NERC and AHRC seek advisory board members

Both NERC and the AHRC have issued calls for members of key advisory boards and groups:

NERC wants science and innovation advisors

NERC has announced it is looking for members of its Science and Innovation Strategy Board, which is the key source of advice to NERC Council on science and innovation matters. As a member of this board, you would help NERC shape its overall science strategy and advise Council on strategic priorities of funding initiatives as well as informing and advising on current and future directions in UK environment science.

You can either nominate yourself or someone else for membership, bearing in mind the profile and attributes which NERC expects of members of SISB. A list of current members is also available. The deadline for nominations is October 9th at 5pm.

AHRC wants members of a new Research Careers and Training advisory group

AHRC has announced it is establishing a new advisory group tasked to focus specifically on research careers and training within the arts and humanities. The terms of reference of the group include providing strategic advice on matters relating to postgraduates and researcher training, and advising on skills development needs and discipline health.

The AHRC are seeking members in the following areas:

  • Two senior academics who have a demonstrable interest in researcher development at PG level and beyond
  • Training lead for postgraduate and researcher development in a University or other research organisation.
  • Representatives of two non-academic organisations (preferably one public and one private sector), which might include independent consultants
  • Two student representatives
  • Two early career researcher (within 8 years of PhD, or 6 years of first academic appointment) representatives

Potential applicants have until the 5th October to nominate themselves using the application form [.doc].


Finding Research Funding: New Training Opportunity!

If you want to find out how to search for and find funding opportunities which match your research interests quickly and efficiently, why not book onto one of our Finding Research Funding training sessions. This will give you a practical guide to setting up funding searches and alerts to make sure you find relevant opportunities as they are released.

The next session takes place on Wednesday 27th June from 1-3pm. To book you need to email There are a maximum of 20 places available per session allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are the full details:

Delivered by: Samantha King, Teresa Kirby, David Young (Research and Business Services)
Who should attend? Academic and Postgraduate research staffResearch administrators
Aims and objectives: This workshop will give researchers and administrators the tools they need to search for and find funding opportunities relevant to their research interests. We will focus particularly on how to use Research Professional, including creating an account, developing targeted and personalised searches, and setting up funding alerts. We will also cover how to use UKRO to stay up to date with EU funding information.
Times and dates: Wednesday, 27 June 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)Tuesday, 18 September 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012 (1.00-3.00pm)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 (1.00-3.00pm)


Research Professional gets a new look

The new version of the Research Professional site went live at the end of May. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I suggest you do so. I think it’s a significant improvement, certainly in terms of speed but also simplicity of layout in comparison to the previous incarnation.

We’ll be running some Finding Research Funding staff development sessions soon to ensure you’re getting the best out of Research Professional and other online funding resources. Watch the blog and the Research Training pages for more on those soon.

In the meantime here’s a quick rundown of what’s new, along with some first impressions on using the site:

  • You can search funding opportunities direct from the homepage, though I still think simple keyword searches are of fairly limited use – either returning too many or too few results. I suggest you use the Advanced Search facility to specify discipline and award type. It takes more practice to learn how it works, but it provides much more tailored search results which should be of more use to you.
  • All pages are visually much less cluttered, making it easier to see what’s important, especially when running funding searches.
  • The site is now split into three main sections: News, Funding, and Our Institution:
    • News provides access to the news archive of Research Fortnight and its sister publications.
    • Funding allows you to search the comprehensive research funding database.
    • Our Institution highlights calls and searches relevant to the whole University and there is space for individual Schools, Departments and even Research Groups to set up their own home pages with saved searches, bookmarks and magazines.
  • There’s a context-sensitive sidebar at the right-hand side of every section. In the Funding section this lists any saved searches and funding opportunities you’ve bookmarked. While I appreciate quick access to my saved stuff, I can’t help thinking this could quickly become cluttered, especially if you’re a research manager/administrator like me who regularly runs lots of searches for different disciplines. The ability to bundle saved searches into folders might be helpful.
  • Research Professional highlights certain funding opportunities which are likely to be of wider interest or are unique or unusual – it’s always done this, but displaying them front-and-centre on the Funding homepage makes it easier to see them.
  • As before you can create a calendar of deadlines from a saved search, and then import that into Outlook. This is a nice, though under-used, feature which I feel could be more prominent on the site. Perhaps RP could auto-generate calendars from your saved searches and add a sub-section called Calendars to the Funding section.

If you’ve never used Research Professional before or if you’re interested in getting more out of it, why not come along to one of our forthcoming sessions on Finding Research Funding? We’ll be advertising them here on the blog soon, and they’ll also be promoted via Northumbria’s HR Staff Development.

In addition, Research Professional themselves have been running a series of online training sessions. There’s one taking place today, 11th June, from 4-5pm and you can click here to register. The next session take place on 26th June 10-11am (register here) and monthly on the fourth Tuesday of every month thereafter.


Developing a successful research grant – Presentation

I’ve uploaded my recent presentation on “Developing a successful research grant” to Slideshare. You can view it below. You’ll need to download the file if you want to view the associated notes (it’s a 5MB file). It’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share-Alike license:

This presentation was delivered as part of a postgraduate certificate in higher education practice aimed at early career researchers at the University of Northumbria. It’s necessarily a fairly generic presentation as there were representatives from a wide range of disciplines, however it should serve as a decent primer for those who are new to academia and want to know the basics of what it takes to secure funding.

There’s also a more practical follow-up session where we’ll look at actual examples of (successful and unsuccessful) research council funding bids. This will also be an opportunity for participants to write and get feedback on their own outline proposals.


Missenden announces latest research bidding sessions

The Missenden Centre has sent round an email reminding us all of the latest round of its popular and highly regarded Research Bidding sessions, taking place on 23rd – 25th May in the lovely surroundings of Missenden Abbey in Buckinghamshire (pictured).

Bidding For Research Funding – Missenden Centre

It’s a two-day session: the first two days are for academic staff and the second two days are for support staff. In the middle day both sets of staff meet to discuss a common set of issues around research bidding. It’s not cheap, at £490 + VAT for a two-day session, but has been highly praised by people who have attended.

Research and Business Services will be running our own research bidding workshops soon, free for Northumbria staff. Keep your eyes on this blog for further announcements about our updated training programme for researchers.


Training Opportunities for Northumbria researchers

The following courses in our Research Training and Development programme are currently taking bookings.  See the bottom of this post for details about how to book.

Let Me Entertain You: Lecturing as Performance (Prof Kenny Coventry) 26 January (12:00-14:00)
Prof Kenny Coventry’s research expertise in the relationship between language and perception, and communication will inform this session on lecturing as performance to explore effective communication and transfer of knowledge in the classroom and other contexts.Open to Staff and PGRs
Project Management of Research Projects (Sandra Hannah) 7 February (09:30-17:00)
What are the principles behind good project management? How do you ensure your project will deliver on time? How do you avoid drift? The aims of this one day workshop are: to ensure participants have the knowledge and understanding of project management; and to be able to utilise tools and techniques effectively in the context of research projects.Staff only
Be a Better Writer (Helen Lawrence) 8 February and 22 February (both 13:30-16:30) Are you aware that your written work is good and could be better? This two-part master-class will give you the opportunity to explore how to write simply and well and to edit your own work more effectively. The course covers the key rules of style and tone, how to polish writing and avoid common errors and how to convey complex information plainly and elegantly.

NB. The course is in two parts and both parts should be attended. There will be a small piece of work to complete in between the two parts. Participants should be fluent in English.

Staff and PGRs

The full programme can be found at Research Training Programme – Northumbria University

To book a place email