UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships – Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Government Office for Science have announced the latest round of the UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships scheme. The deadline for applications is 26th March 2018.

The fellowships are targeted at early career academics without a current permanent lectureship and within 5 years of their PhD award. They provide funding for two years (with an optional third year pending a review at the end of Year 1) with full salary costs covered, plus travel and subsistence linked to the research, and modest items of equipment (up to £3k incl. VAT), consumables and other expenses which are fully justified in connection with carrying out the research.

The research may be on any one of the 13 topics identified for 2018 by the UK intelligence community. Further detail on these is given in the topic list:

Topic Title No.
Research into methods to detect manipulated facial images in identity documents or on-line applications 1
Advanced research into archive, analysis and retrieval of video based data 2
Detecting malicious activity on distributed Internet of Things sensor/actuator networks 3
Non-conventional energy harvesters/power sources to provide power in remote locations for 10+ years 4
Security of Automatic Speaker Verification Systems to synthesis spoofing attacks 5
Micro-robotics 6
Crowd modelling in post-event emergency situations 7
Opportunities and risks in the application of deep learning to security screening applications 8
The use of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to enhance briefing and training 9
Novel approaches to compact energy storage and lighter/more efficient autonomous systems 10
Understanding and mitigating side-channels in commodity hardware 11
Cross-linguistic approaches for representing place and movement 12
Quantum sensing and readout with cavity quantum phonodynamics 13

These awards are highly competitive and significant institutional support is required, including assigning a mentor, so if you have an idea and are considering applying please contact your relevant Research Funding & Policy Manager at an early stage.


EPSRC Expressions of Interest: Building a Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing Community & Physical Sciences ECRs

Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0
Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0
Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0

EPSRC have recently issued two calls for expressions of interest for workshops:

  1. Building a Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing Community: “The workshop will be highly multidisciplinary as well as bringing together those who are developing platforms and standards with researchers deploying and evaluating in real world environments. Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (PUC) is the fundamental and applied research that aims achieve the integration of computing into any device in any location that interacts with our lives… This will require novel computer science and engineering while incorporating research from the social sciences, humanities and law.” If you would like to attend the workshop then complete the short EOI form on the webpage: Deadline: 14th Feb 2018
  2. Physical Sciences Early Career Researchers Workshops: “The workshops will provide an update to EPSRC and Physical Sciences strategies and will communicate recent and upcoming policy changes, such as the New Investigator Awards. The workshops will be attended by a number of EPSRC staff but also by experienced academics and current or previous Early Career Fellowship holders from across the Physical Sciences portfolio who will provide guidance and mentoring.” If you’re not sure which research areas are included in EPSRC’s Physical Sciences remit, you can check here. The process for applying to attend is the same as above – complete the short EOI form on the webpage: Deadline: 31st Jan 2018



EPSRC Introduces New Investigator Award Scheme to Replace First Grant

Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0
Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0
Laser diffraction monofotogrammetry by Jorma Palmen CC BY-SA 4.0

Today the EPSRC has announced it is introducing a New Investigator Award Scheme to replace the First Grant Scheme.

The First Grant scheme will close on 24th July 2017 at 4pm and the New Investigator Awards will open on 25th July 2017. Like the First Grant there are no deadlines for the NIA scheme.

The full details are available here and I have summarised the main changes below:


Like the First Grant scheme, the NIA scheme is directed at individuals who have “recently acquired their first academic lectureship position, have not previously led an academic research group or been the recipient of a significant grant”. There is no specific requirement around time since PhD or time since first academic post in the NIA scheme.

Regarding previous grants, the wording is “Applicants should not hold, or have held, grants or industry sponsorship which have provided funds to set up a research group. This includes any previous funding which provides PDRA time, equipment over £10k or, normally, any research grant over £100,000.” I’ve checked with EPSRC and they’ve told me that someone who has received, say, £15k from the Royal Society Research Grants scheme would be eligible.

Like the First Grant, an application to the NIA scheme should be your first application to EPSRC as Principal Investigator (except Postdoctoral Fellowships, overseas travel grants or unsuccessful Early Career Fellowships).

Size/structure of projects

The limit of £125k FEC has been removed to provide more flexibility. EPSRC have indicated that projects would typically comprise a PI (for a proportion of time, e.g. 20% FTE) plus a PDRA for 1-3 years. Normally Co-Is are not permitted, unless they clearly bring complementary skills to the project and are from a different discipline to the PI.

There is a significant emphasis on career development and university support which “should be appropriate to the foundation of a research group, including allocation of resources (e.g. students, access to facilities, PDRA time etc.)”. In recent First Grant bids we have generally been seeing positive reviewer comments about the level of support offered for applicants, but given this is a revised scheme we will need to review this.

There is further information on the scheme available at the link above and in the FAQs. Research Funding and Policy Managers will be contacting all staff who have expressed an interest in or are developing an application for the scheme, but in the meantime Northumbria staff should please contact us if you have any questions.


UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

CCTV by Ian Britton CC BY-NC

Are you an early career researcher in science, computing or engineering disciplines? The Royal Academy of Engineering, in conjunction with the Government Office for Science, are offering a number of postdoctoral fellowships in areas of interest to the intelligence, security and defence community. Applications must be submitted by 10th April at 4pm.

The topics available are in the table below with full descriptions available from the RAEng website (PDF):

Topic Title No.
Environmentally stable rechargeable batteries for flexible wearable electronics 1
Calculus of privacy 2
Magnon algorithmics 3
An examination of the role and impacts of automation in security 4
Stored energy detection in complex environments 5
Voice liveness detection 6
Heterogeneous network analysis 7
Ultra-Narrowband Transceiver Design for Long Range Low Power and Low Profile Communication 8
Advanced research into archive, analysis and retrieval of video based data 9
Quantum and Optical Sensors 10
Through the Earth Information 11
Electronic Materials and Components for Low Power Flexible Devices 12
Advancing direct-write printing methods for the fabrication of electronics on complex surfaces 13

Eligibility: Fellowships must be held at a UK Higher Education Institute in a department capable of supporting the research project and researcher. The fellow must have been awarded a PhD no more than five years prior to the submission deadline, and must not currently hold a permanent academic post. Full details on eligibility are available at the RAEng site.

Funding available: Applications are costed on a Full Economic Cost basis for up to two years of full-time postdoctoral fellowship. Costs covered in the grant include the applicant’s salary, travel, consumables, small items of equipment (less than £3k), plus technical staff, estates and indirect costs.

How to apply: Applications are made online at The application includes sections on the profile and track record of the proposed fellow, the research topic, methodology, relation to previous work, potential significance and application of the results, resources requested and host institution support (which is added separately via a letter).

Please get in touch with your Faculty-aligned Research Funding and Policy Manager at an early stage if you would like to apply.


Samsung Global Research Outreach Call Open

Digital drugs binaural beat by digitalbob8The 2014 Samsung Global Research Outreach call is now open. The call is open to all “world-class university researchers” and there are a range of themes relevant to Samsung and its products, see below for a sample and check the website for the full list:

2014 Samsung GRO Program

The deadline for submission of applications is 13th June 2014, 9AM (Korea Standard Time, UTC+9). Awards are usually in the region of $70K-$100K.

Sensor Technology Non-invasive mobile sensor and platform
Mental Healthcare / User Interface by Brain Wave Information
IPS (Indoor Positioning System) Algorithm Technique
Machine Learning & Recognition Cognitive Scene Understanding and Applications
Authentication by User Behavior
Predictive Analysis to Influence Behavioral Change using Biometrics Data
Fast Parallel and Distributed Framework for Deep Learning
Robust Face Recognition Algorithm in Surveillance
Next Generation Computing High-Speed Graphics Modeling&Simulation
Ultra-Low Power Computing Platform for Wearable IoT Devices
Big Data and Networks Massive QAM Scheme for 100Gbps Wireless Communication
Device Centric Data Stream Management for Wearable/IoT Devices
Data Processing Algorithm for Large-Scale Data Visualization
Data Reduction during Network Transfer using New Deduplication/Compression Method
Low Cost Scalable Content Delivery Architecture
Security Secured Media – Seamless D2D/D2S Media Security
Functional Materials 2D Material
Thermal Management Materials
Anti-reflection Coating Technology
Self Healing Materials
Antifouling Coating Materials
Lead-Free Piezoelectric Materials for Actuator Applications
Hexaferrite Particle of Single Magnetic Domain Size
Premold Leadframe Substrates for MEMS Sensor Packaging
Novel Hard coating Materials on Optical Substrate


PhD Studentship Opportunity in Computing

Dr Hubert Shum (Senior Lecturer in Creative Media Technology) is currently advertising a fully funded PhD position in human motion analysis:

real time posture reconstruction for microsoft kinect by Hubert P H Shum

“Understanding human motion is a central key for different types of application including computer animations and games (e.g. character animation, motion-based gaming), motion evaluation (e.g. security monitoring, sports performance analysis) and medical engineering (e.g. movement disorder diagnosis, Parkinson’s disease modelling). This project aims at proposing a new algorithm to analyze human motion by taking advantage of the recent hardware advancement, and demonstrate its effectiveness in one or more of the mentioned application domains.”

The successful applicant will receive a bursary of £13,726/annum over 3 years. Dr. Shum will be the primary supervisor and the student will work on an agreed project with the expectation that they will receive a PhD from Northumbria University on successful completion of the degree.

Further information about Dr. Shum’s previous research projects can be found here:

Prospective applicants should have a 1st class honours undergraduate and/or a good masters degree in a relevant discipline.

It would be preferable if the applicant has a background in one or more of the following areas:

  • Computer programming
  • Human motion analysis
  • Computer graphics and animation

To apply, please use the University’s Research Application Form. Applications should be submitted to Karen Vacher, Senior Research Administrator, via email The deadline for applications is 24th January 2014.


ARTEMIS 2013 Call: Network Embedded Systems

The shape of the online universe by Adam Crowe CC BY-NC-SA 2.0The ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking, a European public-private partnership for research funding in embedded systems, has recently released its 2013 call for funding. The deadline for full proposals is 6th June 2013.

You can read a summary of the call on the ARTEMIS 2013 call page. Full details can be found on the EU Participant Portal call page – you should read Work Programme Part ASP if you’re interested in the ARTEMIS sub-programmes (areas of research around real-world applications of embedded systems) and Part AIPP if you’re interested in the ARTEMIS innovation pilot projects (technology development for user and business needs in the area of embedded systems).

What’s an “embedded system”?

“Embedded Systems pervade all areas of life, from children’s toys and mobile phones to space probes and from transportation vehicles to healthcare systems. In fact, Embedded Systems will be part of all future products and services, providing intelligence on the spot and capabilities to connect to the abundance of systems in their environment, either physical or at cyber-space level, in real time. In this sense, Embedded Systems form the edges of the “Internet of Things” bridging the gap between cyber space and the physical world of real ‘things’, and are crucial in enabling the “Internet of Things” to deliver on its promises…”

Content of the calls

Under the ASP call, projects should have a focus on at least one of the industrial priorities of ARTEMIS in the context of at least one sub-programme.

The industrial priorities are:

  • Reference designs and architectures: “The objective is the creation of an energy efficient generic platform and a suite of abstract components with which new developments in different application domains can be engineered with minimal effort.”
  • Seamless connectivity and interoperability: ” Middleware, operating systems and other functions required to link the physical world, as seen by the networked nodes, and also the higher layer applications, as well as hardware features needed to support an efficient and effective interoperability implementation.”
  • Design methods and tools: “To manage architectural complexity during design while ensuring maturity at introduction under strong time-to-market constraints”

The sub-programmes are:

  • Methods and processes for safety-relevant embedded systems
  • Embedded Systems for Healthcare and Wellbeing
  • Embedded systems in Smart environments
  • Embedded Systems for manufacturing and process automation
  • Computing platforms for embedded systems
  • Embedded Systems for Security and Critical Infrastructures Protection
  • Human-centred design of embedded systems

In the AIPP call, applicants should have a technological focus on at least one AIP programme:

  • Innovative Integrated Care Cycles
  • Seamless communication and interoperability – Smart environments: the Neural System for society
  • Computing platforms for embedded systems

Who’s eligible and how are the proposals costed?

Projects are multi-partner involving at least three organisations from three participating ARTEMIS member states (see the eligibility rules [PDF] for more information). Different member states structure their own costing rules and requirements in different ways, depending on which funders are actually providing the funding. For the UK, universities can be involved in projects but you’ll also need a UK-based industrial partner, because the UK element of the call is coordinated by the Technology Strategy Board alongside EPSRC.

Research and academic organisations will receive a standard 80% of FEC contribution, but 83.3% (of that 80% FEC) will come from the UK funders (i.e. TSB and EPSRC) and 16.7% (of that same 80% FEC) will come from the ARTEMIS pot. Universities don’t have to find any additional funding as it’s funded in the same way as a standard Research Council award. However, SMEs and Large Companies have different balances of funding and do have to contribute some of the cost themselves. Note also that costs for academic organisations can only make up 30% of the total consortium cost for the UK part of the consortium, so these consortia must be industry-led and driven. To receive funding at this level, Research Organisations will have to be non-profit distributing, and ensure they disseminate the outputs of their research relating to the project, and state in the application how they are going to do this.

Northumbria staff should contact RBS if you are interested in discussing ARTEMIS further or if you think you may have a proposal idea which would be eligible.