MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

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Innovation After Lockdown



Over the coming months, Nesta will be exploring how innovation can help create a resilient and inclusive economy post COVID-19, and the windows of opportunity for lasting change.

Building on their recent report The Missing £4 Billion Nesta’s present proposals for how innovation policy can become more place sensitive, more focused on spreading innovation to the wider economy and more prepared to steer innovation for the public benefit.

The Innovation After Lockdown report and summary argues that for that extra funding to be felt, it needs to be directed towards addressing the UK’s stark and worsening regional inequalities and building the productivity and resilience of key parts of the economy. This should include vital but struggling sectors like social care.

As well as a strong moral case for supporting people and places that have been worst hit by the pandemic, the report finds that policies to spread innovation and its benefits more widely will lead to an economy that is stronger and better placed to weather future shocks. Fostering innovation and raising productivity in foundational sectors, like housing, education, health and social care, could help them better adapt to unforeseen disruptions. Given that such sectors account for around 40 per cent of the workforce, this could have a significant positive impact on the UK economy – and on the living standards of millions of key workers.

Nesta argues that policymakers need to make several practical changes to how innovation is nurtured, funded and regulated.

In practice this means:

  1. A new settlement for frontline workers and sectors, funding innovation to improve pay and resilience in those parts of the economy, such as care, retail and hospitality, that have been hardest hit in the struggle against COVID-19.
  2. A far greater focus on building innovation capacity across the country, including devolving a significant proportion of public R&D funding to the nations, regions and cities of the UK as part of new Deals for Innovation-Led Recovery.
  3. A more proactive approach to guiding innovation in the public interest.


A recording of the webinar is now available to view online.

read the Executive Summary  and full Report here.

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NIHR i4i Product Development Award (PDA) Call 19 – Live FAQ Sessions

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme are holding live FAQ sessions for applicants to its Product Development Awards 19 funding call (launched 30th October).

Date: 11th/15th November

Time: 2pm/11am respectively

Location: Webinar

The FAQ webinars will be interactive, and participants will have the opportunity to submit written questions that will be responded to during the session. The questions and responses will be made available to all participants during the session, and a summary will be made available on the NIHR website afterwards.

Two sessions will be held to give all applicants the opportunity to participate, Please use the links below to access the sessions on the day (please note that sessions will show as suspended until shortly before they start):

Live FAQ – 11th November

Live FAQ – 15th November

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City Football Group – Stadium Experience Challenges

Working in conjunction with the Business Growth Hub, MIDAS (Manchester’s inward investment agency) and the Department for International Trade, Manchester Met are supporting City Football Group to reach out to the start-up/small business community to help solve some key challenges facing the group and the stadium experience.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to City Football Academy for Start-up week (w/c 24th June 2019), where they will work side by side with key representatives from City Football Group’s Leadership Team to develop a minimum viable product of their solution – which if selected, could be tested with a funded pilot at one (or more) of CFG’s clubs. Applicants will also have the opportunity to network with CFG staff and other start-ups, will receive guidance and entrepreneurial advice on their project as well as accommodation, healthy food and some surprise training with top coaches at the CFA campus.

 Ideally, we’d be looking to pair up academic expertise to support the start-up with their proposed project (but it’s not essential). If you know of any start-ups who might be interested in the challenge areas below, or other academic colleagues who might have an interest and/or links to start-ups, please do send on this link to them and encourage them to apply!

Closing date for applications is 31st March.

 Challenge areas:

How we might reduce waste, improve energy efficiencies and reduce our carbon footprint?

How we can make matchday quicker and easier by removing queues and improving access to services. We are looking for parking solutions, quick serving staff, stadium entry, security and bag checks and improved way finding.

How we might leverage home advantage and engage the crowd even more in the action, creating a visual spectacle, optimize acoustics, create viral moments and connect fans with fans inside and outside the stadium

How we could create a smart environment that enables us to provide each fan with an individual experience, know who is in the crowd, learn fan behaviours to anticipate their needs.

We want all our supporters to feel part of a family that isn’t constrained by physical location or time, enable networking and connect world-wide fans with each other, Gamify Fan Engagement, Empower fans and create immersive and personalized content (broadcasting / TV/ VR/ AR).



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Research & Innovation in the NHS Long Term Plan

Last week the NHS released their long term plan with funding of £20.5 billion backing the new plans up to 2023, of course research and innovation features within the plan which is summarised below.

Research and innovation are key to both the NHS and UK economy. ‘Research-active’ hospitals have lower mortality rates with patients benefiting from earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments and faster recovery. The government plans to treble it’s industry contract and R&D collaborative research with the NHS over the next ten years to nearly £1 billion.

The NHS will be working to increase the number of people registered to participate in health research to 1 million by 2023/24, one way of doing this will be by allowing people to register their interest via an app by 2020.

There is a particular focus on investing in genomics research with the aim to be the first national health care system to offer whole genome sequencing as part of routine care. During 2019 seriously ill children who are likely to have rare genetic disorders, children with cancer, and adults suffering from certain rare conditions or specific cancers, will begin to be offered whole genome sequencing.

Uptake of proven, affordable innovations will be accelerated through a new Medtech funding mandate. This applies to health tech products (other than pharmaceuticals) assessed as cost saving by NICE. The number of NICE evaluations will also be significantly increased giving greater scope for assessment of digital products in particular.

For more information about the NHS long term plan you can visit the plans here.

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Empowering Innovation in the Northern Powerhouse: Beyond Graphene

This event will bring together major leaders of the STEM industry and senior representatives of the largest scientific/innovation bodies in Manchester with PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, entrepreneurs and SMEs to showcase/highlight the innovations that are currently being developed in Manchester and the initiatives supporting them.

Major scientific organisations and bodies for the scientific field in Manchester will be represented on the day, consisting of a special guest, 3 keynote speakers and a panel discussion, followed by a networking session.

5:30pm – 9:30pm, 19th April 2016.

Pioneer Lecture Theatre, Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, M1 3NJ.

For more information and to register attendance, please CLICK HERE.

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Science and Innovation Conference 2016

This year’s conference is full of brand new funding initiatives, fresh policy updates and opportunities surrounding the UK’s science and innovation landscape in light of the UK government’s spending review.

Key discussions on the day include research structures and associated funding, the future funding landscape across higher education, investment and innovation across material sciences and manufacturing, energy innovation and much more.

Tuesday 14th June 2016 QEII Centre, Central London.

For more information and to register attendance, please click here.

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Social Innovation Fund for Pilot Projects

HEFCE has allocated a minimum of £40,000 to support a number of projects to pilot novel practical approaches to creating social innovations.

HEFCE, in association with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), has launched a call to support a number of such projects. They will take existing research and knowledge and apply it to a social issue in order to improve social outcomes for people. The pilots will be developed during a 2.5-day ‘sandpit’ event taking place from 12 to 14 January 2016 in the South West of England.

Participants from all publicly funded English higher education institutions (HEIs) at any stage of their career after completion of their academic training, or who are employed by the HEI as a practitioner, can apply to attend the event. We also welcome interest from participants from the other UK nations and from outside HEIs, although successful applicants will need to join a project led by an HEI based in England.

Details of how to apply can be found here:

If you have any queries, please contact:

The closing date for applications is 16:00pm Wednesday 18 November 2015.

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2015 Funding Call: Newton Advanced Fellowships


Newton Advanced Fellowships provide mid-career researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group or network through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with a partner in the UK. Applications are welcome from the following Newton Fund Partner Countries: Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The closing date is Wednesday, 16 September 2015, 5pm .

Awards last for one or two years (depending on the country) and are available to support researchers across the social sciences and humanities.

Funding is available for:

  • A salary top up for the principal applicant from the Newton Fund Partner Country.
  • Research support to cover costs for studentships, staff, consumables or equipment.
  • Travel and subsistence to cover travel costs of the UK partner to the international partner and/or travel of the international partner to the UK.
  • Training to support the career development of the applicant and their research group or network.

Please note: Opportunities vary depending on the Newton Fund partner country. Please check the relevant scheme notes for each country for further information and a full break down of costs.

For more information on this call, eligibility and how to apply, visit: here

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Registration for Aerodays 2015 Now Open

Aerodays is a European flagship event bringing together over 1000 attendees from the world of Aeronautics and Air Transport research. This prestigious event will provide a unique opportunity to share the results of collaborative research, showcase innovations, discuss policy and developments for work funded through the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and takes us forward to Horizon 2020 and beyond.

Aerodays 2015 will take place in London from 20 until 23 October 2015. Interested parties can now register for the conference on the Aerodays 2015 website. Early bird rates available for all booking made by Friday 14 August.