UKRO is holding two European Research Council Starting Grants Information and Proposal Writing Events for prospective applicants.
1. ERC Starting Grants Information and Proposal Writing Event (London, Wednesday 19 July 2017)
2. ERC Starting Grants Information and Proposal Writing Event (Edinburgh, Wednesday 26 July 2017)
Attendance is free, but registration (following the above links) is mandatory. You may need to create an UKRO account (free for all university staff) to access the registration links.
Fore more information about ERC Starting Grants, see here.
If you would like to discuss a potential ERC application, please contact the relevant member of the Research Development Team for further help and advice.
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The current call for the University’s Research Internal Support Fund will be closing on 3rd July.
Applications to the Research Internal Support Fund can be for a range of research-related activities, such as participation at conferences of international standing, the preparation of large-scale bids (in general over £150,000, depending on the discipline) for external research funding, or lead to outputs of REF-able quality. Awards may cover direct costs such as travel and accommodation, teaching time buy-out and research assistance, and conducting preparatory research trials.
Under normal circumstances matched funding of 50% of the total cost of the planned activity must be evidenced, either from internal or external sources (requests for more than 50% of required costs from the Fund will be considered at the discretion of the review panel, except for conference participation, where 50% matched funding is mandatory). There are limit to what funds are available and conference participation will be capped at £750 and for other activity such as bidding development or a pilot project a maximum of £3,000. There is no set format for your visit or project and examples of activity that could be funded include:
- Undertaking small-scale or pilot projects that will lead to the submission of larger research bids.
- Presenting at conferences or similar events that are of international standing.
- Research at archives and libraries (or other similar institutions), both UK and overseas.
- Projects incorporating a research mobility component and leading to a research bid or output.
- Specialised equipment (that is non-standard to what the University provides).
- Small-scale buy-out of teaching.
- Research assistance.
For further information, and to make an application, please see the Internal Funding pages on the Research and Enterprise website.
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The Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Research Scholarship is now open, with a deadline of 26th of May 2017.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Research Scholarship is a one-year scheme that offers focussed support to promising early career researchers joining the University. All scholars will become members of a network that will meet on a regular basis to discuss research ideas and share expertise. These meetings will offer scholars the opportunity to discuss new developments in their research area. Furthermore, a tailored training programme and a dedicated support for bid writing activities will be provided.
More information, and the application form, can be found on the Research Development team website.
For further information and advice about applying, please contact your Research Centre Director, or Deborah Woodman in the Research & Enterprise Division at: RIemail@example.com
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In light of a number of queries received from academic colleagues in recent weeks, it is clear that there is still some uncertainty about the position of UK researchers in relation to applying for EU research funding in light of the referendum result and the UK’s impending departure from the EU. The Research Development Team therefore thought it would be useful to summarise the current position and to point colleagues towards additional sources of information about post-referendum related issues.
The over-arching message is that, at least until the UK officially leaves the EU (currently expected to be in March 2019), there is no change in UK-based applicants’ ability to bid and be awarded funding from the main EU research & innovation funding programmes (Horizon 2020, but also Erasmus+). Those colleagues interested in applying for funding from these sources should continue to pursue these opportunities and work with their partners across Europe to develop and submit their proposals as normal.
UK participants on all successful proposals which are submitted prior to the date on which the UK formally leaves the EU will have the cost of their involvement in these projects guaranteed, even where these projects extend beyond that date (or even if they are due to start after this date, provided the proposal is submitted prior to it).
The European Commission has also made it clear that proposals led by or including UK partners should not be treated any differently in the evaluation process and is putting measures in place to monitor this. Proposals involving UK partners should therefore not have a reduced chance of success.
The Research Development Team is on hand to advise and support any academic colleagues working on (or thinking of developing) Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ bids as normal. However, we are aware that may still be some uncertainty across Europe about the status of UK applicants, and would therefore like to hear from anyone who feels they may have been excluded from a bid, or had their role in one reduced/sidelined, due to uncertainty from others partners about UK applicants’ eligibility.
If you have experience of this, please send details to EU Funding Lead, Stephen Parkinson.
What follows is summary of some of the key messages, taken from the UK Research Office’s post-referendum resources page, which colleagues may find useful.
What has changed for UK participation since the referendum?
No immediate changes to UK participation in Horizon 2020 – this reflects the broader position that the UK’s status in the EU has not changed yet.
This means that:
Currently, the UK is still an EU Member State and has the same rights and obligations as all other 27 Member States, including the participation in EU funding programmes
The UK continues to be a full Member State during the negotiation process, with all the rights and obligations until the UK leaves the EU at the end of the process.
Details on how the UK can participate after an exit need to be determined during the negotiations following the triggering of Article 50.
What happens to proposals and projects involving UK participants when the UK leaves the EU?
The UK Government will underwrite funding for UK researchers participating in EU projects beyond the date the UK leaves the EU.
HM Treasury has issued a statement on 13 August 2016 to confirm this:
“Where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU”.
UKRO understands that eligibility for the guarantee will extend to all applications submitted before the exit date, and not just to grants signed.
British universities and research organisations should therefore continue to apply for EU funding through mechanisms such as Horizon 2020 while the UK remains a member of the EU.
Universities and research organisations from other EU Member States or countries associated to EU funding programmes are encouraged to and should feel reassured to continue to include UK partners.
What is the advice from the European Commission on UK participation in Horizon 2020?
The Commission has confirmed that the status of UK participants in EU funding programmes remains unchanged until the UK leaves the EU.
In July 2016, the Commission issued a statement concerning Horizon 2020: “Until the UK leaves the EU, EU law continues to apply to and within the UK, both when it comes to rights and obligations. This includes the eligibility of UK legal entities to participate and receive funding in Horizon 2020 actions.”
The Commission also explicitly briefs proposal evaluators in their guidance: “Experts should not evaluate proposals with UK participants any differently than before.” (europa.eu/research/participants/data/support/expert/h2020_expertbriefing_en.pdf)
The Commission has also clarified that proposals should not dedicate a part of their proposal to addressing the potential risks as a consequence of the UK Referendum, and that this will not be considered as part of the proposal evaluation process.
The main message at the moment, both from the UK Government and the European Commission, is that the status of the UK as an EU Member State will not change until such time as the UK actually leaves the EU and that UK participants should continue applying for Horizon 2020 and other competitive EU funds.
UKRO has produced a detailed FAQ factsheet on UK participation in EU funding for research, innovation and higher education, containing additional information and links to a variety of resources.
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The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has released details of funding calls it plans to launch in 2017/18.
The list of calls contains only very high-level information at this stage, including the call title, relevant thematic area and proposed call issue date. Further details on each call will be available when they are officially launched.
Colleagues can sign up for weekly email alerts on new/upcoming EPSRC calls here.
EPSRC Future Calls 2017/18
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In a recent post on Research Professional, Phil Ward (Deputy Director of Research at the University of Kent) outlines a top ten of tips on making, developing and sustaining international research collaborations. These tips make a great starting point for anyone looking to expand their international connections, which are increasingly important in the age of the Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund.
See below for the ten tips. The full article is available to view here.
(Note: you will need to log in to your Research Professional account if you want to access the article off-campus. If you have forgotten your password you can reset it, your username is your Salford email address.)
Top Tips for International Collaboration
1. Start small, as they have as little spare time as you do
Starting an international collaboration is a considerable undertaking for both partners. Both of you are exploring links that have considerable potential, but take a lot of work and time to develop. It is therefore worth starting small. You don’t have to collaborate on, say, a global challenges bid immediately. Rather, consider joint authorship on a paper, a joint conference session, or a short exchange.
2. Know the set of things that they need and you could potentially deliver
Like any relationship, you need to be aware of what you can offer, and what is important to you. Think about the needs of your project (see below), and consider who (or which group) can help to meet that need.
3. List your must haves, nice to haves and definitely nots
There is no point working with people if the relationship doesn’t meet your needs, but think about what those needs are, and which of them are essential.
4. Find someone you feel comfortable working with rather than the best in the field
Further to this, be aware that you are getting into a long-term relationship, so the potential colleague needs to not only meet your research needs, but be someone who you can work with on a personal level.
5. Be flexible, never judgmental
Inevitably, you will need to give and take, and the cultural expectations of your collaborator may be very different. Don’t be inflexible: be willing to take on board their issues or concerns. You might not be able to meet them all, but giving due consideration with an open mind is crucial.
6. You don’t have to meet in person, but it helps
It’s tempting, in our pressured and time-poor world, to rely on the phone, email, and Skype, but nothing beats a personal meeting. Misunderstandings can be clarified, and a more personal bond can be forged between the partners.
7. Understand your differing cultural (and religious) norms
I’ve alluded to this already, but it bears repeating. Particularly outside of the global north, expectations, priorities and beliefs vary hugely, and you need to be sensitive to them. This is a partnership of equals, and your collaborator should be treated as such.
8. Understand the universal principles of reciprocation, and valuation
Following on from this, you should not do all of the taking. You need to value and respect your collaborator’s work, and the pressures in their life. Offer help and support when it’s needed, if you expect them to do the same for you.
9. Be prepared to carry any collaboration, at least for a while
The ideal collaboration may take a while to form, so be open and adaptable as it coalesces. You may need to do more than your fair share initially if you want it to work, but the effort will be worth it, if it means the collaboration will be stronger as a result.
10. When they are busy you might be free, when you are busy they might be free: look at this as an opportunity
Collaborators’ work schedules often differ from yours; if you wait until both are free then this is a disadvantage, because it probably means ‘never’. However you can turn this into an advantage if you keep moving forwards when you are free (but they are busy) and in return they move forwards when they are free (but you are busy). That way you can build and maintain good momentum.
Throughout the collaboration, flexibility, understanding, and a healthy attitude of respect are essential. However, you need to go into any joint project with a full knowledge of your needs and what you hope to get out of it. The journey to fulfilling these may be circuitous and unexpected, but the golden rule is that if you keep the best interests of your collaborator in mind, the collaboration will work and will provide a huge amount of additional benefit besides.
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The ESRC will shortly be launching a call under the UK in a Changing Europe initiative for Brexit Priority Grants. These are to support additional activity (including research synthesis and potential new short-term research activity) related to the process of the UK leaving the European Union.
The grants will be between £100,000 and £300,000 (100 per cent fEC, with the ESRC contributing 80 per cent fEC) and for a duration of up to 18 months. The ESRC expects grants to commence on 1 April 2017.
Whilst grants under the call will be able to support new research, grant holders will be expected to undertake stakeholder and public engagement activity throughout the grant’s duration. Grant holders will also be expected to work closely with the initiative, led by Director Professor Anand Menon in communicating the research.
The ESRC intends to launch the call at the beginning of December 2016, and it is expected to close at 16.00 on 25 January 2017.
Watch here for further information on this call.
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EURAXESS, the European researcher jobs and mobility portal, has recently had an update. It is now much more user friendly, with the facility to search for funding opportunities.
The search pages can be found here.
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Please see the following call from the British Academy for interdisciplinary collaborative projects:
In partnership with the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society (‘the Academies’), the APEX award (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research award) scheme offers established independent researchers, with a strong track record in their respective area, an exciting opportunity to pursue genuine interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society.
The objectives of this scheme are to:
* support outstanding interdisciplinary research which is unlikely to be supported through conventional funding programmes
* promote collaboration across disciplines, with a particular emphasis on the boundary between science and engineering and the social sciences and humanities
* support researchers with an outstanding track record, in developing their research in a new direction through collaboration with partners from other disciplines
* enable outstanding researchers to focus on advancing their innovative research through seed funding.
Am I eligible to apply?
Applications should be within the remit of more than one of the Academies.
You can apply for this scheme if you are:
* an exceptional researcher with a strong track record as an established independent researcher.
* based at a UK University or not-for-profit research institution for at least the duration of the project.
Applicants will be expected to collaborate with a research partner from a different discipline from their own or a different university in the UK.
Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes. Please also refer to the FAQ for further guidance.
What is the scheme’s value and duration?
This scheme provides:
* an award of up to £100,000 to fund staff costs of which no more than 25% may be used for associated research costs.
* This can include consumables, equipment, collaborative travel expenses
* Costs of a teaching replacement to relieve the applicant and/or collaborator from some of their teaching and administrative duties
* Grants can be held for up to 24 months.
Note, requests for any other salary costs e.g. for research assistants, post-docs or studentships etc. cannot be included in the application. Note that awards under this scheme will not pay indirect and estate costs.
All awards must start between 01 September 2017 and 01 November 2017.
What is the application process?
Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP2). Applications will be peer-reviewed and assessed by a cross-disciplinary panel with broad ranging expertise drawn from the fellowship of all three Academies.
Further details about the award, including information on how to apply and the assessment criteria, can be found in the scheme notes.
The deadline for this call is 13th January 2017.
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Please see the following announcement from UKRO:
The Enterprise Europe Network, in partnership with Innovate UK, is organising a National Information Day and official launch event to introduce the 2017 round of calls for Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 – Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials on 23 November in Birmingham.
The event, which is free to attend, will introduce the calls for proposals in 2017, present insights and priorities from the European Commission, provide information on the support available to UK applicants and offer numerous networking opportunities to help forge the winning partnerships for future applications. In addition, National Contact Points (NCPs) from the UK, Ireland, Poland and Cyprus will be present to help broker potential collaborations.
The programme includes presentations from the European Commission, relevant NCPs and Innovate UK, as well as an opportunity to pitch ideas and expertise in front of leading research organisations and cutting-edge innovators from across industry.
Further information and registration is available on the event website.
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