Posts By / Ainar

Horizon Europe collaboration tools and novelties

Collaboration tools

Following the recent Horizon Europe (HEU) Cluster 1 Health Brokerage Event, the online partnering system remains open to book partnering video meetings and publish new collaboration profiles until 31 October 2021. The UK National Contact Point provides further materials from UK-focussed events on a dedicated website and via a newsletter, which you can subscribe to for free.

Following the recent Horizon Europe Cluster 2 Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society Brokerage Event, the online partnering system for 2021 calls has been reopened and remains available to book video meetings and contact registered users until 5 October 2021. The UK National Contact Point provides further materials from national events on a dedicated website. The ‘Sustainable future for Europe’ information and brokerage event (Cluster 2 “Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Societies”) for 2022 calls will be held virtually on 30 September.

Horizon Europe Novelties

The Online Manual for EU Funding Programmes 2021-27 states that all EU-funded actions, including Horizon Europe projects, should have a maximum of 10-15 major deliverables.

This is to make the proposal concise, moving away from the 70-page limit in H2020 to the new 45-page limit in Horizon Europe for RIA/IA projects and about giving the proposal a good structure, not limiting work/outputs. There can be many internal deliverables within the project, but they should be structured to no more than 15 major deliverables in the list itself. Minor sub-items should not be included (internal working papers, meeting minutes, etc.).

The recently published Horizon Europe Programme Guide includes useful information on the novelties and horizontal aspects of Horizon Europe.

HEU Work Programme Update

The Horizon Europe Work Programme for 2021-22 will be updated in the autumn to accommodate some important changes, which were not included in the original version, published in mid-June. The first Horizon Europe Work Programme may include several elements related to the implementation of the new programme, for example:

  • Information about topics which will be part of the ‘blind evaluation’ pilot
  • Information about topics which will use the lump sum funding model
  • Information about countries that will be subject to new restrictions on participation in the Cluster 4 Work Programme
  • Further information on the implementation of the Horizon Europe Missions

Funding briefings

As announced earlier, Funding Development Briefings for BU academics will resume in September. RDS Research Facilitators still are updating the Major Opportunities pipeline on a weekly basis, so you have access to the latest funding opportunities on the I Drive here: I:\RDS\Public\Funding Pipeline

Horizon Europe – July Update

Draft of the Annotated Grant Agreement published

The European Commission (EC) has published the draft of the Annotated Grant Agreement, which includes additional explanations for each article of the corporate Model Grant Agreement. It reflects the new corporate structure of the General Model Grant Agreement and equally will be used for all centrally managed EU programmes that have already migrated (or will soon migrate) to the Funding & Tenders Portal.

HEU Work Programme published

EC adopted the main Horizon Europe (HEU) Work Programme for 2021-2022 in mid-June and consequently published the final version on the Funding & Tenders Portal. Consequently, many of the first calls for proposals, worth €14.7 billion, have already opened. There are several updates planned to the Work Programme, in particular in the autumn, to clarify the eligibility conditions for topics that were under discussion in Cluster 4 ‘ Digital, Industry and Space’ where some restrictions to protect the Union’s strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security apply.

HEU Info Days

Following the recent Horizon Europe Cluster 4 Digital Brokerage Event held by Ideal-ist, the network of National Contact Points for ICT research and the Enterprise Europe Network, the online partnering system remains open to book scheduled and ad hoc meetings until the first call deadlines (21 October 2021). In addition, resources from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe information events are available online: Cluster 1 Health Info Day, Cluster 2 Culture, Creativity & Inclusive Society Info Day, Cluster 5 Climate, Energy & Mobility Info Day and Cluster 6 Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment Info Day.

Swiss participation in HEU

As of 30 July 2021, Switzerland is treated as a non-associated third country in Horizon Europe. Consequently, researchers based in Switzerland are currently only able to participate in a Horizon Europe, the Euratom programme and the Digital Europe Programme proposal as an associated partner from a third country.

Funding for researchers and innovators based in Switzerland for their participation in collaborative projects will be provided by the Swiss Government for all 2021 calls of Horizon Europe and the Euratom programme. The State Secretariat for Research and Innovation (SERI) has published a financial guarantee on their website.

So, a Swiss partner is eligible to participate in collaborative projects, though the consortia have to make sure that the minimum eligibility criteria, excluding Switzerland, is met for each proposal.

You can find the most recent information on the current status of Switzerland within HEU and relevant materials for researchers on the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation website.

Association to HEU

According to Research Professional, EC has completed its second round of talks on association to Horizon Europe with a group of non-EU countries. Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine have all now completed their second round of talks. The final round of negotiations is expected to take place from the end of August to mid-September, with a target of signing association agreements by the end of 2021.

On 17 June, the EC announced it had given provisional associated access to Horizon Europe to the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Morocco, Norway and the UK.

Negotiations on UK association have already been concluded as part of a broader agreement on trade and other relations with the bloc.

Funding opportunities

As it was announced earlier this week, there will be no funding briefings in August with those returning in September. However, RDS Research Facilitators will continue updating the Major Opportunities pipeline on a weekly basis, so you have access to the latest funding opportunities. The pipeline is available on the I Drive at RDS\Public\Funding Pipeline.

Let me wish you all to enjoy the rest of the summer and do not hesitate to contact me with questions related to EU and international funding.

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships 2021 – July update

As it was announced earlier this week, on 22nd July from 10am to 3pm, RDS will host an online workshop for those interested in applying for MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA PF) 2021 call. Please email OD@bournemouth.ac.uk by the end of the next Monday 19 July if you’d like to attend; both supervisors and potential fellows are welcome to participate. Link to join the event to those registered will be sent early next week.

Proposal submission deadline for MSCA PD 2021 call is 12 October 2021, the deadline for submission of Intention to Bid form to RDS is 16 August 2021.

The workshop will consist of two sessions led by Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums. In the morning session (10am to 12 pm) we will review general MSCA PF rules and 2021 call novelties. In the afternoon (1pm to 3pm) we will focus on proposal preparation providing useful tips and advice. Both parts will end with Q&A sessions.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are part of the First Pillar within the new Horizon Europe (HEU) framework programme. These actions are open to all research areas and support fundamental research through to near market activities. MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships (formerly Individual Fellowships) are aimed at individual fellows who already have a doctoral degree and wish to enhance their creative and innovative potential and acquire new skills through research and training activities supervised by experienced academics.

The overall structure of the proposal template and information requested to be addressed in the proposal has not changed significantly from Horizon 2020. However, some of the text has been revised, and a few additional subheadings have been included. The guidance on how to complete Part B of the proposal is no longer included in the Guide for Applicants but is included in the template itself. More information is available on the MSCA-2021-PF call page under ‘topic conditions and documents’ section.

 

 

Update on Horizon Europe

The Horizon Europe Regulation was published on 12 May and we were expecting to see the first Work Programme published by the European Commission in the same week. However, since then, the publication has been delayed several times, and while some calls have already opened and closed (ERC, emergency COVID-19, EIC), most of the main calls have not been published.

According to UKRO, the reason for this delay is the on-going discussions on eligibility criteria for certain topics in specific Work Programme parts, related to whether topics in selected areas will be open to the participation of Associated Countries. A positive vote on the Horizon Europe Work Programme by Member States this week would allow a publication within the next two weeks.

If the Work Programme is agreed by mid-June, as currently expected, the European Commission will organise online info sessions on the first calls at the end of June or the beginning of July. If there is a further delay, the timetable for calls might need to be revised more substantially.

UKRO understands that the European Commission wants to maintain a period of at least three months between the opening of calls and respective deadlines. If the Work Programme is agreed by mid-June, and calls launch simultaneously, this will mean a delay of a few weeks to deadlines compared to the original schedule where calls would have been launched in mid-March.

This delay of the calls does not affect UK participation and UK entities have already started participating in the first Horizon Europe calls or are in the process of submitting proposals. UK entities can apply to the calls once they open, as confirmed by the European Commission.

Horizon Europe Consortia Building Events

The UK National Contract Points (NCPs) for Horizon Europe in collaboration with KTN Global Alliance, are inviting potential applicants in the UK, Europe and beyond to participate in their Horizon Europe consortia building event series on 14, 17 and 21 June 2021.

These events are not information dissemination events, but instead will focus on pitching of project ideas and brokering partnerships for European Research and Innovation collaborations and networking.

The events are ideal for those who have identified specific call topics or at areas of interest, are ready to take the next steps, discussing concrete project ideas with potential partners and going forward to a proposal submission.

Themes across the webinars are scheduled as follows:

14 June 2021

  • Cluster 1 – Health.
  • Cluster 2 – Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society.

17 June 2021

  • Cluster 3 – Civil Security for Society.
  • Cluster 4 – Digital, Industry and Space.

21 June 2021

  • Cluster 5 – Climate, Energy and Mobility.
  • Cluster 6 – Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment.

These are excellent opportunities for researchers to widen their academic network with an aim to apply for EU collaborative grants.

For further information and to register, visit the KTN website.

The UK is expected to soon become an associated country to the EU’s R&I Framework Programme Horizon Europe. The UK will therefore have the same rights and obligations as other
countries associated to the Programme. UK entities can be included in consortia, as if the UK were already associated to the programme, in accordance with the Commission’s guidance.

In a case of further queries related to EU funding, get in touch with RDS Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums.

The GCRF Additional call is Now Open (to existing PIs only)

The GCRF panel has £3600 available to support GCRF eligible activities that can be completed by the end of July 2021. Considering the limited funds and the time constraint, we are opening a very quick call targeting GCRF PIs of current or recently finished projects.

Any requests must demonstrate that the activity is ODA compliant, feasible (no risk of non-spending) and that it will enhance project impact. If funds are to be sent to partners, agreements must be in place and valid until completion of submitted project. Applicants are responsible for assessing their eligibility before submission.

Please submit your application via email to GCRF@bournemouth.ac.uk by close of business 4th June 2021 with the following:

– Name of the GCRF project (funded through BU or UKRI) that will benefit from this extra funding
– Description of activity (what will be done, when and by whom) – all activities must be completed by end of July 2021
– Impact expected (how will this activity enhance project impact? How will this benefit people or the economy of the ODA recipient country?)
– Budget

Please be succinct but informative in your application and address any queries to GCRF@bournemouth.ac.uk

Putting the GCRF Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

MSCA 2021 Postdoctoral Fellowships Information Sessions – Slides Available

​The UK Research Office (UKRO), in its capacity as UK National Contact Point for the Horizon Europe 2021 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), were holding a series of information webinars to support potential applicants applying for the 2021 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships call (expected call opening 18 May 2021, proposed call deadline 15 September 2021).

The webinar series aimed to provide participants with comprehensive overview of the scheme, including the budget, how to develop your proposal, the submission process, and tips on how to address the evaluation criteria. UKRO have kindly provided the presentation slides from those webinars; staff of UKRO subscribing organisations may access them on UKRO website (registration is required). Please follow the links below to see more:

Session 1: Overview and Eligibility Rules

Session 2: MSCA PF: Practical Matters

Session 3: MSCA PF: Process for Submission and Evaluation and Expert Evaluator Presentation

BU is one of the UKRO’s subscriber organisations and every BU employee may use their  services – sign up to the UKRO portal and subscribe for email newsletters to receive the latest information on EU funding and policy directly to your inbox; for more information visit UKRO website.

If you have any further queries related to either EU/international funding in general, Horizon Europe Framework Programme or MSCA scheme specifically, please contact BU Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums.

Update on Horizon Europe

This blog post is prepared based on an article published by UKRO.

The European Parliament has adopted the legal basis of Horizon Europe. MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of both the Horizon Europe Regulation and the Specific Programme on Tuesday night last week. This paves the way for the final adoption and publication of the legislation – followed by the publication of the first Horizon Europe Work Programme with calls for proposals, budgets and deadlines.

Following the Parliament’s consent, the Specific Programme for Horizon Europe and the Euratom Regulation will now need to be adopted by the Council of Ministers within the next two weeks. The Horizon Europe Regulation, the Specific Programme and the Euratom Regulation are then expected to be published in the Official Journal of the EU on 12 May and become law, allowing for the first Horizon Europe Work Programme to be published once the drafting process is completed. The Regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021, thus covering the early Horizon Europe calls launched so far.

UKRO understands that due to a further delay in the drafting process, unusually, the main Work Programme will not be published on the same day the programme’s legal basis enters into force – its publication and launch of the first calls is now expected to take place in late May, with the possibility that some of the first deadlines may need to be adjusted accordingly.

The Parliament’s approval of Horizon Europe also brings the formal UK association process a step closer to completion. In the meantime, UK entities can be included in consortia, as if the UK were already associated to the programme, in accordance with the Commission’s guidance.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: Postdoctoral Fellowships 2021

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are part of the First Pillar within Horizon Europe (HEU) framework programme. They operate on a completely bottom-up basis, with no pre-defined priority areas.

These actions are open to all research areas and support fundamental research through to near market activities. In HEU, MSCA will continue to provide grants for all stages of researchers’ careers with a strong emphasis on encouraging international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.

Postdoctoral Fellowships (formerly Individual Fellowships) are aimed at individual fellows who already have a doctoral degree and wish to enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers holding a PhD, wishing to acquire new skills through further research.

The MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships call 2021 is expected to open on 18 May 2021; proposal submission deadline – 15 September 2021. RDS is prepared to support BU academics wishing to supervise incoming fellows as usual. We encourage to get in touch with RDS Funding Development Team as soon as possible; we will not require submitting Intention to Bid form before August, however it will allow us to efficiently plan resources for supporting academics.

This article has been prepared based on information prepared by UK Research Office (UKRO). UKRO, in its capacity as UK National Contact Point for the MSCA, provides useful and up to date information to their subscribers. UKRO supports the R&I community in the UK and Europe.

BU is one of the UKRO subscriber organisations and every BU employee may use their  services – sign up to the UKRO portal and subscribe for email newsletters to receive the latest information on EU funding and policy directly to your inbox; for more information visit UKRO website.

In a case of further queries related to either EU funding in general, Horizon Europe Framework Programme or MSCA scheme specifically, please contact BU Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums.

AT Virtual STEAMLab on Wednesday, 12 May 2021

This is a reminder that on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 from 11.30am to 1pm, RDS will be hosting Virtual STEAMLab event under the strategic investment area of Assistive Technology.

Please booking your place by the end of Wednesday, 5 May 2021.

We ask all participants to download and complete the AT STEAMLab Application Form and return this to Ainar Blaudums and/or Theresa McManus.

For more information please read our previous AT STEAMLab blog post.

If you have any queries prior to submitting your application, please contact RDS Research Facilitators Ainar Blaudums or Ehren Milner.

We are looking forward to meeting you at the STEAMLab next week.

The ACORN Fund Additional Round is Closing Soon

As advertised earlier, the ACORN Fund (Acceleration OResearch & Networking) for Early Career Researchers is open for applications  for projects that can be delivered before the end of July 2021. This round differs from previous rounds due to the short turnaround time, smaller budget and limited activities eligible for funding.

The  closing date is Tuesday, 4th May 2021 (5pm) and all applications must be submitted to the email account: acorn@bournemouth.ac.uk. Please use only this email address for submitting your applications.

On BU OneDrive, you can find out more by reading the updated ACORN Fund Policy (the guidance document) and apply using the Application Form for this round. In addition, to assist with the budget section, please refer to the RKE Internal Funding Sample Costs. As this does not require Full Economic Costing, you should not contact your faculty’s Funding Development Officer to complete the costing for you.

This scheme will provide c. five awards, of up to £3,000 each, to support BU’s ECRs, with the most promising talent, to gain experience of managing and leading their own pilot research projects.

EU RD and space programmes signed off

According to the latest news published on Research Professional, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have formally signed off on the EU’s 2021-27 R&D and space programmes, as well as the post-Brexit EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement through which the UK will associate to the R&D programme, Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which draws funding from the R&D programme to support innovation but has separate legislation, were both approved by enormous majorities in European Parliament votes on 27 April.

Horizon Europe will have a budget of €95.5 billion, of which the EIT will get about €3bn. The legislation for both programmes was designed so they could start working from 1 January, although their formal sign-off will pave the way for grants to start being awarded.

The Parliament also voted by 660 votes to five in favour of the trade and cooperation agreement that defines the terms for the future EU-UK relationship. It was agreed by negotiators in December and had already provisionally entered into force.

Only the formality of a further behind-the-scenes sign-off is now needed to complete UK association to Horizon Europe, which will grant the country near-full participation rights in exchange for full provision of the funding for any grants won, as well as an administration fee.

ACORN Funding Panel

As I mentioned yesterday, in April, we focus our stories on BU internal funding panels. This post shares information about the ACORN (ACceleration Of Research and Networking) funding panel.

ACORN funding provides central investment to the most talented Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to support them in gaining experience in managing and leading their own pilot research projects.

The ACORN panel consists of ten panel members from all faculties, is led by the Chair Professor Jan Wiener, Vice-Chair Professor Julie Turner-Cobb and supported by panel Secretary Ainar Blaudums and panel Clerk Theresa McManus.

Funded projects

So far, three rounds of ACORN funding have been announced of which two have been completed; in total, 18 grants have been awarded. In the most recent Round 3, the following projects were awarded:

  • Turning Your Film Into Mine: Filmmaking and the Quotation Exception (PI Dr Claudy Op Den Kamp);
  • Neonate simulators and digital stories: enhancing social work practitioner’s knowledge of problem substance use during pregnancy (PI Dr Humaira Hussain);
  • Drawing Lines across Virtual Spaces: Nigerian Political Cartooning in the Digital Age (PI Dr Malcolm Corrigall);
  • Exploring pathways from suicide ideation to attempts in autism (PI Dr Rachel Moseley);
  • Reliability and Development of Normative Data of the Total Faulty Breathing Scale (PI Dr Vikram Mohan).

Covid-19 related travel and research restrictions, as well as off-campus working, have been challenging for ACORN awardees and have delayed the implementation of some project activities. Fortunately, the panel was able to secure an approval from RPMC to extend implementation of some project activities beyond the end of this financial year.

Nevertheless, Dr Rachel Moseley has achieved significant progress in implementing her ACORN award project and works towards completing the major research work. In her ACORN project, Dr Moseley investigates pathways from suicide ideation to attempts in autistic people.

This project aligns with the BU2025 “Health and Wellbeing“ Fusion Theme, and Target 3.4.2 from the UN Sustainable Development Goals: to prevent premature mortality from non-communicable diseases.

ACORN project ‘Exploring pathways from suicide ideation to attempts in autism’

Death by suicide is frighteningly common in autistic people, but poorly understood. Excess psychiatric morbidity and mortality is prominent in the autistic community, who are, according to some research, eight times more likely to die from suicide. Preliminary research in this area often fails to differentiate suicide ideation from attempts.

Popular theories in neurotypical people suggest that in order to act on suicidal thoughts, individuals must acquire the ‘capability’ for suicide by developing tolerance for pain and losing the evolutionary fear of pain and death. Typically, this capability develops through being exposed to physically painful and emotionally provocative events (like abuse, discrimination) and through self-injury. Research has linked self-injury and suicidality in autism, but it’s not clear if self-injury increases the risk of individuals moving from ideation to attempts and, if so, how this happens. Does self-injury increase pain tolerance and make people less fearful of death, and are there other experiences which likewise create suicide capability?

Dr Moseley kindly provided some insights into her ongoing research: ‘Over 300 autistic people have taken part in my online survey. Interestingly, our preliminary analysis highlighted stressful life events concerning health and medical treatment as predictive of suicide ideation and attempts. Autistic people who had experienced more of these stressors were more likely to mentally rehearse suicide and to feel less fear of death. We need to conduct further qualitative and quantitative analysis to further understand this finding, but it is reminiscent of how many autistic people struggle to find suitable care and to be understood by practitioners (Camm-Crosbie et al., 2019).

Conducting this research has been enormously humbling. I feel exceptionally honoured to have been given this opportunity to, hopefully, uncover findings of importance to this vulnerable community.  The study has been overwhelmingly well-received by the autistic community, with participants commenting: “The study is written with great sensitivity and obvious care for its participants”; “Thank you for looking into this issue. Best questionnaire I have ever completed. Explanatory, friendly, approachable… stress was massively reduced. A lot of work must have gone into the design”.

Autistica, a charity who support autistic people, have asked me to present my findings in a podcast in June. As mental health in the autistic community is one of the highest priorities for research in autism, they described the present study as “some of the most relevant and important research currently being conducted in the UK”. The ACORN funding has afforded me great visibility within the autistic community and autism researchers, and I am excited to continue analysing the data and present it back to these stakeholders.’

Dr Moseley aims to publish findings from this project in several papers, and is extremely hopeful that these publications and the experience she has gained in managing and delivering this project, will lead to successful grant applications from large external funders. Centered at the intersection between autism (a neurodevelopmental condition) and mental illness such Dr Moseley’s work is appropriate for funders interested in multimorbidity such as the Medical Research Council.

Dr Moseley concludes: ‘I am immensely grateful for the opportunity afforded to me by the ACORN committee, which immensely strengthens my academic profile towards achieving this goal.’

——

Future of ACORN funding

Currently, the ACORN panel is working on revising projects and their budgets prior to announcing an additional competition for a number of smaller awards for projects to be completed by 31 July 2021.

The Panel is exceptionally grateful for every grant holder’s commitment and their flexibility in adjusting project plans to mitigate the impact of the  COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of their projects.

The next posts coming up tomorrow – Focus on Fellowships.

The ACORN Fund Additional Round is Now Open for Applications!

The ACORN Fund (Acceleration OResearch & Networking) for Early Career Researchers is now open for applications  for projects that can be delivered before the end of July 2021. This round differs from previous rounds due to the short turnaround time, smaller budget and limited activities eligible for funding.

The  closing date is Tuesday, 4th May 2021 (5pm) and all applications must be submitted to the email account: acorn@bournemouth.ac.uk.

This scheme will provide c. five awards, of up to £3,000 each, to support BU’s ECRs, with the most promising talent, to gain experience of managing and leading their own pilot research projects. These awards support BU’s commitment to the Concordat to Support to Career Development of Researchers and are made possible by BU’s QR (Quality Research) allocation for 2021 financial year.

For eligibility, you must be able to comply the following:

  • All applicants must have completed their PhD
  • All applicants must have a post at BU (established or fixed term) for the full duration of the award and the post-award commitments or longer
  • To be considered an early career researcher (ECR) applicants should have held a 0.2 or above research contract for no more than six years in total, excluding periods where the applicant was involved in non-research employment or not at work (e.g. caring responsibilities)
  • ACORN award holders cannot hold more than one BU internal award concurrently
  • Note that funds cannot be used to cover open access fees and travel

On BU OneDrive, you can find out more by reading the updated ACORN Fund Policy and apply using the Application Form for this round. In addition, to assist with the budget section, please refer to the RKE Internal Funding Sample Costs. As this does not require Full Economic Costing, you should not contact your faculty’s Funding Development Officer to complete the costing for you. Please address any queries as below.

The closing date for applications is 4th May 2021. As these require faculty support, please start your application and obtain faculty approval as soon as possible. Applicants are responsible for obtaining faculty sign-off and for submitting the application to the email provided in this post.

Please address any queries to Theresa MacManus at RDS via acorn@bournemouth.ac.uk

——

Putting the ACORN Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see separate announcements regarding each initiative.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles. Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the ACORN Fund, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels;
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinarity and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH);
  • Outcomes 4 and 5 – where ECRs are provided with the mechanisms for support such as mentors and, through schemes including the ACORN fund, gain budgetary responsibility experience.

GCRF Funding Panel

Research is a priority, it matters, and it is everyone’s responsibility here at BU. In April, we focus our stories on BU internal funding panels. This post shares the information about the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funding panel and awarded projects.

GCRF funding enables BU academics to undertake research in partnership with organisations in developing countries. Projects are aimed to help build collaborations with researchers, policymakers and practitioners, ensuring that the research provides tangible outcomes and impacts for people in those countries.

The GCRF panel is led by the Chair, Professor Lee Miles, and Vice-Chair, Luciana Esteves.

Travel restrictions introduced due to the pandemic have sometimes been a challenge for academics, however, everyone has demonstrated flexibility in adjusting project plans to minimise their impact on project delivery. This has even delivered some benefits, for example, encouraging greater partnership working and ensuring that projects are efficiently implemented by in-country organisations.

Funded projects

There have been quite a few previous posts on BU Research Blog related to GCRF funded projects; you can read more about such projects as ‘Rohingya refugee crisis’ (Bangladesh), ‘Indigenous people’s voices’ (Costa Rica and Malaysia), ‘Child soldiers’ (Colombia) and ‘Driving African Capacity-Building in Disaster Management’ (Sierra Leone, Senegal and Cameroon). In total, 22 GCRF applications have received funding.

One of the internally funded GCRF projects – ‘Enhancing Livelihood Resilience of Protracted Internally Displaced Persons (ELIED)’ – is led by Dr Henry Bang. The PI kindly provided a brief overview of the project and the work done so far.

‘The project was conceived against the backdrop of Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis (AC). The AC is rooted in the country’s troubled colonial history that eventually gave birth to its dual bi-lingual heritage (French and English official languages). The ongoing conflict started in 2016 as peaceful street demonstrations by lawyers and teachers’ trade unions against the obligatory use of French language in the educational and legal systems in Cameroon’s two Anglophone Regions. The government’s harsh response eventually gave rise to secessionist groups in the Anglophone region that have led to armed confrontation with government security forces. The four-year conflict has led to more than 63,000 refugees and 679,000 internally displaced persons.

These persons are suffering several vulnerabilities associated with separation from the nurturing environments of their original/home communities. Notably, are deprivation from basic necessities like regular access to food and other essentials such as education and easy access to health care. This is mainly because they rely heavily on food aid and assistance from well-wishers and donors. Living such unsustainable lives requires targeted attention. Hence, this GCRF project aims to improve and enhance the welfare and build livelihood resilience for the internally displaced persons who are scattered around Cameroon’s 10 regions. A strategic objective is to shape the livelihood opportunities of the population to be non-aid dependent.

The project is moving at an endurable pace, adjusted in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions to achieve the project objectives by the deadline of July 31st, 2021. The PI, with in-country collaborators, have engaged multiple NGOs and research assistants to collect data from the internally displaced persons’ (pictures here are taken by in-country collaborators and illustrate data collection by NGOs).

This project involves many challenges, considering the constrained budget and the scope of work involved, especially in securing a representative sample from around the country. Data collection from the NGOs is in progress after initial meetings and focus group discussions that led to the identification of key themes for further investigation.

According to the PI, ‘The challenge, though, is getting insights from the government, which is invaluable considering government’s expected dominant role in safe guiding the lives/livelihoods of the internally displaced persons. Plans are in place to achieve this objective with the appropriate budget as initially planned. In-dept analysis based on triangulation of data from the four data sets would enhance the validity, credibility, and generalization of the research.’

‘There is optimism that ELIED will achieve its aims/objectives with desirable outcomes that would have a huge academic/research and practical impact on sustainable livelihoods/development in Cameroon’ Dr Bang concludes.

The panel Chair suggested that at least two more projects with a high impact have to be mentioned in this short blog post – ‘Aftershock Nepal’ project and the MAAR (Media Action Against Rape) project addressing rape prevention in India. Both projects are led by Professor Einar Thorsen and Dr Chindu Sreedharan. It’s important to mention that the latter led to follow-on joint initiatives.

Future of GCRF funding

UK universities have received formal notifications from UKRI and Research England that there will be no further QR GCRF funding after July 2021. So, for the remaining period we need to ensure that the projects are successfully completed by the end of this financial year. Another important task will be reporting back to Research England in autumn.

The next post, coming up tomorrow, will be about the ACORN internal funding panel.

Invitation to AT Virtual STEAMLab

On Wednesday, 12 May 2021 from 11.30 to 1pm, RDS will be hosting Virtual AT STEAMlab (Science/Tech/Engineering/Arts/Maths lab) event under the strategic investment area (SIA) of Assistive Technology (AT). It will be the second of a series of up to 2-hour long virtual STEAMlabs to be held in the course of 2021.

The ideas generated at this event may also be used to help select colleagues for further Scramble events at short notice.

Booking onto this event

To take part in this exciting opportunity, we ask all participants to download and complete the AT STEAMLab Application Form and return this to Ainar Blaudums by Wednesday, 5 May 2021.

By applying, you agree to attend for the full duration of the event on 12 May from 10:30am to 1pm. Places at the event are limited and you will be contacted to confirm your “virtual space” by 7 May 2021.

If you have any queries prior to submitting your application, please contact RDS Research Facilitators Ainar Blaudums or Ehren Milner.

 The Brief

We’re seeking to come up with highly innovative and urgently required research which is ambitious in scope and will require a high level of expertise, commitment and funding. The research must address challenges in the AT field.

In short, we anticipate the development of innovative, ground-breaking cross-disciplinary and ambitious projects which have the capacity to attract significant, high value external funding from the public and private sectors in the future.

Who should attend?

We welcome those who wish to contribute to having a positive impact through addressing scientific challenges, but in particular, we are specifically targeting the following:

  1. Those academics whose research aligns with one or more of the BU’s core research areas, or whose research would benefit from the multidisciplinary, collaborative engagement supported by the AT SIA;
  2. Those who have experience of involvement in medium to large scale research projects.

We will also be inviting relevant external attendees, such as digital technology companies, to contribute on the day.

Some Answers to your FAQs:

Do I need to do anything in advance?

No, you do not. During the STEAMLab, you’ll be guided through a process which results in the development of collaborative research ideas. The process facilitates creativity, potentially leading to grand, innovative and interdisciplinary research. These ideas will be shared and explored with other attendees, and further developed based on the feedback received.

 What is the immediate objective?

The objective by the end of the STEAMlab is to have scoped some leading and grand ideas around which a working group or cluster can be formed to take forward towards the development of a large grant application. This event is run to facilitate new interdisciplinary research collaborations.

What do I need to do afterwards?

Your project idea may be “oven-ready”, but it is more likely than not that, given the level of pioneering innovation sought, you/your group’s project idea/s will require some time to crystallise fully, and for the optimum partners to be found for the building a winning consortium, and bringing to fruition a fully-fledged grant application. To this end, it is envisaged that you and your potential collaborators will be committed to meeting on a regular basis, with a firm timetable.

What if my topic area is very specialised, within fields such as medical diagnostics or environmental science?

Your contribution will be very welcome! One of the main benefits of a STEAMlab event is to bring together individuals with a range of backgrounds and specialisms who are able to see things just that bit differently to one another.

ERC Have Announced Tentative Dates for 2022 Calls

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the tentative opening dates and deadlines for their 2022 calls. They are as follows:

ERC Synergy Grant 2022 Call

  • Opening date: 15 July 2021
  • Deadline: 10 November 2021

ERC Starting Grant 2022 Call

  • Opening date: 23 September 2021
  • Deadline: 13 January 2022

ERC Consolidator Grant 2022 Call

  • Opening date: 19 October 2021
  • Deadline: 17 March 2022

ERC Advanced Grant 2022 Call

  • Opening date: 20 January 2022
  • Deadline: 28 April 2022

There were a few BU academics willing to submit their applications this year but were not able to do it due to time constraints.

These dates are tentative and still subject to change. They differ from the regular yearly cycle that the ERC has established; according to UKRO, the call cycle will revert to the expected times of each year by 2023. The ERC aims to provide as much time and predictability as possible for applicants to prepare while also finding the time for evaluation procedures that last several months for each call.

For more information about the ERC and other Horizon Europe funding opportunities contact RDS Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums.

Horizon Europe: Early Information on the Proposal Template

UKRO have recently provided some insights into expected Horizon Europe proposal templates.

The Horizon Europe (HEU) proposal templates are currently under development and have not been published yet. However, UKRO has obtained some information regarding the first version of the proposal template, which indicates that there will be several differences when compared with the Horizon 2020 proposal.

The first version of the draft application form for Innovation Action (IA) and Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) demonstrates strong continuity with the Horizon 2020 proposals. It maintains the online Part A for general, administrative and financial information, and Part B for the technical description of the research project – divided into three sections that reflect the Horizon Europe evaluation criteria: Excellence, Impact and Implementation.

According to UKRO, the modifications presented below are under consideration, however are not final and thus subject to further changes.

Part A

  • A new self-declaration on Gender Equality Plans (GEP) has been added; if the proposal is selected, having a GEP will be mandatory for public bodies, HEI and research organisations before signature of the grant agreement;
  • ‘Description of the individual members of the consortium’ has been moved from Part B (former Section 4);
  • For statistical reasons, more information on researchers involved in the proposal can be provided (e.g. gender, career stage, etc);
  • Minor changes to the ethics questions have been introduced (split into two parts: ‘Ethics and Security’); furthermore, a longer ‘Declarations’ list has been included;
  • The ‘Ethics self-assessment’ (narrative part) has been moved from Part B (former Section 5);
  • The ‘Open Data Management Pilot’ opt-out/in section has been removed; a Data Management Plan (DMP) will be a mandatory deliverable by month six of the project and must be covered in Part B together with Open Access practices;
  • The headings in the budget table have been renamed in line with the new financial provisions of Horizon Europe.

Part B

  • New 45-page limit for the title, list of participants and sections 1, 2 and 3 introduced (70 pages in Horizon 2020); former Section 4 (Members of consortium) and Section 5 (Ethics and security) have been moved to Part A;
  • Key elements of the award criteria used in evaluation process and indicative number of pages for each sub-heading have been added;
  • Section 1 “Excellence”: sub-headings have been rearranged and renamed; ‘Open Science practices’ must be described as an integral part of the methodology (with an obligatory Data Management Plan) and not only covered under the ‘Impact/dissemination’ part, as was the case in Horizon 2020;
  • Section 2 “Impact”: major changes to the content and layout are being proposed.
    • This section will now be composed of two sub-headings: ‘Project’s pathways towards impact’ and ‘Measures to maximise impact – Dissemination, exploitation and communication’, complemented by a ‘Summary canvas’ visualising links between the key Impact elements (needs/results/measures and target groups/outputs/impacts).
    • Moreover, new questions/guidance has been added on how to approach the Impact section (e.g. with relation to the Work Programme’s destinations and the topic’s expected outcomes, in terms of scientific, economic/technological and societal impacts) and on how to determine ‘the scale and significance of the project’s contribution to the expected outcomes and impacts’. The requirement to present a draft ‘Plan for dissemination and exploitation including communication activities’ remains and becomes a mandatory project deliverable by month six of the project (not at the periodic/final report stage).
    • If exploitation is expected primarily in non-associated third countries, applicants will need to justify the EU’s interest in the proposal. The draft template does not require a ‘business plan’ explicitly anymore (required for Innovation Actions in Horizon 2020), but where relevant, applicants must still outline the commercialisation path for their innovations in the Plan.
  • Section 3 “Quality and efficiency of the implementation”: the key change is a removal of a dedicated section on the ‘organisational structure and the decision-making mechanisms’; other sub-headings have been slightly rearranged and renamed into: ‘Work plan and resources’ and ‘Capacity of participants and consortium as a whole’; minor changes have been made to the ‘Implementation tables’ (e.g. more classification options for deliverables, dissemination activities and risks) and ‘Costs justification tables’, in line with budget headings (e.g. ‘purchase costs’).

The first HEU calls are expected to open in April after the EU Parliament formally adopts the Regulation establishing the programme.