Thinking about impact, collaboration and postgraduate researchers

ASHPIT (Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities Policy and Practice Implementation Thinktank) is holding a think tank day on May 28th at University of Oxford. This will bring together research development professionals with academic staff to talk about themes of collaborating in consortia, impact, and preparing postgraduate researchers for careers in academia.

On impact, the focus will be on linking RCUK impacts articulated in the Pathways to Impact parts of grant applications with REF impacts. This discussion will also inform the theme of engaging postgraduate researchers in academic careers, where the questions will be around how to encourage postgraduates to work ‘impactfully’ in collaboration with academic staff.

Here’s more from the ASHPIT blog:

Speakers will include representatives of the Research Councils, as well as academics and researcher developers, and we hope that the event will provide both useful information about and a forum for discussion of some of the most important facets of those topics.

Those interested in attending the next event should send email details of their name, role and institution to by Friday 11th May, indicating whether or not they require support for travel costs.

The full provisional timetable is available here.


ESRC Seminar on Making an Impact – Oxford, 24th May

focusin mind by miuenski CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

Researchers keen to maximise the impact of their research, especially during the last 18 or so months of the REF period, may be interested in the following.

The ESRC-funded methods@manchester seminar series on the  Impact Agenda is holding its sixth seminar, on Making an Impact, on Thursday May 24th at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.

The series adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to examine and clarify the concept of ‘impact’ in the context of academic research in the humanities and social science. The aim is to identify the processes that influence impact and explore mechanisms that maximise it.

Morning: Academics who have made an impact will describe this impact, explain how it came about, and draw out any general lessons about how to create impact.

Speakers include Andrew Dilnot, University of Oxford, Pete Alcock, Professor of Social Policy and Director of the ESRC-OST-Barrow Cadbury Trust Third Sector Research Centre, and Pete Edwards, Technical Director, RCUK dot.rural Digital Economy Hub and Director, PolicyGrid Digital Social Research Node, University of Aberdeen.

Afternoon: Pimp My Research – a workshop for junior researchers/PhD students

Learn how to produce an impact plan and see demonstrations of tools and techniques designed to improve your own personal research impact.

Lead: Peter Halfpenny, Sociology, Manchester and Celia Russell, Mimas, Manchester

Booking Form



Newton International Fellowships: 2012 Round Open

Are you an early-career researcher based outside of the UK? Is your research in the natural, physical, social sciences or humanities? Do you want funding to undertake research at a UK-based institution for two years?

The 2012 round of the Newton International Fellowships opened at the end of January and the deadline for applications is 16th April 2012.

The scheme is a collaboration between the British Academy and Royal Society and has been running since 2008. Fellowships provide a grant of £24,000 per annum for subsistence, plus £8,000/annum for research expenses and a one-off £2,000 relocation allowance. In addition successful fellows may be eligible to receive follow-up funding for up to 10 years after the award to support ongoing networking and collaboration with UK researchers. The awards are not funded on a FEC basis, but they do provide a fixed contribution to overheads for the host institution amounting to 50% of the total value of the award.

The scheme aims to ensure that the very best researchers internationally have an opportunity to carry out a research project hosted by a UK institution. In the longer term, the priority is to facilitate access to international networks of excellence for UK-based researchers in the relevant disciplines.

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available in the guidance notes. Since the last round there have been two changes to the scheme which emphasise the importance of working with researchers outside the UK: all applicants must be working and based outside the UK when applying; and applicants who completed their PhD at a UK university will normally not be eligible to return to that same university.

Northumbria University staff can contact Research & Business Services at an early stage to discuss potential candidates and for advice and support with an application.


Cultural Encounters – HERAnet Releases €18M Call

HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area – a network of European funders of humanities research) has just released a new call for proposals from researchers in the arts and humanities to address “cultural encounters“. This theme is inherently interdisciplinary and touches on research in history, social change, politics, cultural identity, conflict, communication and economic development. More details on the call are available on the HERAnet website:

HERA Joint Research Programme 2012: Cultural Encounters

The call will fund a consortium of researchers from at least three eligible European countries to carry out a research project over a maximum of 3 years, for up to €1M. UK participants will be funded under standard AHRC rules at 80% of Full Economic Cost. This is a two-stage call and the outline proposals are due by 4th May 2012, 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT). To apply you need to fill in the template form [.doc] and submit via the online HERA submission system.

Because the domain covered by “cultural encounters” is potentially so vast, the call for proposals [.pdf] document picks out three key focus areas, listed below. These are intended as a guide. Applicants are free to address topics which cut across one or more of these areas, or to propose an entirely different approach as long as it falls within the scope of the overall programme:

  1. Cultural Encounters over time and space: “The focus here is on the role of cultural encounters from historical and geographic perspectives, where cultural change may have played a complex role as an agent of, and response to, encounters among people with different languages, literatures, religions, institutions and traditions.”
  2. Social and political dimensions of cultural encounters: “This area focuses on how societies and policies have attempted to manage cultural encounters and diversity in different ways. This may include the analysis of concepts and models of the co-existence of cultural differences from historical, philosophical, theoretical and social perspectives, where phenomena such as migration, displacement, and the formation of multicultural communities will be important. It could include analysis of the cultural and political values that shape these concepts and models, and the institutional structures that support or challenge them.”
  3. Practices of translation, interpretation and mediatisation in relation to cultural encounters: “The third area focuses on how cultural expressions in different forms are interpreted, translated, and/or transformed across cultures, languages and sectors. This spans everyday life as well as professional and artistic practices, and includes virtual encounters on the internet as well as in encounters in real life (e.g., media, museums, literature, art, music). It embraces analysis of cultural texts as well as analysis of behaviour and professional practices in different cultural settings.”

Potential applicants should note that European added value is an important part of the assessment criteria. This means that the research carried out should be of higher quality and have more impact than if it had been a unilateral project. It does not mean all proposals need to address EU-specific topics or themes, although these could of course form part of a research project in this theme.

There is a matchmaking event on 21st February in Berlin to find potential partners for the call, but unfortunately the deadline has passed to be included in that. However, the AHRC are running some of their own UK-based information days on the Cultural Encounters call on the 13th March (Edinburgh) and the 15th March (London). More details are available on the AHRC website.

Please get in touch with us at an early stage if you need advice and guidance on developing an application.