MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met

Leave a comment

Free seminar: how your research can shape policy and practice

We’re delighted to be able to offer you the opportunity to attend a free seminar, Introduction to evidence-based policy: how to get your research into evidence and practice with Professor Chris Fox.

The seminar provides a brief introduction to policy-making, focusing on UK policy-making institutions.

By attending this seminar, you will better understand:

  • The role of evidence in shaping policy
  • Who makes policy
  • What is evidence-based policy
  • Practical strategies for getting evidence into policy and practice

The session is open to all staff at Manchester Metropolitan University, early career and postgraduate researchers.

Professor Chris Fox is Professor of Evaluation and Policy Analysis at Manchester Metropolitan University where he is also Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit and co-lead of Metropolis.  Chris is involved in a wide range of evaluation and research projects in a number of policy areas including criminal justice, social investment and welfare reform. His recent books include ‘An Introduction to Evaluation’ (published by Sage) and ‘Payment by results and social impact bonds: Outcome-based payment systems in the UK and US’ (published by Policy Press).

This event is free to attend and lunch is provided. There are two sessions to choose from:

  • Thursday 19.03.20 10.00am – 1.00pm in Room JDE 417
  • Thursday 18.06.20 10.00am – 1.00pm in Room JDE 417

For more information or to book, visit our Eventbrite page.

Leave a comment

Thinking of a Nuffield Foundation bid? Tips from an a grant winner

Nuffield Foundation Logo  Research Professional

This article is taken from Research Professional’s Research Insight service and Research Fortnight so thanks to them.

Partnerships and impact should be at the base of a Nuffield Foundation bid

Nuffield Foundation Grants for Research, Development and Analysis support projects that improve the design and operation of social policy, especially in education, welfare and justice.

Grants range from £10,000 to £500,000, but most are worth between £50,000 and £300,000. The foundation has said it expects the deadline for outline applications to the next round to be in September.

Here, Gráinne McKeever, a professor of law and social justice at Ulster University, speaks about her 2016 Nuffield grants for studying litigants in person: people who represent themselves in the Northern Ireland court system.

What was the background to your bid? I had just completed a pilot project on the topic funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Small Research Grants scheme. Around that time, the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland published a major review of access to justice, which highlighted the need for more research on the position of litigants in person. The policy context coincided perfectly with the direction of my research.

What attracted you to Nuffield? It had previously funded tribunal reform research I had done for the Law Centre in Northern Ireland, so I knew it was interested in how the legal system works for ordinary people and how the values of the legal system play out. It was also clear that it would fund research on Northern Ireland as one of the jurisdictions in the UK—you can’t assume this with all funders.

What’s more, the application process is a tailored, staged system. It’s not one of those processes where you leap in, do eight weeks of work on a massive application and then you either get it or not. It’s more manageable.

Was there a fit with Nuffield’s priorities? Yes. The type of research we were proposing had the potential to generate evidence-based reform. We knew Nuffield was not a funder for blue-sky research—it wants to make a difference on the ground.

Did you consider any other funders? Not seriously. The Nuffield Foundation was our first port of call. I’ve done some work for the Legal Education Foundation in the past, who are also good to work with. If we hadn’t been successful with Nuffield, we might have approached them.

Did you work with any partner organisations? It was a joint bid with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and largely thanks to that, I knew that the stakeholder engagement section was going to be strong. Together with the chief commissioner of the Human Rights Commission I met the lord chief justice, the head of the Department of Justice of Northern Ireland and the head of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service, to see if they would facilitate the research if we got the grant. Getting their buy-in at an early stage was essential.

What is the first stage of the application process? Applicants submit a brief outline application, which is an opportunity to refine your thinking to identify a good research idea and start to set out how it might be delivered. Nuffield gave us feedback at that stage saying, “We think you could do more on this and for that reason we think your budget might not be sufficient.”

It’s not my experience that a funder will come back and say you need to ask them for more money, but they were keen to make sure we maximised the project’s potential.

What elements did you bring to the fore in the full application? While some funders may be more interested in developing an in-depth theoretical understanding of an issue, Nuffield is more interested in improving society. So that was an important part of our application. In particular, we were keen to emphasise the value that the Human Rights Commission would bring to the project. They provided a legal advice clinic that as academics we wouldn’t have been able to do in the same way.

Do you have any tips for future applicants? Remember that Nuffield wants to make a difference. Impact planning really is intrinsic to the research that Nuffield has funded for us. We didn’t just do it to get a grant and produce a report. We did it because we could see very clearly that there was a chance to make a difference.

What else is Nuffield looking for? Another important aspect is partnership working. Our project has just been extended through another major grant from Nuffield and we’re now going to be working with the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service and others to provide support materials for personal litigants in family law cases.

For Nuffield, partnership is not just about working with an organisation to get their ideas. Being able to engage with an organisation on the ground that can sustain and add greater value to the research is something Nuffield has been very keen for us to do.

It’s also important to engage seriously with the feedback. Talk to people who have done other work in your area and get their feedback on your draft application.

Leave a comment

Latest NIHR Funding Opportunities

The National Institute for Health Research have two new calls that are open for applications:

Policy Research Programme: Representativeness of Adult Social Care Surveys

Award Amount: up to £200,000

Duration: 9 months

Deadline: 29th January 2019

NIHR  are looking for a research proposal to assess the representativeness of surveys currently used to understand the experience of adult social care users and carers in England. The research should:

  • Review current methodologies, sampling strategies and outputs to identify the characteristsics of those being selected for surveys and those responding.
  • Explore whether surveys are representative of the target populations and identify gaps in coverage.
  • Review best practice.
  • Identify ways in which the survey programme can be enhanced. 

For more information about this opportunity please visit here

Policy Research Programme: Implementation and Assessment of Mandatory Calorie Labelling

Award Amount:up to £650,000

Duration: 45 months

Deadline: 29th January 2019

The Government has recently consulted on mandatory calorie labelling in the OOH sector. Research is required to explore the implementation of this and evaluate the outcomes on business, individuals and families.  The following questions should be included in the research:

  • How effective have regulations to mandate calorie labelling for the OOH sector been in providing consumers with clear and accurate information about the calorie content of food and drink?
  • How have providers in the OOH sector responded? What are the effects on business?
  • How have consumers responded to the labelling?
  • What are the implications of mandatory calorie labelling for enforcement?

For more information about this opportunity please visit here

If you would like to apply to either of these opportunities then please get in touch with your Research Development Team.

Leave a comment

GDPR and Research – An Overview


Since the arrival of the new GDPR  (General Data Protection Regulations) there has been some confusion over the impact that this will have on researchers and their data. UKRI have produced an overview to give guidance and support.

The overview is specifically tailored to academics and researchers and covers topics that are relevant to data collection and sharing within a research environment. The overview covers the following areas of key concern:

  • What is GDPR?
  • What counts as ‘personal data’?
  • How does GDPR impact research?
  • How do I make sure my data processing for research is lawful?
  • What do I need to do to be fair and transparent?
  • What are the implications for sharing my data?
  • What are GDPR safeguards?
  • Who’s responsible?

The full document can be found here.



Leave a comment

AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange Fellowship Scheme

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are pleased to invite applications to the AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships scheme.

The scheme will provide the opportunity for each intake of fellows to be seconded into the FCO to work alongside, advise and influence policymakers.

The fellowship scheme will go beyond current ad hoc arrangements, create deeper engagement between academia and policy, impact on diplomacy, increase the professional reputation of participating scholars and build long term, two way relationships. The benefits will flow to the wider academic community through fellows’ engagement with their home research organisation and wider research communities as well as through a dedicated policy seminar series hosted by the FCO during the lifetime of the scheme.

Deadline for Applications: 31st October 2017

For more information, please visit the ESRC.

Leave a comment

AHRC – Engaging with Government Programme

The Engaging with Government programme is a three day course designed to provide an insight into the policy making process, and help participants develop the skills needed to pursue the policy implications of their research. It also aims to build links between policy makers and the most dynamic new research in the arts and humanities. The AHRC is inviting eligible researchers to submit an application to attend the course.

The programme will:

  • Encourage you to see opportunities where your own research could make a valuable contribution in a public policy context.
  • Challenge you to think in more depth about the policy process, and the role of research within it.
  • Increase the influencing and communication skills that you need to achieve this.

The programme is for early career researchers working in any area of the AHRC’s subject domain.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 7th October 2016.

For more information and to apply, please visit the AHRC.

Leave a comment

Using Research to Inform HE Policy and Practice

In this one day event, sponsored by the Office for Fair Access and delivered in partnership with the Society for Research into Higher Education, the Society for Research into Higher Education will highlight how early career researchers are seeking to shape HE policy and practice, whilst addressing some of the challenges that they may face in seeking to do so.

Friday 15th April 2016: 9.00-16.30

Office for Fair Access, Nicholson House, Lime Kiln Close, Bristol, BS34 8SR

For more information and to reserve a place, please visit SRHE.

Leave a comment

Joseph Rowntree Grants

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust invites applications for several funding opportunites.

Note: The trust will not fund academic research, with the exception of research that forms an integral part of policy and campaigning work that is central to their areas of interest.

Sustainable future programme grants

These support projects on developing and promoting sustainable, low-carbon alternatives to the current consumerist and growth-based paradigm.

The deadline for applications is 30 Nov 2015.

Rights and justice programme grants

These aim to support projects on the rights of vulnerable racial and ethnic minorities, to hold governments to account and to strengthen the hand of those advocating with and for these communities.

Peace and security programme grants

These support charitable work on issues of peace and security.

Power and accountability programme grants

These support projects that aim to create a world in which power is more equally shared, and in which powerful institutions are responsive and accountable to wider society and aligned with the long-term public interest.

The deadline for applications for the above three is 14 Dec 2015.

For more information, please visit:

For advice on applying, please contact your relevant Research Development Manager.

Leave a comment

AHRC: Engaging with Government

The Engaging with Government programme is a three day course which will take place 8-10 March 2016 and is designed to provide an insight into the policy making process, and help participants develop the skills needed to pursue the policy implications of their research. It also aims to build links between policy makers and the most dynamic new research in the arts and humanities. AHRC are inviting eligible researchers to submit an application to attend the course.

The deadline for applications is 27 Nov 2015.

For more information and to apply, please visit:

Leave a comment

BBSRC Delivery Plan 2015/16






BBSRC has just released its Delivery Plan for 2015/16. Here is a a summary of the main points contained in the plan.

BBSRC’s vision is for a thriving UK knowledge-based Bioeconomy, powered by the outstanding bioscience research base that addresses some of the most significant challenges facing society such as food security, infectious disease, sustainable energy/chemicals and how to live longer, healthier lives.

BBSRC’s high-level plans for 2015/16 will:

i. Maintain the excellence of the UK bioscience and technology research base to drive innovation and make the UK one of the best places to do bioscience research. This will be done by:

o Protecting levels of responsive funding for ‘excellent research’, balancing investigator-led ideas with focusing of research priorities to address key societal and economic needs.

o Sustaining support for strategically funded institutes and associated campuses as centres of excellence.

o Using the international strategy to enable UK researchers to collaborate with the best in the world and leverage BBSRC’s investment to boost excellence and research volume.

o Funding vital national capability in HEIs and Institutes – completing key research infrastructure projects.

ii. Ensure the supply of skilled people into the economy and public sector, meeting user needs

o Second round of Doctoral Training Partnerships with a strategic focus in the grand challenges, balanced with broad-based excellent bioscience, industrially relevant vulnerable skills and PIPs.

o Through BBSRC’s industrial training strategy, and ongoing commitment to CASE studentships, ensure BBSRC continues to fund the skills industry needs.

o Support, including mentoring, for postdocs to develop their research careers.

o Providing more informatics skills (e.g. Masters-level) through BBSRC’s industrial training schemes.

iii. Support growth in key industrial sectors and emerging technologies by funding research, skills and infrastructure supporting bio-industries. The priorities are:

o Agriculture and Food Security: BBSRC will support implementation of the agri-technology sector strategy; fund the agri-tech Catalyst with TSB; establish two new industry clubs for research in sustainable agriculture (with NERC) and microbial food safety (with FSA) and develop agri-tech campuses to support growth and new jobs. Establish with NERC an initiative for collaborative research in aquaculture.

o Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (IBBE): this area promises enormous growth based on enhanced bio-based feedstocks, high-value and platform chemicals and bioenergy. BBSRC will grow UK research capacity and provide the skills needed. With TSB, BBSRC will support translation via an IBBE Catalyst.

o Bioscience for Health: BBSRC’s plans address the dual opportunity of reducing the economic burden of an ageing population whilst underpinning Life Science sector industries. BBSRC will increase its focus on nutrition and health across the life-course. MRC will be a key partner in the drive to develop new vaccines and novel antimicrobial agents.

o Emerging technologies: BBSRC has long recognised the importance of technologies to generate new knowledge, markets and revenue streams. BBSRC’s plans to 2015/16 prioritise emerging technologies in three areas: Agri-tech, Data-rich bioscience (‘big data’) and Synthetic Biology.

o ‘Quick wins’ for economic growth: the lead time for impact from basic research is often >10 years. BBSRC will take decisive actions to spur growth and jobs in the shorter term. Actions include more funding to the Follow-on-Fund to derive impact rapidly from existing research, and Translation Fellows alongside BBSRC’s industry clubs to accelerate translation of the research. Also ‘Sparking Impact’ institutional awards (£100K) to HEIs fund quick, flexible Knowledge Transfer activities to accelerate impact.

iv. Further development of Research and Innovation Campuses to accelerate translation of excellent bioscience and help grow new and existing companies

BBSRC’s £100M+ campus investment brings researchers and business together in the right environment to nurture new and existing companies. Campus developments include:

Edinburgh: a new incubator building; Norwich Research Park (NRP): a ‘Molecular Pharming Pilot Facility’; Aberystwyth: a ‘Plant Breeding Hotel’ and development of the ‘Pwllpeiran Upland Research Centre’ for sustainable agriculture; Rothamsted: shared lab space for industry; Pirbright: a campus / hub supporting bio-based businesses in animal and human infectious disease as part of a national and international network of high-containment microbiology facilities and a key lab supporting Defra and DH.

v. Work in partnership and seek leverage to deliver BBSRC’s strategy with greater impact

o Significant leverage opportunities through major international partnerships with priority countries such as USA, Brazil, India and China. Increased focus on EU engagement in Industrial Biotechnology and bioenergy programmes as part of the Horizon 2020 Bioeconomy theme. New research collaboration will be established between BBSRC, DFID, Defra and China on sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa.

o Collaboration in major international programmes on wheat yield and reducing Nitrogen fertiliser use.

o Further enhance partnership working with the TSB to enable impact e.g. the new Catalysts. The main areas of interest with TSB are Agri-technology, IBBE and the Life Science sector. An extra £25M off collaborative funding with the TSB will be available to commit in 15/16 alone.

o Enhanced partnership within RCUK. BBSRC recognises particular collaborative opportunities:

NERC on ‘sustainability’ via a new industry club, joint funded research initiative on soils, and joint activities such as seminars with mutual industry partners;

MRC as a partner in ‘One health’, linking human and animal health research to gain mutual insight and benefit – joint work on next generation vaccines and new antibiotics;

Collaboration with MRC and ESRC prioritising nutrition and health – to better understand gut health, the role of the microbiome and nutrition over the life-course;

Link with the cross-Council LLHW theme to develop a biological understanding of why and how people age, with focus on maintaining health over the life-course;

Working with NERC, ESRC, EPSRC and MRC as the lead on the Global Food Security (GFS) programme – new multidisciplinary research on soils, waste and diet/nutrition;

Increased funding for the NC3Rs (£1.65M by 2015/16), which BBSRC supports with MRC to reduce animal usage in research.

The full delivery plan is available here: