PhD opportunities available in collaboration with North East businesses

Are you interested in a funded PhD to start 1st October, working on exciting research in collaboration with regional businesses?

Check out the range of Intensive Industrial Innovation Projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Topics range from exploring the implications of smart devices on ageing at home to investigating the use of building information modelling to supplement planning processes.

Apply by midnight 16th July 2018. Full details here:

Northumbria University is seeking applications for PhD studentships, to work closely with business in the region, as part of the £3.9m Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme (IIIP) funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The IIIP Programme aims to encourage a culture of innovation that benefits business, leading to greater export opportunities and increased graduate employment, particularly in science and engineering. The IIIP Programme is a collaboration between Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle and Teesside Universities. If you are going to be studying at Portsmouth university then it’s a great choice as it’s one of the best in the country, there is also some great accommodation available so you can easily live in style while studying in this amazing city.

During each PhD project, the research student will work closely with the collaborating business, using innovative research to support the development of new products and services. Students will spend up to 49% of their time working with the business and at least 51% of their time at Northumbria University.

The PhD projects will start on 1st October 2018, for three years. The eligibility criteria for PhD candidates:

  • The IIIP PhD funding is available to Home and EU students.
  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2.1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities; or a Masters, or APEL evidence of suitable practitioner achievement)
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria University or elsewhere


PhD studentships – Richard Benjamin Trust

Applications are invited from potential students for a funding award contributing towards a collaborative PhD or D.Prof (full-time or part-time study; by thesis or by publications) in the area of social and/or organisational psychology. The topic of the PhD/DProf must have the demonstrable potential to make a positive difference to families, organisations or communities and to people’s lives.

A single, one-off award of £35,000 will be made to the university where the successful applicant will be based. The award can be used to contribute towards fees, living costs, and/or research costs. Applicants must indicate how the rest of their costs are to be met and provide evidence of financial support (e.g., from the university) if it is required.

Applications must include evidence of collaboration from i) a university of the student’s choosing, ii) a specified academic supervisor, and iii) an external third partner, such as a voluntary or work organisation, in which impact could occur.

Please see the Richard Benjamin Trust website to download an application form and view the further particulars and eligibility criteria.

Application Deadline: 16th March 2018


New Newton Fund Calls!

departures by matt northam CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The Newton Fund has announced four new opportunities to fund international research collaboration:

British Council – Researcher Links WorkshopsThis will fund a cohort of UK and partner country early career researchers to take part in workshops to:

  • build research capacity in developing economies
  • build links for future collaboration
  • enhance the researchers’ career opportunities

Funding is intended as a “contribution” to the workshops. Staff time to organise and participate in the workshops will not be covered, and is expected to be contributed “in-kind”. Only a small lump sum of £2,000 can be requested to cover administrative costs related to the workshops. Partner countries eligible to participate are: Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and Russia. Deadline: 13th July.

British Council – Researcher Links Travel Grants: Researchers based in the UK and one of the partner countries may apply to spend up to 6 months in a research institution, either in the UK (for the partner country researcher) or in the partner country (for UK based researchers). Partner countries are: Turkey and Vietnam. Maximum rates apply for various categories of travel costs, including subsistence, visa and insurance. Applicants should check the full guidance available at the link. Deadline: 13th July.

MRC – UK-Brazil Neglected Infectious Diseases PartnershipThis initiative will provide funding for collaborative research projects, focussed on neglected infectious diseases in Brazil. In total, up to £4.4m will be made available for this initiative. Up to £2.2m on the UK side (£2m from the MRC and £200k from the ESRC) with equivalent effort matched by the Brazilian funders. Full details on the scope of projects are available on the MRC website. Deadline: 1st July.

British Council – Newton-Bhabha PhD PlacementsThe programme will sponsor UK and Indian PhD scholars to spend a period of their study (3 to 6 months) in Indian and UK higher education institutions taking place between January 2016 and October 2016. The funding covers visa and economy airfare costs for the scholar, plus accommodation and stipend for the student. Deadline: 31st July.

If you are interested in applying for any of these opportunities, please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager in the first instance.




Advanced Research Methods: PhDs and ECRs invited to comment

Momoko doll in custom order NCIS Abby Sciuto lab coat by Hegemony77 CC BY-NC-SAA guest post by Michelle Walker, Research Support Librarian.

Researchers from NCRM would like to gain input from UK-based PhD students or early-career researchers (defined as within five years of commencing academic employment) on the teaching and learning of advanced research methods.

The discussion pages provide an opportunity for you to comment on brief summaries of four themes from the research findings;

  • challenges for learning advanced methods,
  • provision of advanced methods training,
  • approaches for teaching advanced methods,
  • qualities of advanced methods teachers and learners.

You are invited to post comments on many themes as you choose, which could take between 5 and 20 minutes of your time.

The project researchers will also take part in this dialogue and you are invited to re-visit the discussion as it develops.

These pages will remain live until Friday 18th April, 2014.

This research is being conducted by Melanie Nind, Rose Wiles, and Daniel Kilburn at the University of Southampton.

See the NCRM website for more information and to participate.


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, gambling online games like maxbet where you can bet (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.


Using doctoral theses in your research: a guide to EThOS

Library Shelves 2 by Steve Harris CC BY-NC 2.0EThOS ( is the national database for PhD theses, managed by the British Library. It’s a great resource for researchers, with over 100,000 UK theses freely available to download and use for your own research, and another 200,000 available to search and scan on demand.

The British Library have recently sent round notification of a free webinar to find out more about EThOS:

“Join us for a free webinar to learn how EThOS works. Find out how to search for and download theses, and what to do if a thesis isn’t available. If you’re a PhD student, find out what will happen to your thesis once it’s completed. We’ll also explain how EThOS works with UK universities to support the whole research cycle, making the theses more visible and available for new researchers to use and build on.

This webinar is aimed at researchers, students, librarians and anyone who is interested in finding and using PhD theses.

Host: Sara Gould, Development Manager at the British Library, who manages the EThOS service. Sara will answer questions after the webinar.

Webinar on 10 December 2013, 11.00am GMT, register at the link below:


Northumbria-led consortium is AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Art and Design

AHRC CDT announcement feature imageA partnership led by Northumbria University and involving The University of Sunderland, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, has been named as one of just seven Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) funded by the AHRC in a press release today.

The Northumbria-Sunderland Consortium will deliver world-class, innovative research training to PhD students in art and design over the next five years. The competition to win this award was intense and the quality of all applications was very high. The Northumbria-Sunderland bid was praised for its clear evidence of innovation and the way in which it builds on and enhances the existing relationship between the partners.

Through this call the AHRC will fund two types of doctoral training consortia: Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs), which are large awards offering studentships across the range of AHRC’s remit; and CDTs, which are more focused consortia awards offering training, skills and capacity in priority disciplinary areas.

Over the next five years the AHRC will be providing the 11 funded DTPs and the 7 CDTs with £164m of funding which equates to 495 new full time studentships per year. This is a significant investment for AHRC, amounting to one third of its total current budget.

The Northumbria press office adds:

‘As a CDT, Northumbria and Sunderland will offer training, skills and capacity for art and design postgraduate research, building on existing partnerships with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sunderland’s National Glass Centre. This award follows the consortium’s previous success in AHRC’s first round of Block Grant Partnership funding, which funded studentships between 2008 and 2013.

Supporting the core research work of both Northumbria and Sunderland Universities, the award will support a number of studentships and also provide placement opportunities and additional training in research skills. It will also create opportunities for joint supervision, student events and conferences and peer support networks.

Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “These studentships will create life-changing opportunities for some of the nation’s most talented prospective new researchers in the arts, reflecting the AHRC’s strategy for producing world-class postgraduates.

“The Council’s award is an indicator of Northumbria University’s growing research strengths in arts disciplines, building on our award-winning collaboration with BALTIC, and will significantly enhance our interaction with the creative economy.”’

In addition to the success achieved by the Northumbria-Sunderland Consortium, Northumbria University has also been named as a partner in another successful CDT on Heritage, led by Hull University.


AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards 2013 Highlights Design

Post Grad Research CourseThe Arts and Humanities Research Council’s annual call for Collaborative Doctoral Awards was released earlier this month. CDAs are funded PhDs supervised jointly by an HEI and non-academic organisation – for more detail on how the scheme works please see this previous post.

Applications can be submitted to any area within AHRC’s remit, but this year there is a special highlight on Design, and in particular the role of Design in Innovation in partnership with SMEs in the service industry.

The final deadline for applications: 3rd October 2013. However, potential applicants should be aware that each HEI is capped at a maximum of 3 applications per HEI (assuming that one is for the Design highlight). Therefore, Northumbria may need to have an internal selection if there are more than 3 potential proposals.

If you are interested, please send brief expressions of interest to me, following the outline below by 16th August at the latest.

Internal expressions of interest:

Expressions of interest should be sent to me ( by 16th August. They should be brief (no longer than 2 sides of A4) and should include the following information:

  • Name of PI and any other co-applicants who will be contributing to the proposal;
  • Proposed title of the project;
  • How many studentships (applicants can apply for up to four linked studentships within a single application – this counts as one proposal in terms of our HEI cap);
  • Proposed research questions;
  • Name of the partner organisation and a short statement about the collaboration: what is the nature of the relationship, what benefits will this partner bring to the research in terms of student training opportunities, access to resources, knowledge, and any wider social, economic or cultural benefits?;

We’re not looking for polished proposals at this stage. What’s important is to give a clear sense of what the proposed collaboration will achieve beyond a standard university-funded studentship. At the end of the day the purpose of an internal competition is to identify the 2-3 proposals which have the best chance of success on AHRC’s terms.

If we receive more than three applications across the University we’ll endeavour to review these and make a decision in the week following (i.e. w/b 19th August). The reason this is relatively soon is to give successful applicants the best chance to fully develop their proposals before the AHRC deadline of 3rd October.

Other options:

Some of you may already be aware of an alternative route available to secure a CDA, separate to the standard application route outlined above, which is through collaboration with one of the organisations holding a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership.

A CDP is essentially a block grant for CDAs awarded to a number of non-academic organisations which have been successful in hosting CDAs in the past. These organisations can then choose how to allocate their annual cohort of CDAs – and which HEIs they choose to work with – as they see fit. The actual processes by which CDA projects are established with CDP organisations vary, so AHRC have published a list of these organisations and contact details [PDF].

Note that any CDAs which are awarded through CDP collaboration would not count towards our cap of CDA submissions in the standard route. The CDP is an entirely separate pot of CDAs.


Northumbria Collaborative Research Studentship Scheme Open

Handshake 52-365 by Julia Taylor CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Northumbria’s Collaborative Research Studentships scheme is currently open for applications. The scheme will jointly fund up to 15 PhD studentships per year in any discipline in collaboration with external organisations: private, public or voluntary sector; small, medium or large; regional, national or international.

Apply now

The application form should be completed by the proposed Northumbria University supervisor and submitted to Tim Baxter, Graduate School Manager.

The annual cost of the studentship (Home/EU fees, stipend and training budget) is £20,000, half of which will be provided by the University and the other half to be met by an external partner. The current round is accepting applications for studentships which will commence in Autumn 2013.

Further details on the scheme are below:

  • Funding (stipend, fees, training budget and other associated costs) to be shared 50 : 50 between the University and external partner.
  • The research degree funding programme to last for 3 years.
  • The scheme allows the candidate to spend some time in the partner organisation [the exact amount of time to be individually negotiated between the relevant parties].
  • Intellectual Property Rights to be agreed and signed by both parties prior to commencement of the programme.
  • All University Academic and Student Regulations and the PGR Code of Practice must apply to any registered student.

Eligibility criteria for the candidate, topic and supervisor are listed below:

1)      Candidate

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. minimum of upper second class honours degree or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities (preference for 1st class honours); or Masters degree (with distinction)
  • Appropriate IETLS score, if required
  • Home/EU students will have full fees covered. International students must self-fund the difference between the international and home/EU fees

2)      Research Topic

  • Alignment with Faculty Research plans

3)      Proposed Principal Supervisor

  • Research active – has current or recent research of a standard and quality consistent with submission to Research Excellence Framework
  • Relevant subject expertise
  • Attended compulsory supervisor workshop (within last 3 years)

4)      Faculty Resource

  • An appropriate level of any required additional financial resource in place to support the studentship for its duration, including consumables where relevant; and
  • Appropriate space available to accommodate the doctoral student

All applications will be considered at monthly Research Advisory Group meetings, chaired by the PVC (Research and Innovation).


Guardian Panel on Writing A Successful Research Grant Proposal looking for volunteers: TODAY at 12

People Chatting by drewm CC BY-NC 2.0The Guardian HE Network has posted a message on LinkedIn looking for volunteers for its panel for their next HE live chat on “Research funding: writing a successful proposal” which is happening today (Friday 12th April) between 12-2pm.

They’re particularly interested in identifying early career researchers and PhDs for the panel, although anyone with expertise in this field will be welcome. If you’re interested, you’ll need to act quickly: get in touch with Claire Shaw either on Twitter or via LinkedIn. I’ve participated in one of these live chats before and I found it to be a great learning experience and good fun.

Other members of the HE live chat panel are:

  • Adam Staines (Head of Policy, RCUK)
  • Ken Emond (Head of Research Awards, British Academy)
  • Rebecca Stelarios (REF impact advisor to 8 UK HEIs)
  • Andrew Derrington (Executive PVC of humanities and social sciences at University of Liverpool)

**UPDATE 16:00** The chat is over now but there were some useful discussions and thoughts from the panelists. I encourage you to take 15 minutes or so to read through the comments.