Tuesday, 31 January 2012
- outputs pre-published in 2007 may be submitted as long as they were not submitted to RAE2008
- the number of outputs required of ECRs remains as in the draft criteria
- a new tariff has been introduced for the number of outputs required of staff who work part-time, go on secondment or have career breaks
- working methods are now common across the whole exercise; not distinguished by panel
- a reduction of one output per period of statutory maternity or adoption leave is allowed, with no minimum qualifying period
- a reduction of one output per period of ‘additional paternity or adoption leave’ lasting 4 months or more.
Thanks to all those who were able to make it to the UKRO European Funding event on 20 January. The slides and the handout from the talk on Horizon 2020, together with the slides from the ERC workshop, are now available on the Research Services website, here (Kent login needed). If you have any questions about them, don’t hesitate to ask.
We are starting to take bookings for the next European funding event, due to take place on 9 May. This will focus on the pros and cons of European funding, led by two academics (Prof Simon Thompson (Computing) and Jenny Billings (CHSS)) who have considerable experience of both the highs and lows of engaging with the EC. Notes from last year’s event are available on the blog, here; if you’d like to take part in May do drop me a line.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Whilst NERC already has in place some measures to 'manage demand' - eg limiting the number of applications an investigator can submit per call and restricting resubmissions - this hasn't stopped the success rates from sliding in recent years. They're hoping to reverse this by encouraging institutions to strip out applications which NERC would define as 'uncompetitive' (defined by them as scoring 6/10 or below at panel).
- firstly, ask institutions to nominate a point of contact for demand management;
- secondly, in the summer, provide data on past performance to them. This will be repeated annually from autumn 2013. The data will apply to Urgency, Large and Standard Grants, but not Fellowships or outlines. It will include: success rates for all schemes; distribution of grades for funded and unfunded proposals by scheme; final moderated grades for all proposals from institution/department; relative performance of institution/department.
- thirdly, from autumn 2012 NERC will (ahem) 'engage in a strategic dialogue' with institutions to provide information and advice in support of demand management, including setting targets for changes in submission behaviours. They can't meet with everyone in the first year, so those with the most applications, or with black marks in the NERC copy book, will be the first to get a visit from 'the management.'
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Talk to funder/Programme Manager
Preparing the bid
- With lots of collaborators, there's a danger that different drafts of the application get confused. Use software - such as Sharepoint or Dropbox - to help wiht version control.
- Face to face meetings are crucial for thrashing out the fundamentals.
- Give yourself time. I've already talked about this in relation to European Funding applications, but it's true of all big bids. You need much, much more time than you think you might: time to make connections, to get the intelligence, to draft and redraft, to get feedback, to get accurate costings, and to get it signed off.
- Make sure you've got the right partners. Sure, profile and research quality are important, but they have to be able to deliver the practicals. They must be trustworthy and dependable. They shouldn't be there as passengers. Your collaboration is only as strong as the weakest link. Once you've got the right people in place, make sure the management structures are appropriate and strong: it takes a lot of coordination.
- Finally, make sure you have the contact details of your partners' research offices, and pass them on to us to liaise with them.
- Coordination: make sure you include the cost of an administrator/coordinator. This is crucial: it always takes much more effort, time and energy than you think;
- Timesheets: a killer for European grants. Make sure you keep track of the amount of time you spend on the grant, and don't leave completing these until the last minute.
- Equipment: some funders are unhappy if you don't purchase this as soon as the project starts.
Bookings are now open for two spring term Grants Factory workshops.
Weds 15 February: 12.15-1.45pm
This lunchtime workshop is led by two successful Kent researchers with extensive experience of both winning and awarding research grants. It looks at winning research grants as a ‘game’ that applicants will play better if they understand the rules, the skills and the tactics needed for success. Prof Sarah Spurgeon (EDA) is an elected member of the EPSRC Engineering College and has received grants worth over £4 million from EPSRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the European Commission and both government and industry sources. Dr Jenny Billings (CHSS) is particularly experienced in large collaborative projects and has acted as an evaluator for the European Commission as well as wining and coordinating funded research projects from sources as diverse as the European Commission, the Big Lottery, health charities, primary care trusts and government sources. The event is largely discussion-based and Sarah and Jenny are pleased to welcome Dr Heather Ferguson (Psychology)and Dr Nicola Shaughnessy (Arts) who will join them to help lead the workshop. No advance preparation is required and sandwiches will be provided.
Writing Better Bids: Prof David Shemmings
Thurs 1 March: 10am- 12pm
Prof. David Shemmings has been running popular grant-writing workshops at the University of Kent and at a range of other institutions (including an ESRC-funded researcher development programme) since 2009. This informal talk (with plenty of opportunity for discussion and questions) provides a set of techniques that you can use to structure and write grant applications that appeal to busy, non-specialist decision makers and are more likely to succeed in research funding competitions. It explains: the decision-making process; the way that grant applications are used by referees and grants’ committees, and how to make your application stand out against the competition. No advance preparation is required and refreshments will be provided.
Both events are suitable for academic staff at any career stage and from any discipline. Places are limited and we have already received some advance bookings for both, so please let my colleague Jacqueline Aldridge know asap if you would like to attend (if you haven’t done so already) or want further information.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Monday, 9 January 2012
• Sociology, particularly sociology of health
• Socio-legal studies
• Science and technology studies
• Management and business studies, including accounting and finance
• Economics, particularly micro-economics
I would strongly encourage you to consider putting yourself forward, or suggest this to members of your School. The insights you will get as to the decision making process, as well as finding out about work going on at other universities, is invaluable. Deadline is 1 February 2012. More information is available here.
Friday, 6 January 2012
‘Looking to the Horizon: the end of FP7 and the future of European funding’
Jo Frost, European Advisor, UKRO
12:30-14:00, 20 January 2012
Jo Frost is the University’s representative at UKRO. Based in Brussels, she is tapped into official and unofficial sources of information at the Commission, and has a comprehensive understanding of how EC funding works. She will be looking, in this talk, at the final two years of FP7, and what the EC is planning for the new framework programme, ‘Horizon 2020’. The EC published its proposals for this before Christmas, and this will be an opportunity to get an idea of what is planned. In addition, with Research Council funding becoming more and more difficult to access, and European funding increasing (and ringfenced) until the end of 2014, there are still plenty of opportunities to consider applying to FP7. Jo will talk a little about recent changes to the programme that you might not have seen.
The talk is open to all. Tea and coffee will be available. If you would like to come along, contact me.
Jo will also be taking part in a workshop for those currently working on ERC proposals. If you would like to take part in this, and I haven’t contacted you already, do let me know.
Finally, Jo will return in May to take part in a Grants Factory session with Simon Thompson and Jenny Billings on the pros and cons of European funding (see the notes from last year’s session, here). This will be aimed at those who are new to European funding. I’ll send out more detail of this in due course.