If you are interested in finding out more about the Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures 2017 call which opens in early December, Dr Katie Ward, UK H2020 National Contact Point, will be giving an overview of the call at Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine on 12 December at 14.00. For more information on how to register, please contact me directly.
The Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee is examining the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU for UK science and research. The Committee is holding hearings on this during July, and invites written submissions during that period.
Yesterday’s session saw Kevin Baughan (Chief Development Officer, Innovate UK), Professor Philip Nelson (Chair, Research Councils UK) and Jo Johnson MP (Minister of State for Universities and Science) questioned.
Kevin Baughan (Innovate UK) underlined that the business sector is an important recipient of Horizon 2020 funds and that companies have already expressed concerns about decreased opportunities for collaboration. He underlined the importance of confidence, both in the sustainability of contracts beyond two years and of those from other EU Members States in UK partners. The more information the UK Government can give as to what will happen, the more confidence there will be. There is a huge risk to the UK in a two-year pause in excellence and innovation.
Philip Nelson (RCUK) stated that the biggest risks of Brexit are around the mobility of people as the UK has to continue to be seen as a destination for expertise. The creation of UKRI and the changes in the HE Bill have been ongoing for some time and he stated that it will be crucial that UKRI has a strong voice in the Brexit negotiations. He also mentioned much anecdotal evidence of UK partners being removed from consortia and leading researchers deciding not to risk coming to the UK and is concerned by this; RCUK will continue to monitor UK participation in applications to Horizon 2020.
Jo Johnson reiterated his earlier message stating that the UK Government is fully committed to science and to ensuring that the UK remains a ‘science powerhouse’. The Government is currently undertaking planning and analysis across all areas, and science will be a big part of that. In terms of opportunities, the Government needs communication from the research community to help identify new flexibilities in the relationship with the EU and how they can be exploited. He told the Committee that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is working on a comprehensive Communications Strategy to ensure it is clear that Brexit doesn’t mean increased insularity, but rather that the UK is now even more open and globally-minded. He also said that it has been made clear, both by BIS and by Commissioner Moedas that there should be neither soft (in the construction of consortia) nor hard (in the assessment and awarding of grants) discrimination against UK participants. Statements of assurance from the Commission need to be regularly reiterated and he is working with Moedas on this. Mr Johnson is concerned to hear anecdotal reports that UK partners are being rejected as participants in and leaders of consortia and has set up a unit which is ready to receive evidence. An email address (email@example.com) has been set up to which people to submit examples of this kind of behaviour.
Further details are available for subscribers to the UKRO website and to all from the Select Committee inquiry page.
The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through:
- challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
- strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
- providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.
Below are some slides summarising what we know so far…
RCUK has organised a series of Town Meetings to gather input from stakeholders on the strategy and delivery of the Global Challenges Research Fund.
The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through: challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries; providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.
Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in high-level discussions around the initial RCUK GCRF challenge areas, as well as practicalities around delivery of the fund, in particular building capability overseas, enabling interdisciplinarity, ensuring impact in developing countries, and ensuring ODA compliance.
Registration is now open to individuals from any academic discipline or professional area (e.g. civil society organisations, NGOs etc.) with a vested interest in international development and global challenges. Please note that while this is an open registration process, individuals should be able to represent a breadth of discipline areas and approaches, and will be required to contribute to strategic discussions that may be outside of their usual academic or professional area(s) of expertise.
There will be four events:
29 June – The Village Hotel, Coventry
4 July – The Amba Hotel, London
6 July – The Angel Hotel, Cardiff
11 July – The Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
If you would like to attend, please send a brief justification as soon as possible explaining your current position and your interest in and experience of international development and tackling global challenges to firstname.lastname@example.org. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis at the discretion of RCUK.
Following the allocation from the UK Government for the 2016-2020 Science and Research Budget, the UK Research Councils have published their collective Strategic Priorities and Spending Plan .
The document provides a summary of the ambitions, strategic direction and investment themes for the Research Councils’ collective and individual activities over this period.
For each Council there is a short summary of their strategy going forward and priority areas they will be pursuing.
The ESRC has published the 2015-16 call for research seminars and strategic networks for groups of academic researchers, postgraduate students and non-academic users for different organisations. Seminar groups meet regularly around a theme and strategic networks, which are new to this call, will aim to generate innovative, interdisciplinary collaborations.
There are a number of thematic areas which are: Civil Society, Education and Neuroscience, Biosocial research, and Big data. Seminars are encouraged to address one of these topics and strategic networks are required to address one. Seminar series grants are funded up to £30,000 and network grants up to £100,000.
For further information, see the call specification and the FAQs. The success rate for this call was about 25% last year. The deadline is 8 April 2015.
Just a reminder that Professor Charles Forsdick from the Arts and Humanities Research Council will be coming to see us a week today, on Wednesday 14th January.
Charles is the Leadership Fellow for AHRC on their ‘Translating Cultures’ themed area, and will be hosting a talk from 2pm in the Corry Room in Sports Central that is open to staff. Charles will talk about the translating cultures theme, other thematic research areas of AHRC and successful grant writing. There will also be short presentations from award holders at Northumbria on their own AHRC awards.
There is also an opportunity for staff to book a short one-to-one slot with Charles to discuss an idea or potential proposal in detail if desired. If you would like an opportunity to do this please get in touch with myself.
We look forward to seeing you there, and if you wish to come along please email my colleague Kerri Jude (email@example.com ) so we have an idea of numbers, and can set the room out accordingly.