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Updated daily at www.ResearchProfessional.

Founded by William Cullerne Bown
9 March 2016

Shadow business secretary
Angela Eagle talks policy – p6
Budget allocations Global challenges
fund could be bad news for ESRC – p4

Stern action Reimagining the REF – p20-21

Birmingham cuts jobs
ahead of REF 2021
Union branch prepares for rolling strikes

The University of Birmingham is looking to make compulsory redundancies in a number of departments,
partly in response to the results of the 2014 Research
Excellence Framework.
Since the REF 2014 results, announced in December
2014, Birmingham has sought redundancies in its school
of engineering and the departments of modern languages, neuroscience, pharmacology and hydrogeology.
The university is understood to be considering making
24 compulsory redundancies among 87 members of staff.
Staff in the modern languages department are the
latest to go through the redundancy process. At the
beginning of February, Birmingham announced that up
to 12 members of staff with teaching-focused contracts
could be made redundant, and that the department
would then create 10 research-active posts. Staff have
been told that this change, which will be implemented
by autumn 2017, is to strengthen the department following the results of REF 2014. In the exercise, 21.7 per
cent of the department’s outputs were rated 4* and
50.4 per cent were rated 3*, placing it in the bottom
third of the modern-languages unit of assessment.
The university said in a statement that the REF was
one of a range of factors for its decision.
Research Fortnight understands that some staff
whose jobs are at risk were moved from research to
teaching contracts ahead of the submission deadline for the first REF. However, staff have been told
that the strategy, which aimed to give the remaining
research-active staff more time to carry out high-quality research, has not been effective. The university has
also told staff that National Student Survey results
and the department’s performance in national league
tables, justified the proposed changes.
A consultation document seen by Research Fortnight
suggests that the university had considered closing its
hydrogeology department. In the document, the university said that the decision was prompted in part by
by an assessment of submissions made to REF’s main
panel B, which was published in January 2015 by the
Higher Education Funding Council for England. This
said, “Hydrogeology appears to be in decline and there

by James Field

is concern at the apparent loss of national expertise.”
Although the assessment did not refer to a specific
university or department, just a few universities have
expertise in this area.
Following the consultation, the university has rowed
back on these plans and will now continue to provide a
hydrogeology masters, but with just two teaching-only
posts. The university confirmed that it was now only
seeking one compulsory redundancy in hydrogeology.
In late 2015, the University and College Union called
for Birmingham to delay the redundancies. In response,
the university said that any delay could “adversely affect
our submission to the next REF, which will prove damaging to the long-term success of the university and the
level of research-grant income awards it wins”.
In a statement sent to Research Fortnight on
7 March, the Birmingham branch of the UCU said that
it “opposes any use of ambiguous REF results to justify disinvestment in research and people”. Last week,
the branch voted to take a formal ballot on industrial
action against the proposed compulsory redundancies.
If members are in favour, two week-long strikes will
take place in April and June, followed by an ongoing
one-day-a-week strike starting in the autumn term.
The university said in a statement that it took
redundancies seriously and that it anticipated the
“overwhelming majority” of posts would be lost
through voluntary measures. “We continue to work
with those who are potentially affected to try and find
suitable alternative arrangements,” the university said.
“The University of Birmingham is a large organisation, with 7,000 employees, and in
common with other leading research
Every new opportunity
universities, we are focused on
for research funding
developing and innovating our
from every sponsor in
research in areas [in which] we can
the UK, EU, US & beyond
excel and ensuring that our students receive the highest standard
of teaching, informed by outstanding research,” the statement said.

Every discipline
Every fortnight
Issue No. 474

2  editorial

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
Edited by Ehsan Masood
Tel: 020 7216 6500
Fax: 020 7216 6501
Unit 111, 134-146 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AR

Interdisciplinary void
Lack of government commitment is disappointing
Almost since their inception, the UK’s research councils have been urged
to work better together. With grand challenges increasingly dominating
funding priorities, they face additional pressure to stop working in silos.
The 2014 triennial review of the councils highlighted widespread concern about interdisciplinary funding. When former Royal Society president
Paul Nurse completed his own review in 2015, he stressed that the councils
needed help to fund this work. He recommended a joint interdisciplinary
fund, taking a top slice from each of their budgets. Nurse was reluctant to
be specific but said that the sum “shouldn’t be so small as to be ridiculous”.
Imagine, then, our surprise when, on reading the Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills’ budget allocations published last week
(see News, page 4), there was little provision for interdisciplinary work.
The widely trailed Global Challenges Research Fund was expected to
fulfil at least some of this role. And yet, the government has seen fit to
grant less than half of the fund’s £1.5-billion five-year budget (and just
3 per cent of the total £26.3bn science budget) to interdisciplinary work.
Management of the rest of the fund is divvied up between the councils
and national academies. If the recent Zika funding call from the Medical
Research Council is anything to go by, such calls will “welcome” interdisciplinary research, but will not require it. This is hardly the push needed
to get some academics thinking outside their labs or libraries.
The separate grand challenges programme—which seemed to be the other
option for a top-sliced, centrally managed interdisciplinary fund—appears to
have been converted into a brand for subject-specific projects such as the Sir
Henry Royce Institute, aka the Crick of the North. Even the annex to the BIS
document separates these projects into the councils they belong to.
And so, despite the rhetoric, we appear to have arrived where we started.
As before, the research councils will have to come together on an ad hoc
basis for cross-council programmes—an approach we know is riddled with
problems, from the selection of reviewers to councils’ competing interests.
If BIS is to continue pushing the councils to work better together, it
must give them the room to do so. As several of its top advisers have said,
BIS must also provide adequate funding to carry out such work.
But let’s not pretend that the councils are the innocent parties in this.
The division of the global challenges fund also demonstrates the lobbying
power of research council leaders. Arguing that “their” researchers could
lose out, chief executives rail against giving a slice of their budgets to a
fund over which they don’t have full control.
But the councils must know that they are living on borrowed time as
the shadow of the proposed umbrella body Research UK, and its all-powerful chief executive, looms large. The responsibility of making the seven
councils, with their seven separate budgets and seven separate leaders,
work together will fall squarely on his or her desk.
Heated discussions about Nurse’s recommendation that this person be
a scientist are inconsequential. More important is the need for a talented
negotiator dedicated to interdisciplinary work. Without such skills, any
movement towards more collaboration will fail.

“Minor Botox has not fixed this bill.
Government must return to the drawing
board and give this vital, complex task
appropriate time.”
The updated version of the government’s
investigatory powers bill, published on
1 March, has barely addressed the concerns raised over earlier drafts, says Shami
Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty. The Guardian, 1/3/16.
“The most expensive power station in
The projected cost of building the nuclear
power plant at Hinkley Point is comparable
to that of the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam
in China, which generates about seven times
as much as Hinkley will, says Simon Taylor,
author of the book The Rise and Fall of Nuclear
Power in Britain. The Economist, 27/2/16.
“We’re too small to be effective. We are an
island; and we can’t afford to be an island
in science.”
The UK needs to remain a member of the
European Union if it wants its scientific
research to make a real difference, says Paul
Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute.
BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 27/1/16.
“Ebola is the gorilla in the room. It’s
driving everything.”
Lawrence Gostin, a health-law and policy
specialist at Georgetown University in
Washington, DC, says that the response to
Zika is being heavily influenced by mistakes
from the recent past. Nature, 2/3/16.
“So while we rejoice at the fact that we
will not face an even more restrictive FOI
regime in the near future, let’s not forget
that the system we currently have remains
A review of the Freedom of Information Act
has recommended surprisingly few changes,
but Christopher Murphy, lecturer in intelligence studies at the University of Salford,
says the system’s flaws must not be forgotten. The Conversation, 2/3/16.

“Where these plans are felt
to be inadequate, funding
may be delayed until
acceptable plans have been
The impact agenda makes its first appearance in the Particle Physics and Astronomy
Research Council’s funding rules, which
say proposals must include plans for
knowledge transfer and outreach.
Research Fortnight, 8 March 2006

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

what’s going on  3

what’s going on
Firms say government has one-track-mind on innovation
The business lobby group the CBI has said that the “excessive fixation” on commercialisation of
research is obscuring a variety of routes to innovation. In response to a government consultation,
the CBI said that the plan to bring Innovate UK under the proposed umbrella body Research UK
would diminish the agency’s impact and undo progress made in supporting business innovation.
Statistics authority calls for quicker access to public data
The UK Statistics Authority has said that it wants easier access to government data to improve
its publications. In response to a consultation on how the government should improve its use
of data, the authority said that “piecemeal” legislation in the area had hampered government
efforts to improve efficiency. The authority said that it wanted sources of government data to be
better linked, to avoid making separate requests for individual datasets from different bodies.
Amazon cloud computing offers researcher discount
Amazon Web Services, a cloud-computing provider, has said that it will waive its charges for
data transfer by researchers. Egress charges, which cover data transfer from Amazon Web
Services to the internet, typically account for around 3 per cent of a researcher’s total bill. The
maximum discount will amount to 15 per cent of a researcher’s total monthly spend. There is no
charge to upload data or to move data across related products.
MPs reject vice-chancellors’ plea for FOI exemption
An independent group of MPs asked to assess the Freedom of Information Act has recommended
that obligations on the respondent be stricter than at present. The Independent Commission on
Freedom of Information said in a report that it was not convinced by arguments put forward by
vice-chancellors that universities should be exempt from the FOI Act because it put them at a
competitive disadvantage compared with their private counterparts.
Charity chairman to take over as dementia envoy
David Mayhew, chairman of Alzheimer’s Research UK, is to become the government’s next
champion for research on dementia. The envoy’s job, which has been held by Dennis Gillings
since February 2014, is to promote the UK’s interests in dementia research to companies and
politicians in the UK and around the world.
UK scientists ‘don’t need the EU’ for collaboration
Angus Dalgleish of the pro-Brexit group Scientists for Britain, has said that UK scientists do not
need a supranational entity in order to form collaborations with researchers overseas. Giving
evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on 1 March, Dalgleish, an
oncologist at St George’s, University of London, said that universities would still see an influx of
European researchers and students in the event of a Brexit.
Working internationally muddles national research assessment, report finds
More than half of the research outputs used to assess the UK research base are created in
collaboration with countries competing with the UK in international rankings, a report from
Universities UK and consultancy Digital Science has said. The report found that quantitative
analysis of research in different countries was not effective because so much frequently cited
research came from “a shared output of networked projects”.

4  news

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016


Global challenges fund weighs
heavily on smaller councils
The funding settlement for the Global Challenges
Research Fund could have an adverse effect on some of
the research councils’ other work, experts have said.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
published budget allocations for the research councils,
the Higher Education Funding Council for England and
the national academies for this parliament on 4 March.
As well as outlining the individual councils’ budgets,
it detailed their contributions to the global challenges
fund for research that will help the developing world.
The fund will distribute £1.5 billion up to 2020-21 and
is worth £1bn over the spending review period, which
runs from 2016-17 to 2019-20. The four national academies combined will pay in and manage £45 million until
2019‑20; the research councils will contribute £346m.
During this period, the Arts and Humanities Research
Council and the Economic and Social Research Council
will contribute £25m and £35m, respectively, equating
to about 6 per cent of their resource budgets. In contrast,
the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
will contribute £55m or 1.73 per cent of its budget.
Kieron Flanagan, senior lecturer in science and technology policy at the University of Manchester, said that
the settlement might pose a particular problem for the

by Cristina Gallardo

ESRC, which already spends a larger slice of its budget
on programmatic research, as opposed to responsivemode funding, than other councils. “It’s a very difficult
trade-off for the ESRC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Nightingale, professor of strategy
and deputy director of the Science Policy Research Unit
at the University of Sussex, said that it was not clear why
the councils with the smallest budgets were contributing proportionally the most.
In addition to the councils’ contributions, there will
be an “unallocated” stream for interdisciplinary research,
amounting to £377m up to 2019-20. However, Nightingale
said that, due to a consistent lack of incentives for people
to build interdisciplinary careers, some researchers had
moved to industry or restricted their focus to one discipline. “The fund is assuming there is a healthy ecosystem
for interdisciplinary research in the UK and there isn’t.”
In a statement issued on the same day as the allocations, Research Councils UK acknowledged that
councils’ resource budgets and the creation of the Global
Challenges Research Fund would “create pressures” on
the councils and “may necessitate difficult decisions”.

NHS to scrap a third of national clinical directors
NHS England is getting ready to overhaul its network of
national clinical directors, including cutting eight posts.
Most of the present cohort of 24 clinical directors—who
provide expert advice and research on conditions and
services ranging from obesity and diabetes to emergency
preparedness and critical care—are coming to the end of
three-year terms. Their number is expected to be cut as
part of an ongoing review of NHS England’s clinical advisory mechanisms led by Bruce Keogh, the organisation’s
national medical director.
A spokesman for NHS England told Research Fortnight
that the organisation saw an opportunity to “streamline
and strengthen” its network—even though the review has
not yet been finalised—because the secondment agreements with external research institutions for most clinical
director positions end on 31 March.
From April, the directors will fit into an updated
structure that reflects NHS England’s “improvement priorities”, the spokesman said. The roles will fall into three
categories: major programmes, including cancer, mental
health and maternity; service improvement, including
dementia and emergency preparedness; and population

by Anna McKie

groups, such as children and older people.
Geraldine Strathdee, national clinical director for mental health, said the directors were a crucial link between
health care providers and government. “It is a false premise
that if you get the structures and policy documents right, it
will all just happen. It’s about using the leaders at the front
line who can make the change to good clinical practice.”
However, the changes mean that there will no longer be clinical directors for certain conditions or fields,
including neurology, pathology and renal disease.
Alex Massey, senior policy and campaigns adviser at the
charity the Neurological Alliance, said that the decision
to drop the role of national clinical director for neurology
was a real step back.
“When [the appointment was made] in 2013 it was
seen as strengthening the quality of clinical leadership
for neurology and giving the service a dedicated voice
at senior level,” Massey said. “It is a key role for making sure that neurology has parity of representation and
focus compared with other conditions.”

news  5

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

Jisc bolsters cybersecurity in wake of
attack on high-speed network
The UK’s higher education ICT agency Jisc is planning an
upgrade to its Janet network in response to a denial-ofservice attack in December.
Jisc’s chief executive Paul Feldman told Research
Fortnight that the agency was working hard to improve
Janet, its high-speed network for UK research and education institutions. This includes increasing its technical
capacity with a mid-term upgrade and investing more in
the team that manages the network’s security systems.
The sustained denial-of-service attack in December
resulted in disruption and limited connectivity for
users across the UK, and forced Jisc to close its website
“It was a malicious attack,” Feldman said. “It was initially aimed at a particular institution in the north-west
of England, but then it became an attack on the wider
Jisc infrastructure.”
He added that Jisc’s dedicated Computer Security
and Incident Response team is usually able to fend off
attacks, but that this one was particularly well-funded.
The attacker, whose motive and identity are still not
known, also kept changing tactics, making it harder
to respond. “The attacker did some things we’d never
seen before, so it took us a bit of time to find the right
defence,” Feldman said. “That’s why this attack had a
particularly widespread impact.”

by Lindsay McKenzie

As a result, Jisc is now building and investing in protection from denial-of-service attacks. “The key message
is, rest assured that we’ve learnt lessons and we’re making additional investment in the network to make it even
more resilient to attacks,” Feldman said.
Jisc is also facing pressure to remain competitive
to retain universities’ subscriptions. At the moment,
the agency receives more than 80 per cent of its funding from government and 10 per cent from compulsory
university subscriptions. However, from the start of the
2017-18 academic year, universities will be able to
choose whether to subscribe to Jisc’s services.
Jeremy Sharp, director of strategic technologies at
Jisc, said that the agency was “confident, but not complacent” that universities would stick with it. Traffic to
the network is doubling every two-and-a-half years, he
said. The aim is for it to support speeds of up to 600 gigabits a second in the next two to three years.
Another option would be for universities to pick and
choose the services they want from Jisc, but Feldman
said that the agency would prefer to continue with the
“all you can eat” bundle subscription. “We think most
universities will want access to everything we do, but
we’re willing to have that conversation.”

Defra plans to cut back on official statistics
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
has proposed to stop publishing or narrow the scope of 39
of its statistical reports, as budget cuts begin to take effect.
In a consultation document published on 25 February,
Defra said that the proposed changes would affect publications on agriculture, environment, rural, forestry,
fishing and animal and plant health. The department,
which will cut its costs by 15 per cent during this parliament, said that it was looking to scale back to essential
data gathering. The changes would increase efficiency
and reduce the burden on survey respondents, it said.
Defra publishes about 140 official statistical reports
a year and is proposing changes to 39 of these, including plans to stop seven of them. The publications to
be discontinued include an annual survey of industry
investment in environmental protection and Air Quality
Statistics in the UK, a report on levels of certain pollutants across the UK, also published yearly.
Defra said the information contained in the latter
was available elsewhere, but James Longhurst, assistant vice-chancellor for environment and sustainability
at the University of the West of England, told Research

by James Field

Fortnight that the loss of a collated dataset could be a
problem. “It will be more difficult for researchers and the
public to access the data in the future,” he said.
Martin Williams, former head of the air-quality programme at Defra, said that the department should stop
printing hard copies of the statistics to save costs, and
that “interesting but not essential” analysis could also go.
But the spreadsheet of the basic statistics, which usually
makes up the bulk of a report, should not be cut, he said.
The department also wants to stop collecting data on
numbers of poultry in the UK, to reduce the detail and
frequency of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural
Environment survey—which looks at the public use of
green spaces—and to carry out the Farm Practices Survey
once every four years instead of twice a year.
A spokesman for Defra said that the department was
“highly responsive, open and data-driven” and that the
proposed changes were to make sure that it “continues
to meet departmental and user needs while offering the
best possible value for taxpayers and businesses”.

6  news

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

i n t e r v i e w    a n g e l a e a g l e

Sounding board

As Labour remains in listening mode, Rebecca Hill talked to shadow business secretary and ministerial veteran Angela Eagle, seeking hints on future policy directions.

“Angela is running late,” the shadow business secretary’s
adviser tells me over the incessant ringing of the division
bell calling MPs to vote, as I follow him through the greencarpeted warren of corridors towards Angela Eagle’s office.
The office is in a prime location, in the corner of the
Palace of Westminster with spectacular views of the
Thames. On her notice boards, an array of campaign posters
speak to her parliamentary experience. She was first elected Labour MP for Wallasey in 1992 and has held ministerial
or shadow ministerial positions under four Labour leaders.
How have the first six months in Jeremy Corbyn’s
shadow cabinet been, I ask once she’s arrived. “Well, it’s
hectic,” she says. “The brief is really huge and it’s very
spread about. It ranges from consumer protection to science—which is a big area in itself—to business and trade.”
Nonetheless, Eagle seems to be enjoying the challenge, especially the economic side of her brief. (Eagle
had been tipped for the role of shadow chancellor, before
it went to Corbyn’s close ally John McDonnell.)
But what about the science and technology side?
Eagle namechecks a few of the places she’s visited—the
Synchrotron Radiation Source at Daresbury, east London’s
tech hub, the aerospace company Reaction Engines in
Oxfordshire—and reels off topics that have sparked her
interest, notably big data and virtual engineering.
When I ask how the government should be supporting
innovation, she says that her main concern is that it “isn’t
spending enough”. Money spent on R&D, Eagle argues,
is seed-corn investment for the future. She singles out
government proposals to convert some of Innovate UK’s
grants to loans for particular criticism. “I’m not certain
that a loan structure is remotely applicable to some of
these areas of high-risk innovative developments,” Eagle
says. “I just think that will put people off.”
Labour has committed to creating an innovation policy and to increasing R&D spending to 3 per cent of GDP
if it were to get into power. But it has yet to get down to
specifics. In the meantime, those
high up in the party are keen to
show that they’re listening to
experts. McDonnell has appointed an all-star cast to advise him
on economics, and Eagle has just
named financier and former Nike
executive Anthony Watson as
head of her business panel.
Will we see advisory groups in
other areas, I ask—maybe some-

‘I have a problem
with stripping
departments to
their bare bones so
they can’t even do
the day job.’

thing for academia? “We’ve got to make sure that we
focus our policymaking in a way that doesn’t just create
vast numbers of groups so we spend our whole time calling meetings and not doing anything,” Eagle says. “I’m
not in a position to announce whether I’ll have a science
group or not. I think the key thing is that we demonstrate that we’re interested in new ideas.”
But what about the Conservative government’s policies? The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’
plan to slash spending and its number of sites and partner
organisations by 2020 is dominating discussion for those
working with the department. “It’s all driven by the need
to cut spending. It’s not been driven by a strategy that
makes any sense,” Eagle says. “It’s just very short-sighted.
The time when this huge wave of change is coming—that’s
precisely the time you need more investment.”
But BIS is a big department, I counter; shouldn’t it
be able to make some savings? “I don’t have a problem
with making certain that departments work effectively
and efficiently,” Eagle replies. “I do have a problem with
stripping them down to their bare bones so they can’t
even do the day job.” Her comments echo concerns
voiced by academics and policy wonks; the government,
she says, is trying to change too many things at once. If
you do that, “you inevitably mess it all up—you’ve got to
leave some structures in place”, she says.
Despite clearly being exercised by the issue, Eagle’s
agenda for the next few months will be dominated by the
UK’s referendum on European Union membership. She’s
campaigning for the UK to remain, but, she says, that
doesn’t mean she thinks the EU is perfect. “Far from it.
It can be a frustratingly difficult institutional structure
to operate in.” Having been a member of a number of EU
councils in her time as a minister, Eagle has first-hand
experience of those frustrations. But, she adds—citing her
role in negotiating the European arrest warrant and banning white asbestos—in general, the EU “produces good”.
Eagle acknowledges that immigration is a concern for
many people but, she says, “they’re not worried about
tip-top scientists coming to do a year here—they’re worried about the implications of low-skilled immigration
that drives wages down.” She insists that open, up-front
conversation is what’s needed rather than “pursuing a
crude numbers game”, as she says the previous two governments have done. “I think that conversation is quite
easy to have when you can speak to people about it, rather than sloganise it.”
More to say? Email

funding opportunities

Research Fortnight
9 March 2016

every new opportunity  every discipline


focus points

Opportunities from previous issues of
Research Fortnight, listed by closing
date. European Commission and
associated funders marked EU.

Issue no. 474

NIHR horizon scanning
The National Institute
for Health Research
invites applications for its
horizon scanning research
and intelligence centre
competition. The budget is
worth up to £10 million [8].
MRC Malaysia health
The Medical Research
Council and the Academy
of Science, Malaysia
invite proposals for their
UK-Malaysia joint health
research call. The budget
is worth £4 million [10].
NERC/BBSRC aquaculture
The Natural Environment
Research Council and
the Biotechnology and
Biological Sciences
Research Council, via the
UK aquaculture initiative,
invite outline proposals
for innovation projects.
The budget is worth up to
£1.2 million [11].
Innovate UK/DH vaccines
Innovate UK, on behalf of
the Department of Health,
invites applications
for its competition on
new vaccines for global
epidemics. The total
budget is worth up to
£10 million [12].
Vehicle dynamics
The Rail Safety and
Standards Board invites
applications for its vehicle
dynamics competition.
The total budget is worth
£4.5 million [20].
n o t t o be
p h o t o c o p ie D
For subscriptions call +44 20 7216 6500

Each entry is followed by a Web id



EU Horizon 2020: Industrial
Leadership H2020INNOSUP-2016-2017 for a better
innovation support to SMEs – topic
5 1186208
EU Horizon 2020: Innovative
Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking H2020-JTI-IMI2-2015-07 IMI
seventh call for proposals – two
stage 1188183
MRC biomedical catalyst – regenerative medicine research committee
National Research Fund Luxembourg/Aides à la FormationRecherche PhD programme 1159901
National Research Fund Luxembourg/Aides à la FormationRecherche public private partnerships PhD and postdoctoral grants
NERC environmental risks to infrastructure – knowledge exchange
fellowship call 1188238
NERC marine renewable energy –
knowledge exchange fellowship
NERC open knowledge exchange
fellowships 1188776
NERC/BBSRC aquaculture knowledge exchange fellowship 1187850
NERC/Marine Management
Organisation knowledge exchange
fellowship – advancing the uptake
of scientific research in marine
management 1188323
Sarcoma UK grants 1179993
EU Shift2Rail H2020-S2RJU-2015-01 call for proposals
EU Shift2Rail H2020-S2RJU-2016-01 open call for proposals
Alzheimer's Society clinician and
healthcare professionals training
fellowships 1169483
Alzheimer's Society junior fellowships 1169481
Alzheimer's Society PhD studentships 258082
CRUK/DH experimental cancer
medicine centres – 2017-22 Quinquennium 154831






DFID social accountability in the delivery of social protection 1188639
EU European Chemical Industry
Council long-range research
initiative innovative science award
European Federation of Immunological Societies travel grants
ScotGov Chief Scientist Office clinical academic training fellowship
scheme 1161514
ScotGov Chief Scientist Office clinical research fellowship in progressive supranuclear palsy 1188009
STFC Innovation Technology Access
Centre challenge competition
WHO global polio eradication initiative call for proposals 1158074
Worshipful Company of Armourers &
Brasiers Venture prize 1170012
ESRC/Future Cities Catapult
knowledge exchange fellowship
Biochemical Society Krebs memorial
scholarship 251982
British Mycological Society small
grants 213758
European Association for Chinese
Studies/Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation library travel grant 211921
American Statistical Association
Julius Shiskin award for economic
statistics 187838
British Ecological Society outreach
grants 1168904
British Ecological Society research
grants 1168900
British Society for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology research and
scholarship grants 205261
EU Joint Programming Initiative
on Antimicrobial Resistance third
joint call on transmission dynamics
Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Northern Ireland programme grants
Royal College of Radiologists
Prafulla Kumar Ganguli professorship 1165744
Medical Research Foundation
Alexander Fleming dissemination
scheme 1165099
MOD Centre for Defence Enterprise/
Defence Science and Technology
Laboratory enduring challenge
competition 1175661
Innovate UK/BIS/Advanced
Propulsion Centre driving UK
capability through low carbon
propulsion technologies 1185083

Online Funding Search
For full details of every funding opportunity, visit
Online subscribers can view full details of any funding opportunity by
simply searching for the Web id number as free text in a funding search.






Funding search
Free text: 1234567 x


Innovate UK/RCUK/Newton Fund/
Ministry of Science and Technology China UK-China R&I bridges
competition 1187617
Museums Association Esmée Fairbairn collections fund 1163760
NIHR research for patient benefit
programme – including obesity
themed call 1187889
Institute of Historical Research
Pearsall fellowship in naval and
maritime history 211538
Intensive Care Society foundation
fellowship for nurses and allied
health professionals 1179888
Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors Education Trust research
trust grants 180095
Society for the Study of French History research grants 1175973
Society for Theatre Research
research awards 190455
Action for A-T research grants
European Oncology Nursing Society
invited speaker grants 1183428
Organization for Autism Research
applied research grants 1173006
Campbell Collaboration systematic
review grants 1188663
Department of Defense bone marrow failure research programme –
idea development award 1188319
EU ERA-Net SusAn joint call for
proposals on sustainable animal
production 1187900
MRC biomedical catalyst – developmental pathway funding scheme
Action Medical Research for
Children project grants 259674
Association for Computing Machinery/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society
Eckert-Mauchly award 251798
EU ERA-Net NORFACE dynamics of
inequality across the life-course:
structure and processes 1188046
call 1182230
ESRC transnational organised crime
– innovation awards 1187934
EU H2020-EINFRA-11-2016 support
to the next implementation phase
of Pan-European High Performance
Computing infrastructure and
services (PRACE) 1187221
EU H2020-INFRADEV-3-2016/2017
individual support to ESFRI projects
and other world-class research
infrastructures call 1184985
EU H2020-INFRAIA-2-2017
integrating activities for starting
communities 1184999
EU H2020-INFRAINNOV-2016 support to technological infrastructures – topic 2 1185003
EU H2020-INFRASUPP-1-2016
policy measures for research infrastructures 1185010
European University Institute
Fernand Braudel senior fellowships
EU H2020-INFRAIA-1-2016/2017
integrating activities for advanced
communities – topic 1 1184994
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh plastic surgery and wound
healing award 1188465

8  funding opportunities
New opportunities from UK-based funders.

Paediatric brain diseases
Action Medical Research for Children
and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy invite outline proposals
for their joint awards. These support
research into the treatment and rehabilitation of paediatric non-acquired
brain injury or cerebral palsy. Awards
are worth up to £250,000 each. Additional funding is available for attending
Web id: 1184099
Deadline: 30 March 2016 [1]

Brewers research
The British Beer & Pub Association invites
applications for its brewers research and
education fund. This supports research
and education in the brewing industry.
Web id: 1189058
Contact: Neil Williams
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [2]

UK/Brazil workshop
The British Council invites applications
to attend its researcher links workshop
on developing legal research networks
in Brazil and the UK. Grants enable earlycareer researchers based in the UK and
Brazil to attend a workshop on developing
legal research networks around agritechnology in Brazil. Grants cover travel,
accommodation and meals.
Web id: 1189111
Contact: Brian Jack
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [3]

Defra engine power
The Department for Environment, Food
& Rural Affairs, on behalf of the Marine
Management Organisation, invites tenders for the provision of English vessel
engine power monitoring. The tenderer
will test the engine power of a fishing vessel. The contract is tenable for
three years.
Web id: 1189020
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [4]

Ecology awards
The British Ecological Society invites
nominations for the following awards:
•founders' prize, worth £500.
Web id: 1186289
•the Marsh award for climate change
research, worth £1,000. Web id: 1186292
Deadline: 4 April 2016 [6]

NIHR horizon scanning centre
The National Institute for Health Research
invites applications for its horizon scanning research and intelligence centre
competition. Funding aims to designate
and fund a single centre of excellence that
will provide advance notice to national
policymakers on key emerging health
technologies. The budget is worth up to
£10 million over five years.
Web id: 1188997
Deadline: 12 April 2016 [8]

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
Gynaecology education visits
The Royal College of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists invites applications for
the Sims Black travelling professorship.
This enables practising obstetricians
and gynaecologists who are RCOG fellows
or members to visit countries overseas.
Web id: 1189078
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [9]

invite applications for their call on higher
education in Africa. This supports collaborative UK-South Africa projects relating to higher education in South Africa
and wider Africa. Each UK proposal may
request up to £630,000.
Web id: 1188821
Contact: Tim Pank
Deadline: 3 May 2016 [14]

MRC Malaysia disease research

NIHR health services

The Medical Research Council and the
Academy of Science, Malaysia invite proposals for their UK-Malaysia joint health
research call. This supports research
on non-communicable diseases of relevance to Malaysia ,and particularly those
impacting the most vulnerable in society.
The total budget is worth £4 million, with
up to £400,000 available per project.
Web id: 1187543
Email: international@headoffice.mrc.
Deadline: 20 April 2016 [10]

NERC/BBSRC aquaculture
The Natural Environment Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, via the
UK aquaculture initiative, invite outline
proposals for their call for innovation projects. Funding supports the development
of new products, services or solutions
based on existing data, knowledge and
technologies for businesses, practitioners
or decision-makers to address key challenges facing the aquaculture industry.
The budget is worth up to £1.2 million.
Web id: 1188483
Contact: Jodie Mitchell
Deadline: 26 April 2016 [11]

Innovate UK/DH vaccines
Innovate UK, on behalf of the Department of Health, invites applications for
its competition on new vaccines for global
epidemics. Funding supports projects
that aim to develop vaccines, vaccine
platform technologies and manufacturing
technologies that will enable an effective,
rapid response to future outbreaks of pathogens, including Chikungunya, CrimeanCongo haemorrgagic fever, Dengue virus,
Ebola, Hantavirus, Lassa, Marburg, Middle
East Respiratory Syndrome, Nipah, Plague,
Q Fever, Rift Valley Fever and Zika. The total
budget is worth up to £10 million.
Web id: 1189044
Deadline: 27 April 2016 [12]

Psychological conferences
The British Psychological Society invites
applications for its international conference symposium scheme. This enables
member networks to convene a symposium at an international conference in
order to help the society showcase UK
psychology to international audiences,
by increasing member networks' presence
at international conferences. Grants are
worth up to £3,000 each.
Web id: 1188971
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [13]

ESRC education research
The Economic and Social Research Council
and the South African National Research
Foundation, under the Newton Fund,

The National Institute for Health Research
invites proposals for the commissioned
workstream of its health services and
delivery research programme. Proposals
are sought on the topics of: improving
outputs of national clinical audits to
support organisations in improving the
quality of care and clinical outcomes; and
workforce interventions for the assessment and management of older adult
patients with cognitive impairments.
Web id: 1188960
Deadline: 12 May 2016 [15]

Singapore science scholarship
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK, in partnership with
the National University of Singapore,
invites applications for its Singapore
commonwealth scholarships. These support PhD study at the National University of Singapore's Graduate School of
Integrative Sciences and Engineering.
Each scholarship covers tuition fees, a
monthly stipend and a computer, book
or conference allowance.
Web id: 1188993
Deadline: 15 May 2016 [16]

NIHR commissioned calls 1
The National Institute for Health Research
invites proposals for the following calls
under the commissioned funding stream
of its health technology assessment programme:
•management of thoracolumbar fractures. Web id: 1189034
•treating mental health problems
associated with a history of complex
traumatic events. Web id: 1188952
•persistent acne in adult women;
family-based intervention for the management of asthma in children of south
Asian origin; secondary care treatment
for severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy; carboprost versus oxytocin as
the first line of treatment of primary
postpartum haemorrhage; topiramate for
post-traumatic stress disorder; remotely
delivered behavioural intervention for
tics in children and adolescents with
Tourette syndrome; treatment for persistent anxiety disorder in adolescents
after an inadequate response to low
intensity psychological therapy; unscheduled bleeding in women using long acting
reversible contraception; prescribing
high-dose flouride toothpaste to older
patients. Web id: 1188970
Deadline: 19 May 2016 [17]

Vehicle dynamics
The Rail Safety and Standards Board
invites applications for its vehicle
dynamics competition. Funding supports
innovations that aim to make technical
improvements to rail vehicles, reduce
track damage, wheel and suspension

maintenance costs, and that increase
the use of vehicles for both fast and slow
lines. The total budget is worth £4.5 million, with an additional £1.5m available
from Future Railway.
Web id: 1189084
Deadline: 19 May 2016 [20]

Medieval archaeology grant
The Society for Medieval Archaeology
invites applications for the Mick Aston
research grant. This supports the completion and publication of a research project
relating to settlement archaeology in
Britain or Ireland. The total budget is
£5,000 and grants are normally worth
up to £500 each.
Web id: 1189066
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [21]

Renal transplantation grant
Kidney Research UK invites applications
for its renal transplantation programme
grants. These support research focusing
on tackling rejection of transplanted
kidneys, making transplanted kidneys
last longer, and making more kidneys
available for transplantation. Grants are
worth up to £750,000 each over five years.
Web id: 1188920
Deadline: 24 June 2016 [22]

Psychology awards
The British Psychological Society invites
applications for its postgraduate study
visits scheme. This enables postgraduate students to undertake study visits to
other institutions related to psychology.
Awards are worth up to £600 each.
Web id: 1188972
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [23]

Lithic studies bursary
The Lithic Studies Society invites applications for the Roger Jacobi bursary. This
supports research related to museum
collections and archives in the field of
lithic studies.
Web id: 1188727
Contact: Olaf Bayer
Deadline: 8 August 2016 [24]

Psychology grants
The British Psychological Society invites
applications for its sections initiative
fund. This supports scientific initiatives
that promote or advance psychology.
Grants are worth up to £15,000 each.
Web id: 1188974
Deadline: 1 September 2016 [25]

NIHR commissioned calls 2
The National Institute for Health Research
invites proposals for the following calls
under the commissioned funding stream
of its health technology assessment programme:
•Australian National Health and Medical Research Council call for primary
research on prophylactic antibiotics to
prevent recurrent lower respiratory tract
infections in children with neurological
impairment and on smoking cessation
interventions in children of school age.
Web id: 1189065
•primary research on biological

funding opportunities  9

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
response modifier drugs for rare autoimmune diseases, and poorly controlled diabetes and outcomes of elective surgery.
Web id: 1188959
Deadline: 15 September 2016 [26]

ISSN 1358-1198
Published every two weeks with
breaks at Christmas, Easter and in
the summer. The next edition will
be published on 23 March.
Letters to
Research Fortnight
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Enquiries to
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John Whitfield
News Editors
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Eloise Johnston, Lindsay
McKenzie, Anna McKie, Craig
Nicholson, Amanda Stringfellow
Chief Sub Editor Kris Pedder
Sub Editor Martha Henriques
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Head of Funding Content
Maya Berger
Funding Operations Manager
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Funding Content Managers
Charlotte van Hek, Mikael Järvelin,
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Editorial Researchers
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Enghoff, Marion Galley, Grace
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Sports and exercise research
The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences invites applications for the
Professor Tom Reilly doctoral dissertation
of the year award. This recognises the best
doctoral dissertation by a BASES member
related to sports or exercise medicine. The
award is worth £500.
Web id: 1188085
Deadline: 31 January 2017 [28]

Renewed opportunities from funders based
in the UK.

MRC biomedical catalyst
The Medical Research Council invites
outline proposals for its developmental pathway funding scheme, under the
biomedical catalyst programme. This
supports projects that aim to improve
the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis or
treatment of significant health needs,
as well as projects that focus on research
tools which increase the efficiency of
developing interventions.
Web id: 1176899
Email: stephen.oakeshott@headoffice.
Deadline: 29 March 2016 [29]

Anaesthesia travel grant
The Association of Anaesthetists of Great
Britain and Ireland invites applications
for its personal development grant. This
enables candidates to visit recognised
centres anywhere in the world for personal development. The grant is worth up
to £2,000, and covers travel and subsistence for up to two weeks.
Web id: 1183661
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [30]

Physiological symposia
The Physiological Society invites applications for its special symposium grants.
These enable members to organise special
symposia in honour of society members
who have made exceptional contributions
to physiology or to the society.
Web id: 1160303
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [31]

Hellenic research
The British School at Athens invites applications for grants from the John Morrison
memorial fund. These support research
into all branches of Hellenic maritime
studies of any period. One to two grants,
worth £500 in total, are available.
Web id: 201545
Contact: Chryssanthi Papadopoulou
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [32]

Immunology grants
The British Society for Immunology
invites applications for its communicating immunology grants. These encourage

individuals to stimulate interest, discussion and understanding of immunology
amongst a wider audience, and support
education on immunology. Grants are
worth up to £1,000 each.
Web id: 257534
Contact: Hannah Hope
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [33]

Soil science grant
The British Society of Soil Science invites
applications for its field equipment grant.
This enables institutions to buy field
equipment to aid in the instruction and
understanding of soil science. Grants are
worth up to £1,000 each.
Web id: 1168865
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [34]

STFC telescope travel
The Science and Technology Facilities
Council and the Panel for the Allocation
of Telescope Time invite applications
for their linked travel and subsistence
grants. These provide travel and subsistence support for telescope time at STFC's
astronomy facilities.
Web id: 200066
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [35]

Scottish knowledge exchange
The Scottish Universities Insight Institute
invites registrations for its knowledge
exchange programme. Funding supports
programmes that address substantial
issues facing Scotland and the wider
world, which have the capacity to extend
knowledge and inform policy and practice. Programmes typically comprise seminars and workshops held over a period of
up to six months.
Web id: 259198
Contact: Nicola Allan
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [36]

Ecology awards
The British Ecological Society invites
nominations for the Marsh award for
ecology. This recognises an outstanding recent discovery or development
that has had a significant impact on the
development or application of the science
of ecology. The award is worth £1,000.
Web id: 1168906
Deadline: 4 April 2016 [37]

MRC clinical fellowships
The Medical Research Council invites
applications for the following opportunities:
•clinician scientist fellowship.
Web id: 252449
•senior clinical fellowship.
Web id: 252450
Deadline: 6 April 2016 [38]

ESRC access to society data
The Economic and Social Research Council's Understanding Society innovation
panel invites proposals for experiments
and methodological innovation for longitudinal studies. This call invites proposals for studies to be incorporated in
the Understanding Society panel of data
collection from wave 10 onwards.
Web id: 1183751

Contact: Annette Jäckle
Deadline: 11 April 2016 [40]

Headache fellowship
The International Headache Society invites
applications for its fellowship. This supports the mobility of researchers and physicians working in basic and clinical research,
in order to increase the knowledge base
of headache disorders. The fellowship is
worth up to £50,000 over one year.
Web id: 1162237
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [41]

Nuffield Foundation grants
The Nuffield Foundation invites applications for its grants for research and innovation. These support research, practical
experiments or development work in
the areas of children and families, early
years education and childcare, economic
advantages and disadvantages, education, law in society and social wellbeing.
Grants are worth up to £250,000 each.
Web id: 185280
Contact: Alison Rees
Deadline: 18 April 2016 [42]

RAEng visiting fellows
The Royal Academy of Engineering invites
applications for its distinguished visiting
fellowships. These enable an academic
engineering department in a UK university to host an expert from an overseas
academic centre of excellence for up to
one month. Fellowships are worth up to
£6,000 each.
Web id: 260314
Deadline: 18 April 2016 [43]

CRUK preclinical grants
Cancer Research UK invites applications
for its new agents committee preclinical
combination grants. These support preclinical trial development of combination
treatments for cancer. Grants are worth up
to £50,000 each over six to 12 months.
Web id: 1177076
Contact: Kate Searle
Email: combinationsalliance@cancer.
Deadline: 25 April 2016 [44]

MRC career award/fellows
The Medical Research Council invites
applications for the following opportunities:
•career development award.
Web id: 252442
•senior non-clinical fellowship.
Web id: 252375
Deadline: 27 April 2016 [45]

Surgery travel awards
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, under the Ethicon Foundation
Fund, invites applications for its travel
grants. These enable candidates to spend
time overseas to enhance or obtain relevant surgical experience which is not
normally available in their own country.
Grants are worth up to £1,000 each for
visits lasting six weeks to two years.
Web id: 257378
Contact: Cathy McCartney
Deadline: 27 April 2016 [47]

10  funding opportunities
Ophthalmology travel
The Royal Society of Medicine invites
applications for its ophthalmology travelling fellowship bursary. This enables
British ophthalmologists to travel abroad
to further the study or advancement of
ophthalmology, or foreign ophthalmologists to visit the UK for the same purpose.
Bursaries are worth up to £1,000 each.
Web id: 187528
Deadline: 28 April 2016 [48]

Scottish engineering travel
The Royal Society of Edinburgh invites
applications for the John Moyes Lessells
travel scholarships. These enable graduates to pursue studies on any aspect of
engineering, including computer and
software engineering, in any part of the
world except the UK. Scholarships are
worth £1,250 each per month, pro-rata,
for up to one year.
Web id: 210203
Deadline: 29 April 2016 [49]

Software development
The Software Sustainability Institute
invites proposals for its open call for
projects. This offers the assistance and
expertise of institute staff to research
groups, in order to improve the longterm sustainability of software across all
academic disciplines, from computational
biology to nuclear fusion.
Web id: 1185269
Deadline: 29 April 2016 [50]

Tinnitus research
The British Tinnitus Association invites
applications for its large research project
scheme. This supports projects that aim to
improve the lives of people with tinnitus.
The total budget is worth £75,000, to fund
one or two projects.
Web id: 1183694
Contact: David Stockdale
Deadline: 30 April 2016 [51]

Cardiovascular conferences
The British Cardiovascular Society invites
applications for its travel bursaries. These
enable members to attend international
conferences, including the American
College of Cardiology conference, the
BCS conference and the European Society
of Cardiology conference. Bursaries are
worth up to £1,000 each.
Web id: 1173408
Contact: Cliff Grant
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [52]

Fish biology grants
The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
invites applications for the following
•small research grants, worth up to
£5,000 each. Web id: 252530
•the Wyn Wheeler research grant.
Web id: 206200
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [53]

Occupational health nursing
The RCN Foundation invites applications
for the Mair scholarship. This enables
occupational health nurses to undertake
learning and development activities, such
as postgraduate studies or professional

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
short courses, in order to enhance patient
care, patient experience and development
in nursing practice. Bursaries are worth up
to £5,000 each.
Web id: 178863
Deadline: 3 May 2016 [55]

MRC molecular/cellular grant
The Medical Research Council invites proposals for its new investigator research
grant in population and systems medicine. This supports researchers who are
capable of becoming independent principal investigators within the areas of
molecular and cellular medicine. Grants
are tenable for three years.
Web id: 257869
Deadline: 4 May 2016 [56]

Dementia clinical trials
Alzheimer's Research UK invites expressions of interest for its global clinical
trials fund. This supports clinical trials
that have the potential to be of benefit
to dementia patients. Grants are worth
up to £500,000 per project.
Web id: 1184311
Email: research@alzheimersresearchuk.
Deadline: 11 May 2016 [57]

Innovate UK KTP
Innovate UK invites applications for its
knowledge transfer partnerships. These
facilitate the transfer of knowledge, technology and skills, and help businesses
innovate and grow, by linking them with
a university and a graduate. Partnerships last between six months and three
years. SMEs must contribute a third of the
project costs, usually around £20,000,
whereas large companies must contribute
50 per cent of the costs, around £30,000.
Web id: 192286
Deadline: 11 May 2016 [58]

Women graduate awards 1
The British Federation for Women Graduates invites applications for its emergency
grants. These support women graduate
students who face an unforeseen financial
crisis. Grants assist with the completion
of an academic year's work.
Web id: 194245
Contact: Jean Collett-Flatt
Deadline: 12 May 2016 [59]

MRC infections and immunity
The Medical Research Council invites proposals for its new investigator research
grant in infections and immunity. This
supports researchers who are capable of
becoming independent principal investigators within the areas of infections
and immunity. Grants are tenable for
three years.
Web id: 257880
Deadline: 18 May 2016 [60]

European studies events
The University Association for Contemporary European Studies invites proposals
for its small event grants. These enable
candidates to organise conferences or
workshops related to any aspect of contemporary European studies. Grants are
worth up to £1,000 each.

Web id: 1175707
Deadline: 18 May 2016 [61]

Web id: 1162612
Deadline: 27 May 2016 [67]

NIHR commissioned call

Regional studies travel

The National Institute for Health Research
invites expressions of interest for primary
research in two stages, under the commissioned funding stream of its health technology assessment programme. Proposals
are sought on the topic of promising
pharmacological therapy for the treatment of resistant bipolar depression.
There are no fixed limits on the duration
of projects or funding.
Web id: 1187497
Deadline: 19 May 2016 [62]

NERC international fund
The Natural Environment Research Council, under the international opportunities
fund, invites proposals for its pumppriming and pump-priming plus grants.
These enable NERC-supported researchers
to forge long-term partnerships with
overseas scientists. Grants are worth
up to £250,000 each at 80 per cent full
economic cost over a maximum period
of three years.
Web id: 1160948
Contact: Weihao Zhong
Deadline: 19 May 2016 [63]

Wellcome biomedical awards
The Wellcome Trust invites applications
for its people awards. These support
projects that are innovative and creative
and engage the public with biomedical
science or the history of medicine. Awards
are worth up to £40,000 each.
Web id: 255361
Deadline: 20 May 2016 [64]

MRC new investigator grant
The Medical Research Council invites
proposals for its new investigator research
grant in population and systems medicine.
This supports researchers who are capable
of becoming independent principal investigators within the areas of population
and systems medicine. Grants are tenable
for three years.
Web id: 257885
Deadline: 25 May 2016 [65]

Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's UK invites applications for
its project grants. These support projects
that tackle major research challenges
related to Parkinson's disease. Grants are
provided for a maximum of three years.
Web id: 253799
Email: researchapplications@
Deadline: 25 May 2016 [66]

BBSRC young entrepreneurs
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, under its Innovation and Skills Group, and the University
of Nottingham, under the Haydn Green
Institute, invite registrations for their
biotechnology young entrepreneurs
scheme. This aims to raise awareness
of the commercialisation of ideas from
the biosciences among postgraduate
students and postdoctoral scientists. The
prize fund is worth £5,000.

The Regional Studies Association invites
applications for its travel grants. These
enable members to present work, network
and participate in worldwide non-RSA
events in the field of regional studies.
Grants are worth up to £500 each and may
be used for travel costs.
Web id: 1164935
Deadline: 29 May 2016 [68]

Radiology travel bursaries
The British Society of Head & Neck Imaging
invites applications for its travel bursaries.
These enable members to attend conferences and courses, or to undertake a period
of specialist head and neck radiology training or similar personal development. Bursaries are worth £1,000 each.
Web id: 1171725
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [69]

Women's studies grants
The Feminist Review Trust invites applications for its research grants. These
support feminist scholars and activities.
Grants are worth up to £15,000 each.
Web id: 253602
Email: administrator@
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [70]

Wheat transformation
The National Institute of Agricultural
Botany, funded by the Biotechnology
and Biological Sciences Research Council,
invites applications for its call on community resource for wheat transformation.
Funding provides capacity for genes to
be transformed into wheat free of charge,
with half of the resource reserved for
researchers working on model crops to
encourage early testing of novel genes
in wheat, and the remaining half reserved
for researchers working on cereal crops,
wheat and barley.
Web id: 1183927
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [71]

MRC new investigator awards
The Medical Research Council invites proposals for its new investigator research
grant in neurosciences and mental health.
This supports researchers who are capable
of becoming independent principal investigators within the area of neurosciences
and mental health. Grants are tenable for
three years.
Web id: 257895
Deadline: 1 June 2016 [72]

German history
The German History Society and the Royal
Historical Society invite submissions for
their German history essay prize. This
recognises the best essay on any aspect
of German history, including the history
of German-speaking people abroad. The
prize is worth £500 plus travel costs for
the annual meeting.
Web id: 1170667
Contact: Melanie Ransom
Deadline: 6 June 2016 [73]

jobs  11

Policy, Management & Support – plus Expert Committees

Strategy Board Manager
£27,355-£38,163 plus £4,777 LW
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Closing date: 15/03/2016
Head of Research
Qualifications Wales
Closing date: 17/03/2016
Details: To apply, please visit:
Senior Research Officer – up to
three posts £37,600-£43,950
Qualifications Wales
Closing date: 17/03/2016
Details: To apply, please visit:
Research Officer
Qualifications Wales
Closing date: 17/03/2016
Details: To apply, please visit:
Research Fellow
Department of Electrical
& Electronic Engineering,
University of Surrey
Closing date: 20/03/2016
Senior Research Fellow in
Gender and Water Governance
Coventry University
Closing date: 27/03/2016
Email: michel.pimbert@
Research Development Team
Lead (Engineering and Physical
University of Birmingham
Closing date: 31/03/2016
Head of Strategic Research
Projects and Partnerships (Life
University of Birmingham
Closing date: 31/03/2016
Director of Research and
Academic Strategy
The Open University
Closing date: 12pm, 04/06/2016
For more details and the complete
list of jobs, please visit:

9 March 2016

The leap from academia to consultancy:
could you make it?
Aldo de Moor was working as a senior researcher
at a lab in Belgium when he decided he’d had
enough. Tired of the academic rat race, in 2007
he set up his own independent consultancy
called Community Sense.
De Moor’s expertise is in community informatics,
which looks at how ICT can be used to empower
people. “I’ve always been interested in the impact
my research could have on society,” he says. “But
I found I didn’t have enough space to do that in
academia. The publish-or-perish culture was like a
straitjacket. I wanted more freedom and more control
to do the research I really felt was important.”
The decision to quit wasn’t easy. “I had never
worked outside academia,” de Moor says. “It was
a real challenge to start thinking about how to sell
my expertise, and find people willing to pay for it.”
Going solo isn’t for everyone, says Jela Webb,
senior lecturer at the University of Brighton’s
business school. In 2000, after a successful
career in banking, Webb set up the consultancy
firm Azione, specialising in information and
knowledge management. “If you’re thinking of
doing consultancy as a full-time job, you need
to consider how you’ll cope with the peaks and
troughs. You won’t always have a steady stream of
income and will need some money to fall back on.”
That financial buffer is very important, de Moor
agrees. “You can spend a lot of time just looking for

by Lindsay

contracts, especially at the beginning.” But even
when work is slow, don’t be tempted to lower your
rates. “Be strict, and don’t be afraid to let go of some
contracts. Some clients may think I’m expensive,
but I tell them that if they want to hire me for my
innovative capacity, it comes with a price tag”.
For those interested in consultancy but don’t want
to go it alone, Webb suggests doing consultancy
work through your university. In addition to
minimising your legal and financial risks, your
institution may help you find work and facilitate
the process of drawing up contracts. A university
can also lend its branding and reputation, which
will be attractive to some clients. But there may
be strings attached; many universities will divert
the extra money you bring in to your department’s
budget rather than your salary.
For de Moor, consultancy has not meant the end
of research. “I still consider myself an academic—
I’m still publishing, still reading papers and
attending conferences. The only difference now is
that I’m self-sponsored”.
He adds that many of the academics he talks to
about his job are a little jealous. “They often say
that they wish they were in my position,” he says.
“But they could be if they wanted to. It’s just a
matter of preparing well, and then jumping.”

Newton’s Apple to grow second branch of policy workshops
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Newton’s
Apple, a charitable foundation that aims to bridge
the gap between scientists and policymakers.
Academics, civil servants, special advisers and
members of the House of Commons Science and
Technology Committee set the group up after what
the foundation’s chairman Michael Elves says was a
disappointing number responses to government and
select committee calls for evidencet. “We knew there
were people out there who had things to say,” he
says. “We decided we had to do something about it.”
Under the foundation’s programme Newton’s
Heirs, the group has held more than 65 workshops
in the last eight years for over 1,600 participants,
including PhD students and UK researchers.
The workshops cost the host university or society
between £750 and £800 for an afternoon. They
include talks from civil servants at the Government
Office for Science, present and former members of the
Commons science and technology committee, and
representatives from academic societies. Participants
discuss how science is dealt with in parliament, where
government science advice comes from and the role
of scientific societies in the debate. Attendees also
get several information booklets to take away.
Newton’s Apple is now looking to expand this
programme to include an advanced workshop. For

by Lindsay

that, Elves says the foundation needed to raise
£100,000 and hire a full-time manager to help
relieve pressure from the group’s trustees, who
give their time to the foundation for free.
Elves says that feedback forms suggest that the
workshop format is effective; researchers rarely, if
ever, leave without claiming to have significantly
improved their understanding of science policy.
But he adds that it is hard to measure the group’s
wider impact on engagement. “We’re putting seeds
down, but we don’t know yet whether they’ll grow
into anything useful,” he says. “Certainly the need
for the workshops is still there, and the popularity
of the workshops with students is testament to the
fact that they recognise that need too.”
For Julian Huppert, former Liberal Democrat MP
and a trustee of Newton’s Apple, the workshops
“really help people to understand how the policy
process works, what the drivers are, and how they
can use their knowledge to make a difference”. He
adds that, although politicians and civil servants
should do more to understand how science and
evidence work, there is also an onus on scientists
to understand the needs of politics and policy, so
that they can contribute in a useful way.

12  jobs

Where universities work together
*Unity is the new way to work with anyone in universities and research.
It’s a simple place to form groups, share files and work on them together.
Built by universities, for universities, with some help from us at *Research
Try *Unity now at

Daphne Jackson
Fellowship Opportunities
Daphne Jackson Fellowships are unique – they offer STEM
professionals, wishing to return to a research career after
a break of 2 or more years, the opportunity to balance an
individually tailored retraining programme with a challenging
research project. Fellowships are held part-time over 2 years
and include at least 100 hours retraining per year.

Call for proposals
The microbiome and
neurodegenerative disease
The Reta Lila Weston Trust is delighted to issue a request
for proposals for novel research on the microbiome that
will accelerate the development of therapeutics, identify
preventative strategies for neurodegenerative diseases and
neurocognitive decline or understand the resilience against
such conditions or decline in elderly individuals as a result of
microbiome activity.

Current sponsored fellowship opportunity:
John Innes Centre, Norwich ( – Fellowship
hosted and half-sponsored by the John Innes Centre, an
internationally renowned centre of excellence
in plant and microbial science.
Closing date for applications: 18 March 2016

• Up to £200,000 per project per annum for up to 3 years
is available.
• The programme is open to UK institutes and charities only.
• Researchers should be at or above the level of
postdoctoral fellow or equivalent from registered
charitable institutions.

The remaining funding will be secured by the Daphne
Jackson Trust from an additional sponsor.

For full details of this opportunity, eligibility criteria and how to
apply please visit our website

Application is a two-step process the first of which is a short
Letter of Intent. To register interest and receive materials
please email:
or visit

RLWT Research Fortnight 89x125 Ad 2.indd 2

Contact the Daphne Jackson Trust office on 01483 689166,
or email

05/02/2016 09:27

jobs  13

Help us shape the Welsh qualification system
This is an exciting opportunity to join a new high profile Welsh Government sponsored body. Qualifications Wales has been
established as the independent regulator of qualifications and the qualification system in Wales. The new body is responsible
for ensuring that qualifications and the qualifications system are effective in meeting the needs of learners in Wales - and for
promoting public confidence.
We are now recruiting our Research team to develop the evidence base to underpin our decision making and are working to
develop relationships with Universities so these posts will fit within a wider community of Research.

Head of Research

Band 5 - £48,650 - £56,900

Senior Research Officers (3 posts)
Band 4 - £37,600 - £43,950

Research Officer

Band 2 - £23,400 - £26,400
Closing date: 17 March 2016
For further information and to apply in Welsh or English, visit our website at
Should you have any queries then please contact:

UK News Editor, Research Fortnight
Published daily online and fortnightly as a printed magazine
Research Fortnight is essential reading in universities, funding
agencies, governments and parliaments.

At the interview, applicants will be asked to demonstrate:
• Knowledge of the workings of universities, science,
government and parliament.

We have an opening for a talented editor to join our 20-strong
editorial team based at the Shoreditch head office of our
growing, London-based company.

• Evidence of at least two original, published stories, either
written or commissioned.

You will have responsibility for running our online daily news
service and fortnightly magazine news coverage, working with
a team of reporters who regularly break stories at the heart of
political establishments in the UK, the EU and around the world.

• High standards of rigour, accuracy and attention to detail.

You can expect to analyse government initiatives and the
policies of funders and universities, interview academics and
policy wonks, and interpret datasets.

• Knowledge of one or more academic disciplines.
• Curiosity, listening and mentoring skills.
If you can run a busy daily newsroom and value teamwork and
collaboration, please email a CV and a covering letter to
Ehsan Masood, Editor, Research Fortnight on

The ideal applicant will be an experienced daily news editor,
or a senior reporter looking to make the transition to editing.
You will have worked on a newspaper or website; on a
magazine or journal read by scientists, or on a publication
read by other professionals, for example in engineering,
financial services, IT and law.

Please paste your covering letter into the body of the email.

This is a full-time position, however, flexible working
arrangements will be considered.

First interviews will take place in London on Tuesday
5 April 2016.

If you would like to have an initial discussion about the job,
please feel free to call Ehsan on +44 20 7216 6500, or contact
him by email at
The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 1 April 2016.

14  jobs

Policy Research Programme
Call for Applications
The Department of Health Policy Research
Programme invites ‘Expression of Interest’
applications in the following area:
1. Evaluation of the Integrated Personal
Commissioning Programme



These biennial grants totalling € 200,000 from Grünenthal GmbH are
supporting young scientists early in their career to carry out innovative
clinical pain research in any member country of EFIC® (see
Individual research grants are valued at up to € 40,000 per project for a
duration of up to two years.
Research grants are intended for clinical and human experimental pain
research. Research proposals on animals, computer simulations, cell lines
etc. will not be considered.
The decision of the awards is made independently by the Scientific
Research Committee of the European Pain Federation EFIC®.

Please visit the Policy Research Programme
Central Commissioning Facility website at to access the research
specifications, application form, guidance notes
and closing date for the above call.

CONTACT Mrs Gaby Erkens - E-G-G administration, c/o Grünenthal GmbH,, phone: +49 241 569-1304

Appl_Anzeigen_2016_RZ.indd 1

Policy and market intelligence for senior managers and their advisers
Coping with a constantly shifting higher education landscape can be exhausting.*HE is designed to help
by providing timely analysis of market trends and policy developments, cutting through the information
overload to make sense of what is happening.
With a subscription you gain:
8am Playbook
A highly readable weekday briefing on the day
ahead, plus a review of the morning papers.

Parliamentary Monitor
Daily updates of all relevant parliamentary activity
in the national and devolved administrations.

Hot Topics
In-depth coverage of major events from the
moment the news breaks, with regular updates.

Policy Watch
Concise coverage with analysis of the
implications for universities.

Succinct and timely analysis of political
developments and market shifts.

*HE Grid
An online event listing and planning tool.

Try *HE for free with a trial subscription. Contact

09.02.16 20:40

funding opportunities  15

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
Wellcome science learning
The Wellcome Trust invites applications
for phase two partnership grants of its
Science Learning+ programme. These
support partnerships involving partners
in the US and in the UK or Republic of Ireland that aim to improve the knowledge
base and practice of informal science
experiences to better understand their
vital role in science engagement and
learning. Project budgets should not
exceed £1.5 million over a maximum
period of five years.
Web id: 1183310
Deadline: 14 June 2016 [74]

MRC skills development fellows
The Medical Research Council invites
applications for the following opportunites:
•skills development fellowships –
expertise at the social science interface.
Web id: 1184044
•skills development fellowships –
quantitative expertise. Web id: 1184042
Deadline: 16 June 2016 [75]

Social science fellowship
The Academy of Social Sciences invites
nominations for its fellowships in social
science. These contribute towards
research in any area, discipline or interdisciplinary field of social science.
Web id: 1187347
Deadline: 17 June 2016 [77]

Mental health scholarships
Mental Health Research UK invites applications for its PhD scholarships. These
support research on schizophrenia and
adolescent mental health. Scholarships
are worth up to £100,000 each over four
Web id: 1162590
Deadline: 17 June 2016 [78]

MRC/NIHR highlight notices
The Medical Research Council and the
National Institute of Health Research
invite proposals for the following highlight notice calls:
•methods research on methodology for
stratified medicine. Web id: 1182862
•methods research for assessing quality of life in carers. Web id: 1176698
•methods research to support the use
of observational data in clinical decision
making. Web id: 1176702
Email: david.crosby@headoffice.mrc.
Deadline: 21 June 2016 [79]

Architectural technology
The Chartered Institute of Architectural
Technologists invites entries for its award
for excellence. This recognises outstanding achievements in the practice of architectural technology. First prize is worth
£1,500; second prize £750; and third
prize £550.
Web id: 251564
Deadline: 26 June 2016 [82]

Pharmacology awards
The British Pharmacological Society
invites applications for the Schachter
award. This enables postgraduates to visit

a laboratory in order to learn a technique
that cannot be conducted at their home
institute in the field of pharmacology. The
award is worth up to £1,850.
Web id: 211720
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [83]

Mechanical engineering
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
invites applications for the Whitworth
senior scholarship awards. These support engineers intending to do research
by undertaking PhD or EngD degrees.
Scholarships are worth up to £22,500
each over three years.
Web id: 203005
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [84]

Language awards
The Modern Humanities Research Association invites applications under its
conference grants funding scheme. This
supports conferences or colloquia in the
field of medieval and modern European
languages and literature, held in the UK or
the Republic of Ireland. Grants are worth
up to £1,500 each.
Web id: 208935
Contact: Tyler Fisher
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [85]

Textile history grants
The Pasold Research Fund invites applications for the Raine grants. These assist
staff in UK museums and other public
collections and institutions, including
curators and conservators, with objectbased research into textile history. Grants
are worth up to £500 each.
Web id: 195392
Contact: Steph Knox
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [86]

Photography bursaries
The Royal Photographic Society invites
applications for its postgraduate bursaries. These enable postgraduates to
undertake study or research in photography, including digital and traditional
photographic media, the art and science
of photography and image-based written
work or research. Bursaries are worth
£3,500 each.
Web id: 1174139
Contact: Liz Williams
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [87]

Applied microbiology
The Society for Applied Microbiology
invites applications for its hardship grant.
This assists members of the society studying towards a doctoral degree in applied
microbiology. The grant is worth up to
£9,000 over three years.
Web id: 1165464
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [88]

Language testing
The University of Cambridge, under the
Cambridge English Language Assessment,
and in collaboration with the International English Language Testing System
Australia and the British Council, invites
submissions for the Caroline Clapham
IELTS master's award. This is awarded for
a master's-level dissertation or thesis in
English that makes a significant contribution to the field of language testing. The

award is worth £1,000.
Web id: 1172050
Contact: Gad S Lim
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [89]

Psychology awards
The British Psychological Society invites
applications for the following opportunities:
•postdoctoral study visits awards,
worth up to £600 each. Web id: 206808
•research seminar grants, worth up to
£3,000 each. Web id: 206811
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [90]

Economic and social history
The Economic History Society invites
applications for its bursaries for PhD
students. These assist students in
UK colleges and universities who are
researching economic or social history.
Bursaries are worth up to £5,000 each
over one year.
Web id: 1166394
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [92]

Air quality travel award
The Institution of Environmental Sciences
invites applications for the Ian McCrae
travel award. This enables air quality
professionals to attend a conference or
training course in the UK or abroad. The
award is worth up to £1,000.
Web id: 1167309
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [93]

Psychoanalysis awards
The International Psychoanalytical Association invites applications for the following awards:
•the Elise M Hayman award for the
study of the Holocaust and genocide,
worth US$4,000 (£2,800).
Web id: 165086
•the Hayman prize for published work
pertaining to traumatised children and
adults, worth US$4,000. Web id: 165091
•psychoanalytic research exceptional
contribution awards, worth US$500 each.
Web id: 165105
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [94]

ScotGov health services
The Scottish Government's Chief Scientist
Office invites outline proposals for the
following calls under the response mode
funding scheme:
•health improvement, protection and
services research grants, worth up to
£300,000 each. Web id: 192806
•translational clinical studies research
grants, worth up to £300,000 each.
Web id: 1161521
Deadline: 1 July 2016 [97]

Alzheimer's fellowship
Alzheimer's Research UK invites applications for its clinical research fellowship.
This supports research on Alzheimer's
disease and related dementias. The fellowship is tenable for up to three years,
and provides a salary and a contribution of
up to £20,000 per year towards research
and travel costs.
Web id: 257039
Email: research@alzheimersresearchuk.
Deadline: 6 July 2016 [99]

NERC environmental research
The Natural Environment Research
Council, under its discovery science
programme, invites applications for its
standard research grants. These support
environmental research that is driven
by curiosity rather than by NERC's wider
strategic priorities. Each proposal may
request up to £800,000.
Web id: 254868
Deadline: 19 July 2016 [100]

New opportunities from European funders,
excluding funders based in the UK.

Bone research grants
The International Bone Research Association invites applications for its research
grants. These support projects dealing
with bone biology and the improvement of fixation devices for maxillofacial
and hand surgery. Grants may be used
towards personnel, equipment, supplies
and external costs, and field expenses of
up to CHF3,000 (£2,100).
Web id: 1188931
No deadline [101]

Sustainable energy study
Nordic Energy Research invites tenders
for a study on sustainable energy and
energy storage in sparsely populated
areas. The tenderer will produce a guide
for planning and concept choices, and
a technical solution for a pilot project.
The contract is worth up to NOK750,000
Web id: 1189062
Deadline: 29 March 2016 [103]

EU conference travel grants
The European Science Foundation, in
collaboration with EuroScience and Graphene Flagship, invites applications
for its ESOF2016 travel grants. These
enable young researchers to attend the
EuroScience Open Forum, to be held
from 23 to 27 July 2016 in Manchester,
UK. Grants are worth up to €900 (£690)
each and cover registration, travel and
accommodation costs. Manchester-based
applicants only receive a grant for registration fees.
Web id: 1188982
Deadline: 31 March 2016 [103.1]

EU skills supply forecast
Cedefop invites tenders for the production
of skills supply and demand forecasts. The
tenderer will produce regular European
skills supply and demand forecasts. The
contract is worth €1.2 million (£927,300)
over 48 months.
Web id: 1188954
Deadline: 4 April 2016 [104]

Population and food supply
The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture
and Forestry invites nominations for the
Georg and Greta Borgstroms prize. This
recognises individuals who are actively
engaged in research or work in the areas
of world population, food supply, and

16  funding opportunities
associated ecological, demographic and
economic aspects. The prize is worth
SEK50,000 (£4,100).
Web id: 1189048
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [105]

EU smart ageing prize
The ERA-Net Ambient Assisted Living
Joint Programme invites applications
for its smart ageing challenge prize. This
aims to source innovations in internet
connected devices and technologies that
empower older adults to achieve the quality of life they aspire to. The prize is worth
€50,000 (£38,600).
Web id: 1189085
Deadline: 13 May 2016 [106]

Crop protection
Bayer Crop Science, under its Grants4Targets initiative, invites applications for its
call on novel targets for crop protection.
This encourages the exploration of ideas
for novel molecular targets towards the
development of crop protection solutions
for weed, pest and disease control. Grants
are worth up to €50,000 (£38,600) each.
Web id: 1189033
Contact: Dirk Nennstiel
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [107]

EU maritime challenges
The Directorate-General for Maritime
Affairs and Fisheries, in collaboration
with the Executive Agency for Small and
Medium-sized Enterprises, invites applications for its blue labs call. This supports
innovative and viable solutions that aim
to address maritime and marine challenges, as well as opportunities in the
blue economy. Grants are normally worth
up to €500,000 (£386,400) each.
Web id: 1189056
Email: easme-emff-calls@ec.
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [108]

Renewed opportunities from European
funders, excluding funders based in the UK.

The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology invites applications for the
following awards:
•fellowship award, worth €1,500
(£1,200). Web id: 261072
•travel awards, worth €500 each.
Web id: 261070
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [109]

Applied systems research
The International Institute for Applied
Systems Analysis invites applications for
its postdoctoral programme. This enables
scholars to conduct research in collaboration with one or more of the institute’s
research programmes or special projects.
Funding is typically provided for one to
two years.
Web id: 174769
Contact: Tanja Huber
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [111]

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
Geodesy geophysics grants
The International Union of Geodesy and
Geophysics invites applications for its
grants. These support projects of importance to the international geophysical and geodetic community, which will
explore new scientific ideas and develop
future international initiatives. Grants are
worth up to US$20,000 (£14,200) each.
Web id: 206243
Contact: Franz G Kuglitsch
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [112]

EU social innovation
The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
invites applications for the European
social innovation competition. This recognises entrepreneurial ideas that turn
the challenges arising from the refugee
crisis and migrant integration into an
opportunity for Europe. Awards are worth
€50,000 (£38,600) each.
Web id: 1169987
Deadline: 8 April 2016 [113]

Molecular biology
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory invites applications for its international PhD programme. This supports
thesis supervision, a predoctoral course
in molecular biology, or the opportunity
to study for the EMBL international PhD.
Funding lasts for up to four years.
Web id: 257408
Deadline: 11 April 2016 [114]

Neutron research
The European Neutron Scattering Association, in collaboration with the European
Crystallographic Association, invites nominations for the Erwin Felix Lewy Bertaut
prize. This recognises a European scientist
who has achieved experimental, theoretical or methodological contributions in the
analysis of matter using crystallographic
or neutron scattering methods.
Web id: 1184897
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [115]

Agriculture prize
The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture
and Forestry invites nominations for the
Bertebos prize. This recognises research
of distinguished quality and practical use
within the areas of food, agriculture, ecology or animal health. The prize is worth
SEK300,000 (£24,800).
Web id: 1168330
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [116]

Tuberculosis award
The Stop TB Partnership, in collaboration
with the Kochon Foundation, invites
applications for the Kochon prize. This
recognises major contributions to combating tuberculosis. The prize is worth
US$65,000 (£46,200).
Web id: 250935
Contact: Jacqueline Huh
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [117]

Neurochemistry meetings
The International Society for Neurochemistry's Conference Committee invites
applications for its financial support.

This supports the organisation of small
conferences on specialised neurochemical topics, as well as neurochemistry
symposia within meetings of other scientific societies or groups. The society
funds small conferences up to US$20,000
(£12,200), and symposia up to US$7,000.
Web id: 1181845
Contact: Flavia Gomes
Deadline: 30 April 2016 [118]

Psychology publication
The European Society for Cognitive Psychology invites applications from members for its early career publication award.
This recognises the first author of the best
article accepted for publication in 2015.
The award is worth €1,000 (£770).
Web id: 250999
Contact: Michal Wierzchon
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [119]

Criminology prize
Stockholm University and the Swedish
Ministry of Justice invite nominations for
the Stockholm prize in criminology. This
recognises achievements in criminological research or the application of research
results by practitioners or scholars for the
reduction of crime and the advancement
of human rights.
Web id: 259751
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [120]

providing an overview of the effects of
interventions in health and social care.
Fellowships support the salary, systematic review training costs of up to €2,000
(£1,500) and research expenses of up to
€1,500. They are tenable on a part-time
basis of up to two days per week for up
to two years.
Web id: 213895
Contact: Sara Lord
Deadline: 24 May 2016 [124]

EU telecommunications
EUREKA invites applications for its CelticPlus call. This supports information and
communications technology projects
that focus on research related to a smart
connected world. The average budget
for a Celtic-Plus consortium is between
€1 million (£773,700) and €70m over two
to three years.
Web id: 1158474
Deadline: 25 May 2016 [125]

Innovation awards
The Materialise Group invites application
for the Mimics innovation awards. These
recognise research conducted with the
assistance of Mimics innovation software.
Awards are worth up to €5,000 (£3,900)
Web id: 259694
Deadline: 29 May 2016 [126]

Faroe Islands scholarships

Radiation award

The University of the Faroe Islands invites
applications for its travel scholarships.
These assist non-Faroese students with
travelling expenses in order to pursuehigher education or research. Grants are
worth up to DKK5,000 (£520) each.
Web id: 202890
Deadline: 2 May 2016 [121]

The Multidisciplinary European Low Dose
Initiative invites applications for the
MELODI award. This recognises young
researchers active in the field of low dose
ionising radiation. The award is worth
€4,000 (£3,100).
Web id: 1179628
Deadline: 15 June 2016 [127]

EU regional development

Hepatology fellowships

Interreg Europe invites proposals for
its joint call for European cooperation.
Funding enables local and regional public
authorities, and other local actors, to
improve the performance of regional
development policy and programmes in
areas relating to research, technological
development and innovation, competitiveness of SMEs, low-carbon economy,
and environment and resource efficiency.
Projects may be co-financed at a rate of
up to 85 per cent.
Web id: 1184608
Deadline: 13 May 2016 [122]

The European Association for the Study
of the Liver invites applications for its
physician scientist fellowships. These
enable physician-scientists to take leave
from their clinical duties and spend up
to 12 months in a research laboratory.
Fellowships are worth up to €40,000
(£30,900) each.
Web id: 1173277
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [128]

Cardiology award
The European Society of Cardiology invites
applications for its outstanding achievement award. This recognises achievements of basic cardiology researchers in
the early stages of their careers. Awards
are worth €3,000 (£2,300) each.
Web id: 251403
Deadline: 15 May 2016 [123]

Healthcare review fellowships
The Health Research Board and the
Health and Social Care Research and
Development Division invite applications for the Cochrane fellowships. These
enable fellows to undertake training
in order to conduct Cochrane reviews,

Immunodeficiences research
The European Society for Immunodeficiencies invites applications for the
following opportunities:
•travel grants to the ESID biennial
meeting, worth up to €1,000 (£770) each.
Web id: 1166679
•medium-term fellowships, worth up to
€6,000 over six months, plus up to €500
for travel. Web id: 1173629
•short-term fellowship, worth €1,000
over one month, plus up to €500 for
travel. Web id: 1173625
Contact: Valérie Kuffer
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [129]

Innovation communities
The European Institute of Innovation
& Technology invites proposals for
its call for knowledge and innovation

funding opportunities  17

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016
communities. Funding supports the
establishment of a partnership between
higher education institutions, research
organisations, companies, and other
stakeholders in the innovation process,
that aims to tackle societal challenges
through the development of products,
services and processes. Each knowledge
and innovation community may receive
up to 25 per cent of its overall budget. A
grant, worth up to €4 million (£3.1m), is
available for setting-up costs.
Web id: 1177733
Deadline: 14 July 2016 [132]

CERN particle physics research
CERN invites applications for the Atlas
PhD grants. These encourage doctoral
students in particle physics research,
including computing for physics, to
obtain world class exposure, supervision
and training within the ATLAS collaboration. Grants cover two years of PhD thesis
work, including one year at CERN at a
rate of CHF3,679 (£2,600) per month,
and one year at the home institute at a
reduced rate.
Web id: 1173947
Deadline: 15 July 2016 [133]

Thrombosis exchange grant
The European Society of Cardiology's
Working Group on Thrombosis invites
applications for its young thrombosis
researchers exchange grant. This enables investigators to conduct research
on thrombosis at a host institution in
another society member country or
affiliated country. The grant supports
salary costs over a maximum period of
12 months.
Web id: 1186168
Deadline: 30 July 2016 [134]

Arthritis and pain fellowship
ARTICULUM, via Pfizer UK, invites applications for its fellowship in arthritis and
pain. This enables young scientists to
conduct research on arthritis and pain.
Fellowships are worth up to €30,000
(£23,200) each, and are intended for
salary support and travel costs.
Web id: 191817
Deadline: 31 July 2016 [135]

European history research
The Leibniz Institute of European History invites applications for the following
•doctoral scholarships, worth up to
€14,400 (£11,100) each.
Web id: 1161881
•postdoctoral fellowships, worth up to
€21,600 each. Web id: 1161882
Contact: Ulrike Moritz
Deadline: 1 August 2016 [136]

Neurology fellowships
The European Academy of Neurology
invites applications for its research fellowship programme. This supports
young neurologists who wish to carry
out neuroscientific research. Fellowships provide up to €2,000 (£1,500)
per month, plus travel expenses of up
to €500.
Web id: 197729
Deadline: 31 August 2016 [138]

Bone research scholarships

Medicine awards

The International Bone Research Association invites applications for the following
•scholarships for clinical and scientific
residential stays at foreign host institutions, worth up to CHF12,000 (£8,600)
each. Web id: 1165428
•scholarships for clinical residential
visits at foreign host institutions, worth
up to CHF5,000 each. Web id: 1165427
•scholarships for participation in
international congresses, worth up to
CHF2,000 each. Web id: 1165425
Deadline: 1 September 2016 [139]

The Bial Foundation invites applications
for the following awards:
•award for clinical medicine, worth
€100,000 (£77,400). Web id: 199192
•merit award for medical sciences,
worth €200,000. Web id: 151807
Deadline: 31 October 2016 [149]

Spinal cord research
The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research
Foundation invites applications for the
following opportunities:
•individual research grants, worth
up to €57,000 (£44,100) per year each.
Web id: 195013
•project research grants, worth up to
€100,000 per year each. Web id: 257417
Deadline: 1 September 2016 [142]

Natural resource awards
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development invites applications for the following opportunities:
•conference sponsorship grants.
Web id: 180553
•research fellowships, which cover
travel, a subsistence allowance of up to
€11,700 (£9,100) per week over 26 weeks,
and €165 terminal charge.
Web id: 180557
Deadline: 10 September 2016 [144]

Anaesthesiology exchange
The European Society of Anaesthesiology invites applications for its trainee
exchange programme. This enables European trainees to visit training centres
in Europe for three months. Awards are
worth up to €8,000 (£6,200) each.
Web id: 190242
Deadline: 15 September 2016 [146]

Surgery fellowship
The International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery invites applications for the
Alexandria SICOT fellowship. This enables
surgeons to undertake training in different specialised departments at the
Hadra Orthopaedic and Traumatology
University Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt.
Fellowships cover travel expenses of up
to €1,000 (£770) and accommodation
for six months.
Web id: 1188282
Deadline: 30 September 2016 [147]

Interdisciplinary groups
Bielefeld University's Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) invites proposals
for its research groups funding. This
supports the establishment of interdisciplinary research groups in the natural
sciences, humanities or social sciences.
Projects may receive up to €500,000
(£386,900) each.
Web id: 1174079
Contact: Britta Padberg
Deadline: 1 October 2016 [148]

Surgical oncology training
The European Society of Surgical Oncology invites applications for the following
•training fellowships, worth up to
€10,000 (£7,700) each. Web id: 189865
•young surgeons and alumni club
research fellowship, worth €2,000 over
one to three months. Web id: 1183954
Deadline: 31 October 2016 [151]

rest of world
Opportunities from funders outside of the
UK, Europe and the US.

Australian telescope time
The Australian Astronomical Observatory
invites applications for its Anglo-Australian telescope service time. This is normally
allocated for programmes that require
a small amount of data to complete a
programme, to look at individual targets
of interest, or to try out new observing
techniques. Programmes may request up
to six hours of observing time.
Web id: 207557
No deadline [153]

Library access fellowships
The State Library of New South Wales
invites applications for the following
•the David Scott Mitchell memorial
fellowship, worth AU$12,000 (£6,300)
over one year. Web id: 203303
•the Merewether scholarship, worth
AU$12,000 over one year.
Web id: 203304
Deadline: 30 May 2016 [154]

National park research
The Project Tongariro invites applications
for the Tongariro Natural History Society
memorial award. This enables researchers
to study the flora, fauna, geology, volcanology, weather and natural and human
history of Tongariro National Park. The
award is worth up to NZ$2,000 (£950).
Web id: 183326
Deadline: 28 June 2016 [156]

Scholarships for women
The Australian Federation of Graduate
Women's Fellowships Fund invites applications for the following opportunities:
•the Queensland commemorative fellowships, worth approximately
AU$26,288 (£13,700) each over one year.
Web id: 204812
•the Freda Bage fellowship, worth
approximately AU$26,288.
Web id: 204807
Deadline: 30 June 2016 [157]

Opportunities from the National Institutes
of Health. Recurring NIH calls include the
next closing date only.

Rapid assessment of Zika virus complications (R21)
NIH ref: PAR-16-106
Web id: 1188977
No deadline [159]
Multidisciplinary research in vulvodynia
(R01): Aids-related
NIH ref: PA-16-102
Web id: 1188957
Deadline: 7 May 2016 [160]
Modelling of infectious disease agent
study research projects (R01): Aidsrelated
NIH ref: PA-16-107
Web id: 1188999
Deadline: 7 May 2016 [161]
Improvement of animal models for stemcell-based regenerative medicine (R01):
NIH ref: PAR-16-093
Web id: 1189041
Deadline: 7 May 2016 [162]
Biomarkers for the Lewy body dementias
NIH ref: RFA-NS-16-022
Web id: 1188995
Deadline: 10 May 2016 [163]
Small vessel vascular contributions to
cognitive impairment and dementia biomarkers (UH2/UH3)
NIH ref: RFA-NS-16-020
Web id: 1189060
Deadline: 10 May 2016 [164]
Cancer tissue engineering collaborative:
enabling biomimetic tissue-engineered
technologies for cancer research (U01)
NIH ref: PAR-16-105
Web id: 1188978
Deadline: 31 May 2016 [165]
Multidisciplinary research in vulvodynia
NIH ref: PAR-16-102
Web id: 164198
Deadline: 5 June 2016 [166]
Spermatogenic stem cell culture systems
to preserve and restore reproductive capacity in males (R01)
NIH ref: PAR-16-114
Web id: 1189040
Deadline: 5 June 2016 [167]
Modelling of infectious disease agent
study research projects (R01)
NIH ref: PA-16-107
Web id: 201042
Deadline: 5 June 2016 [168]
Pragmatic strategies for assessing psychotherapy quality in practice (R01)
NIH ref: RFA-MH-17-500
Web id: 1189061
Deadline: 8 June 2016 [169]
Multidisciplinary research in vulvodynia
NIH ref: PAR-16-101
Web id: 1159149
Deadline: 16 June 2016 [170]
Multidisciplinary research in vulvodynia
NIH ref: PA-16-100
Web id: 1159150
Deadline: 16 June 2016 [171]

18  funding news
US funding opportunities available to UK

Department of Energy Oak Ridge National
Laboratory advanced short-term research
Web id: 200152
No deadline [186]
Sigma Theta Tau International/Hospice
and Palliative Nurses Foundation end of
life nursing care research grant
Web id: 211373
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [187]
Sigma Theta Tau International/Midwest
Nursing Research Society research grant
Web id: 211376
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [188]
Society of Ethnomusicology Nadia and
Nicholas Nahumck fellowship
Web id: 1171788
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [189]
TREE Fund Hyland R Johns grants
Web id: 1181021
Deadline: 1 April 2016 [190]
Department of Defense amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis research programme –
therapeutic development award
Web id: 1188320
Deadline: 14 April 2016 [191]
Department of Defense amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis research programme –
therapeutic idea award
Web id: 1188321
Deadline: 14 April 2016 [192]
Association for the Sociology of Religion
Ralph A Gallagher travel grants
Web id: 1173321
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [193]
Smithsonian Institution short-term fellowships
Web id: 253068
Deadline: 15 April 2016 [194]
Department of Defense breast cancer
research programme – breakthrough award
Web id: 1188510
Deadline: 21 April 2016 [195]
Department of Defense breast cancer
research programme – breakthrough
fellowship award
Web id: 1188511
Deadline: 21 April 2016 [196]
Department of Defense breast cancer
research programme – era of hope
scholar award
Web id: 1188513
Deadline: 21 April 2016 [197]
Society of Systematic Biologists graduate student research awards
Web id: 190558
Deadline: 24 April 2016 [198]
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International generating improved
beta or islet cell sources through genetic
Web id: 1188641
Deadline: 28 April 2016 [202]
American Society for Microbiology
Abbott award in clinical and diagnostic
Web id: 197499
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [203]
American Society for Microbiology/
United States Federation for Culture Collections J Roger Porter award
Web id: 192706
Deadline: 1 May 2016 [204]

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

policy diary
22 WHEF: The Future for the
Catapult Network, London.
  • AHRC: Changing the Future Research Landscape?, Norwich. To
  7 WHEF: Next Steps for Postgraduate Research: Funding, Student Experience and Transition
to Post-Doctoral Roles, London.
12 WHEF: Improving Graduate
Employability, London.
14 WHEF: The Future of STEM
Subjects in HE, London.
  • WSPF: Next Steps for the Northern Powerhouse – Investment,
Infrastructure and Innovation,
17 Royal Society: Future Directions
in STEMM for People with
Disabilities, London.
18 WHEF: Implementing the Teaching Excellence Framework, London.
20 PraxisUnico, ARMA and AURIL:
Directors Forum, London. To 21.
21 CSaP: Behaviour and Health
Research Unit Annual Lecture
2016, Cambridge.
  • AUA Annual Conference:
Creativity, Collaboration and
Complexity, Leeds. To 23.
22 AHRC: The Politics of Academic
Publishing 1950-2016, London.
27 Universities UK: Universities,
Communities and Business:
Collaborating to Drive Growth
and Power Innovation, London.
  • AHRC: Leading for Impact,
London. To 28.
28 WHEF: The Future of Enterprise
and Entrepreneurship in HE, London.
  • Vitae, Leadership in Researcher
Development, Glasgow.
  4 Universities UK: Innovation
and Excellence in Teaching and
Learning, London.
17 Universities UK: The Prevent
Duty: Ensuring Complaince,

£37m for quantum physics
capital and skills
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has
awarded £25 million to capital investment projects at seven
universities and £12m to three Quantum Training and Skills
Hubs in Quantum Systems Engineering. The skills hubs—part
of the council’s network of Quantum Technology Hubs, which
was launched in November 2014—will be led by Imperial
College London, the University of Bristol and University
College London.
Vaccine technologies get £10m injection
The Department of Health has announced that it will fund a
Small Business Research Initiative competition for work on
novel vaccines and vaccine technologies. The competition
will run in two streams: the first has a budget of up to
£6 million for exploring scientific and technical feasibility;
the second stream will offer up to £4m for projects at a more
advanced stage of development. The registration deadline is
27 April, the application deadline is 4 May.
EPSRC allocates PhD training funds
Forty universities are to receive a share of £167 million from
the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for
doctoral training. The Doctoral Training Partnerships awards
range from £489,000 to £18.5m, covering training for PhD
students starting in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic
years. Funding was allocated on the basis of the EPSRC
research income and fellowships at the institutions.
UK scientists win European brain prize
Three British neuroscientists have won the Brain Prize,
awarded by Denmark’s Grete Lundbeck European Brain
Research Foundation, for their work on the mechanisms of
memory. Tim Bliss, Graham Collingridge and Richard Morris
were announced as winners of the €1-million (£779,000)
award on 1 March. In a statement, the foundation said
their work had “revolutionised” the understanding of how
memories are formed, retained and lost.
Scottish Genomes Partnership receives £6m boost
The Scottish Genomes Partnerships has received £6 million
from the Scottish government and the Medical Research
Council to coincide with its official launch on 1 March.
The aim of the partnership, between the universities of
Edinburgh and Glasgow, is to speed up genomic research
and improve access to personalised treatments for NHS
Scotland patients.
Wales launches largest ever health research project
The Welsh government has announced a wide-ranging
research project into the health of the nation, to be led
by Cardiff University. HealthWise Wales, announced on
29 February, will be a confidential research study in which
260,000 people will be periodically asked about the state of
their health. The information will be used to help NHS Wales
plan for the future, the Welsh government said.

  europe  19

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016


Danish and Swedish pharma would vie
for EU drugs agency post-Brexit
The heads of the pharmaceutical industry associations
in Denmark and Sweden have staked claims for their
respective countries to host the European Medicines
Agency, should the UK vote to leave the European Union.
In an interview with the Danish medical news website MedWatch, published on 29 February, Ida Sofie
Jensen, chief executive of the Danish Association of
the Pharmaceutical Industry, said that the association
would “put pressure on the government to do everything
it can” to attract the London-based EMA to Denmark in
the event of a Brexit.
The UK remaining in the EU would be “the best thing
for all of us working in biotech and pharmaceuticals”, but
if the UK did leave then Denmark would be an “obvious
location” for the agency, Jensen said. “When a biotech
company or a company in the pharmaceutical sector has to
decide where to place its headquarters, the preferred places
now are Boston, the UK, Switzerland, and Denmark. Boston
is in the United States and Switzerland is not in the EU.”
Jensen cited good relationships between the industry, universities, public authorities and hospitals in
Denmark in support of her claim. But, she said that the
merger between the Danish medicines agency and the
Danish health authority, which occurred between 2012
and 2015, did weaken Denmark’s case.
Any bid by Denmark to host the EMA would face com-

in brief

Call for EU to back
interdisciplinary PhDs
The European Commission should
set up a stream under its Marie
Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme dedicated to interdisciplinary doctoral training, the EuroTech Universities
Alliance has said. Actions such as the Innovative Training
Networks for doctoral-level researchers are organised
by scientific discipline, the alliance said, meaning that
interdisciplinary proposals miss out.
UK wins most from extra ERC grants
The European Research Council has named 59 young
researchers to receive a Starting Grant, after an additional €86 million (£66.5m) was made available for the
programme. UK institutions are the biggest winners,
securing 13 of the additional grants. Other successful
countries include Switzerland with seven, and Germany,
France, Israel, and the Netherlands, with six each.
Commission moves on open-science plans
The European Commission has published a draft
open-science agenda and is seeking volunteers for an
open-science policy advisory group. The draft is organ-

by Craig Nicholson

petition from Sweden. Anders Blanck, the chief executive
of Lif, the Swedish association of pharmaceutical research
companies, wrote on it’s website on 25 February that the
Swedish government should immediately start lobbying
for the agency to move to Sweden. “If the referendum
in the UK leads to a rejection of the EU, the government
should immediately launch intense lobbying for Sweden
to become a new host to the EMA,” he said. “My advice is
to already start planning for such advocacy.”
Sweden has a tradition of translating academic research
at the Karolinska Institute, and the firms AstraZeneca and
GE Healthcare are investing billions of euros in facilities
there, Blanck said. But Jensen countered that Sweden’s
research environment had weakened since Swedish
firms such as Astra and Pharmacia merged with UK firms
and moved their headquarters to the UK. “[Sweden] has
great universities and great hospital environments, but
they don’t have the industry,” she said.
The EMA, which was set up in 1995, is a decentralised EU agency. On 12 February, Karen Taylor, research
director of the UK Centre for Health Solutions, a Deloitte
consultancy, said in a blog post that it was “clear that the
EMA would relocate its UK headquarters to another country within the EU in the event of a Brexit”.
ised around five broad themes: fostering open science,
removing barriers, developing infrastructures, pushing
open access, and embedding open science in society.
Expert group to review EIT
Education commissioner Tibor Navracsics has responded
to criticism of the European Institute of Innovation and
Technology by setting up an expert group to help identify areas for improvement. Speaking to the European
Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee,
Navracsics said that he realised that concerns about the
EIT’s performance were important, and that he and his
staff would work to fix the problems.
No more funds likely for Horizon 2020, Smits says
Robert-Jan Smits, director-general of research at the
European Commission, has said that Horizon 2020 is
unlikely to receive more money in an upcoming review
of the EU budget. Speaking in Brussels on 16 February,
Smits said that he had asked for increased funding for
Horizon 2020 under the mid-term review of the EU’s seven-year budget plan, but that he did not expect to get it
due to the “enormous crises” Europe is facing in terms of
refugees and the political situation in Ukraine.

20  view

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

s t e r n r e v i e w    s i m o n k e r r i d g e

Stern should look west for a
broader view of efficiency
Much of the rhetoric in recent consultations on research
has been around efficiency. In 2014, the government commissioned The Metric Tide report to look—again—at the use
of metrics in research assessment, potentially as a cheaper
alternative to peer review in the next Research Excellence
Framework. The report was clear: metrics cannot act as a
replacement for peer review at the moment. Their coverage and robustness are not up to scratch.
The four pages on research in the 2015 higher education
green paper again focused on efficiency. It proposed an
interim mini-REF, perhaps based on metrics. The recently
released draft consultation on the next REF, prepared
by the Higher Education Funding Council for England,
also discusses metrics, and supports development of the
Forum for Responsible Metrics. That consultation was put
on hold until after Nicholas Stern’s ongoing review of UK
research assessment, which looks once more at metrics.
The focus on metrics as the great hope for more
efficient research assessment is perhaps misplaced.
Research assessment is but one small part of the research
ecosystem, as the Stern review has recognised.
To truly make efficiency savings we must take a
broader view. We need a more holistic approach to
research-funding infrastructure, which does not necessarily mean putting the research councils in charge of
the quality-related block grant. For example, is it really
sensible or necessary for the REF and the research councils to have different open-access policies?
Here we can learn from our American colleagues, in particular from an initiative called the Federal Demonstration
Partnership. The aim of the partnership—tagline
“researchers doing science, not administration”—is to
get federal agencies, academic institutions and researchpolicy organisations to streamline administration.
In the UK the research councils run the Research
Organisation Consultation Group, but this is lower key
and smaller in remit, with around 10 representatives
from institutions and a similar number from the councils. Initially intended as a coordinating
body, it has tended more to be a forum
for exchanging information. In contrast,
the FDP has numerous representatives
from 10 participating federal funders
and, crucially, three representatives—
an academic, a technical expert and an
administrator—from each of the more
than 150 research institutions involved.
Three times a year, the partnership
brings hundreds of academics and pro-

‘We need a
more holistic
approach to

fessional staff face to face with decision-makers from
funding and regulatory agencies. The meetings spawn
groups to work on reducing administrative burdens and
improving efficiency in research. When funders have
ideas, they test them in collaboration with a few universities. Groups also work to produce documentation and
share good practice. Working groups typically have weekly teleconferences to keep driving the agenda forward.
The benefit to funders and institutions easily outweighs
the commitment required. One good example of such benefits is the Faculty Workload Survey, which measures the
time academics spend administering federally funded projects. It is a great tool for identifying the pinch points.
The UK, where many systems and processes have
been introduced without sufficient consultation, badly
needs this sort of overarching approach. Looking to the
future, for example, the forthcoming replacement for
the research councils’ electronic submission system for
grant proposals must work for everyone, not just the
councils. Various initiatives cover some of this ground,
but no regular forum brings everyone together.
To realise the wider benefit, all the players need to
meet and talk—government, the funding and research
councils, other major funders such as the Wellcome
Trust, universities and research institutions. Academic,
technical and administrative staff should be present,
with other players as appropriate to the domain—software vendors, for example, when questions of system
interoperability are discussed.
Perhaps a UK equivalent of the FDP needs to be
developed over time, beginning with small-scale pilot
schemes. But, with the focus on efficiency and the
potential for structural change, there is an opportunity
to start the ball rolling. The Consortium for Advancing
Standards in Research Administration Information, an
international not-for-profit organisation that works
to streamline research administration, has recently
launched a UK chapter with the intention of addressing a small subset of the issues that the FDP covers. This
could be a model for, or part of, a much larger initiative.
I hope that the interested parties will take this opportunity to get together, on an ongoing basis, to ensure
that existing and new processes are as efficient as possible. Not to do so would be ridiculous.
More to say? Email
Simon Kerridge is director of research services at the
University of Kent and chairman of the board of directors of
the Association for Research Managers and Administrators.

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

  view  21

ben martin

Research assessment needs to go
back to the drawing board
We have now had seven attempts at national research
assessment, dating back 30 years to 1986. In that time,
what was intended as a policy tool has become more
like an elite sport. Research assessment is now a hugely
expensive pursuit, characterised by minutely detailed
preparation and a win-at-all-costs mentality.
Here I want to focus on one consequence of this
approach: the narrowing of what counts as good work.
The Research Excellence Framework owes its present
bloated proportions to repeated efforts to address this.
As the cost, influence and scope of research assessment have grown, one thing has remained constant;
assessment has always been structured around disciplines, notably in the make-up of its peer-review panels.
As a result, the most highly rated departments are
those perceived to have contributed most to the disciplinary mainstream. This puts pressure, particularly on
young researchers, to steer clear of interdisciplinary or
non-mainstream research.
Related to this restriction is the shrinking of the kinds
of output submitted for assessment. Researchers produce
many things—instruments, techniques, books, contract
research, trained people and so on. And yet the idea of
excellent research has become almost synonymous with
a paper published in a high-impact journal. Once again,
this disadvantages interdisciplinary work, user-oriented
research, or long-term, large-scale work that can only be
conveyed in a book.
After seven attempts it is clear that assessment panels
based on traditional disciplines are reasonably effective
at evaluating departments doing mainstream research
in that discipline. But such panels are not capable of
dealing with, or treating fairly, any department or unit
operating outside the mainstream.
What’s more, as research assessment exercises have
reinforced disciplinary boundaries, government science
policy has moved in the opposite direction. Since the
1993 science policy white paper Realising our Potential,
the focus has been on addressing the needs of research
users, contributing to economic growth and serving
society. Because economic and social problems do not
fall neatly within a single discipline, this almost inevitably drives academics towards interdisciplinary research.
Ben Martin is professor of science and technology policy
studies at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of
Sussex. This article is based on his recent working paper
What is Happening to Our Universities?

Consequently, there is a fundamental contradiction lurking at the heart of UK science policy. First, we
urge academics to engage with the wider world, pushing them down an interdisciplinary route. Then, every
five years or so, we impose on them a discipline-based
assessment system, forcing them to box themselves up
into a single disciplinary pigeonhole.
You might think that this would have prompted a fundamental rethink of how research is evaluated. But it
seems that too much has been invested by too many to
allow such a move to be contemplated.
When a software company finds a bug or vulnerability in one of its programs, it rarely goes back to drawing
board. Instead, it releases a patch—an add-on designed
to fix the flaw while leaving the basics unchanged. You
could see the assessment of research impact, the most
significant new feature of the REF, as the research-policy equivalent of such a patch.
The aim is laudable. Looking at societal impact, rather
than publications, is more likely to recognise the contribution of interdisciplinary, user-oriented and locally
relevant research. The result, though, is that assessment
takes up still more time and resources.
Despite this, there are still many forms of impact
that the REF did not capture, especially those too diffuse, complex, or long-term to be summed up in a neat
‘impact story’. Moreover, researchers are now encouraged to take a very proprietary attitude towards their
work, and to downplay the collective aspects of research
and the fact that many pieces of interrelated knowledge
act together to have an impact.
No doubt these and other criticisms of impact assessment will be widely aired and noted, not least in the
ongoing review of the REF by Nicholas Stern. We will
complain that impact assessment is simple-minded, and
REF 2021 will be made more elaborate, more burdensome and more time-consuming. It will also encourage
still more sophisticated game-playing.
Instead of more of the same, we need
to change direction. That needs to begin
with a debate going back to fundamentals: what do we want from research and
how do we intend to get it? Everything
should be up for grabs, up to and including the dual funding system. Will Stern
start such a debate? Or will he just
release another patch?
Something to add? Email comment@

‘There is a
lurking at
the heart of
science policy.’

22  view

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

v i e w f r o m t h e t o p    f i o n a f o x

Gagging-order exemption for
researchers won’t fix the problem
Less than a year ago, I raised the alarm about a Cabinet
Office ruling that civil servants must seek ministerial
permission before speaking to the media. Given that
thousands of research scientists sign the civil service
code, I feared that this would have a chilling effect on
scientists already wary of the media.
Now we learn that from 1 May, all government grants will
include an anti-lobbying clause to prevent public money
supporting “activity intended to influence or attempt to
influence parliament, government or political parties”.
Many scientists are dismayed. In an email, Richard
Pancost—who directs the University of Bristol’s Cabot
Institute, which studies environmental uncertainty—
called the policy “a direct challenge to some of our
fundamental ideals about freedom of speech, public transparency and fostering of open dialogue”. The
research councils, national academies and the Higher
Education Funding Council for England are all seeking
clarification and possibly an exemption for researchers.
Others have reassured me that scientists were not the
policy’s intended target, and say it will be fixed behind
closed doors. I am struggling to feel reassured by this, even
leaving aside that it would be hard to celebrate an exemption for scientists while former colleagues in the aid agency
Cafod and the sexual health charity Brook are barred from
using government money to try to change policy.
I am less confident than some that the government
would never seek to discourage scientists from speaking
out. Our experience at the Science Media Centre suggests
otherwise. Even though a gagging order on government
scientists in Canada sparked international protests a few
years ago, the reality is that similar restrictions were
already in place in the UK, albeit not in writing.
Thousands of researchers working for government labs
need permission from press officers to talk to the media.
We need only look at David Nutt’s 2009 sacking from
his position on the Advisory Committee
on the Misuse of Drugs to be reminded
that some ministers are not keen on advisers pointing out discrepancies between
evidence and policy.
Many similar examples never make
the news. One scientist working at a government lab told me that as part of her
induction she and colleagues were told to
avoid saying anything that might embarrass the minister. The head of another
government lab doing trials relating to
badgers and bovine tuberculosis told me

‘We should
not rely on
our political
the openness
we need.’

that the scientists would never do media interviews,
because any summary of the research would reveal that
the evidence supporting a badger cull was weak, which
would be interpreted by the department as lobbying.
So while I agree that there is scant evidence that the
Cabinet Office is aiming to extend such restraints to university scientists, I also think we should not rely on our
political leaders to champion the openness we need.
The other thing that scares me about this kind of
policy is the message it sends to those communications
managers who are already wary of researchers engaging
in public debates on contentious topics. Many research
council press officers see the threat of such government
edicts and work hard to challenge them. But not all.
Before waiting for clarification of last year’s gagging order, one research council emailed all its funded
researchers highlighting the policy—something we
discovered only after a usually media-friendly scientist
turned down an interview on the Today programme. In
some ways the biggest danger of this policy is that it will
strengthen the hands of those who already prefer to play
it safe and keep quiet.
This matters because we need to hear more from scientists about the contentious issues of the day, not
less. The Science Media Centre has always been wary of
campaigning scientists who stray beyond their field into
lobbying. We also support government chief scientific
adviser Mark Walport’s view that scientific advice in policymaking should be on tap but not on top.
But the campaigning scientist is a far cry from the one
who simply states where the weight of evidence lies in
a debate on fracking or e-cigarettes. It may make civil
servants twitchy, but that doesn’t make it lobbying.
More than ever, we need to hear from the researchers doing the experiments and gathering the evidence
on issues from the effectiveness of a sugar tax and plain
packaging for cigarettes, to neonicotinoid pesticides
and ash dieback. No politician need ever act on scientific
evidence alone, but to drive the best experts out of the
discussions would be a disaster for debate.
Let’s hope that an exemption for university researchers is secured. But the wider issue is a question of public
interest and deserves public debate. It’s not just about
the rights of scientists to speak—it’s about everyone
else’s right to hear them.
More to say? Email
Fiona Fox is chief executive of the Science Media Centre.

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

  view  23

j a c q m i n & l e f e b v r e    v i e w f r o m t h e t o p

(Some) academics make the best
higher education ministers
Recently, Graeme Reid pondered whether science
ministers were more effective if they had professional
experience of science [RF 10/2/16, p23]. Looking at UK
ministers from the past few decades, he concluded that
those who did the most for science were distinguished
by political skill and enthusiasm for their brief, rather
than specialist scientific knowledge.
Indeed, he suggested that a scientific background
might disadvantage a minister, as it could give colleagues the impression of bias and blur the line between
specialist advice and political decision-making.
We have recently studied a similar question: do higher
education ministers do a better job if they have worked
in academia as a lecturer, dean or rector? Analysing data
from across Europe we found that they do—at least as
measured by university rankings. The most effective ministers combine university experience with electoral success,
and their impact seems not to depend on the amount of
money they have to spend.
The study grew out of a lunchtime conversation about
a higher education policy that, we thought, was so misguided it could only have been devised by someone
who had never worked in a university. To see whether
there was any evidence for this intuition, we looked at
the records of the higher education ministers active in
20 European countries between 2003 and 2011.
It is difficult to compare the performance of different
countries’ higher education systems. University rankings
are, to say the least, an imperfect measure of achievement; they are heavily biased towards top-notch research
activity in the hard sciences, for example. We settled,
however, on the Academic Ranking of World Universities
known as the Shanghai ranking. This is the closest thing
to a standardised measure available, as it is at least transparent in its methods and consistent over time.
To gauge a minister’s performance, we looked at how
well the nation’s universities did in these rankings during
his or her tenure, controlling for a number of socioeconomic and political factors. We found that countries with
ministers who had been academics showed a significantly
greater improvement in their universities’ aggregate rankings than those who had never worked in universities.
There are a number of reasons to expect academics to
make more effective higher education ministers. First,
Julien Jacqmin is an assistant professor in economics
at the University of Liège; Mathieu Lefebvre is assistant
professor at the University of Strasbourg. See also
Research Policy, v 45(5), p 987-98, 2016.

they have specialist expertise. Universities are peculiar
institutions; familiarity with these peculiarities could well
be an advantage in running a higher education system.
Second, ministers who have come from a higher education background will bring huge social capital. The benefits
of strong social and professional connections to those
charged with implementing your policies are obvious.
Third, regardless of personal connections, a background
in academia sends a strong signal to other academics, giving a minister a head start in building credibility and trust.
Fourth, there is considerable evidence from political
economics that education is an advantage in any position of political leadership. The more highly educated a
leader is, the more effective his or her policies tend to be.
One thing not significantly affected by a minister’s
background is funding: academics-turned-ministers are
no looser with the purse strings. This suggests that their
impact is institutional—they are better on average at devising policies that boost universities without spending more.
But, before we parachute a professor into every higher
education ministry, there are other factors to consider.
Most importantly, the ministers who make the biggest difference are those who have both worked in a university
and won an election. Academics who enter government
without climbing up the political ladder are no more effective than ministers who have never worked in universities.
Politics is just as strange a world as academia.
Navigating it successfully requires experience and commitment, and electoral success seems to be a crucial rite
of passage in building political credibility. Our findings
are in line with studies of prime ministers, mayors and
ministers of finance and development showing how a
political leader’s background, both inside and outside
politics, influences his or her performance.
We can, then, begin to build up a picture of the ideal
higher-education minister. An expert but not a technocrat, he or she is comfortable with the
political process and has first-hand
knowledge of how both universities
and governments work.
Is this enough to pinpoint the best
person for a particular job? Given the
personal, professional and political
complexities involved, we would be
cautious about drawing such a firm
conclusion—but we believe we may
have found a useful rule of thumb.
Something to add? Email comment@

are peculiar
their peculiarities
could well be an

24  interesting if true

Research Fortnight, 9 March 2016

interesting if true
Redundant communications The Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills is cutting its budget by 30 to
40 per cent, a plan that will involve making a fair few
people redundant. We were interested to see where it
does plan to spend its money when we noticed a job
advert from the department posted online. According to
the ad, not only does BIS want to hire four media relations staff now, it also wants to keep people’s details on
file for a “talent pool” for future vacancies over the next
12 months. Seems to us that the department is bracing
itself for some bad press over the next year.
Digital disconnect The power of ‘digital’ (it is a noun,
apparently) to transform teaching and learning was a
hot topic last week at Jisc’s Digifest conference. But the
exciting potential of technology to enhance “blended
learning” in “flexible collaborative spaces” seemed to
be a little lost on some of the more grounded delegates.
One was heard remarking, “Honestly, some of the things
they say. It’s like they’re from another planet.”
Fizzled out We’re sure that no one would begrudge the
winners of the Brain Prize—the €1-million (£770,000)
award considered the Nobel of neuroscience—a glass or
two of champagne. Even if it is 10.30am and you’re under
the gaze of Fleet Street’s finest (who would surely not be

in a position to judge drinking on the job). To celebrate
the success of Tim Bliss, Richard Morris and Graham
Collingridge, the Science Media Centre popped the cork
on a bottle of bubbly at the press briefing with the winners last week. But spare a thought for Collingridge,
who had to phone in from Ottawa at 5.30am and could
only listen to the glasses being charged. To add insult to
injury, Collingridge wasn’t told that the press conference
had finished—a voice from the speaker piped up at the
end, saying, “I’m still here...”
Copypasta It’s not very remarkable that Labour MP for
Cambridge Daniel Zeichner and the shadow business secretary Angela Eagle are on the same page when it comes
to the UK’s referendum on membership of the European
Union, but it’s uncanny that they seem to match each
other word for word. Discussing potential lost dosh
from the European Research Council, Eagle’s comment
on Labour’s press website said, “these figures highlight
the risk to our universities of the UK leaving the EU”.
Meanwhile, Zeichner’s comments on the subject were
exactly the same when they surfaced on the website of
Cambridge Network, a local technology organisation. Is
this a case of great minds thinking alike or a press officer
giving up on even pretending that politicians can summon an original thought?

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