British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants Reopen

The ever-popular British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants scheme has reopened this week, with a deadline of 7th November 2012:

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants

You may recall that the Leverhulme Trust announced their support for the small grants scheme earlier this year. Small grants support humanities and social science research projects between £500 and £10,000. Funding is available for:

  • initial stage project planning and development, e.g. pilot studies
  • direct costs of research, e.g. library and archive visits or data collection
  • advancement of research through workshops and conferences
  • visits by or to partner scholars

Collaborative or individual projects are equally welcome, and projects may involve a group of international scholars as long as the lead applicant is based in the UK. Note that grants are not intended solely to support conference organisation, except where the conference is to disseminate research carried out as part of the grant. Applications should be made online via the British Academy eGap website.


Thinking about impact, collaboration and postgraduate researchers

ASHPIT (Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities Policy and Practice Implementation Thinktank) is holding a think tank day on May 28th at University of Oxford. This will bring together research development professionals with academic staff to talk about themes of collaborating in consortia, impact, and preparing postgraduate researchers for careers in academia.

On impact, the focus will be on linking RCUK impacts articulated in the Pathways to Impact parts of grant applications with REF impacts. This discussion will also inform the theme of engaging postgraduate researchers in academic careers, where the questions will be around how to encourage postgraduates to work ‘impactfully’ in collaboration with academic staff.

Here’s more from the ASHPIT blog:

Speakers will include representatives of the Research Councils, as well as academics and researcher developers, and we hope that the event will provide both useful information about and a forum for discussion of some of the most important facets of those topics.

Those interested in attending the next event should send email details of their name, role and institution to by Friday 11th May, indicating whether or not they require support for travel costs.

The full provisional timetable is available here.


ESRC Seminar on Making an Impact – Oxford, 24th May

focusin mind by miuenski CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

Researchers keen to maximise the impact of their research, especially during the last 18 or so months of the REF period, may be interested in the following.

The ESRC-funded methods@manchester seminar series on the  Impact Agenda is holding its sixth seminar, on Making an Impact, on Thursday May 24th at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.

The series adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to examine and clarify the concept of ‘impact’ in the context of academic research in the humanities and social science. The aim is to identify the processes that influence impact and explore mechanisms that maximise it.

Morning: Academics who have made an impact will describe this impact, explain how it came about, and draw out any general lessons about how to create impact.

Speakers include Andrew Dilnot, University of Oxford, Pete Alcock, Professor of Social Policy and Director of the ESRC-OST-Barrow Cadbury Trust Third Sector Research Centre, and Pete Edwards, Technical Director, RCUK dot.rural Digital Economy Hub and Director, PolicyGrid Digital Social Research Node, University of Aberdeen.

Afternoon: Pimp My Research – a workshop for junior researchers/PhD students

Learn how to produce an impact plan and see demonstrations of tools and techniques designed to improve your own personal research impact.

Lead: Peter Halfpenny, Sociology, Manchester and Celia Russell, Mimas, Manchester

Booking Form



Newton International Fellowships: 2012 Round Open

Are you an early-career researcher based outside of the UK? Is your research in the natural, physical, social sciences or humanities? Do you want funding to undertake research at a UK-based institution for two years?

The 2012 round of the Newton International Fellowships opened at the end of January and the deadline for applications is 16th April 2012.

The scheme is a collaboration between the British Academy and Royal Society and has been running since 2008. Fellowships provide a grant of £24,000 per annum for subsistence, plus £8,000/annum for research expenses and a one-off £2,000 relocation allowance. In addition successful fellows may be eligible to receive follow-up funding for up to 10 years after the award to support ongoing networking and collaboration with UK researchers. The awards are not funded on a FEC basis, but they do provide a fixed contribution to overheads for the host institution amounting to 50% of the total value of the award.

The scheme aims to ensure that the very best researchers internationally have an opportunity to carry out a research project hosted by a UK institution. In the longer term, the priority is to facilitate access to international networks of excellence for UK-based researchers in the relevant disciplines.

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available in the guidance notes. Since the last round there have been two changes to the scheme which emphasise the importance of working with researchers outside the UK: all applicants must be working and based outside the UK when applying; and applicants who completed their PhD at a UK university will normally not be eligible to return to that same university.

Northumbria University staff can contact Research & Business Services at an early stage to discuss potential candidates and for advice and support with an application.


Cultural Encounters – HERAnet Releases €18M Call

HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area – a network of European funders of humanities research) has just released a new call for proposals from researchers in the arts and humanities to address “cultural encounters“. This theme is inherently interdisciplinary and touches on research in history, social change, politics, cultural identity, conflict, communication and economic development. More details on the call are available on the HERAnet website:

HERA Joint Research Programme 2012: Cultural Encounters

The call will fund a consortium of researchers from at least three eligible European countries to carry out a research project over a maximum of 3 years, for up to €1M. UK participants will be funded under standard AHRC rules at 80% of Full Economic Cost. This is a two-stage call and the outline proposals are due by 4th May 2012, 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT). To apply you need to fill in the template form [.doc] and submit via the online HERA submission system.

Because the domain covered by “cultural encounters” is potentially so vast, the call for proposals [.pdf] document picks out three key focus areas, listed below. These are intended as a guide. Applicants are free to address topics which cut across one or more of these areas, or to propose an entirely different approach as long as it falls within the scope of the overall programme:

  1. Cultural Encounters over time and space: “The focus here is on the role of cultural encounters from historical and geographic perspectives, where cultural change may have played a complex role as an agent of, and response to, encounters among people with different languages, literatures, religions, institutions and traditions.”
  2. Social and political dimensions of cultural encounters: “This area focuses on how societies and policies have attempted to manage cultural encounters and diversity in different ways. This may include the analysis of concepts and models of the co-existence of cultural differences from historical, philosophical, theoretical and social perspectives, where phenomena such as migration, displacement, and the formation of multicultural communities will be important. It could include analysis of the cultural and political values that shape these concepts and models, and the institutional structures that support or challenge them.”
  3. Practices of translation, interpretation and mediatisation in relation to cultural encounters: “The third area focuses on how cultural expressions in different forms are interpreted, translated, and/or transformed across cultures, languages and sectors. This spans everyday life as well as professional and artistic practices, and includes virtual encounters on the internet as well as in encounters in real life (e.g., media, museums, literature, art, music). It embraces analysis of cultural texts as well as analysis of behaviour and professional practices in different cultural settings.”

Potential applicants should note that European added value is an important part of the assessment criteria. This means that the research carried out should be of higher quality and have more impact than if it had been a unilateral project. It does not mean all proposals need to address EU-specific topics or themes, although these could of course form part of a research project in this theme.

There is a matchmaking event on 21st February in Berlin to find potential partners for the call, but unfortunately the deadline has passed to be included in that. However, the AHRC are running some of their own UK-based information days on the Cultural Encounters call on the 13th March (Edinburgh) and the 15th March (London). More details are available on the AHRC website.

Please get in touch with us at an early stage if you need advice and guidance on developing an 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.


EPSRC Wants Innovative Solutions to Flood Risk

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Council are looking for an interdisciplinary mix of researchers to attend a “sandpit” event on Innovative Solutions to Flood Risk in April 2012.

Sandpits are collaborative residential workshops where small groups of researchers (20-25 people) from a range of disciplines work together over a number of days to generate project proposals for a specified theme. The benefits of taking part are significant: you get to collaborate with other leading researchers on a relevant topic, and there is a relatively high chance of proposed projects being funded. More details are given in the call for participants [PDF]:

The scope of the Sandpit will address the three Risk Themes identified in the report:
• Understanding Risk
• Managing Probablility
• Managing Consequence

It is not expected that these themes will operate in isolation as there are many issues which may be seen to cut across these themes. The Sandpit intends to explore the engineering and physical science aspects of these key areas whilst recognising that this is a multidisciplinary area.

The call document strongly emphasises the fact that EPSRC are not focusing on one particular disciplinary area: “Applications are encouraged from diverse research areas across engineering, physical sciences, natural environment, life sciences, the social sciences and the arts and humanities”. Nor is track record in flood risk management or engineering solutions to flooding essential to success: “Please note that we are not looking for your academic publication or research track record but rather evidence of how you might approach multidisciplinary problems in a novel area.”

The assessment is based on the following criteria:

  • The ability to develop new, adventurous and highly original research ideas
  • 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

To participate you need to fill in a two-page expression of interest form and send to by 20th February 2012.