GCRF Networking Grants Now Available

The Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society have jointly launched a new call for Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grants.

The scheme allows researchers from across disciplines and from developing countries and the UK to hold networking events, to forge new links and generate innovative transdisciplinary research ideas to address global challenges. We expect that these new networks will then be better equipped to apply for larger grants offered by the GCRF programme and other funding initiatives.

This is an excellent opportunity for those who are starting to build networks with researchers and stakeholders in DAC List countries. The awards provide up to £25,000 over one year to hold networking events, supporting these collaborations.

The deadline for applications for this round is 21st March 2018. Successful projects must start between 1st July and 30th September 2018 and last for one year. Further details are available on the call page. Please contact us at an early stage if you are interested in applying.


UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships – Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Government Office for Science have announced the latest round of the UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships scheme. The deadline for applications is 26th March 2018.

The fellowships are targeted at early career academics without a current permanent lectureship and within 5 years of their PhD award. They provide funding for two years (with an optional third year pending a review at the end of Year 1) with full salary costs covered, plus travel and subsistence linked to the research, and modest items of equipment (up to £3k incl. VAT), consumables and other expenses which are fully justified in connection with carrying out the research.

The research may be on any one of the 13 topics identified for 2018 by the UK intelligence community. Further detail on these is given in the topic list:

Topic Title No.
Research into methods to detect manipulated facial images in identity documents or on-line applications 1
Advanced research into archive, analysis and retrieval of video based data 2
Detecting malicious activity on distributed Internet of Things sensor/actuator networks 3
Non-conventional energy harvesters/power sources to provide power in remote locations for 10+ years 4
Security of Automatic Speaker Verification Systems to synthesis spoofing attacks 5
Micro-robotics 6
Crowd modelling in post-event emergency situations 7
Opportunities and risks in the application of deep learning to security screening applications 8
The use of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to enhance briefing and training 9
Novel approaches to compact energy storage and lighter/more efficient autonomous systems 10
Understanding and mitigating side-channels in commodity hardware 11
Cross-linguistic approaches for representing place and movement 12
Quantum sensing and readout with cavity quantum phonodynamics 13

These awards are highly competitive and significant institutional support is required, including assigning a mentor, so if you have an idea and are considering applying please contact your relevant Research Funding & Policy Manager at an early stage.


Royal Academy of Engineering: Research Fellowships 2017/18

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Royal Academy of Engineering offers seven Research Fellowships each year to outstanding early career engineering researchers, who are hosted by a UK higher education institute/university. These highly prestigious five-year Research Fellowships are designed to promote excellence in engineering by providing support for high-quality candidates to become future research leaders.

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This year, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious Research Fellowships scheme will open 30th June and close at 4pm on 6th September 2017. As the number of bids per institution is restricted, Northumbria University has an internal selection process for this call – see below for further information and note this has an internal deadline of 13th July 2017.

The Academy will award 7 Research Fellowships and, as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund, up to 4 additional Engineering for Development Research Fellowships. The latter fellowships must positively impact social and economic development in one or more DAC list countries.

Who can apply?

Applicants must have been awarded a PhD within the four years prior to the submission deadline. Existing PhD students can apply but only if they will complete their PhD prior to the take up of the award. Applicants must not hold a permanent academic position, but fixed-term postdoctoral staff would be eligible. If you’ve applied previously but were unsuccessful, you can re-apply assuming you still meet the other eligibility criteria. There are no nationality restrictions.

Which disciplines do the fellowships cover?

The fellowship must be in the broad area of  ‘engineering’, which for RAEng encompasses: civil, construction and environmental engineering; materials and mining; chemical and process engineering; aerospace; transport and mechanical engineering; manufacturing and design; electrical and electronic engineering; energy and power; medical and bioengineering; computing and communications. More detail on all of these areas is given in the scheme guidance.

How much funding is available?

For the standard Research Fellowships, applications are capped at a maximum contribution from the Academy of £500,000 over the 5-year period, at 80% of full economic costs. For the Engineering for Development Research Fellowships, an additional £25k per annum is ring-fenced for the development of international collaborations in order to deliver the research outputs and build pathways to positively impact or contribute to the
sustainable economic or social development of a country or countries on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

Are there limits on the number of proposals?

Yes. Each university is only permitted to submit a maximum of three applications*, with an additional application permitted if the applicant is a member of a group which has been evidenced as persistently underrepresented within engineering (i.e. women and black & minority ethnic groups). Northumbria University is therefore adopting an internal selection process for this call:

  • All potential applicants should submit i) a two-page outline describing the proposed project and ii) up to three-page CV by 13th July 2017 to researchsupport@northumbria.ac.uk (please make sure these are two separate attachments – Word or PDF – and please include applicant surname in the filename for both documents).
  • The two-page outline should include the following information: title, abstract, subject area, objectives, timeliness/novelty, beneficiaries and impact, ambitions & career plans (further information about what to include under each of these headings can be found in the scheme guidance, though note that the word limits don’t apply here as long as you keep the outline under two pages A4).
  • The CV is left to the applicant’s discretion, but should include a list of publications, any grants awarded, and any postdoctoral positions. You may wish to indicate which publications you deem most significant. The CV should be no more than three sides A4.
  • An internal review group consisting of senior academics from relevant disciplines and Faculties will be convened and will make a decision about which applications will be supported by the 21st July giving the selected applicant(s) 6 weeks to work on the full proposal before the deadline.

Please contact your Departmental Research Funding and Policy Manager to discuss any potential application.

* RAEng updated this from two to three on 20th June 2017.


UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

CCTV by Ian Britton CC BY-NC

Are you an early career researcher in science, computing or engineering disciplines? The Royal Academy of Engineering, in conjunction with the Government Office for Science, are offering a number of postdoctoral fellowships in areas of interest to the intelligence, security and defence community. Applications must be submitted by 10th April at 4pm.

The topics available are in the table below with full descriptions available from the RAEng website (PDF):

Topic Title No.
Environmentally stable rechargeable batteries for flexible wearable electronics 1
Calculus of privacy 2
Magnon algorithmics 3
An examination of the role and impacts of automation in security 4
Stored energy detection in complex environments 5
Voice liveness detection 6
Heterogeneous network analysis 7
Ultra-Narrowband Transceiver Design for Long Range Low Power and Low Profile Communication 8
Advanced research into archive, analysis and retrieval of video based data 9
Quantum and Optical Sensors 10
Through the Earth Information 11
Electronic Materials and Components for Low Power Flexible Devices 12
Advancing direct-write printing methods for the fabrication of electronics on complex surfaces 13

Eligibility: Fellowships must be held at a UK Higher Education Institute in a department capable of supporting the research project and researcher. The fellow must have been awarded a PhD no more than five years prior to the submission deadline, and must not currently hold a permanent academic post. Full details on eligibility are available at the RAEng site.

Funding available: Applications are costed on a Full Economic Cost basis for up to two years of full-time postdoctoral fellowship. Costs covered in the grant include the applicant’s salary, travel, consumables, small items of equipment (less than £3k), plus technical staff, estates and indirect costs.

How to apply: Applications are made online at https://grants.raeng.org.uk/. The application includes sections on the profile and track record of the proposed fellow, the research topic, methodology, relation to previous work, potential significance and application of the results, resources requested and host institution support (which is added separately via a letter).

Please get in touch with your Faculty-aligned Research Funding and Policy Manager at an early stage if you would like to apply.


APEX Awards 2017

Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY
Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY
Curve 80 by Andreas Levers CC-BY

The British Academy, Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and Leverhulme Trust have joined forces to offer a new award for established, independent researchers to pursue interdisciplinary, curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society. Known as the ‘APEX’ Awards (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research awards), up to £100,000 will be available for projects of up to 24 months which spans the remit of more than one of the academies involved in the scheme.

The objectives of the APEX scheme are to:

  • support outstanding interdisciplinary research which is unlikely to be supported through conventional funding programmes
  • promote collaboration across disciplines, with a particular emphasis on the boundary between science and engineering and the social sciences and humanities
  • support researchers with an outstanding track record, in developing their research in a new direction through collaboration with partners from other disciplines
  • enable outstanding researchers to focus on advancing their innovative research through seed funding

The costs are primarily to cover teaching replacement to enable the applicant to concentrate on the research, but up to 25% can be used for associated costs related to the research (e.g. consumables, equipment, travel).

Full guidance and an FAQ can be found on the Royal Society website. The deadline for proposals is 13th January 2017 and applications must be submitted via the eGap system. Please contact your Faculty RFPM for a discussion before embarking on an application.



Engineering a better world – 13th & 14th September 2016

Engineering a better world

Royal Academy of Engineering is hosting an event on 13th and 14th of September 2016, Engineering a Better World, which will bring together over 400 engineering leaders, international development practitioners and policy makers, industry stakeholders, government officials and engineers from the developing world to highlight the vital contribution that engineers make to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and to furthering international development.

Engineering a better world

The event will include a combination of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interviews, and will promote mutual understanding, create better links and seed more productive networks between engineers and those working to achieve social and economic development. The day will end with a call to action to build engineering capacity in the developing world by facilitating the growth of robust engineering institutions and academies.

Speakers include Bill Gates (via video-link), Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President of Mauritius), and Amir Dossal (Founder and Chairman of the Global Partnership Forum). You can register for a place here: http://www.raeng.org.uk/events/list-of-events/2016/september/caets-2016



Funding for Industry-Academia Links from Royal Academy of Engineering

Catalysis research at Argonne by Argonne National Laboratory CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Catalysis research at Argonne by Argonne National Laboratory CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Royal Academy of Engineering are offering two funding opportunities to support links between industry and academia.

Visiting Professors

This scheme supports the appointment of senior industrial engineers as Visiting Professors at UK universities. This industry-into-academia initiative aims to utilise the experience of the Visiting Professor to enhance student learning as well as the employability and skills of UK engineering graduates.

Applications are made by the host university in any area of engineering (defined broadly to include computer sciences and materials) and must include a letter of support from the relevant head of department. Visiting Professors must be able to commit a minimum of one day per month over the duration of the three-year award. The deadline for this scheme is 4pm on 23rd May 2016.

Industrial Secondment

The Industrial Secondment Scheme provides an invaluable opportunity for early- to mid-career academics to undertake a collaborative research project in an industrial environment. The scheme aims to strengthen the strategic relationship between the university and the industry host by providing an opportunity to establish or enhance collaborative research between the two parties.

The Academy will contribute up to a maximum of £30k towards salary costs of the applicant paid pro-rata against the amount of time spent at the industrial host institution. Awards can be held up to 6 months full time and 12 months part time. The deadline for this scheme is 4pm on 31st May 2016.

Further details about both of these schemes are available at the links above. Please contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager if you would like to apply.


Royal Academy of Engineering: Research Fellowships

Advanced Optics by Brookhaven National Laboratory CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’re an outstanding early career researcher about to finish or recently finished your PhD in engineering, this scheme from the Royal Academy of Engineering could kickstart your academic career.

The RAEng Research Fellowships (information will be updated on scheme launch) provide five years’ full-time equivalent salary for the applicant, plus travel and subsistence and other research expenses. The proposed project must be in an engineering subject area, defined in the broadest sense (including computing).

Applicants must have been awarded their PhD no more than three years prior to submission, but employment status does not effect eligibility to apply (so those with a permanent academic contract can apply, as can those without a current contract). Previously unsuccessful applicants are able to re-apply.

This year the scheme will be launched on 27th July and the stage 1 application deadline will be 14th September 2015. Stage 2 proposals are due by 23rd November and the sift panel will take place in February 2016. For those who make it through to the final interview round, interviews will take place in the week of 14th March 2016.

There is an application limit for each institution so Northumbria cannot submit more than 2 applications to this call. Therefore it is important that you contact us at an early stage in order to ensure your application has the support of the University.



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.


Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A day at BCIT aerospace technology campus by Mike CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Royal Academy of Engineering is about to launch the latest round of its Research Fellowships scheme for early career researchers in engineering. The deadline for outline applications is 6th October 2014. 

“Applications are welcomed from outstanding engineering researchers who are about to finish their PhD or have up to three years postdoctoral research experience. The scheme provides funding for five years to encourage the best researchers to remain in the academic engineering sector.”

In order to be eligible, applicants must have no more than three years postdoctoral experience from the date of their PhD award. There are no nationality restrictions on applicants, as long as they are hosted at a UK HEI. Employment status is also not an issue: you would be eligible whether or not you currently hold a permanent academic post. Most HEIs (including Northumbria) are allowed to submit up to 2 applications as the scheme is intensely competitive: around 70 applications are anticipated and RAEng expects to fund 7.

At Northumbria there will be an internal selection process to determine which applicants will be put forward. Interested applicants should contact me at the earliest opportunity and by the 8th September at the latest with a short summary of their research proposal (no more than 1 side of A4, including a statement confirming that this is not a resubmission of a previous RAEng proposal) plus a CV (no more than 2 sides A4).

RAEng has included a helpful table in the guidance which shows the typical average, maximum and minimum profiles of past successful applicants against a range of esteem indicators. Potential applicants are encouraged to consider this prior to submitting a proposal, although it is accepted that not all applicants have a profile which addresses all of these measures:

Esteem Indicator Minimum Maximum Typical Average
Number of peer-reviewed papers (not including conference papers), if any 3 24 11.4
Number of citations, if any 13 1171 101.7
Number of papers presented at national and international conferences, if any 2 56 17.1
Number of invited papers and/or presentations, if any 0 27 4.1
Number of patents filed (or pending), if any 0 8 0.4
Number of undergraduate students supervised, if any 0 11 2
Number of MSc students supervised, if any 0 6 2.1
Number of PhD students supervised, if any 0 5 1.8
Number of awards/prizes received, if any 0 19 3.9
Value of any successful grant applications £0 £477,000 £76,000

Note that there are three stages to the application process – an outline stage, a full proposal stage, and finally a 30-minute interview. Previously unsuccessful applicants are permitted to apply, but any straightforward resubmissions will be rejected.

If you are not sure whether your research idea falls within the remit of “engineering” research as defined by RAEng, it is worth spending some time looking at their Current Issues in Engineering Policy and examples of previous awards. This indicates that their definition is fairly wide-ranging, but any doubts should be addressed to the RAEng Research Programmes Team.