Posts from August 2013

NCRM Autumn School 2013 for Early Career Researchers: International and comparative research

29 August 2013

The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) will hold ninth residential training event for early career researchers on 6-8 November 2013. This year’s Autumn School will be an exploration of international and comparative research, focusing particularly on methodological issues and innovations relating to researchers engaged in projects that span national boundaries. Participants will be introduced to a range of examples of methodological developments using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, and will be encouraged to think about what these might potentially offer to their own research and to their career development.

Who is it for?

The NCRM Autumn School is targeted at post-doctoral early career researchers from across the UK social science community who are employed on research-led contracts and who often do not have the same opportunities to participate in training events as PhD students and junior lecturers. Sessions will not assume expert knowledge, but some familiarity with comparative research will be an advantage.

How do I apply?

There are 30 fully-funded places available (to include accommodation, all meals, and reasonable travel expenses to and from Southampton). Priority will be given to NCRM researchers but around half of the places will be available by open competition. All applicants should complete and return the registration form (pls download below) by Friday 20th September 2013 and applicants for the open competition will be notified whether their application has been successful shortly after this date. Full details of the final programme will also be sent to successful applicants at this point, along with details of preparatory reading for some of the Autumn School sessions, and an invitation to identify topics for discussion at the methodological challenges session about which they would be prepared to make a short presentation. To register, please go to:

What will the new EU Programme for Research and Innovation look like?

28 August 2013

h2020 visualHorizon 2020 is the new EU’s new programme for research and innovation with a key aim of creating new growth and jobs in Europe though knowledge generation and innovation. The Programme promises major simplification from its predecessor (Framework Programme 7, ‘FP7’), especially in the areas of budgetary preparations, costing models, audits, proposal submissions and the contract negotiation process.

Running from 2014 to 2020 with a €70 billion budget, the proposed programme will consist of 3 pillars:

1. Excellent science

  • European Research Council awards – frontier research by excellent individual scientists and their research teams
  • Future and Emerging Technologies – collaborative research to open new fields of innovation
  • Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions – EU doctoral training networks; individual EU and International fellowships; reintegration grants
  • Research Infrastructures – ensuring access to world-class facilities

2. Competitive industries

  • Leadership in enabling & industrial technologies (ICT, nanotechnologies, materials, biotechnology, manufacturing, space)
  • Access to risk finance – leveraging private and venture capital for research
  • Innovation in SMEs – fostering all forms of SME innovation (Research for the benefit of SMEs will be a part of this scheme)

3. Better society

  • Addressing concerns of citizens and society/EU policy objectives on key issues (including climate; environment; energy; transport)
  • Breakthrough solutions from multidisciplinary collaborations, including social sciences & humanities
  • Promising solutions to be tested, demonstrated and scaled-up

Topical areas will include: Health, demographic change & well-being; Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research& the bio-economy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials; Inclusive, innovative and secure societies

Horizon 2020 will tackle societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market by, for example, helping innovative companies to develop their technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential. This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed.

International cooperation will be an important cross-cutting priority of Horizon 2020. In addition to the Programme being fully open to international participation, targeted Calls for proposals with key partner countries and regions outside the EU will focus on the EU’s strategic priorities.

Revised costing template supports research and enterprise funding bids

27 August 2013

Researchers and members of Professional Services who are involved in preparing research or enterprise funding bids are asked to use a new spreadsheet template for calculating the Full Economic Costs (fEC) of their bids.

For most funding applications, we are required to provide detailed information about the resources needed and the cost of these resources. The new fEC template supports bidders to prepare their bids in the best way possible and this, in turn, shows that the project has been thought through and this gives credibility to the bid.

Those employees who are familiar with previous templates should have little problem adapting to the new one. However, guidance is available from Geoff Taylor on or on extension 53880.

The new template can be found here and further guidance can be found here.


EU Commission Study on Open Access Released

22 August 2013

A recent study, funded by the European Commission, suggests that around 50% of scientific papers published in 2011 are made available via open access.

Open access will be mandatory for all scientific publications produced with funding from the new EU research funding programme Horizon2020.

The study, undertaken by Science-Metrix, looked at the availability of scholarly publications in 22 fields of knowledge in the European Research Area, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States. Two further reports by the same group have also been released, one examining open access policies and the second focusing on issue surrounding open access to data. The research suggests that open access is reaching the tipping point, with around 50% of scientific papers published in 2011 now available for free. This is about twice the level estimated in previous studies, explained by a refined methodology and a wider definition of open access. The study also estimates that more than 40% of scientific peer reviewed articles published worldwide between 2004 and 2011 are now available online in open access form. The study looks at the EU and some neighbouring countries, as well as Brazil, Canada, Japan and United States of America.

For more information and to access the reports, please follow the link below.