Friday, 29 January 2010
Underpining these strategic priorities are three further themes: knowledge exchange, innovation and skills, exploiting new ways of working and partnerships.
More detail on these themes is available via the link above.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
At QUB, proposals for a new appraisal system state that - to quote THE - 'all academic research projects must be aligned with the stated goals of the department or school in which they are undertaken.'
It brought to mind two things. One was a visit from the University of Maastricht that I was involved in last week. At Maastrict they have gone one step further than this. Rather than merely having 'stated goals', the University has been restructured around clearly defined interdisciplinary groupings, and there are clear themes into which you need to fit.
The second thing that the article brought to mind was the increasing move by the Research Councils towards 'managed programmes' in priority areas, such as Living with Environmental Change.
So is this the shape of the brave new world of research? Perhaps it's the first step towards rethinking departmental boundaries, of understanding what a department is. After all, the departmental structure of most universities is now more than a century old, and perhaps it is time to think again about how disciplines are grouped. However, it would be a shame to take this too far and slavishly follow the prevailing political wind, overlooking or dropping unfashionable but important subject areas that 'don't fit.'
Friday, 22 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
He goes on, 'the inclusion of impact in proposal assessments reflects goals set out in the ESRC’s strategic plan of 2009,' but he insists that impact will only affect proposals in cases where a large number of applications of equal academic excellence have been submitted.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
- Standard Grants:
o Review: When you submit, your application will be looked at by an ESRC officer who will decide (using the key words you gave in the application form) who are the most appropriate people from the new ‘Peer Review College’ to review it. The Peer Review College will be made up of 1500-2000 academics and users. Depending on the amount you are asking for, it will be seen by between 3 – 6 reviewers. You will not have a Right to Reply unless your application is for more than £500k.
o Panels: Based on the grades given by the reviewers (1(poor)-6 (excellent), which will be the same grading structure used by all of the Research Councils), subject to meeting a minimum grade applications will then be assessed by members of one of three new 3 grant assessment panels. These panels will be discipline based, though the delineation between them has not yet been decided. The three panels will meet at the same time in the same place, and members of each might be called upon by the other panels if there is an application which falls between the disciplines of the panels. The panels may also take on addition members from an ‘Assessors College’, depending on the subject range of the applications before them. The Assessors College is different from the Peer Review College, and is intended to provide members for the panels, but also to assess Small Grants (see below) and other ESRC fast track schemes.
o Decision: The final decision is made by the Grants Delivery Group (made up of Chairs of the Standing Panels, the vice chair of the Research Committee, and a member of the Training Committee (where appropriate)) supported by ESRC officers, based on the prioritisation list drawn up by the Panel and the available budget.
- Small Grants
o Review: as at present, applications will be reviewed by 2 people from the Panels or the Assessors College but will not be considered by the full Panel.
o Decision: the highest rated applications will be funded within the budget available.
Staff can put themselves forward to stand on any of the bodies mentioned above. Details of how to do so are available here.
Friday, 15 January 2010
- Overall, RCUK state that ‘research has always been an international endeavour and international collaboration is an important aspect of the work of each Research Council. UK researchers already have an excellent record of working across borders. The UK is committed to remaining a leading nation in the fields of research and innovation. The UK produces 9 per cent of the world's research papers, with those papers receiving 12 per cent of global research citations, demonstrating the high relative impact of UK research. Moreover, 13 per cent of the world's most highly cited papers are from the UK. In a world of increasing global competitiveness, this strength in research and innovation is a major part of the foundation on which our future economic prosperity and quality of life rests. Almost half of all PhD students and around 40 per cent of all researchers in the UK are non-UK citizens.’ (taken from this webpage). RCUK’s International Strategy is available here (pdf).
- AHRC: You can’t include the costs of an overseas collaborators time, unless they are listed as a ‘consultant’. You can apply for their travel and subsistence costs that are a necessary part of their collaboration. There is no limit to the percentage of the budget that can go to the overseas collaborator. The AHRC’s International Strategy is available here.
- BBSRC: Do not fund overseas collaborations. However, applicants can ‘subcontract’ part of their research abroad, but overseas subcontractor will not have any IP rights. Their international strategy is here (pdf), and their International Research page is here.
- EPSRC: An office move has meant their phones are down. However, from their website they look like they are along the lines of the AHRC, as follows: ‘ you can include the costs of collaboration, for example, travel and subsistence for research staff to work in a partner's laboratory overseas, as well as the usual UK-based costs like staff, equipment, UK travel and subsistence, and consumables. You can also use funding flexibly, for example, to fill postdoctoral researcher and project student places with candidates from a partner's laboratory.’ As I said below, 13% of their grant funding goes on overseas collaboration.
- ESRC: applications can include international co-investigators, but overseas costs are limited to 30% of overall budget. Internationalisation (and international impact) is now part of their Strategic Plan 2009-14 . They have a dedicated webpage and more info on international links here.
- MRC: You can include the cost of overseas co-investigators – more detail here. No prescribed limit, but PIs need to talk to the Programme Manager before including these costs.
- NERC: Not surprisingly given the nature of their work, NERC seem to take international collaboration very seriously – as their International Plan (pdf) makes clear. However, applicants can only apply for the direct costs of collaborations – along the lines of EPSRC and AHRC.
- STFC: You can include costs of overseas co-investigators, but only if they are at the handful of STFC-approved institutions. These tend to be observatories or CERN.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Not sure if it will win many votes among the wider electortate, but it looks like they're winning over the academic sector with this manifesto pledge. More details on the Times Higher site.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
Today we announced a new programme of events to support all staff applying for research funding. This will be led by a group of senior academics with extensive experience in winning funding, sitting on grant committees and coaching colleagues. The programme includes master classes, practical workshops and mock panel events, as follows:
Master Classes: what the guidance doesn’t tell you
Keynes, LT3 2.00-3.00pm
- Wed 20 Jan: Fit your funder: Prof. Peter Taylor-Gooby
- Wed 3 Feb: Work with the panel system: Prof. Mick Tuite
- Wed 17 Feb: Using the right words: Prof. Paul Allain
- Wed 10 Mar: Cross the review minefield: Prof. Peter Clarkson
- Wed 17 Mar: The common traits of funded applications: Dr Peter Bennett
- Wed 19 May: Work the six page proposal: Prof. Simon Thompson
- Wed 9 June: Make your project matter: Prof. Dominic Abrams
Grants Factory Workshops: the grant-writer’s toolkit
Led by Prof. David Shemmings
- Mon 8 Feb: Grimond Seminar Room 8, 9.30am-12.00
- Tues 9 March: Keynes Seminar Room 5, 1.30-4.00pm
- Wed 26 May: Rutherford Seminar Room 5, 1.30-4.00pm
Peer Review Panels: test drive your project
Each of these lunchtime events takes less than 90 minutes, needs no advance preparation and will be led by senior academics with experience of the relevant funding panel.
- EPSRC: Prof Peter Clarkson and Prof. Simon Thompson
- Wellcome/MRC/NHS (biomedical & experimental psychology): Prof. Mick Tuite
- BBSRC/NERC (biology, ecology & conservation sciences): Prof. Peter Bennett
- ESRC/BA/Nuffield: Prof Dominic Abrams and Prof. Peter Taylor-Gooby
- AHRC: Prof. Paul Allain
Full details will be available later in the week on the Research Services website; in the meantime contact the Research Funding Officer for your Faculty for further information:
Friday, 8 January 2010
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
In addition, whilst Darren was in the process of putting together a course proposal for an MSc course provisionally entitled “Reproductive Medicine: Science and Ethics” he became aware of just how much interest there was in this field within the University (albeit from a range of different disciplines). Thus he would be interesting in hearing from people who might be interested in becoming involved in a research cluster around this area, which would meet 3 or 4 times a year to discuss various issues (perhaps a recent paper or piece of legislation) from a range of different perspectives, or invite an eminent speaker. This might, in turn, lead to new ideas for publications or avenues of funding.
Do let me know if you would like to come along so that I can arrange the catering. It will take place between 12:30 – 2pm on 27 Jan in Keynes Seminar Room 17. Lunch will be provided.
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Thinking about non-academic impact may seem a little daunting if you’ve not done it before, so Research Services, Kent Innovation and Enterprise (KIE) and the Media Office are getting together to help. We will be meeting regularly (fortnightly), and will pool our knowledge and experience to help identify areas that you can highlight as having a potential impact outside of academia.
If you would like us to help with your impact, drop me a line outlining your research and (if relevant) the particular project you are seeking funding for, and we’ll come up with some ideas for potential beneficiaries, audiences, markets or applications. Our first meeting will be on 14 January.