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


Two FREE Science Writing Workshops in Newcastle, 15th August – a chance to enhance your skills…

Workshop by Heinrich-Boll-Stiftung CC BY-SA 2.0

…In digital communications to find out about social media as a pathway to impact and how to optimise your tweets, and to get the best out of communicating by newsletter.

Join Professor Mark Reed (Fast Track Impact) and Anne Liddon (Science Communications Manager, Newcastle University) on Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Digital Academic from 13.00 to 15.00

To book your free place use the password “Newsletter” and follow this link:

Science Writing Workshop from 15:30 to 17:00

To book your free place use the password “Newsletter” and follow this link:




Global Challenges Summit 2018. “NGOs – why work with academics?”

The Global Challenges Summit 2018, co-hosted by Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham Universities, held yesterday (26th July) was hugely informative, inspiring and exceptional for sharing perspectives and making new contacts.

Northumbria’s very own Matt Bailie-Smith hosted an insightful informal ‘sofa-style’ session ‘Thinking Across Sectors’ with guests from NGOs and consultants working in international development, based on the north-east:  Ben Margetts of Team Kenya, Catherine Gunby of Traidcraft, Lucy Kendall of COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) and Rachel Shah of Springfield Centre.

In this blog post, we’ve captured the main points – potentially useful learning points for the academic community.

Matt kicked of with ‘Why work with academics?’ 

The answers were varied and very positive – to gain new models of working and ideas, to gain new insights from academics who may have worked in a specific field/region for many years, to have a critique of the NGO’s work methods and evidence, to understand and use the most suitable methods for research taking account of the theory and different points of view, for the research which is produced to have more ‘authority’ and independence, to gather evidence, and to be endorsed and validated by a leader in their academic field.

Matt summed this up as ‘evaluation, evidence, independence’ and then asked then asked researchers in the audience to consider if their own CV could convey these three key offers.

‘What do you need to work with academics?’

Easy access information to find out about academics and their interests and expertise. Currently, it’s difficult to find out who is who and you tend to work with the same people, as it takes time to find new people. Help us with theory of change, and help us take a step back and design our activities to really deliver what we want to achieve.

Matt then daringly asked ‘Why might you choose not to work with academics?’

NGOs want concrete, definite recommendations and clarity and sometimes academic outputs are lengthy and too nuanced. Time pressures mean NGOs do not have time to set the ball rolling on new relationships or to read 300 page reports. Funding is a frustration, with GCRF and other funding for academic research allowing only a small proportion of funding to the practitioners which is disportionate to the effort required. NGOs struggle with when to say yes and when to say know to taking part in funding proposals, especially small NGOs with limited time and human resource. When time is limited, there can be a dilemma on whether to spend the time influencing and lobbying others who have more ‘power’ or to work on a partnership with a university. Heavily academic proposals can be a bit scary to be involved in. There are ‘language’ barriers with academics using terminology which is unfamiliar to the NGO. There can be a real time lag before the NGO gets the research findings it really needs to have an impact on development practice, and these lags can mean the agenda has moved on. NGOs need a mix of meeting short terms needs and preparing for the long term too. There is an advantage in longer term relationships, as you build trust and know eachother.

“What do you need to improve collaborative working with academics?”

A network of charities and universities based in the north-east would be really helpful, enabling us all to know what we are working on and how we can achieve mutual benefit. The NGOs themselves need to know what eachother is doing, not just the universities. Collaborative working needs a shared understanding of timelines and constraints which each partner works under (NGOs and universities will have different needs) and have a very frank dialogue on what everyone needs to that interests align enough for the working together to be worth it for all parties.

Here is our ‘happy family’ photo captured at the end of the session. Thank you to all for a very informative Summit!


PhD opportunities available in collaboration with North East businesses

Are you interested in a funded PhD to start 1st October, working on exciting research in collaboration with regional businesses?

Check out the range of Intensive Industrial Innovation Projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Topics range from exploring the implications of smart devices on ageing at home to investigating the use of building information modelling to supplement planning processes.

Apply by midnight 16th July 2018. Full details here:

Northumbria University is seeking applications for PhD studentships, to work closely with business in the region, as part of the £3.9m Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme (IIIP) funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The IIIP Programme aims to encourage a culture of innovation that benefits business, leading to greater export opportunities and increased graduate employment, particularly in science and engineering. The IIIP Programme is a collaboration between Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle and Teesside Universities.

During each PhD project, the research student will work closely with the collaborating business, using innovative research to support the development of new products and services. Students will spend up to 49% of their time working with the business and at least 51% of their time at Northumbria University.

The PhD projects will start on 1st October 2018, for three years. The eligibility criteria for PhD candidates:

  • The IIIP PhD funding is available to Home and EU students.
  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2.1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities; or a Masters, or APEL evidence of suitable practitioner achievement)
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria University or elsewhere


Global Challenges Summit – 24 July ‘Working together for international development’

Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham Universities are holding a Global Challenges Summit on Tuesday 24 July 2018 (full programme and details to follow shortly) on the theme, ‘Working together for international development’. The summit is for academics actively engaged in research on international development as well as those interested in developing their research in this area. The summit will have a focus on building new synergies across the North East and the event is also opening to students and practitioners.

The event will take place in Newcastle across Newcastle’s and Northumbria’s campuses. We’d be delighted if you were able to join us. 

Please register at and please do distribute widely to colleagues.

 If you have any further questions, contact Matt Baillie Smith (