STFC: Global Challenges Research Fund Foundation Awards

Globe by Simon Tong CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have recently announced a call for Global Challenges Research Fund “Foundation Awards”. These will provide funding to address challenges faced by Low and Middle Income Countries based on STFC eligible research. Uses might include:

  • Developing new capacity building and/or research collaborations or partnerships, including training at all career levels
  • Partnership building including networks, seminars and workshops to explore and identify areas for cooperation, secondments and movement of people (including students)
  • Exploratory or pump priming research studies for investigation of new approaches and/or generation of preliminary data
  • Creating effective pathways to impact in LMICs

Two types of projects are available: small (<£100k, <12 months) projects aimed at exploring the needs of LMICs, building collaborations and/or piloting activities; and larger (>£100k, <24 months) projects where collaboration and proven approaches are established and in a position to deliver long term, sustainable impact.

There is a briefing event in London on 21st July which you can now register to attend.

The University’s GCRF Working Group is available to offer advice and guidance on partnerships with LMICs and GCRF-relevant research generally.

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ERC Starting Grant events in the UK, 19 & 26 July

​As UK National Contact Point for the European Research Council (ERC), UKRO is holding two events for researchers interested in applying for the 2018 ERC Starting Grant call.  There will be an event at the Natural History Museum in London on 19 July from 10.45-13.30 and another identical event at the University of Edinburgh on 26 July from 10.00-13.00.

The events are free but registration is essential. You can sign up on the UKRO website.

The 2018 Starting Grant call is likely to open on 18 July and close on 17 October. These grants offer flexible, generous funding to researchers with an excellent track record at the stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. To be eligible for the 2018 call, the PI must be 2-7 years from their PhD on 1 January 2018, which is extendable in certain limited cases.

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British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants – 2017 Round Open

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The ever-popular British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grants scheme is now open for applications.

Grants are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences. Applications should be between £500-£10,000 over up to two years. Applications for collaborative or individual research projects are equally welcome under this scheme. Applications from international groups of scholars are also welcome, provided there is a UK-based scholar as lead applicant.

Funds are available to: facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; and to enable the advancement of research through workshops or conferences, or visits by or to partner scholars. Applicants may seek support for any combination of eligible activity and cost up to the overall limit of £10,000. The Academy will assess applications equally on their merits, with no preference as to the mode of enquiry.

The deadline for applications is 5pm UK time on 24th May 2017. 

PLEASE NOTE: Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager as soon as possible if you intend to apply to check your own Faculty’s internal deadlines: as this scheme usually gives rise to a high volume of applications, there are internal processes in place to ensure any bids submitted are high quality and are supported by the relevant Faculty.

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Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation in ICT Research – New EPSRC Call

Design-for-Engaged-Experience-by-Mads-Boedker-CC-BY-2.jpg
Design for Engaged Experience by Mads Boedker CC BY

EPSRC have recently published an advance announcement for a call which they first trailed in their February review of research areas.

Summary: The Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation in ICT Research call “seeks to encourage active collaboration between researchers working in different disciplines and/or with users of research. The ICT landscape has rich opportunities for closer working between disciplines and many of the most exciting opportunities emerge at the interface between established areas. Cross-disciplinary research includes novel collaboration within the ICT community, with researchers across the EPSRC portfolio and with researchers funded by other research councils. It also includes collaboration with users of research. Co-creation is the joint creation of a research project by collaborators.”

How much: Up to £5M is available for the call and EPSRC expects to fund 6-10 programmes of work, suggesting somewhere between £500K-£750K per project is the expected size.

Eligibility: The PI must be “a member of the ICT research community”, and the proposal must include ICT research. But, given the title, it must also demonstrate evidence of cross-disciplinarity and co-creation. I assume there will be questions and answers on precisely how one should or could demonstrate this at the information event (see below). Any investigator can only appear on one proposal, either as PI or Co-I.

How do I find out more: An information event is taking place on 4th May at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London, the day after the call launches. You need to book a place by emailing EPSRC Events by 28th April. You should also read the full call specification.

What are the timescales: There is a call for outlines which opens on 3rd May and closes on 14th June. Then the outline panel meets 31st July – 1st August to rank these against the outline proposal criteria. Following this decisions are made about which proposals to take forward to the full call which closes on 27th September. This means anyone invited to submit to the second stage will have to devote substantial time over peak holiday period (August) to preparing a detailed proposal.

Please contact your Research Funding and Policy Manager to discuss further if you are interested in submitting a proposal. Demonstration of strong institutional support is one of the key criteria for this call, so it’s important this aspect is considered carefully at an early stage.

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H2020: MSCA COFUND 2017 call open, deadline 28 Sept

The 2017 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND) call is now open and has a deadline of 28 September 2017. COFUND co-finances new or existing regional, national or international programmes to open up international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research training. Co-funding is available for post-doctoral fellowship programmes and for doctoral training programmes.

In its capacity as the UK MSCA National Contact Point, UKRO is organising an information event on COFUND on 18 May 2017 in London at the University of the Arts from 12.45-16.45. The event aims to provide participants with an in-depth overview of the COFUND scheme. Participants should gain a clear understanding of the proposal format for each scheme and the key issues relating to planning, writing and submitting proposals. Participation in the event is free of charge, but registration is mandatory through the UKRO website.

 

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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 https://grants.raeng.org.uk/. 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.

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EPSRC Sandpit: New Industrial Systems

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

EPSRC is running an Ideas Factory Sandpit on New Industrial Systems in May 2017. The deadline for expressions of interest is 2nd March 2017.

New Industrial Systems Sandpit

What’s the theme?

The sandpit seeks to address the challenge of competitiveness in the future UK economy by focusing on manufacturing technologies and trends. Four research visions have been identified by the Manufacturing the Future theme:

  • Sustainable Industries (e.g. a future where business models take account of resource usage, resilience and security)
  • Digital Manufacturing (e.g. simulation and visualisation of design and manufacturing)
  • 21st Century Products (e.g. smart and multi-functional products)
  • New Industrial Systems, which sits at the intersection of the other three areas

The sandpit aims to build a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in developing new industrial systems, identify a common language between disciplines, facilitate interactions between researchers and users, and identify and address the key research challenges in this area. It is expected that up to £5M of EPSRC funding will be made available to fund research projects arising from this sandpit.

Who should attend?

EPSRC give the following examples of disciplines which could apply to attend: engineering, design, materials science, physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, economics, social sciences, sustainability, life sciences, energy systems. Attendees need not have worked on the problem before and need not have previously secured EPSRC funding. The emphasis will be on people who are open to explore new ideas and connections with other disciplines.

What will happen at the sandpit?

The Sandpit event itself will take place over five days from 15-19 May 2017 at Stratford Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon. The events will draw on ideas from a broad range of disciplines so attendees should expect to be able to develop relationships with other participants and communicate concepts and ideas in a way that is understandable and engaging to those outside your immediate area.

There is more information in the guidance on how sandpits work, but they are generally very intensive and rewarding experiences which offer an excellent chance of securing funding (as this is restricted to attendees).

How do I apply?

The deadline for expressions of interest to attend the Sandpit is 2nd March 2017. 25-30 participants will be selected and must be available for the full five-day duration. To apply you will need to complete the EoI form on the call page.

Given the high likelihood of securing EPSRC funding as a result of sandpit attendance, these calls are often highly competitive. The assessment will be based on the ability to develop new, adventurous and highly original research; the potential to contribute to research at the interface between disciplines; the ability to work in a team; the ability to explain research to non-experts. You will need to give evidence of your ability to meet these criteria in the EoI.

Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager if you are interested in discussing this further.

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H2020 Info Day and Brokerage Event “Innovative by Nature: Responding to Societal Challenges through Nature-Based Solutions and Cultural Heritage, 8 Dec, Brussels.

The European Commission has recently launched new Horizon 2020 calls for projects related to nature-based solutions for inclusive urban regeneration, heritage-led rural regeneration and nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorogical risk reduction.

An information and brokerage day will be held on the 8th December for those interested in applying to these calls. The event aims to:Funds

      • Present the Horizon 2020 Work Programme for the 2017 “Innovating with Nature and Culture” calls. Keynote speakers and Commission officers will provide tips and information on: innovative nature-based solutions in cities; cultural heritage as a driver for sustainable growth; nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction
      • To facilitate networking, information exchange and the development of new project partnerships during the afternoon brokerage event.

The event is free to attend but you need to register in advance to secure your place. Further information including the programme, a list of speakers and the registration link are available here.

 

 

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APEX Awards 2017

Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY
Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY
Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY

The British Academy, Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and Leverhulme Trust have joined forces to offer a new award for established, independent researchers to pursue interdisciplinary, curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society. Known as the ‘APEX’ Awards (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research awards), up to £100,000 will be available for projects of up to 24 months which spans the remit of more than one of the academies involved in the scheme.

The objectives of the APEX scheme are to:

  • support outstanding interdisciplinary research which is unlikely to be supported through conventional funding programmes
  • promote collaboration across disciplines, with a particular emphasis on the boundary between science and engineering and the social sciences and humanities
  • support researchers with an outstanding track record, in developing their research in a new direction through collaboration with partners from other disciplines
  • enable outstanding researchers to focus on advancing their innovative research through seed funding

The costs are primarily to cover teaching replacement to enable the applicant to concentrate on the research, but up to 25% can be used for associated costs related to the research (e.g. consumables, equipment, travel).

Full guidance and an FAQ can be found on the Royal Society website. The deadline for proposals is 13th January 2017 and applications must be submitted via the eGap system. Please contact your Faculty RFPM for a discussion before embarking on an application.

 

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ERC launches 2017 Consolidator Grants call – deadline 9 February 2017

ERC logo 090714The 2017 European Research Council Consolidator Grants call has been launched with a 9 Feb deadline. Consolidator Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators with 7-12 years of experience since completion of their PhD and at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Applicants must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal. These are “frontier” research grants operating on a “bottom-up” basis without predetermined themes or priorities.

This is highly competitive but also highly rewarding funding with up to €2 million available per award, covering up to 100% of the eligible direct costs of the research. If you are interested in applying, please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager.

 

 

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