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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Department for Education: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative

Monday, January 30th, 2017

“The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a call for proposals to produce insights into policy areas of interest to the Department and to promote the use of the relevant datasets.”

“The UK has world-leading data resources for social and economic research, which provide a huge opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society. This call is for proposals based on the following key areas:

  • teacher quality/subject specialism and the link to social mobility; what works in the recruitment and retention of teachers and leaders
  • social mobility: regional differences in early years, school choice and Higher Education attainment
  • the gender pay gap (GPG): using household level data to understand within the household GPG; how does the time from birth to return to work vary across the income distribution? Within households that have a child and a parent returns to work, is gender or pay level the biggest determinant of which parent returns?
  • further education: choice, quality, what works?”

“Proposals have an overall limit of up to £200,000 for projects of up to 18 months in duration. Up to two projects will be funded. This call for proposals is part of the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative and the proposed projects should use secondary data resources. Due to the call call requiring work on specific thematic areas related to education, as well as DfE’s aim to promote their own data resources, there is no requirement to use ESRC-funded data resources of infrastructure.”

The deadline for applications is 10 March 2017.

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

NERC partners with ESRC and AHRC to fund projects that will help developing countries cope with environmental hazards

Monday, November 28th, 2016

“Three of the UK’s research councils have funded 22 projects that will help communities in some of the poorest regions of the world understand, prepare for and manage a range of natural and man-made environmental hazards.”

“The Building Resilience research programme will take an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding what causes environmental dangers like droughts, land degradation, volcanoes, earthquakes and flooding, and build in preparedness to help countries cope.”

“The projects, worth just over £3·5m, and funded by NERC, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), are funded under the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), a £1·5bn fund announced by the UK government in 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.”

[Source NERC website: ]

Changes to MRC Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship awards

Monday, November 28th, 2016

“MRC [Medical Research Council] Senior Non-Clinical Fellowships (SNCFs) are prestigious awards which help independent early-career researchers to develop their long-term research vision and enable their transition to become internationally recognised leaders in their fields. The MRC is committed to supporting this important career stage, recognising that a Senior Fellowship has been a significant stepping stone in the development of many international leaders.”

“The MRC’s Training and Careers Group recently reviewed our support mechanisms for transitions to leadership. The Group concluded that reverting the tenure of future SNCF awards from 7 to 5 years offers greater flexibility to fund a wider range of researchers, while still offering a generous package to support an ambitious, career-changing programme.”

“As part of the MRC’s fellowships for critical career stages, we have developed a range of tools and guidance for applicants and clarified:

  • the type of skills and experience applicants should be able to demonstrate in order to be competitive when applying for an MRC Senior Fellowship
  • when a fellowship will provide appropriate support for an individual’s long term career goals and chosen career route.”

“The tools and guidance are now available on our webpage. The 5-year tenure will apply from the next deadline for SNCF applications, which is on 25 April 2017.”

[Source MRC news: ]

Evidence Centre for Housing

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“The AHRC [Arts and Humanities Research Council] is collaborating with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) to commission an independent, multidisciplinary evidence centre for UK housing.”

“The AHRC is looking to encourage Art and Humanities researchers to consider involvement in bids for the call for collaborative applications and where interested to sign up for the associated Consortium Building Event on 2 June 2016.”

“The funders are looking for the Centre to focus on connectivity, accessibility and integration of evidence, and joining up different stakeholders and sectors to provide recommendations for housing policy and practice. It will be tasked with synthesising existing research, bringing together survey data, and developing a pipeline of evidence on housing, conducting and facilitating new research in areas where knowledge gaps are identified. Further details of the call are available on the ESRC Website:

[Source AHRC website: ]

Crowdfunding Good Causes

Monday, May 16th, 2016

“Join us for the launch of our new report exploring how charities, social enterprises and community groups can make the most of crowdfunding.”

“This event will bring together charities, social enterprises, community groups, crowdfunding platforms, funders and policy makers to debate the most important insights from this new study and share their own experiences.”

“Over recent years there has been a rapid growth in crowdfunding. In 2015 alone, more than 1 million people took part in crowdfunding £3.2 billion worth of loans, investments and donations in the UK. Previous studies have shown how crowdfunding could help charities, social enterprises and community groups boost volunteering, increase giving and improve their marketing and awareness raising. Yet many of these organisations are still not using crowdfunding, with crowdfunding for good causes making up less than 1% of all giving in the UK.”

Event venue: Nesta 1 Plough Place London EC4A 1DE

Event date: 6 June 2016 – 9:00am — 1:00pm

For more details about the event go to:

[Source Nesta website]

Being Human festival call for participation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Being Human, the UK’s national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, is inviting applications for public event funding.”

“Now in its third year, the festival will bring together leading academics, artists, writers, filmmakers and others for eleven days of events in November to celebrate the richness and diversity of the humanities and their place in the national culture of the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Hope & Fear’.”

“Funding is available to support activities during the Festival. Although it is anticipated that the majority of awards available will be for under £2,000, applications for funding of up to £5,000 may also be considered if of exceptional quality or if institutions are willing to coordinate between 5-10 events as Being Human ‘Festival Hubs’.”

Being Human will run between 17-25 November. Further information is available on the Being Human website:

[Source British Academy news: ]

Supporting new researchers towards independence

Monday, February 29th, 2016

“To support early career researchers with what can be a challenging step to independence, the Medical Research Council [MRC] has increased the flexibility of its funding schemes available to post-doc researchers and provided clearer guidance.”

“Recognising that speed of progression can be affected by factors unrelated to an individual’s scientific potential we have removed time bound eligibility criteria from MRC New Investigator Research Grants.”

“New, simplified guidance is now available for MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowships, Career Development Awards and New Investigator Research Grants, explaining the difference between the funding schemes. We have clarified which form of support may be most appropriate in terms of an individual’s long term career goals and chosen career route.”

“The guidance also makes clear the type of skills and experience applicants should be able to demonstrate in order to be competitive when applying for an MRC fellowship or research grant.”

“We have made these changes in response to a review we conducted in 2014 which followed up people in the first ten to twenty years after their MRC award. The most frequently cited transition points at which respondents felt they could have benefitted from further advice included that from PhD to post-doc, and from post-doc to research independence or Principal Investigator.”

[Source MRC news: ]

Call for grants for young researchers involved in graphene-related research activities to attend ESOF2016 now open

Monday, February 29th, 2016

[The] “European Science Foundation (ESF) and Graphene Flagship in collaboration with EuroScience have opened a call for young researchers who are involved in graphene and related materials research activities to help cover the costs of registration, travel and accommodation to attend ESOF2016.”

“The ESOF2016 event to be held in Manchester, 23-27 July 2016 will bring 4,500 leading thinkers, innovators, policy makers, journalists and educators from more than 90 countries, to discuss current and future breakthroughs in contemporary science. ESOF is one of the best opportunities for everyone from leading scientists, early careers researchers, business people, policy makers, science and technology communicators to the general public to come together to find out more about how science is helping us advance today.”

The deadline for applications is March 31st 2016, 12:00 pm CET.

The full call information and online submission platform is available here:

[Source ESF news: ]

First STARS awards target vulnerable skills in the life sciences

Monday, February 1st, 2016

“BBSRC [Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council] has funded five universities across the UK to provide training programmes in strategically important and vulnerable skills for bioscientists in the first round of its Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills (STARS) scheme.”

“In total BBSRC will fund around £150,000 over three years to provide the postgraduate-level training, in areas of significant need for clearly defined academic and industrial sectors.”

“These will include bioinformatics and computational biology skills, entomology and plant pathology training and mathematical biology training for around 400 scientists.”

“These are the first set of awards made by the programme, which was set up following a BBSRC community consultation on vulnerable skills and capabilities in the biosciences.”

The next funding call for STARS closes on 3 February 2016. For more information, visit:

The successfully funded institutions are the universities of Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Warwick.

[Source BBSRC news: ]

Visiting Research Fellowships – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

“The Henry Moore Institute is a world-recognised centre for the study of sculpture. We host a year-round programme of exhibitions, conferences and lectures, as well as developing research and publications, to expand the understanding and scholarship of historical and contemporary sculpture. Each year, we offer a number of Fellowships to enable researchers of different backgrounds and disciplines to develop their work. Research Fellowships are intended for artists, scholars and curators working on historic and contemporary sculpture who can make particular use of the Institute’s resources: our Research Library, Archive of sculptors’ papers, and the Leeds sculpture collections.”

“Up to four Research Fellows will be given the opportunity to spend a month in Leeds. In addition we will support up to two six-week Senior Fellowships, which are intended to give established scholars time and space to develop a research project free from usual work commitments.”

For more information and how to apply (by Tuesday, March 1, 2016), go to:

[Source Heritage Portal news: ]