NERC and AHRC seek advisory board members

Both NERC and the AHRC have issued calls for members of key advisory boards and groups:

NERC wants science and innovation advisors

NERC has announced it is looking for members of its Science and Innovation Strategy Board, which is the key source of advice to NERC Council on science and innovation matters. As a member of this board, you would help NERC shape its overall science strategy and advise Council on strategic priorities of funding initiatives as well as informing and advising on current and future directions in UK environment science.

You can either nominate yourself or someone else for membership, bearing in mind the profile and attributes which NERC expects of members of SISB. A list of current members is also available. The deadline for nominations is October 9th at 5pm.

AHRC wants members of a new Research Careers and Training advisory group

AHRC has announced it is establishing a new advisory group tasked to focus specifically on research careers and training within the arts and humanities. The terms of reference of the group include providing strategic advice on matters relating to postgraduates and researcher training, and advising on skills development needs and discipline health.

The AHRC are seeking members in the following areas:

  • Two senior academics who have a demonstrable interest in researcher development at PG level and beyond
  • Training lead for postgraduate and researcher development in a University or other research organisation.
  • Representatives of two non-academic organisations (preferably one public and one private sector), which might include independent consultants
  • Two student representatives
  • Two early career researcher (within 8 years of PhD, or 6 years of first academic appointment) representatives

Potential applicants have until the 5th October to nominate themselves using the application form [.doc].


ESRC Wants Future Research Leaders

Young Einstein

ESRC has recently announced the second round of its annual funding competition for Future Research Leaders:

2012/13 Call for Proposals: Future Research Leaders

The call, which replaced the Council’s first grants scheme in 2011, aims to support high quality researchers at an early stage of their career. Applicants must apply in conjunction with a host institution which must clearly demonstrate their commitment to the applicant’s research project and career.

Up to £250,000 (80% FEC) per project is available from the ESRC to support research, career development and knowledge exchange activities which address the remit of this call. Up to 60% of a successful applicant’s time will be funded under this scheme, with the host institution committing to meet the remainder from their own funds.

Changes from the last round

This year ESRC are operating a single-stage application process and the deadline for applications is 4th October 2012. Realistically this means that prospective applicants, with the support of their host institution, will need to devote time over the summer break to developing an application.

Another key change from last year’s call is related to the applicant’s career stage: ESRC want to encourage high quality applications from those at a very early career stage, particularly those who are currently completing or are immediately post-PhD. A proportion of the budget will be ring-fenced to support applicants at this early career stage.

Who’s eligible?

Eligibility criteria for the Future Research Leaders scheme are summarised below:

  • Applicants must have a maximum of four years’ of academic research experience following the completion of their PhD, or “equivalent professional standing”. It’s the thesis completion date that counts here, and note that career breaks are excluded from the four year duration.
  • Applicants must not be PI on a current or previous ESRC or other research council grant, excluding ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Councils UK Fellows.
  • Unsuccessful applicants to the 2011 round are not eligible to reapply unless explicitly invited to do so, or if there has been a significant change in focus in the application.
  • Applicants with or without a permanent academic post are eligible to apply, providing the above criteria are met. But host institutions are required to show a significant level of commitment to prospective applicants and this should be taken into account when developing an application.

What are they looking for?

Here’s what the ESRC say about expected outcomes at the end of the project:

At the end of the grant we expect Future Research Leaders to have completed both a high quality research project and a structured programme of career development activities, including skills development in research management, knowledge exchange and how to maximise the potential impact of their research. Grant holders should have begun to build up an extended network of academic contacts and potential beneficiaries and users of their research. They should be in a very strong position to advance a career at the forefront of the social sciences in the UK and internationally.

Further information on the scheme can be found in the Call Specification [PDF]. Potential applicants based at Northumbria should contact RBS at an early stage for advice and support in developing a research application.


EPSRC Funding Calls: Early Career Researchers and Working Together in ICT

EPSRC, having recently identified its strategic goals for the next 3 years, have released calls to reflect these aims. Two such goals are reflected in the calls below; developing leaders in the form of its ‘Early Career Forum’ and delivering impact by encouraging collaboration through its ‘Working Together in ICT’ programme.

These calls may be of specific interest to those of you visiting our humble blog from Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences as well as Design.

  • Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research

Expression of interest: EPSRC seeks expressions of interest for membership of a newly-constituted forum of early career academic researchers in the scope of the Manufacturing the Future challenge theme.

 If you are an Early Career academic with an interest in manufacturing, follow the link to read more. This is not a direct call for funding, more an expression of interest for membership. For those successful, EPSRC will pay travel and subsistence to and from Forum activities as well as considering funding for future Projects, should the Forum develop. The closing date for an Expression of Interest is 14th June 2012.

  • Working together in ICT

 Invitation for proposals: EPSRC’s ICT Theme intends to commit around £5M of funding for research projects which will directly address its Working Together priority.

 £5m worth of funding is available for Projects which are expected to comprise two or more research streams which run concurrently, showing significant mutual benefit to ICT research as the main driver. The Invitation for proposals closes on 10th July 2012. Please follow the link to find out more.


As usual, please feel free to contact RBS at an early stage for support with your application.


AHRC Launches Expanded International Placement Scheme

Are you an AHRC-funded postgraduate or early-career researcher? Now you have an opportunity to apply for a short-term fellowship at one of four internationally-renowned research libraries and institutes.

The AHRC has just launched an expanded scheme which offers 3-6 month placements at one of four destinations in 2012/13:

This provides an excellent opportunity not only to take advantage of the world-class research facilities on offer, but also to expand your academic network overseas.

Here are more details on the awards and eligibility from the AHRC:

The scheme is open to UK postgraduate students and early career researchers funded by the AHRC and successful applicants receive an award from the AHRC to contribute towards their flight costs and a monthly allowance in additional to their normal stipend/salary paid as part of their AHRC funding.

Applicants can apply to spend from three to six months at the overseas institution with dedicated access to their world-class research facilities, expertise and networking opportunities.

For the purposes of this scheme, “early career” means you need to be within 8 years of the award of your PhD, or within 6 years of your first academic appointment. And note that ESRC award holders are also eligible to apply to the Library of Congress placement scheme, but not to the other destinations. Further information is available in the detailed call guidance notes available at the links above.

As we reported last month, this is part of the AHRC’s wider international strategy. The focus on early stage researchers is significant as the AHRC believe international links made at this stage of an academic career usually last longer and are more productive in terms of stimulating future research collaborations and impact.

The deadline for applications for the International Placement Scheme is 15th March, 2012. Please contact us for advice and support with your application.