Check Out In Verba – Royal Society’s Science Policy Blog

In Verba, the Royal Society’s Science and Policy blog has been active now since 2010 and features posts on a range of topics at the intersection between science and policy and aims to give an insight into the Society’s policy work. Recent posts have covered geoengineering, food security and health policy. It’s mainly written by science policy staff at the Royal Society but also features some guest posts from Fellows.


Off to ARMA… Back Soon!

back soon by Jeremy Grites CC BY-NC-ND 2It’s that time of year again – most of us are off to the ARMA (Association of Research Managers and Administrators) conference next week in Nottingham, so the blog will be a bit quiet for a week or so.

This year’s highlights include a session on public engagement and impact by our very own Alexandra Robson and Samantha King. I’ll also be taking part in a “Special Interest Group” on the whys and wherefores of Research Development (look out for an article soon in Research Professional on this topic written by Phil Ward), and there’ll be plenty to get our teeth into on Horizon 2020 and looking beyond the REF.

Hardy soul that she is, Sam’s going from ARMA straight to the UKRO conference in Edinburgh to learn even more about European funding. The idea is that we’ll all gain some insights and intelligence on research funding and related issues which we will feed back to you via the blog and in briefings and workshops over the summer.

The blog will be back up and running in mid-late June as usual.


Preparing for ARMA 2012

A few of us from RBS are heading down to Southampton tonight for this year’s Association of Research Managers and Administrators conference, subtitled “Making a Difference!”. Taking place over 12th-13th June, the conference provides an opportunity to hear from our peers on a range of topics related to research management, from ways to improve pre-award support to increasing the impact from funded research.

I’m also involved in co-delivering a parallel session on Using Social Media in Research Support, alongside Julie Northam (Bournemouth), Adam Golberg (Nottingham), and Phil Ward (Kent). We’ll be looking at how to use different types of social media in our professional lives and hopefully demonstrating that Twitter isn’t just about discussing what you had for breakfast. There’ll also be an opportunity to take part in a practical demonstration of the value of social media when we invite feedback and comments on the session via our blogs!

Here’s our session abstract:

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Wikis, and LinkedIn are all examples of ‘social media’ – methods of internet communication that allow the exchange of ideas, sharing and collaborative creation of resources, and making new contacts with people with common interests. How might universities make use of social media in research support? What works, what doesn’t, and why? This session will include an introduction to social media, and presentations of case studies about university research offices who are already using social media, particularly blogs, and from individuals using social media to expand their own professional networks.


Blog reaches 100 post milestone!

Last week the Northumbria Research Support Blog hit a milestone of 100 posts!

Now that we’ve been running for 6 months, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and look ahead to some new things that you’ll see over the next few months on the blog.

Where we are now:

Looking at the statistics of visitors on Google Analytics, we can see that we’re had a healthy 892 visits in the month of May, up from 476 in April. That’s an 87% increase in visits in just one month! Unique visitors increased by an even higher percentage, from 280 in April to 627 in May (a 124% increase).


There were 4.12 pages viewed on average per visit, giving a total of 3,675 pageviews for May.

In terms of how our visitors got here, there has been a huge jump in numbers being directed from our email alerts (from 22 to 83, up 277%) and the research pages on the Northumbria university website (from 49 to 103, up 110%). These are not huge numbers relatively speaking, but for a blog still in its infancy they are fairly respectable.

The majority of our visitors still come from Northumbria University (around 32% of total visits), as you’d expect, though visitors from elsewhere are increasing, with the Universities of Glasgow, Kings College London, Oxford, Newcastle and Bristol all represented in the top 20 visitor locations.

Still to come:

So what’s in store over the next six months of the research support blog?

  • PVC (Research and Innovation) Prof. Peter Golding will be writing a post every two months highlighting key research successes, including bids won and outputs published.
  • Guest posts from academic staff on a range of research topics.
  • Case studies and success stories from Northumbria.
  • Targeted funding opportunities for each School.
  • A “Focus on…” series featuring comment and analysis on specific funders, calls and themes.
  • Graduate School and Business Development team involvement on postgraduate opportunities and KTPs.

Tell us what you think:

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the blog: What works and what doesn’t? What could we do better? How do you use the blog? What would you like to see more of? Please get in touch with us in the usual way.


Welcome To Our Blog’s New Home!

Thanks to the helpful folk in the Northumbria University LTech department, we’ve recently moved our blog from it’s old home on to

Although you probably won’t notice any major differences in the way the blog looks (at least not yet!), this move to a hosted WordPress installation will allow us more flexibility and hopefully we’ll be improving the experience for you as a user of the blog.

Remember to update your bookmarks and re-subscribe to the feed. As always, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with us if you want to contribute or have an idea on how we could make the blog better.


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 hosted blog I couldn’t simply paste the resulting code into the page I wanted to use. 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 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 site.


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.