Northumbria’s Research Conference Returns

Northumbria’s annual Research Conference will take place next Wednesday and Thursday (16th/17th May).

Organised and run by Northumbria’s Research and Business Services, this high profile internal event takes place in the lecture theatres and the ground floor foyer of City Campus East; two parallel tracks mean that a wealth of Northumbria’s current and recent research projects can be described and illustrated – in total, 65 academics from the University will be speaking, with each of the University’s Schools represented.

Papers last no longer than 20 minutes and are pitched at a general audience rather than a specialised one – while sessions are deliberately mixed, in an attempt to give a flavour of the width and breadth of work going on at Northumbria.  Although welcome – and encouraged – to attend the full two days, staff may also prefer to dip in and out of the event and, again, the programme has been designed with this in mind.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Prof Peter Golding, will open the conference at 9.15 on Wednesday morning, with sessions taking place from 9.30 throughout the day.  To see the full programme of presentations, and to register to attend, click here.

The conference foyer will play host to an exhibition of posters during the event, illustrating the work of Northumbria’s post-graduate research student community – with prizes awarded by the Conference Programme Group to the best examples during a post-conference reception on Thursday evening.


EPSRC Regional Meeting – Newcastle

This presentation was followed by 2 interactive sessions:
‘How can we support world-leading teams to deliver excellent research that meets UK and global priorities?’
‘How can we maximise the impact of our excellent research and talented people?’
The main points to note from David’s presentation was that EPSRC is no longer in passive funding mode. They have a set of 3 strategic goals over the next 3 years:
  • delivering impact
  • developing leaders
  • shaping capability
Their main aims are to support researchers throughout their careers and to shorten the pathways to impact.
Due to a 30% cut in their administration budget, EPSRC have cut the number of schemes they support to try and streamline their grants system. A full picture of the EPSRC portfolio is available on their website.
One of the key messages of the day from David was that EPSRC want to encourage universities to collaborate more and compete less. Also, there will be increased investment in high performance computing, encouraging Europe working together to compete with the US, China and India on quality not quantity.
National Importance: From 15 November 2011, EPSRC introduced National Importance as an additional assessment criterion. In 2010 EPSRC published its Strategic Plan articulating a very clear goal of Shaping Capability – namely to focus our portfolio in areas of international research excellence and national importance. We will therefore base all investment decisions over the Delivery Plan period primarily on international excellence but also on national importance (set in a global context) and the EPSRC portfolio while continuing to encourage the free generation of ideas, curiosity and research creativity.

Applicants will now need to clearly identify the national importance of their proposed research project in their case for support and reviewers will be asked to consider national importance as a major secondary criterion, after research quality, in their assessment.


Northumbria comes to CHI 2012

Northumbria University is involved in 26 contributions to the prestigious CHI 2012 conference in Austin, Texas. You can read about them all here:

CHI/Northumbria: It’s the Experience

Experts from the Schools of Life Sciences, Design and Built and Natural Environment are taking part in the conference this year, with contributions ranging from digital cheque books for eighty somethings, interventions to change energy usage to teenage cool, killer apps and building design.

CHI is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction, taking place this year between 5th and 10th May. This year’s conference is expected to draw in over 2,500 professionals from over 400 countries.


Northumbria Research Conference: Two Weeks To Go!

There are two weeks to go until Northumbria University’s annual Research Conference!

Taking place on 16th and 17th May, the conference celebrates recent and ongoing research across the University. It provides an opportunity for staff to present their findings to colleagues, and to network with potential collaborators in other Schools.

Research students will get a chance to showcase their work via a poster presentation, and a prize will be presented to the student judged to have created the best poster.

The programme has been published and registration for the conference is open, so click on the link to book your place.


Missenden announces latest research bidding sessions

The Missenden Centre has sent round an email reminding us all of the latest round of its popular and highly regarded Research Bidding sessions, taking place on 23rd – 25th May in the lovely surroundings of Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire (pictured).

Bidding For Research Funding – Missenden Centre

It’s a two-day session: the first two days are for academic staff and the second two days are for support staff. In the middle day both sets of staff meet to discuss a common set of issues around research bidding. It’s not cheap, at £490 + VAT for a two-day session, but has been highly praised by people who have attended.

Research and Business Services will be running our own research bidding workshops soon, free for Northumbria staff. Keep your eyes on this blog for further announcements about our updated training programme for researchers.


Virtual Workshop on Digital Economy and Sustainable Society

The EPSRC, on behalf of the RCUK Digital Economy theme, is inviting expressions of interest to attend a two-stage “virtual workshop” on achieving a work-life balance in a digitally dependent world. Advancements in the digital economy have allowed us to interact and network more than ever, and without regard for spatial and temporal constraints. The question this workshop seeks to address is: has this come at too high a cost on our personal time?

The workshop (or “Creativity Greenhouse“) will take place online in a virtual 3D environment where participants can interact using video and audio. Applicants must submit expressions of interest by 12:00 on 28th May 2012.

The criteria which potential applicants must meet to take part will focus on novel and highly innovative research ideas and the ability to work in a team, collaborating across different disciplines. The intended outcome of the workshop is a number of multidisciplinary and high quality research projects involving the participants. A budget of £1.5M has been set aside for proposals resulting from this event, and the deadline for full proposals will be 13th September 2012.

Here’s some further background to the call, but applicants should read the guidance notes [PDF] in full and contact us for support in putting together their application:

The Digital Economy (DE) has the potential to transform lifestyles and improve quality of life, having an impact on society as a whole… Pressures on work-life balance precede the DE and stem from many facts such as: working harder not smarter; incompatibility between home location choice and employment opportunities; immobility of office environments and resources; inadequacy of (social) support networks; and challenges of accommodating care of children and others. The DE has the potential to restore balance; but is also has the possibility of exacerbating any imbalance. Technological developments harness the art of the possible. However, human behaviour, our understanding of it and its incorporation into technological innovation significantly govern the effects of the DE.


Thinking about impact, collaboration and postgraduate researchers

ASHPIT (Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities Policy and Practice Implementation Thinktank) is holding a think tank day on May 28th at University of Oxford. This will bring together research development professionals with academic staff to talk about themes of collaborating in consortia, impact, and preparing postgraduate researchers for careers in academia.

On impact, the focus will be on linking RCUK impacts articulated in the Pathways to Impact parts of grant applications with REF impacts. This discussion will also inform the theme of engaging postgraduate researchers in academic careers, where the questions will be around how to encourage postgraduates to work ‘impactfully’ in collaboration with academic staff.

Here’s more from the ASHPIT blog:

Speakers will include representatives of the Research Councils, as well as academics and researcher developers, and we hope that the event will provide both useful information about and a forum for discussion of some of the most important facets of those topics.

Those interested in attending the next event should send email details of their name, role and institution to by Friday 11th May, indicating whether or not they require support for travel costs.

The full provisional timetable is available here.


EPSRC Comes To Newcastle: 3rd May

EPSRC are holding a series of regional meetings across the UK in May. CEO David Delpy will discuss progress against their Delivery Plan and strategic goals. They’re coming to Newcastle on 3rd May, 12-4pm, at the Great North Museum.

If you would like to register your interest for this event and received further information please email Further information about the venue, including directions, is available on The Great North Museum: Hancock website.

It will be a great opportunity to quiz EPSRC staff on their recent raft of updates, including the funding decisions in their Shaping Capability review.