On Language and Perception

Check out this video showcasing research carried out by Professor Kenny Coventry and colleagues at CoCoLab (Communication and Cognition Lab) at Northumbria University on the mapping between language and perception. It describes an ESRC-funded research project looking at cross-linguistic differences in spatial language and asks:  Does the language we speak affect the way we think?

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Elsewhere…: Using Social Media In Research

The first post in what will become a semi-regular series rounding up the latest news and views from around the research blogosphere. This week we’re focusing on using social media in research.

Let’s kick things off with a post from Julie Northam at Bournemouth University Research Office about the benefits of academic blogging:

Academics who blog regularly report positive outcomes, such as networking and collaborating, using royalty free photos to illustrate on what they blog about, finding new audiences and opportunities, disseminating research more widely, and building reputation. Bloggers argue that far from diluting scholarly success (as has been suggested by some academics), online writing can be a serious tool for academic practice. Blogging should be seen as part of a programme of dissemination and collaboration, and is best used alongside traditional academic outlets (such as journals) as a means of amplifying the reach and potentially the significance and future direction of the research.

If you need more than anecdotal evidence on the benefits of blogging, try this post from last November at the LSE Impact blog which shows the massive increase in views for a database of 94 papers linked to from 6 different blogs:

These increases are massive compared to the typical abstract views and downloads these papers get- one blog post in Freakonomics is equivalent to 3 years of abstract views!

Staying with the LSE blog, last week they posted a piece by Don Taylor which provides an interesting counterbalance to this view:

We absolutely need the slow, peer review system as the foundation of thoughtful, careful scholarship. Twitter and other social media are important additions that can give scholarly content “reach” and “relevancy”. However, it’s a both/and, not an either/or proposition. Traditional peer review journals should remain the bedrock of the research evidence that can be brought to bear on health policy.

This reinforces Julie’s point that blogs and Twitter should be used as part of a dissemination and impact strategy for research – they’re not the whole picture.

And using Twitter as part of the research process is on Dr Jeremy Segrott’s mind too. Last week he posted this piece evaluating his experiences of using the microblogging service for the last three months:

Twitter has been immensely helpful in keeping me up to date with new reports that are published, interesting debates among academics and health professionals, and a way of developing links with fellow researchers.  A single tweet I sent last week also generated two requests to do interviews with the BBC on topics relating to parenting and alcohol.

Impressive! But if you’re new to all of this, how do you get started in using Twitter in research? You could do worse than check out this guide put together by the good folks at the LSE Research Impact blog. It starts from the basics and covers all of the terminology (follow, retweet, mentions, hashtags), a range of tweeting styles, and the difference between using Twitter in research or for teaching.

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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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FP7 People: Fellowships Results Published!

UKRO reports that the preliminary results for the Framework Programme 7 People Programme Individual Fellowships have been published by the Commission. The full lists for all three types of fellowships (incoming, outgoing and intra-european) are available on the FP7 Participant Portal, under Additional documents for each call:

FP7 People: 2011 Individual Fellowships Preliminary Results

The preliminary results assign one of five categories to each submitted project. Category A proposals are on the main funding list and prospective fellows will already have been contacted by the Commission to begin negotiations. Category B proposals are on the reserve list and applicants need to wait until the first round of negotiations with category A projects has concluded to know whether there is sufficient budget for them to go ahead. This can happen for example when a category A applicant withdraws. Categories C, D and E have been rejected for various reasons, either because of funding constraints or where the proposal was below the quality threshold or not evaluated. You’ll need to know the proposal acronym or proposal number in order to check where your project appears on the list.

Individual fellowships from the People Programme – also called Marie Curie Actions – enable researchers based in Europe to spend 1 – 2 years carrying out a research project in another EU member state (intra-european fellowships), or outside of Europe (outgoing fellowships). The international incoming fellowships fund researchers based outside of Europe to come into a European research institution. The fellowships are attractive both because they offer a relatively high reimbursement for fellows and because they are “bottom up” in the sense that the applicant and host institution jointly decide the topic and plan the research programme.

Northumbria University staff should contact Teresa Kirby, European Strategy Manager to find out more about Individual Fellowships and for assistance with any proposals.

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Welcome to the Northumbria Research Support Blog

Welcome to the new blog from the Research Support team at Northumbria University. We are part of the Research & Business Services department and we provide research funding support, advice, and guidance across the University.

On this blog, we’ll be writing about research funding news, opportunities, events, hints, tips, and policy analysis. Our aim is to help you stay on top of the research funding game and to provide you with the information you need to prepare and submit high quality applications. You can stay up to date by subscribing to the RSS feed via feed reader or email.

There’s not much to see here at the moment, but this will become one of the main routes of communication and dissemination for the Research Support team in RBS and we’ll be updating regularly. In the meantime, why not have a look at our bookmarks on Delicious or some of the other useful blogs and sites linked in the sidebar on the right hand side?

We’d love to know what you think about the blog and the support offered by Research & Business Services more generally. Please drop us a line or pop in for a chat – our details are on the Contact page.

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