CROS & PIRLS – There’s still time to participate

Until Wednesday 5 April 2019, Northumbria is participating in two biennial national surveys of researchers, the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and the Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS). These surveys gather important, anonymous data about working conditions, career aspirations and career development opportunities for research staff and research leaders in higher education institutions.

Eligible staff have been sent an email with a link to the relevant survey to learn about lucky leprechaun slot. The surveys are totally anonymous and confidential and analysis will be used to inform Northumbria’s researcher development training programmes and other activities in support of our research-active staff. They will also be used to benchmark us against the rest of the sector. Click on the links for more information about CROS and PIRLS or contact if you have any questions about the surveys.



Je-S System Unavailable: 21st – 26th March

From 17:00 GMT on Thursday 21st March to 08:30 GMT Tuesday 26th March 2019 the Je-S system will be unavailable.
Working  closely with UKRI, UK SBS will be renewing and moving the IT infrastructure that supports the grant administration services for UKRI and their Councils, known as Je-S.
To complete this work, the Je-S system will be unavailable for a 4 day period, including the weekend. This is mainly an infrastructure change and there will be no effect on the functionality or look and feel of the Je-S system itself.
There will be a change to the email address associated with Je-S which will become . After the 26th of March, any email to the Je-S service should be sent to but any mail using the current email will be redirected.

2019 calls for proposals of Horizon 2020 – The network of ‘Science with and for Society’ issue a list of SWAFS-relevant topics

Science with and for Society (SwafS) “Opportunities E-Book” for Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 

Topics include:  ICT, Heath Demographic change and Wellbeing, Blue Growth, Rural Renaissance, Migration, Governance for the Future, Digital Security, Climate Action, Green energy for growth, Food Security and Sustainable agriculture

See link  to e-book for full details:





Australian Government Strips millions of funding awarded to Humanities researchers

The Australian Academy of the Humanities reports below on an extremely worrying development…

The Australian Academy of the Humanities today expressed its shock and anger at the news that former Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, personally intervened to strip the nation’s humanities researchers of over $4M in funding that had been approved through a world-renowned peer review process of funding.

During the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee estimates hearing yesterday, under questioning by Senator Kim Carr, it was confirmed that the former Education Minister intervened by rejecting 11 humanities Australian Research Council grant applications.

“The Australian research funding system is highly respected around the world for its rigour and integrity” said Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA, President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. “Political interference of this kind undermines confidence and trust in that system.”

“The rigour of that system and the competition for funding means that only exceptional applications make it through the process” said Professor Damousi. “A panel of experts have judged these projects to be outstanding, yet that decision has apparently been rejected out of hand by the former Minister.”

“This interference damages Australia’s reputation on the world stage. Withdrawing funding by stealth threatens the survival of a strong humanities teaching and research sector, something no democratic society can do without.”

“The secrecy under which the Ministerial intervention has occurred should be of grave concern to the entire research community, not just to humanities scholars”, said Professor Damousi. “This interference is entirely at odds with a nation that prides itself on free and open critical enquiry.”

The Academy calls on the Morrison Government to restore the funding to the humanities sector and support the high quality research it has arbitrarily rejected. Political interference in the research grants process constitutes a fundamental attack on the integrity of our research funding system.




Gaming on the Goals – networking event at Northumbria University on the SDGs

Join us for an open, interactive, dynamic and fun networking session to mark the first ‘Green GB Week’

“Gaming on the Goals” – networking on Sustainable Development Goals


16th October, 10:00 -11:30 am

Northumbria University


Who should attend?

This event is open to all academics and post-doctoral researchers from all Faculties who are keen to get involved and make new connections


Aims of the event:

Get to know the Sustainable Development Goals and why they are momentous!

Be inspired for new ideas for Research and Teaching around the Goals

Meet new people, exchange ideas and get creative together



A dynamic, interactive, facilitated session to generate awareness and ideas on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It will be fun, creative and thought-provoking!

The first hour will be facilitated and the last half hour will be further informal networking over coffee.


Please register for the event as places are limited:


The event is organised by Research and Innovation Services and is open to all academic and post-doctoral researchers at Northumbria University. For queries, email





Royal Society Fellowships Workshop – 6 September 2018


Royal Society covers life & physical sciences including engineering but excluding medical

Lucy Saddleton and Katie Lisanti @Royal Society

Katie Saddleton- Scheme Manager, UK Grants (particularly Fellowships)

Fellowships – they are really flexible, encourage shared parental leave, can accommodate sick leave, parental leave etc. You are all humans and RS will support you.

There are additional free training opportunities available for RS Fellows, workshops, training, mentoring, MP pairing scheme. Funding schemes include:

  • University Research Fellows can apply to have a PhD student included in the Fellowship
  • ECR Fellowships
  • Senior Research Fellowships
  • Industry & Innovation – Fellowships & New Short Industry Fellowships
  • Industry & Innovation – APEX Award, Paul Instrument Fund
  • Research Capacity & Infrastructure – Research Grants

Lucy Lisanti – International Exchanges Manager

International Collaboration & Travel – International Exchanges, JSPS Postdoc Fellowship, Newton International Fellowship (ECR from Newton Countries), Newton Advanced (Early to Mid from Newton Countries), Royal Society Newton Fund (International Fellowships)

GCRF – International Collaboration (bolstering current collaborations), Challenge Led Grants (one off award), FLAIR Fellowships (African researchers to work in sub Saharan /Africa Universities

 Application Process – Flexi-Grant – Flexi grant deadline is now 3pm not midnight

 What are we looking for?

Think of it like a job interview, track record, creativity, excellent scientific merit

Royal Society don’t mind if you stay at your institution or if you move, and you can transfer your grant/fellowship if you move.

 Tips for the Interview

  • For ECRs – how is this a route to independence
  • Why do you want to stay at institution – having family nearby is a valid reason.
  • Need to do an Elevator Pitch
  • Hold mock interviews before hand
  • There are videos about the interview process on RS website
  • Need a really good lay summary, understandable by someone who does not have a discipline specific knowledge.

Scheme notes can change between rounds!! Make sure you are accessing the most up to date version.

 Other things to Note

RS do not publish success rates due to variation of award year on year – for some schemes success rates are not high so don’t want to put people off!!

Limited feedback at each stage – further down process you get the more feedback that you get.

Can apply again if unsuccessful (except Henry Dale which is joint with Wellcome Trust, where you need to complete a pre-application pro-forma).

 Fellowship Case Studies

Claudia Schneider – Newcastle

University Research Fellowship

Leave lots of time for application

View another person’s proposal

Good to do a mock interview

Route to independence – how is work different to what you have been doing before,
how can you expand your group, what is your next publication

Lars Erik Holmquist- Northumbria

Wolfson Research Merit Award

Salary increase to help recruit someone you might not have been able to recruit otherwise

Biggest benefit is being part of RS network & accessing training

Digital Disruption Network

Del Atkinson – Durham

Royal Society Industry Fellow (can be either way, industry to academic or academic to industry)

Having a great idea and why you are the right person to do this at this time – why you, why now – what are you skill sets?

Working with industry, start small and build, be flexible

Don’t do it if you’re not interested


RS are not risk averse, they expect a project to have ambition and stretch the applicant.


Horizon 2020 and beyond…Notes from UKRO Visit

Our UKRO Representative Jon Brookes visited Newcastle yesterday, here are some notes from the presentation:

Average success rate across all H2020 Programmes was 14.9% so far. This varied from scheme to scheme with some of the ERC fellowships at 4%. £4.6 billion came to the UK, of which 2/3 goes to HEIs.

There is now a dashboard on the Participant Portal that you can use to look at success rates by organisation.

For the remaining 2 years of H2020, calls will be clustered around 4 focus policy areas, you will need to reference the relevant policy area in your proposal, as well as referring to the relevant SDG. In Horizon Europe (FP9) this will be more prevalent. UKRO have a Factsheet on the Role of SDGs

The remaining calls will be clustered around supporting the Commission’s political priorities:

  • A low-carbon, climate resilient future: €3.3 billion;
  • Circular Economy: €1 billion;
  • Digitising and transforming European industry and services: €1.7 billion;
  • Security Union: €1 billion; and
  • Migration: €200 million.

The new Horizon Europe Programme will have a budget of €100 billion and will be formed around 3 pillars:

  • Open Science – Building on the success of the European Research Council, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and the Research Infrastructures, the pillar adds more resources for projects with higher impacts.
  • Global Challenges and industrial competitiveness – It consists of clusters that aim at exploiting European strengths and assets by generating new knowledge and translating it into useful innovations, developing and applying digital and key enabling technologies along with a new mission approach.
  • Open Innovation – This new pillar will offer a one-stop shop for high potential innovators, aiming to put Europe at the forefront of market-creating innovation through a “bottom-up” approach.

There will be a new European Innovation Council with funding instruments for companies:

  • Pathfinder – risky projects & early stage ideas
  • Accelerator – taking existing ideas and bringing them to market

Horizon Europe will have a ‘Mission Orientation’ with different strands of the programme uniting to pursue Grand Challenges such as curing cancer, eliminating dementia, carbon neutral cities, plastic free oceans. It will therefore be essential that you read and reference the relevant European policy documents in your applications.

There was some discussion about Brexit and what that could mean for the UK. There are a number of documents on the UK Govt website detailing what will happen if there is no deal:–2

The UK Government guarantees that it will cover all of the UK successful bids budgets submitted right up to the end of H2020. This only covers the UK element of the budget. This guarantee covers any bids put in on a competitive basis up to the end of 2020, including COST Actions, Erasmus etc.

Bear in mind that if there is a No Deal and the UK ends up as a Third Country then you will need to make sure that you have the minimum 3 Member States on the grant to ensure eligibility. Third Party countries CAN coordinate collaborative projects so the UK could still lead projects in the event of a No Deal.


Save the Date: MSCA ITN 2019 UK Information Events

In its capacity as National Contact Point for the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), the UK Research Office (UKRO), will hold two free information events for organisations interested in applying to the 2019 MSCA Innovative Training Networks (ITN) call:

Registration to the York event is now open, and registration for the London event will open in the coming days.

The 2019 MSCA ITN call will be launched on 13 September 2018 with a deadline for the submission of applications on 15 January 2019.


European Brokerage Event on Fight against crime and terrorism 2019 – 2nd October 2018

An information day, brokerage event and workshop for those interested in the upcoming Horizon 2020 calls related to the fight against crime and terrorism will be held in Paris on 2 October 2018.

The event will focus on:

  • Security for smart and safe cities, including for public spaces (SU-INFRA02-2019);
  • Understanding the drivers of cybercriminality, and new methods to investigate cybercriminality (SU-FCT01-2019 );
  • Trace qualification (SU-FCT02-2019 );
  • Any project helping to fight crime and terrorism (SU-FCT02-2019 – open sub-topic);
  • Information and data stream management to fight against (cyber)crime and terrorism (SU-FCT03-2019); and
  • Pan-European networks of practitioners and other actors in the field of security in two specific areas of specialisation: 1) the protection of public figures; 2) the handling of hybrid threats” (SU-GM01-2019)

Participation is free of charge, however registration is mandatory and will close 27 September 2018. A draft agenda is available on the registration page.​



Invitation to Royal Society Grants Promotion Event 6th Sept in Newcastle

You are invited to a Royal Society grants promotion visit on the 6th of September, hosted at Newcastle University (and open to academics at Northumbria, Durham, Teesside, Sunderland Universities)

Within this session you will gain:

  • insight into the range of grants, awards and fellowships the Royal Society supports
  • perspectives  from current Royal Society Research Fellows based in the North of England
  • the chance to ask Royal Society representatives and current Royal Society Fellows questions

This event will include a networking buffet lunch.

When: 11:00 – 15:30,  Thursday 6th September

Location: G21/22, Devonshire Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU

Please confirm your attendance no later than the 29th of August 2018 by filling in the following online form