EPSRC Wants Innovative Solutions to Flood Risk

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Council are looking for an interdisciplinary mix of researchers to attend a “sandpit” event on Innovative Solutions to Flood Risk in April 2012.

Sandpits are collaborative residential workshops where small groups of researchers (20-25 people) from a range of disciplines work together over a number of days to generate project proposals for a specified theme. The benefits of taking part are significant: you get to collaborate with other leading researchers on a relevant topic, and there is a relatively high chance of proposed projects being funded. More details are given in the call for participants [PDF]:

The scope of the Sandpit will address the three Risk Themes identified in the report:
• Understanding Risk
• Managing Probablility
• Managing Consequence

It is not expected that these themes will operate in isolation as there are many issues which may be seen to cut across these themes. The Sandpit intends to explore the engineering and physical science aspects of these key areas whilst recognising that this is a multidisciplinary area.

The call document strongly emphasises the fact that EPSRC are not focusing on one particular disciplinary area: “Applications are encouraged from diverse research areas across engineering, physical sciences, natural environment, life sciences, the social sciences and the arts and humanities”. Nor is track record in flood risk management or engineering solutions to flooding essential to success: “Please note that we are not looking for your academic publication or research track record but rather evidence of how you might approach multidisciplinary problems in a novel area.”

The assessment is based on the following criteria:

  • The ability to develop new, adventurous and highly original research ideas
  • The potential to contribute to research at the interface between disciplines
  • The ability to work in a team
  • The ability to explain research to non experts

To participate you need to fill in a two-page expression of interest form and send to sandpit@epsrc.ac.uk by 20th February 2012.

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Final Reminder: NERC Peer Review College Call!

NERC has today issued a final reminder for those who want to nominate themselves to be part of their Peer Review College:

We have reduced and equalised the number of review requests per member in order to make involvement in NERC peer review activities more manageable and to allow NERC to widen the expertise-base of the College by increasing the number of members from 450 to 600.

We are looking for members with all types of environmental sciences expertise, including those from the public and private sector user communities. Those selected will play a vital role in determining the research that NERC funds and in maintaining its quality.

Those interested have until 27th January to respond by completing the nomination form, available on the NERC website. Note that if you’re nominating yourself you’ll need a senior colleague to support your application.

There has been a spate of calls for peer review membership among the research councils recently, with AHRC adding to its burgeoning 1,300-member College at the end of 2011 and the ESRC’s call still open. The benefits of membership include opportunities to network and to gain an insight into the peer review process, as well as improving your own proposal writing skills.

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ESRC Now Recruiting

The Economic and Social Research Council is now recruiting for membership of both its Grant Assessment Panels and Committees.

Grant Assessment Panels meet approximately three times per year to consider grant applications to the ESRC and give funding recommendations. Being part of a panel is an excellent opportunity to work with other experienced academics as well as those in the private, public and third sector and to shape the ESRC’s funding portfolio. Members also have the chance to read a range of project proposals, which is a great way to learn and share best practice with colleagues.

The current call for membership is focusing specifically on the following areas:

  • Sociology (particularly the sociology of health)
  • Socio-legal studies
  • Science and technology studies
  • Management and business studies (including accounting and finance)
  • Economics (particularly micro economics)

Further information, including a vacancy specification, is available on the ESRC website. To apply you need to complete a short application form and attach a two-page CV, to be sent to gavin.salisbury@esrc.ac.uk no later than 5pm on 1st February 2012.

ESRC are also recruiting members for their Committees. The committees lead on ESRC’s corporate strategy and oversee the development of research, evaluation, methods and infrastructure, and training investments.

Vacancies are available in all three of the ESRC’s policy committees – Methods and Infrastructure, Research and Training and Skills – as well as their Audit and Evaluation Committees. In terms of time commitment, the ESRC suggests you should be willing to spend a minimum of 10 days per year in addition to attendance at committee meetings. Further details on the vacancies and eligibility are available in the vacancy specification on the ESRC website.

If you’re interested in applying you should complete a short application form, two-page CV and attach a supporting statement from a suitable referee, to be sent to angela.newton@esrc.ac.uk by 5pm on 1st February 2012.

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Funding Calendar Now Available

The blog now sports a lovely colour-coded calendar of forthcoming funding opportunities, courtesy of Research Professional and Google Calendar. It looks like this:

The colour key to the different types of events is as follows:

  • FP7 Funding
  • Non-FP EU Funding
  • RCUK Funding
  • Postgraduate Funding
  • Travel Funding

You can click on the individual funding opportunities to find out more information and you’ll need to click through to Research Professional to get the full details (you’ll have access to a free account if you’re a member of staff at Northumbria University). You can also choose to display the calendar in three different ways, with week, month and agenda views available.

At the moment this calendar takes an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach, with thousands of funding opportunities listed. However, if you think your School or Research Group would find it useful, please contact us and we’d be happy to produce a calendar which is more tailored to your own research area. These can be useful for planning research bids up to a year ahead.

A note on how this was done for those interested:  I created several Google calendars – one for each type of funding deadline I wanted to display. I made all of them publicly available on the web to ensure I could embed them in the blog. I then ran several searches on ResearchProfessional, and imported the resulting .ics calendar files into Google calendar. So, for example, I ran a search on EU Funding opportunities and imported the .ics file into the Google Calendar I’d created and titled “EU Funding”.

Once this is done you can click on calendar options and then calendar details within Google Calendar and customise how your calendar will appear when embedded into web pages. You can use this function to display several separate calendar files within a single calendar – this is how you get the colour-coding you can see on the calendar above. This also gives you an embedding code which you can use to put the calendar on your website.

However, because this is currently a WordPress.com hosted blog I couldn’t simply paste the resulting code into the page I wanted to use. WordPress.com hosted blogs block all but a small subset of approved html code for security reasons.  To get around this, I needed to first paste the html code generated by Google Calendar into a Text Widget in the sidebar, as per the official WordPress.com instructions on embedding calendars in blogs. WordPress then automatically converts this into WordPress-friendly shortcode which looks a bit like this, in [square brackets]:

googleapps domain="www" dir="calendar/embed query="title=...

I copied this, then pasted it into the page I wanted and tweaked it to display the calendar at width=800, height=600 (the shortcode defaults to 200×200 pixels, which isn’t ideal for displaying a calendar with lots of deadlines). Et voila!

UPDATE 4th Feb 2012: Since we’ve recently moved to a hosted WordPress installation, much of the above explanation is no longer relevant. However, I’ll leave it up since others may be interested in embedding a Google calendar on a wordpress.com site.

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