Global Challenges Research Fund – Keep Up To Date With Opportunities

Did you know we compile all of the latest opportunities related to the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund on the web?

Northumbria University – GCRF Opportunities

GCRF opportunities are released regularly and although most of them are channelled through the Research Councils, some are also funded via the academies and societies (e.g. British Academy, Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering). In addition, the British Academy in particular has released several international development-related funding opportunities recently which, although not formally part of GCRF, nevertheless may be of interest to academic staff working in these areas.

In addition the University’s GCRF Working Group meets regularly and can provide advice and guidance on GCRF bids in development. Please email your Faculty representative in the first instance.

The Working Group is running a cross-disciplinary networking event on 28th September focusing on the following themes:

  1. Volunteering, NGOs and Civil Society
  2. Migration and the Law
  3. Health, the Arts, and the Humanities
  4. Design and Development
  5. Energy and the Environment

This event is open to all staff from Northumbria who would like to get involved in the GCRF programme. Please email if you’d like to attend.




New Global Challenges Research Fund Opportunities

Globe by Simon Tong CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

A raft of new calls have been released in recent weeks under the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) banner. You can find out more about them by following the links in the table below.

Several of the calls have restrictions on the number which can be submitted by the host institution, and these are marked with an asterisk (*). We will circulate details of any internal processes which apply via email but please contact us at an early stage if you are interested in developing an application for any of these calls.

Northumbria University has a GCRF Working Group and a network of staff with relevant research experience are available to provide guidance and support on bids to these schemes as they develop. Please visit our GCRF webpages to find out more.

Call Title Funder Closing date
Global Challenge Research Fund Foundation Awards STFC 05/09/2017
Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grants British Academy, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society 06/09/2017
Engineering for Development Research Fellowships Royal Academy of Engineering 06/09/2017*
Institutional “pump-priming” awards to develop new opportunities in Global Nutrition and Health Research MRC 14/09/2017*
Institutional “pump-priming” awards to develop new opportunities in Global Mental Health Research MRC 14/09/2017*
Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries EPSRC 21/09/2017 (EoI by 17/08/2017)
Interdisciplinary Research Hubs to Address Intractable Challenges Faced by Developing Countries RCUK Collective Call 29/09/2017 (Intention to Submit)*


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.


Opportunities for Early Career Researchers – Women in STEM

Institution of Engineering and Technology Conference

(Deadline for submissions 23 January 2017)

The most recent Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) annual ‘Skills and Demand in Industry’ Survey showed that, despite a rise in demand for engineering staff, UK employers find many new engineering graduates have significant skills deficiencies.There have been new initiatives proposed and implemented addressing these deficiencies through disruptive innovation, namely making engineering higher education more appropriate for the needs of industry and attractive to students.
The Institute of Engineering and Technology is inviting key educational pioneers to give presentations about new degree programmes or innovative approaches in undergraduate engineering courses.

If you would like to highlight the work of your educational institution at the IEC conference on 22 May, please contact Stephanie Fernandes (

The 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowship Awards Programme

(Deadline for submissions is 25 January 2017)

Awarding five outstanding female post-doctoral scientists a bursary of £15,000.  The fellowships are open to female early-career researchers working in the fields of life and physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer sciences.

Apply online at and contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager.

Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture 

(Deadline for nominations 30 January 2017 at 18.00)

The Rosalind Franklin Award is made annually to support and promote women in STEM, the winner receives a £30,000 grant to implement a project to raise the profile of women in STEM.

This Award is for anyone but particularly early and mid-career researchers. Nominees should have been resident in the UK for three years and be actively engaged in research in a university, research institute or in industry.

If you have any questions contact (+44 20 7451 2609) and contact Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager.


RAEng: Industry Academia Partnership Programme – accepting proposals

Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industry Academia Partnership Programme (IAPP) provides grant funding to support Newton Fund Partner Country Universities. There are currently two programmes accepting proposals:

Industry Academia Partnership Programme – China

This programme aims to support Chinese universities in improving their engineering research and innovation output through strengthening industry linkages – specifically with SMEs – and leveraging and creating links with UK expertise. The programme is based upon the principle that deep, strategic links between industry and universities can foster research and breakthrough engineering innovation.

£100k GBP in grants available –100% match funding is required either financial or “in kind”

The lead applicant must be an individual at a Chinese university which must propose a means of collaboration with  at least one Chinese SME and one UK university respectively.

For more details follow the link above or visit the application guidance notes


Industry Academia Partnership Programme – India

This programme aims to support Indian universities in improving their engineering education and research output through strengthening industry linkages and leveraging UK expertise. The programme is based upon the principle that increased linkages between industry and higher education can improve quality and foster innovation within pedagogy and practice of engineering, in turn enhancing employability of graduates and encouraging technology transfer into industry.

£50k GBP in grants available– 50% match funding is required either financial or “in kind”

The lead applicant must be an individual at an Indian university which must propose a means of collaboration with  at least one industry partner and one UK university.

For more details follow the link above or visit the application guidance notes


Proposals for either programme must aim to further one or more of the IAPP’s outcome areas, which can be found by following the corresponding links above. The submission deadline is 09:00 Tuesday, 24th January, 17. Projects must begin April 2017 and be completed by end of April 2019.

If you are interested in applying for either of the programmes, please contact your Research Funding and Policy Manager






Brazil funding opportunities workshop 21st September 2015

Northumbria University’s International Development Partnerships Team invite you to attend a workshop being provided by the Assistant Director of Programmes and Operations at the International Unit; Tania Lima on the 21st September, 15:00 – 16:30 in MEA House Auditorium – City Campus. The workshop is open to all academic and service staff interested in finding out about opportunities in Brazil.

 International partnerships with Brazil: an overview

Brazil has been investing 0.8% of its GDP for research and innovation, in addition to funding the very ambitious mobility programme “Science without Borders”. State funding agencies, such as FAPESP and FAPERJ, are also big funders of international collaborations. Brazil’s scientific output has greatly increased in the past five years, with many excellent groups producing outstanding research. The UK government launched the Newton Fund programme in 2014, to fund scientific international collaborations with 15 countries, including Brazil and other Latin American countries.

In this workshop, Tania Lima will present an overview of the research landscape, funding programmes, both from Brazil and the UK, and discuss pathways to engage with these funding possibilities. Click here for Tania’s profile.

Please register your attendance here:

Kind regards,


International Development Partnerships Team

Northumbria University

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 8ST, United Kingdom


Newton Research Collaboration with Brazil – Royal Academy of Engineering

Brazil 2014 by Adrien Sifre CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Brazil 2014 by Adrien Sifre CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Royal Academy of Engineering is currently running a short call for research collaborations with Brazil.

The deadline is 26th Jan 2015 and collaborations must start between 1st March 2015 and 31st March 2015. Funding is provided at a flat rate of £2,000/month regardless of which direction the visits are in. Projects should be between 3 and 12 months in duration.

Successful projects should focus on an engineering research challenge that will enhance social welfare or economic development in the selected partner country and demonstrate a tangible benefit to the Partner Country by enhancing its capacity to carry out excellent research in engineering.

RAEng counts a broad range of disciplines as ‘engineering‘ for the purposes of this call, including biotechnology, petrochemicals, offshore engineering, geotechnics, water resources, building services, telecommunications, optics, lasers, information technology, energy conservation, manufacturing, applied mechanics and materials.

A larger call for collaborations with all Newton Partner Countries (Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam) will open up early this year. Please contact your Faculty RFPM as soon as possible if you are interested in applying to this call.


Horizon 2020: Energy Efficiency Call Summaries

Wärmedämmung mit Hohlräumen / Thermal insulation with cavities
Thermal insulation with cavities by BASF CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Horizon 2020 Energy Efficient Buildings Call 2015 is making up to €62M available for research,development, and coordination activities to intensify the drive to energy neutral buildings by 2020:

“By the end of 2020 (2018 for buildings occupied and owned by public authorities), all new buildings should comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive obligations and thus meet ‘nearly zero-energy’ performance levels using innovative, cost-optimal technologies with integration of renewable energy sources on site or nearby.”

The following is a summary of some of the individual calls for proposals which make up the Energy Efficient Buildings programme under Horizon 2020. I’ve also included a few other related calls which fall under the wider banner of “energy efficiency” in Horizon 2020. All of these calls are, at the time of publication, currently open and I have included deadlines and an estimated project budget. I’ve grouped the calls by action type, i.e. Research & Innovation Actions, Innovation Actions, and Coordination and Support Actions, with a description of each type under the heading. However, you should read the full text of each call because this will clarify the expected Technology Readiness Level for each project.

Research & Innovation Actions

R&I actions usually aim to establish new knowledge and/or explore the feasibility of a new or improved product or process. They may contain limited demonstration and pilot activities designed to show the new product in an operational environment. Of all the H2020 action types, these are closest to the kind of work funded by Research Councils in the UK. The funding rates for all participants (whether industry, SME, university or other public body) is 100% of eligible direct costs, plus 25% of those costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.

Call Title Description Deadline Estimated Budget
Integrated solutions of thermal energy storage for building applications (EeB-06-2015) Proposals should address advanced solutions required to reduce thermal losses, reduce pressure drops, and improve heat exchange in and between storage material and heat carrier. Having in mind a system approach, innovations are required at different levels. High energy density storage materials are needed in terms of long term multi-cyclic stability at tuneable temperature levels. These advanced energy storage materials should allow regeneration temperatures in a range below 100oC to enable a higher efficiency and effectiveness of thermal energy storage of at least 6 times the energy storage density of water. 04/02/2015 €3-6M
New ICT-based solutions for energy efficiency (EE-11-2015) The focus should be on the creation of innovative IT ecosystems that would develop services and applications making use of information generated by energy consumers (e.g. through social networks) or captured from sensors (e.g. smart meters, smart plugs, social media) and micro-generation. These applications range from Apps for smart phones and tablets to serious games to empower consumers stimulate collaboration and enable full participation in the market. 04/06/2015 €1.5-2M
Technology for district heating and cooling (EE-13-2015) Proposals should focus on one or more of the following areas: 1) develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of highly efficient, intelligent district heating and cooling systems; 2) bring down heat distribution losses and integrate storage; 3) develop optimisation, control, metering, planning and modelling tools; 4) develop new solutions for low temperature heat recovery and recirculation. 04/06/2015 €1.5-2M
New technologies for utilization of heat recovery in large industrial systems, considering the whole energy cycle from heat production to transformation, delivery and end use (EE-18-2015) Research and demonstration on technologies, technical and operational approaches to recover waste heat from industrial processes, from material flows originating in industrial processes (e.g. waste streams, by-products, intermediates) or plant perimeters and to transform it into useful energy forms. 04/06/2015 €3-4M

Innovation Actions

Innovation actions take up more or less where R&I actions finish, they provide funding for activities which may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. They may include limited research and development activities, but are primarily geared towards prototyping, demonstrating and testing previously existing technology/knowledge. This is similar to the the kind of work funded by the Technology Strategy Board in the UK. The funding rates are 70% of direct costs for profit-making entities (i.e. SMEs, industry) and 100% of direct costs for non-profits (e.g. universities) plus 25% of direct costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.

Call Title Description Deadline Estimated Budget
Buildings design for new highly energy performing buildings (EE-02-2015) Projects should focus on development and demonstration of solutions which significantly reduce the cost of new buildings with at least ‘nearly zero-energy’ performance levels, whilst accelerating significantly the speed with which these buildings and their systems are taken up by the market. 04/02/2015 €3-5M
Innovative design tools for refurbishing of buildings at district level (EeB-05-2015) Research activities should be focused on design at buildings and district level, taking into account the adjacent systems such as district heating/cooling and decentralised thermal energy generation and other interactions with the neighbourhood, giving priority to local renewable resources. Projects should promote and set up an integrated approach in support of innovation, by providing actors with holistic methods and tools. 04/02/2015 €4-7M
New tools and methodologies to reduce the gap between predicted and actual energy performances at the level of buildings and blocks of buildings (EeB-07-2015) At building level, the research focus is on developing methodologies and tools to monitor and assess actual building energy performance, considering relevant factors such as user behaviour, complex energy systems performance and weather forecast, and to be able to predict accurately building energy loads and consumption along the whole lifecycle. 04/02/2015 €4-7M
Integrated approach to retrofitting of residential buildings (EeB-08-2015) Systemic approaches need to be developed which integrate the most promising cost-effective technologies and materials. The solutions could include, for example, energy use through innovative heat pump systems; combination of renewable energy sources at building level; exploitation of heat recovery for water and air as well as ICT, enabling to adapt the system to the end-user behaviour without losing control of the global efficiency of the system.  04/02/2015 €4-7M

Coordination and Support Actions

These are primarily designed to support accompanying measures such as standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies. Like Innovation actions, they are not about discovering new knowledge but will work alongside both the above types of actions to support and improve uptake etc. The funding rates for all participants (whether industry, SME, university or other public body) is 100% of eligible direct costs, plus 25% of those costs as a flat rate contribution towards overheads.

Call Title Description Deadline Estimated Budget
 Empowering stakeholders to assist public authorities in the definition and implementation of sustainable energy policies and measures (EE-09-2015) Proposals should target specific actors among a wide spectrum of stakeholders (utilities, industry, financing institutions, non-governmental organisations, consumer associations, interest groups, trade unions, etc). They should provide large-scale capacity building or engagement activities to those specific groups playing a key role in the definition and/or implementation of sustainable energy policies and measures initiated by public authorities.  04/06/2015 €1.5-2M
Consumer engagement for sustainable energy (EE-10-2015) Project proposals should focus on changing the behaviour of consumers in their everyday life (e.g. at home, at work, at school), using market segmentation and focussing on ‘action’, the last step of the AIDA (Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action) framework.  04/06/2015 €1-1.5M
Removing market barriers to the uptake of efficient heating and cooling solutions (EE-14-2015) Project proposals should focus on one or more of the following areas: 1) Individual heating and cooling; 2) Inspection of heating and cooling systems; 3) Industrial heating/cooling; 4) Energy supply systems; 5) District heating/cooling industry; 6) Develop and demonstrate the tools and methodologies required to conduct the heating and cooling planning procedures necessary at the member state and EU level.  04/06/2015 €1.5-2M
Organisational innovation to increase energy efficiency in industry (EE-16-2015) Activities should focus on removing market barriers, in particular the lack of expertise and information on energy management. Proposals should primarily address the uptake of cross-cutting innovative technologies, such as energy efficient electric motor driven systems and steam/hot water generation, because these represent 75% of the potential savings in industry.  04/06/2015 €1.5-2M



Latest Opportunities for Staff in E&E: Now Available on Intranet

Our Direction by Brian Talbot CC BY-NC
Our Direction by Brian Talbot CC BY-NC

Have you tried to use ResearchProfessional before but struggled to find funding  relevant to your specific area of interest? RBS has created tailored searches for research funding opportunities based on research expertise in departments. The results of these are now available on the Northumbria University Intranet for staff in Engineering and Environment:

Latest Funding Opportunities: Engineering & Environment

You can click on each department and you will see a list of relevant research areas. Clicking on each of these will take you to an interactive PDF which lists opportunities in order of closing date. Basic information is available here, such as funder, title of opportunity and maximum award amount. You can click on each individual heading to visit ResearchProfessional find out more.

Other Faculties will follow in the coming weeks. These opportunities will be updated monthly and all staff will receive an email notification when they are refreshed. Of course, these searches won’t fit everyone’s individual interests, but they should be a good place to start. If you need any further guidance on how to set up your own searches on ResearchProfessional, you can either consult our Getting Started Guide [PDF]or come along to one of our Finding Funding workshops.