British Academy – Quantatitive Skills Aquisition Awards

The British Academy has announced a new scheme to support the career development of early career scholars  (within 10 years of the award of the doctorate) who are in established academic posts. The newly announced  Quantitative Skills Acquisition Awards aim to develop and enhance researchers quantitative skills by providing an award to enable early career researchers to spend some time with a mentor at a specialist centre in the field.

The first round of the scheme will run on a pilot basis, with around 20 awards being made.. There will be one call per year. Funding will be available to:

  • support specific skills aquisition
  • benefit outstanding researchers
  • encourage the development of networks and future partnerships

The scheme will enable researchers to spend time with a mentor in a research group specialising in quantative methods, and will also provide some funding to meet the costs of the mentor. Costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence can be applied for, together with a contribution to the cost of teaching relief for the applicant, and the time of the mentor.

Closing date for the pilot round – 31 October 2012.

For further details see the British Academy website.


Finding Funding for Pedagogic Research

David and I recently presented at the Pedagogic Research Day, I’ve uploaded our presentation on ‘Finding Funding for Pedagogic Research’  to Slideshare. You can view it below.

The presentation looked at funders with a particular interest in education with links to their website and examples of a couple of  previously funded projects.
Also, the University subscribes to Research Professional –  a comprehensive research news and funding database which also sends personalised email alerts to registered users. We also looked at setting up an account and email alerts from Research Professional.
If you are interested in Research Professional or other tools to help you find funding for your research, you may have seen in a post on 22 June that we are running more general sessions on ‘Finding Research Funding’on the following dates:
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 (1.00-3.00pm)



Finding Research Funding: New Training Opportunity!

If you want to find out how to search for and find funding opportunities which match your research interests quickly and efficiently, why not book onto one of our Finding Research Funding training sessions. This will give you a practical guide to setting up funding searches and alerts to make sure you find relevant opportunities as they are released.

The next session takes place on Wednesday 27th June from 1-3pm. To book you need to email There are a maximum of 20 places available per session allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are the full details:

Delivered by: Samantha King, Teresa Kirby, David Young (Research and Business Services)
Who should attend? Academic and Postgraduate research staffResearch administrators
Aims and objectives: This workshop will give researchers and administrators the tools they need to search for and find funding opportunities relevant to their research interests. We will focus particularly on how to use Research Professional, including creating an account, developing targeted and personalised searches, and setting up funding alerts. We will also cover how to use UKRO to stay up to date with EU funding information.
Times and dates: Wednesday, 27 June 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)Tuesday, 18 September 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 (1.00-3.00pm)


Research Professional gets a new look

The new version of the Research Professional site went live at the end of May. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I suggest you do so. I think it’s a significant improvement, certainly in terms of speed but also simplicity of layout in comparison to the previous incarnation.

We’ll be running some Finding Research Funding staff development sessions soon to ensure you’re getting the best out of Research Professional and other online funding resources. Watch the blog and the Research Training pages for more on those soon.

In the meantime here’s a quick rundown of what’s new, along with some first impressions on using the site:

  • You can search funding opportunities direct from the homepage, though I still think simple keyword searches are of fairly limited use – either returning too many or too few results. I suggest you use the Advanced Search facility to specify discipline and award type. It takes more practice to learn how it works, but it provides much more tailored search results which should be of more use to you.
  • All pages are visually much less cluttered, making it easier to see what’s important, especially when running funding searches.
  • The site is now split into three main sections: News, Funding, and Our Institution:
    • News provides access to the news archive of Research Fortnight and its sister publications.
    • Funding allows you to search the comprehensive research funding database.
    • Our Institution highlights calls and searches relevant to the whole University and there is space for individual Schools, Departments and even Research Groups to set up their own home pages with saved searches, bookmarks and magazines.
  • There’s a context-sensitive sidebar at the right-hand side of every section. In the Funding section this lists any saved searches and funding opportunities you’ve bookmarked. While I appreciate quick access to my saved stuff, I can’t help thinking this could quickly become cluttered, especially if you’re a research manager/administrator like me who regularly runs lots of searches for different disciplines. The ability to bundle saved searches into folders might be helpful.
  • Research Professional highlights certain funding opportunities which are likely to be of wider interest or are unique or unusual – it’s always done this, but displaying them front-and-centre on the Funding homepage makes it easier to see them.
  • As before you can create a calendar of deadlines from a saved search, and then import that into Outlook. This is a nice, though under-used, feature which I feel could be more prominent on the site. Perhaps RP could auto-generate calendars from your saved searches and add a sub-section called Calendars to the Funding section.

If you’ve never used Research Professional before or if you’re interested in getting more out of it, why not come along to one of our forthcoming sessions on Finding Research Funding? We’ll be advertising them here on the blog soon, and they’ll also be promoted via Northumbria’s HR Staff Development.

In addition, Research Professional themselves have been running a series of online training sessions. There’s one taking place today, 11th June, from 4-5pm and you can click here to register. The next session take place on 26th June 10-11am (register here) and monthly on the fourth Tuesday of every month thereafter.


Research Professional – Getting the Most from your Subscription Professional are running a free online training session on how to find funding and set up your own email alerts. 

The session will take place from 10:00 till 11:00 (BST) Tuesday 22nd May and will:

  • introduce you to the Research Professional platform
  • demonstrate how to locate funding opportunities which match your interests
  • show you how to set up email alerts to keep you informed of new developments

You can view these demonstrations from your own computer, and can choose to receive sound either via your computer’s mic and speakers, or by phoning in to a voice conference. You will be able to ask questions of the presenter using a text chat feature.

Register for free access:

This invitation is open to everyone so register and see how you can personalise and get the most out of our subscription to Research Professional.


Developing a successful research grant – Presentation

I’ve uploaded my recent presentation on “Developing a successful research grant” to Slideshare. You can view it below. You’ll need to download the file if you want to view the associated notes (it’s a 5MB file). It’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share-Alike license:

This presentation was delivered as part of a postgraduate certificate in higher education practice aimed at early career researchers at the University of Northumbria. It’s necessarily a fairly generic presentation as there were representatives from a wide range of disciplines, however it should serve as a decent primer for those who are new to academia and want to know the basics of what it takes to secure funding.

There’s also a more practical follow-up session where we’ll look at actual examples of (successful and unsuccessful) research council funding bids. This will also be an opportunity for participants to write and get feedback on their own outline proposals.


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.


Research Ethics Workshop – ‘Consent – do you really need to ask?’

The Association of Research Ethics Committees (AREC) is holding a regional workshop at Durham University on 16th April 2012.  Northumbria University is a member of AREC, so all staff are entitled to attend at the members’ fee of £50.  Please contact Paul Rosen in Research and Business Services for a booking form, or contact  for more information.

Workshop programme:

‘Consent – do you really need to ask?’

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.                                                   (Nuremberg Code, 1948)

This workshop will consider the concept of informed consent, why it is valued by research ethics committees, how it might be achieved with different participant populations, and whether it is always necessary (or desirable).

It is targeted at researchers from all disciplines and aims to increase understanding of and stimulate discussion around this fundamental ethical principle.

09.30 – 09.50            Registration of delegates and refreshments

09.50 – 10.00            Welcome

Chair:             Mr David Anderson-Ford, immediate past AREC Chair

Professor Tom McLeish, PVC Research, Durham University

10.00 – 10.45            “Consent and permissions in the context of research integrity”

Dr Andrew Rawnsley, University of Teesside

10.45 – 11.30            “Consent in practice – what do REC members look for in Health and Social Care applications?”

Dr Alasdair MacSween, University of Teesside & Chair of County Durham and Tees Valley REC

11.30 – 11.45            Refreshments

11.45 – 12.30            “Tensions between consent and confidentiality when undertaking research with victims of abuse”

Dr Nicole Westmarland and Dr Julia Downes, Durham University

12.30 – 13.00            Lunch and Networking

13.00 – 13.45            “Knowing what you are in for:  issues about informed consent for people with learning difficulties”

Dr Tina Cook, University of Northumbria

13.45 – 14.30            “Consent and minors”

Professor Priscilla Alderson, Institute of Education, University of London

14.30 – 14.45            Refreshments

14.45 – 15.30            “The challenges of seeking informed consent in developing country contexts: some examples”

Professor Bob Simpson, Durham University

15.30 – 16.00            Summary Panel Discussion – “Do you really need to ask?”

An opportunity for delegates and panel members to discuss issues raised over the day.

Chaired by Mr David Anderson-Ford

16.00                          Close



Book now for ESRC Bid Writing Workshop

If you’re a member of staff at Northumbria and thinking about bidding for a grant from the ESRC in the future, this is the workshop for you. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon (Associate Dean for Research in Life Sciences) will explore the specific requirements of the ESRC and focus on how to make bids more likely to be successful.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, 15 February (12.00-2.00pm).

To book your place, email


Training Opportunities for Northumbria researchers

The following courses in our Research Training and Development programme are currently taking bookings.  See the bottom of this post for details about how to book.

Let Me Entertain You: Lecturing as Performance (Prof Kenny Coventry) 26 January (12:00-14:00)
Prof Kenny Coventry’s research expertise in the relationship between language and perception, and communication will inform this session on lecturing as performance to explore effective communication and transfer of knowledge in the classroom and other contexts.Open to Staff and PGRs
Project Management of Research Projects (Sandra Hannah) 7 February (09:30-17:00)
What are the principles behind good project management? How do you ensure your project will deliver on time? How do you avoid drift? The aims of this one day workshop are: to ensure participants have the knowledge and understanding of project management; and to be able to utilise tools and techniques effectively in the context of research projects.Staff only
Be a Better Writer (Helen Lawrence) 8 February and 22 February (both 13:30-16:30) Are you aware that your written work is good and could be better? This two-part master-class will give you the opportunity to explore how to write simply and well and to edit your own work more effectively. The course covers the key rules of style and tone, how to polish writing and avoid common errors and how to convey complex information plainly and elegantly.

NB. The course is in two parts and both parts should be attended. There will be a small piece of work to complete in between the two parts. Participants should be fluent in English.

Staff and PGRs

The full programme can be found at Research Training Programme – Northumbria University

To book a place email