Humanities in Horizon 2020 – February Information Day

The RCUK National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 will hold two events in February 2015 for those interested in exploring Horizon 2020 funding opportunities. Both events will be held at the Research Councils in Swindon. index

An event on Humanities Opportunities in Europe will be held on 18th February. This will highlight funding opportunities for Arts and Humanities Researchers, including Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions, the European Research Council, Research Infrastructures, the societal challenge “Europe in a Changing World“, and the cross-cutting themes of “Science with and for Society” and “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation“.

On the same day, there will be an “Open Surgery” for 1:1 advice on Horizon 2020 with the National Contact Point where you can sign up for 20 minute appointments in advance.

We recommend you sign up quickly if you are interested as places are available on a first come first serve basis with registration closing on February 13th (unless fully booked beforehand).


ESRC Future Research Leaders Call Launched

The ESRC has launched a new call for proposals for their early careers scheme, Future Research Leaders. This supports outstanding early career researchers to undertake excellent research and to develop their research and knowledge exchange skills. Proposals can be in any topic within the ESRC’s remit. Applicants can have up to a maximum of four years and four months postdoctoral experience and must have the support of their UK institution. Awards are worth up to £350,000 over 3 years at 100% FEC. The deadline is 20 January 2015.



AHRC Delivery plan for 2015-16


The Arts and Humanities Research Council has published its Delivery Plan 2015-2016, which provides a high-level overview of their plan for the next two years. It also sets out the principles, priorities and approaches that will be used to achieve this plan.  The key objectives for 2015-16 follow from the central elements  set out in The Human World: AHRC Strategy 2013-18 .

2015-16 will see also the tenth anniversary of AHRC’s establishment as a research council, and a number of events will be planned to highlight the impact and reach of their work.

Alongside the individual delivery plans, a new Research Councils UK (RCUK) strategic vision will be published to set out how the Councils will work together to provide a vital contribution to economic growth and wellbeing within the UK. Once the document is published we will be sure to let you all know!



Horizon 2020 so far: news from the UKRO conference

Last week I attended the UKRO annual conference in Bristol. This was a great opportunity to get out of the office and immerse myself in the wonderful world of European funding, particularly Horizon 2020. It was well attended by a huge range of UK universities and a good mix of European Commission speakers. logo

Here are some quick facts I’ve gleaned that may be of interest to potential and current Horizon 2020 applicants.

  • Discussions have begun between the EC and member states on setting the strategic direction and work programmes for 2016-17. This is an opportunity for UK universities to feed in views to UKRO who speak regularly to BIS as the representatives of UK interests. UK is also well represented on the H2020 advisory groups. Lots of people, including member states and the EC, feel that something more than lip service needs to be paid to mainstreaming social sciences and humanities but no one is clear what this should look like! (Any ideas?)
  • H2020 will shortly include a new pilot activity: “fast track to innovation” for small industry-driven consortia, a bit like the UK Longitude Prize. The competition will be launched in autumn or early 2015. This can (and should) include academic involvement.
  • It was said again that MSCA fellowships lay the ground for applicants to successfully apply for ERC grants. It was pointed out that Advanced Grant applicants do not have to be mid-late career, the ERC has funded (a few) people in their 20s. It depends on the field. Also, no PhD is needed for Advanced Grants.
  • ERC Starting Grants call 2014: 20-25% of of the 3272 applications are resubmissions. For Starting and Consolidator Grants next year, the EC is considering extending the eligibility window for time post-PhD as well as reducing the minimum time commitment for Consolidator grantees to 40% from 50%. The EC expects to fund 330 grants under each call (Starting and Consolidator) in 2015. 20% fewer people applied for Consolidator Grants this year, numbers stayed the same for Starting Grants.
  • H2020 so far: 156 calls published, 59 have closed. More than 16000 proposals submitted, more than €4bn funding requested.
  • FP7 success rate was 1 in 5 over the whole programme. The first indications for H2020 suggest 1 in 9 is more likely. Health and energy areas are particularly over-subscribed.
  • There will be no negotiation phase before a contract signed and there is now an 8 month limit time to grant: 5 months evaluation, 3 months grant preparation. If budgets are overinflated, they will be scored low and not be funded- no negotiation. Although during grant preparation stage there will be an opportunity to take into account reviewers comments which may change the budget or proposed activities slightly. This will essentially be a voluntary process of about 3 weeks maximum.
  • MSCA ITNS expect to continue with around a 10% success rate as the number of proposals submitted to the 2014 call (1164) remains stable. ITNs can include non-academics partners. The EC wants to see innovative training programmes and are particularly keen on entrepreneurship, commercialisation, innovation skills, IPR etc. These must each be defined in individual career development plans. To date, the UK has done very well in ITNs – up to 80% of ITNs have at least one UK beneficiary. 28% have UK coordinators. The next call will be published on 2 Sept 2014. (There will be a batch of calls published then with Dec/Jan closing dates).

I have more information if you have any questions and all the presentatoins from the conference are available to UKRO subscribers here


EOI’s from NU Staff for AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards invited

Handshake 52-365 by Julia Taylor CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards scheme that will be closing on 9th July. These awards encourage and develop collaboration between HEI’s and non-HEI organisations and businesses through joint supervision of a PhD student working on a project beneficial to both parties. The award funding covers full fees and stipend for the student. AHRC would also normally expect some form of contribution to come from the project partner on top of the desk-space and staff time that would normally be allocated.

 For this year’s scheme there are highlight notices around ‘Design’ and ‘Connected Communities’. We would normally be allowed to submit only one application, but if spread across the highlight notice areas we could submit up to 3 or 4. CDA’s normally feature only a single studentship, but we can add more if this can be strongly justified and of benefit to the non-HEI partner. Further details below:

Anyone working in an Arts and Humanities related discipline or topic interested in applying is asked to submit a short Expression of Interest to myself via email by 9th June. This should contain details of their proposed non-HEI partner, which highlight notice it will go under, (standard, design or connected communities) and a few lines on the nature of the collaboration and benefits to the partner organisation.