Solving Urban Challenges with Data

Innovate UK, ESRC and NERC are set to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects (with a proportion available for relevant feasibility studies) to develop new solutions to urban challenges through their competition ‘Solving Urban Challenges with Data’.

They will be hosting a series of events to across the UK to discuss the competition in more detail and provide an overview of the datasets available whilst giving you the opportunity to network and develop partnerships for the competition. There will also be, on a first come first serve basis, an opportunity to meet with Innovate UK and Research Councils for 1 to 1 discussions about the competition.

The events will benefit academics and researchers in the following sectors: Energy, Transport, Built Environment, Health, Water and/or Financial Services.

For more information and to register for an event please visit the website or contact Jenni McDonnell.


1851 Royal Commission Fellowships and Studentships

The 1851 Royal Commission awards programme for this year is now open to applicants.

With various awards on offer we highly recommend you take a look. Here is a brief outline to wet your appetite:

INDUSTRIAL FELLOWSHIPS – closing date 22 January 2015

Open to outstanding first degree graduates in engineering, science or medicine either nominated directly through a sponsoring company or enrolled on a UK University EngD/Industrial Doctorate programme.

RESEARCH FELLOWHIPS – closing date 19 February 2015

Research Fellowships in Science and Engineering are intended to give early-career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise an opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation. Applicants must be in possession of a recent PhD, or equivalent qualification (normally with no more than 3 years post doctoral experience), and usually intending to carry out their research at a UK.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN STUDENTSHIPS – closing date 29 April 2015

Intended to stimulate industrial design capability among Britain’s most able science and engineering graduates who are intending to make a career in British Industry.

Furthermore, applicants for the next BUILT ENVIRONMENT FELLOWSHIP will be invited in June 2015. A single Fellowship is awarded every other year for two years’ research in a specified study area.




Feedback on Horizon 2020: Sustainable Urban Dynamics Stakeholder Workshop

The Hilton Hotel Madrid Airport 2008 by UggBoy CC BY 2.0Recently Professor Bob Giddings represented Northumbria University in a Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop in Rome on Sustainable Urban Dynamics. This workshop involved experts across the EU from industry and academia as well as the EC to inform the development of the Horizon 2020 Challenge on “The promotion of sustainable and inclusive environments through innovative spatial and urban planning and design”.

Bob has agreed to give an informal feedback and briefing session on key lessons learned from the event and to highlight any significant opportunities (in terms of networking, partnerships or funding) which may be relevant to Northumbria staff in this area. This will take place next Wednesday, 17th April from 12-1pm in Pandon Building, Room S3.

All Northumbria staff are welcome, but please let me know if you plan to attend by 3pm Friday 12th April so that I can book tea/coffee. Please note there will be no lunch provided.

Background: Horizon 2020 is the EC’s next Framework Programme for Research and Development and will run from 2014-2020. This will have a substantially increased budget from FP7 and part of this will go towards funding research addressing “Societal Challenges”, including challenge 6 on Inclusive, Secure and Sustainable Societies, which is where the topic above will sit.

The stakeholder workshop aimed to identify potential research subjects to be tackled at EU-level related to:

  • Social cohesion in EU cities
  • Economics of urban and peri-urban areas;
  • Environmental urban governance;
  • EU cities as hubs of creativity and innovation;
  • Medium and long-term pathways of urban development.

More details about the workshop can be found on the EC’s research web pages:


Technology Strategy Board Innovation Voucher Scheme

The Technology Strategy Board has unveiled a new Innovation Voucher scheme which provides funding for businesses to work with an external expert for the first time, to help them gain new knowledge in order to innovate, develop and grow. Businesses can work with a range of expert suppliers including universities.

The vouchers, which should help businesses develop ideas and improve performance, can support all types of innovation – for example, ideas for new or improved products, processes and services, using design to improve ideas or managing intellectual property.

Innovation vouchers are available to SMEs and should be applicable to one of the priority sectors:  Agrifood, Built Environment and Space.  They can provide up to £5,000  to pay for the expertise (up to £8k for Space).

The scheme opens on the 24th September when further information, including full guidance for applicants, will be available from the TSB website.  Please see below the Innovation Vouchers flyer.

If you would like to provide expertise under the scheme, get in touch with Research and Business Services, who can help identify and approach suitable businesses for the scheme.

Contact:  Dr Stephen Oyston, Business Development Manger, Research and Business Services.,  0191 243 7667, 07557 085737.


Design for Wellbeing: Collaboration Space

Following the recently released EPSRC/AHRC/ESRC Design for Wellbeing call, Research and Business Services have organised a collaboration meeting for all interested parties to discuss the call and how they might contribute to any proposals which go forward.

It will take place on Friday 15th June, 10 am – 12 midday in City Campus East building 1, room 007. It is open to researchers and research support staff from all Schools. If you have not already done so, please contact me ( if you would like to attend as space is limited.

There will be a short outline summary of the call but most of the meeting will be devoted to participant discussion. This will be a chance to share ideas and potential project partners relevant to the Design for Wellbeing call to ensure as many people as possible are aware of activity going on around the University and to avoid any duplication of effort. It may lead to joint proposals and collaborations where these build on shared strengths and complementary expertise/partners.

If you’re interested in taking part, but can’t make it please consider sending me a short summary of your relevant experience and what you feel you could bring to this call (research expertise or partners) before the 15th June. I’ll make sure this feeds into the discussion. We’ll also take notes and make sure that these are circulated following the event so everyone is aware of areas of activity and future actions.


Forthcoming call: Design for wellbeing: ageing and mobility in the built environment

ESRC has highlighted a forthcoming joint call with EPSRC and AHRC for evidence-led research into ageing and mobility in the built environment. This will be part of the cross-Council research programme, Lifelong Health and Well-being.

Up to £7M will be available for applications from interdisciplinary consortia. Further details are currently unavailable, but the call is scheduled to be announced in mid-May.

Please contact us if you are a Northumbria member of staff interested in this call.

** UPDATE  16/05/2012** The call has now been released.


Northumbria comes to CHI 2012

Northumbria University is involved in 26 contributions to the prestigious CHI 2012 conference in Austin, Texas. You can read about them all here:

CHI/Northumbria: It’s the Experience

Experts from the Schools of Life Sciences, Design and Built and Natural Environment are taking part in the conference this year, with contributions ranging from digital cheque books for eighty somethings, interventions to change energy usage to teenage cool, killer apps and building design.

CHI is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction, taking place this year between 5th and 10th May. This year’s conference is expected to draw in over 2,500 professionals from over 400 countries.