarify the purpose and expectations of Horizon 2020’s (highly popular) Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Open scheme, the European Commission have released a short promotional video available here.

For any of you thinking about applying to the scheme for either of the 2017 deadlines (17 January and 29 September) it’s well worth taking a few minutes to watch to make sure that your ideas are suitable.

Information Days

Presentations are now available from the Information Day for the 2017 call for Societal Challenge 6 (Europe in a Changing World) held in Brussels. These include presentations from representatives of the EC, an existing Horizon 2020 project, and the ESRC.

The EC together with National Contact Points will host an information day and brokerage event on 8 December in Brussels. The event will cover the following calls from Societal Challenge 5 (Climate Action):

  • Nature based solutions for inclusive urban regeneration
  • Heritage-led rural regeneration
  • Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction

An agenda and details of registration are available via the event website.


The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2RJU) has announced a call for proposals aligned with the ‘Smart, Green and Integrated Transport’ Societal Challenge. Certain elements are restricted to S2RJU members, but amongst the topics open to non-members are:

  • Smart metering and asset management of railway systems
  • Future stations and autonomous monitoring systems
  • Smart technologies for improved travel companion and trip tracking

Full details of the call including descriptions of topics are available in the S2RJU 2017 Annual Workplan.

As ever, if you’re thinking of making an application or want to know more about any of the above we’d love to hear from you (