MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

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

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Health Research Authority (HRA) Researcher Training Day


On the 24th February 2017, Manchester Metropolitan will welcome the Health Research Authority (HRA) to conduct training for University staff and students.


• To introduce researchers to the HRA and making applications to undertake research within the NHS
• Series of presentations and interactive sessions designed to give researchers insight into the ethical issues considered by RECs
• To help researchers anticipate the ethical concerns RECs may raise
• To outline guidance on consent and patient/participant information sheets


• Academic researchers, postgraduate student researchers and their academic supervisors from Manchester Metropolitan University only
• Researchers undertaking research with NHS patients or their data

To view the agenda and register for the event, please visit the Eventbrite.

We would encourage you to attend the whole day to maximise your understanding of research ethics and the HRA application process.

Certificates of attendance will be issued at the end of the day.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Please indicate any special dietary requirements when registering. If you have any special requirements in terms of access, please contact Mark Dyer.


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Funding opportunity with the PHR Programme: Public Mental Health

NiHR for Public Mental Health

NIHR are interested in receiving applications for research into the evaluation of public health interventions to improve mental health.

They are looking to fund research on the effectiveness of mental health promotion or mental illness prevention interventions across the life course at a (sub) population level. All areas of public mental health are covered by this funding opportunity.

Areas of particular interest include:

  • workplace interventions to promote mental health
  • interventions to reduce social isolation
  • interventions to prevent bullying

The deadline for applications is 1pm, 30 July 2015. For more information and to watch a webinar about this funding opportunity, please visit NIHR website.

For further assistance with your application  please email: 

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Perceptions of 12 hour shifts on Health Care Assistants

Up to £100,000 is available to carry out research for NHS England. The deadline for any response is 18 February 2015.

To further build on the research findings from the scoping review, focus groups and interviews with Health Care Assistants, NHS England are asking for calls for proposals to deliver two live evidence gathering events to take place in late March 2015.   Initial findings taken from the scoping review, focus groups and interviews will be used in the live listening evidence gathering events.

Aims and Objectives

  • To organise and coordinate two live listening evidence gathering events involving Health Care Assistants, Health/Care professionals, people we care for and other key stakeholders from a range of NHS care provider settings to discuss findings from the reviews of the impact of 12 hour shifts on Health Care Assistants.
  • To facilitate group discussion in the events around areas of divergence and convergence from the findings and engage with participants to identify associated emergent issues and proposed actions for future consideration.
  • To use case studies/vignettes for groups to discuss and validate emergent issues from the scoping review and findings from the focus groups and interviews.
  • To produce an action plan identifying key actions to be addressed as part of a short term delivery plan, and actions to be addressed as part of a longer term workforce strategy.

More details are available here:

If you’re interested in bidding, please let me know (Mike Daw,

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NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) Programme vacancies

NIHR2The Director of Research and Development for the Department of Health wishes to contract with an institution for two part-time positions* (1 day per week):

  • Programme Director of the NIHR PHR Programme
  • Chair of the funding board for the NIHR PHR Programme

The PHR Programme was established in 2008. It is a key component of the NIHR, complementing other NIHR programmes and initiatives. The PHR Programme funds research to evaluate non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health. The scope is multi-disciplinary and broad, covering a wide range of interventions that improve public health.

Further details about the individual roles and contact information can be found online.  

*Applications are welcome from candidates who may also want to combine the two roles.

More details about the programme can be found at

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MRC – New Methodology Research Highlight Notices

MRC and NHSThe Medical Research Council, through the MRC-NIHR Methodology Research Programme (MRP), has announced the launch of four new highlight notices, calling for applications addressing strategically important areas of unmet methodological need. These areas, as defined by MRC and NIHR, in consultation with policy partners such as MHRA, NICE, CSO, NISCHR and others, are:

Methods Research to support use of observational data in clinical decision making
Development of innovative methods for identifying, synthesising, interpreting and presenting observational data for use in guidance development and in clinical decision making (at patient and national levels), and in particular, how one may interpret and rationalise data from different sources e.g. RCT vs. observational clinical effectiveness data.

Multiple testing/Subgroup analyses – deriving minimally biased estimates
Development and testing of methods addressing issues of bias in multiple testing and subgroup analyses elements of randomised controlled trials, in particular addressing quantification of the extent of bias created by multiplicity, development of techniques for minimising bias and looking at trade-off between variance and bias.

Methods research for assessing quality of life in carers
High quality methods development research aimed at assessing quality of life of carers of people with cognitive impairment and specifically dementia.

Missing Data and the Use of Propensity Scores
Methods research for dealing with missing data in observational datasets, and high quality methods development research aimed at further understanding the robustness of propensity scores and whether the results of the analysis adjusting for them are robust.

Application process and schedule
Applications are invited through the normal MRC grant schemes and will be considered at the regular Methodology Research Programme Panel meetings. Applications are invited to the 23rd January 2014 deadline, and to subsequent deadlines. It is essential to discuss proposals with MRC Head Office at an early stage. All applications must be approved by the Methodology Programme Manager prior to submission. Please contact:

Dr David Crosby

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Funding opportunities with the NIHR – highlight notice

NIHR2*Highlight notice for the current researcher-led call – research in homeless populations invited*

The Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA Programme) is interested in receiving outline applications to the researcher-led workstream, to advance existing knowledge on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of particular therapeutic interventions in the homeless population. For more information, please visit the HTA researcher-led call webpage.

The HTA Programme is also looking for research questions for its commissioned workstream. For further information and to access the research suggestion from, please see the website.

For those interested in the above topic, the Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme are seeking applications to their commissoned workstream to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of integrated homeless health and care services. For more information, please visit the HS&DR commissioned call webpage.


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Linking Universities with Business: the AURIL Conference 2013

Obviously, you have to be at a conference to get the full benefit(!) but there were a number of things I learnt at the AURIL ( conference last week in Cardiff that may be interesting and useful for others to know. The subjects ranged from HEIF to philosophy!

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

David Sweeney (Director of Research, Innovation and Skills, HEFCE) said that there are promises to do with HEIF because it relies on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review. However, HEFCE is planning to make the case for increasing this funding stream and it has the evidence base to do so. As to the HEIF methodology, there are no significant changes likely because of a need for stability and probable changes to funding.

Nicola Dandridge (Universities UK) said that HEIF is excellent scheme that delivers palpable value for money but each university makes different contributions with different strengths, therefore the methodology needs examining to become more inclusive. The long-term sustainability of the system means we need to support all institutions for the benefit of all (e.g. up-and-coming researchers may be at any institution). She finished by pointing out that HEIF is not a zero-sum game, so a public debate between different university mission groups is not helpful and is potentially reductive.

Employability and Enterprise

Sheila Quairney (Sheffield Hallam University and Enterprise Educators UK) said that her survey had found that employers value the following from graduates: top, commercial awareness; second, communication skills; and only ninth, knowledge and skills. She introduced (at least to me) the word “intrapreneur,” i.e. one who applies entrepreneurial skills in paid employment, and the phrase “portfolio career,” i.e. those who have many different jobs over the course of employment.

Health Research

Julie Williams (Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales) told us that Wales is looking into the feasibility of every NHS member of staff being available for contact with regard to questions of research, clinical trials, etc.


Christophe Haunold (Chair of CURIE, the French equivalent of AURIL) questioned what mostly goes for accepted wisdom: “does growth and jobs always equal happiness?” Although, to be fair, this was far from the main subject of his talk.


Clare Reddington (Watershed, Bristol) told us about her AHRC-funded Knowledge Exchange project REACT ( She said the best way to stimulate new ideas is to work with people who are not like you. It’s also helpful to have a neutral space for people come together to encourage things to open up.

Simon Morton (University of Bristol) went on to say that REACT is a project that explores what happens when you put a “quantum physicist, computer scientist and dance troupe in the same room.” What do you need to be productive and creative? Answer: generosity (be prepared to share), speed (do it now), innovation (focus on solving problems rather than coming up with ‘ideas’).

Universities’ (not quite) Fit for Business

Alistair MacColl (BE Group) talked about the difficulties businesses have in working with universities. In his opinion these are:

  • Lack of signposting
  • Too many doors
  • SMEs need simpler-to-understand routes in.