Posts By / Corrina Lailla Osborne

Marie Curie 2014-2020: The new structure

I know many of you are preparing your Marie Curie applications for August and can’t bear to think about 2014! For those of you who are interested in making an application to the Marie Curie scheme in 2014 and beyond, an insight into how these will look will be helpful.

So far Britain has had the most success with the scheme so far receiving  almost €800m in funding covering almost 3, 000 successful applications in a range of subjects.  BU is amongst this number and we hold more than 10 Marie Curie grants.  We have seen the benefits of Marie Curie Fellowships, just as other successful award holders have; with a recent study finding that 95% of Marie Curie fellows stay in touch with their international hosts actively after 5+ years.  86% confirmed that participating in Marie Curie projects had strengthen existing collaborations with the international partner organisation, so this scheme really is a great one to be involved in.

The  good news is that the strands will pretty much exist as they are, although the overarching labels and title are changing slightly which may leave you confused! The Marie Curie Scheme will be called Marie Skłodowska- Curie Actions in 2014 and will fall under the ‘Excellent Science’ pillar of Horizon 2020; this represents a new increased focus on the excellence of the host and candidate in Marie Curie actions moving forward. The aims of the scheme will remain the same and the budget is a healthy €5.75b (2014-2020).

The COFUND and ITN schemes will remain unchanged and the other schemes will be condensed into two – Individual Fellowships and RISE.

  • The ITN scheme is dedicated to early-stage researchers and involves a wide partnership of institutions from academic and non-academic sectors. It addresses the triple ‘I’ dimension of mobility – international, innovative, interdisciplinary – and combines scientific excellence with an innovation orientated approach. It focuses on developing entrepreneurship and skills matching research and innovation labour market needs and aims to enhance the employability of researchers in their chosen career.
  • Individual Fellowships will provide opportunities’ for international and intersector mobility of researchers to facilitate career moves. It encompasses intra-European, incoming, outgoing mobility as well as re-intergration and under Horizon 2020 there will the opportunity to undertake inter-sector secondments.
  •  The Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) scheme is a new type of exchange action to stimulate knowledge transfer. The scheme will be flexible allowing European and international exchanges of highly skilled research and innovation staff based on a common research project.
  • COFUND has regional, national and international programmes designed to foster excellence by spreading best practices of Marie Curie actions in terms of international mobility, research training and career development. It will be extended to doctoral training and will build on the experience of FP7 COFUND.

When I receive more information on this scheme, I will share it but in the meantime if you have any questions on the Marie Curie scheme, do get in touch.

Book on the Living with Environmental Change (including Energy) Sandpit today

Feedback from BU staff who have participated in academic sandpits is always positive: “Sandpits stimulate creative thinking and encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. They are an opportunity to learn from others whose approaches to research may be different from your own” – Prof. Adele Ladkin, School of Tourism, EPSRC Sandpit Participant

Sandpits provide an intensive, interactive and free-thinking environment. A group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds use this space to get together to become immersed in a collaborative thinking processes in order to construct innovative approaches to issues or questions.

As sandpits involve diverse participants, they force catalysation, collision and collaboration. This produces unique and innovative outputs and fosters new partnerships.

We are facilitating with expert bid writer Dr Martin Pickard of GrantCraft, three 1-day sandpits at BU which focus around relevant Research Council UK cross-thematic areas. The Living with Environmental Change (including Energy) Sandpit is being held on 17.07.13

Attending the sandpit will:

  • facilitate you networking with other researchers across BU who you wouldn’t normally come in to contact with
  • allow you to get a fresh perspective from a different discipline on the same issue
  • enable you to be part of a multidisciplinary team who potentially bids for Research Council funding
  • give you a truly unique experience

Spaces are limited for each of the sandpits and you can register for a place on the Staff Development website.

Insight into what will be funded under ‘Health’ in Horizon 2020

Focus of Funding – what’s different? : Europe 2020 marks out the goal to increase the number of healthy life years by 24 months by 2020 and Horizon 29020 funding will be geared towards this, focusing on health and quality of European citizens, the growth and expansion of EU industry in this area and long-term sustainability and efficiency in health and social care systems. The health focus   of Horizon 2020 will therefore be the challenge of an ageing population across Europe and in particular the health inequalities within this. Horizon 2020 will seek to transform the challenges into opportunities, focusing on active ageing, integrated care, large efficiency gains of new care modules and looks at the financial aspect that the health care market is worth €3000bn and has 85 million consumers which is ever increasing. Horizon 2020 marks a paradigm shift of ageing from a societal challenge to a major opportunity; from a burden to an asset; from acute reactive care to preventative, proactive care; and from a focus on curing diseases to improving functioning. There will be an increased focus on dissemination; not just discovering new ways to help people live longer, but getting this to ordinary EU citizens so they can begin to change their lifestyle. Involving end users will be key.


Types of funding: The main areas of funding are addressing major age-prevalent chronic diseases; innovation in integrated care delivery systems and innovation in independent living and social inclusion. The approach to health care will be focused on combining demand and supply sides of innovation; building on existing instruments and new ones where necessary; ownership of key stakeholder willing to invest; large-scale deployment and awareness and best-practice sharing across Europe.   It looks as though calls will be issued under 6 themes:

  • Better adherence to medical treatment
  • Prevention of falls
  • Prevention of functional decline and frailty
  • Integrated care models
  • Independent living and active ageing
  • Age-friendly buildings, cities and environments


How can I prepare – finding Partners: The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing is the first attempt to bring together interested parties from public and private sectors to deliver innovative solutions for an ageing society. The EIP website is currently being revamped, but this is a key time to sell your research expertise to others through this virtual marketplace. Advertising your areas of knowledge and skills can help you gain partners to submit for calls under Horizon 2020.


How are you going to develop YOUR career as a researcher?

Back in March I launched the CROS and PIRLS surveys to gather your views on what life is like at BU. Having analysed the responses, some fantastic insights were gained from this and a working group is being established to address the common issues and make improvements; more information on these actions will be released on the blog in time.

One finding in particular grabbed my attention however which is and linked to our on-going work as part of our EC HR Excellence in Research Badge award and is a favourite subject for me; the development of an academic career path. When I finished my PhD I would have loved a structured training plan, useful guidance and some literature around this, and from the survey results it seems many of your (at various stages of your career) would also find this incredibly helpful.

I am currently putting the finishing touches to an optional and open to all set of development sessions you can undertake at BU and also some online training too. This programme will include assessing your current strengths and areas for further development as a researcher to help shape your skills and experience to build your career as you wish. More details on the ‘BRAD’ programme will be announced soon…

In the meantime, for anyone interested in developing your career as a researcher, Vitae’s new publication The Career-Wise Researcher is a really useful read. They also have guides on The Balanced Researcher, The Creative Researcher, The Engaging Researcher, The Leading Researcher and The Informed Researcher. As with all Vitae publications, they are short (around 10 pages each), easy to read and incredibly useful.  


Fund an EU meeting with COST

COST  funds pan-European, bottom-up networks of scientists and researchers across all science and technology fields. These networks, called ‘COST Actions’, promote international coordination of nationally-funded research, but mot the research itself. Proposals for actions are now open and those which play a precursor role for other European programmes and/or initiated by early-stage researchers are favoured.
COST is organised in nine broad domains (Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences; Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies; Earth System Science and Environmental Management; Food and Agriculture; Forests, their Products and Services; Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health; Information and Communi­ation Technologies; Materials, Physics and Nanosciences; Transport and Urban Development). To make a submission, you must have a minimum of five EU countries involved and you should choose one domain where possible or if it is truly interdisciplinary then there is a possibility of a trans-domain proposal application.  All info on the current call can be found here.

ELOs and Sponsors


Contacts in Brazil? Funding is available but you need to act super fast!

The Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the British Council are jointly funding a series of workshops to promote research collaboration between Sao Paulo Estate and the UK with a deadline of 14 July 2013 .

The main themes for the workshops are in the areas of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities (Sports Events and their legacy for the local community could be one of interest at the moment). Each workshop must be coordinated by two leading researchers, one from each country, and target up to 20 early career researchers from each country. Detailed information on the call can be found here .

Wondering what Erasmus Mundus, Erasmus Mobility and other schemes will look like in Horizon 2020

Well, wonder no more!  You will know from my previous blogposts that the ‘Erasmus for All’ Programme will combine schemes under the Lifelong Learning Programme such as Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus, as well as Youth in Action, Sport and others.

The EC has published updated its webpages on this programme and you can find a very helpful Erasmus for All factsheet  as well FAQs

Researching ICT? This EU conference could be VERY beneficial for you

More than 4000 researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, young people and politicians are expected to attend ICT 2013 in November.The event will focus on Horizon 2020 and includes conference presentations, networking sessions, investment forums. This is a key way to gather more info on what to expect under ICT Horizon 2020 calls and to network and gain a collaborative group. You can register for the event here.

Fantastic British Council funding for international research collaboration – but with a fast approaching deadline!

I was really excited to see this week the British Council have launched a new five-year programme to encourage international research collaboration between ambitious young researchers from the UK and eighteen countries around the world. Initially the countries involved are Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, South Africa, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

The call is aimed at ‘leading researchers’ who can propose themes for bilateral workshops to be held in one of these countries which will bring together early career researchers to discuss research and start to build international relationships. The call guidelines and application form can be found here and the deadline is 14 July.

Auditors declare EU English is ‘a vocabulary that differs from that of any recognised form of English’!

The EU Auditors recent publication ‘Brief list of misused English terms in EU publications’ it is recognised that the EU uses a rather unique blend of English terms, not actually used by many folks with English as their first language. Indeed it begins by stating the EU and EC uses ‘a vocabulary that differs from that of any recognised form of English. It includes words that do not exist or are relatively unknown to Native English speakers…and often even to standard spellcheckers/ grammar checkers’. So if you ever feel like you need a dictionary when reading an EU paper or call for proposals, then  this list of translated ‘English’ terms may be very useful.

BU’s Dr. Julie Robson chosen as an Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence

The Business School’s Dr. Julie Robson’s chapter entitled “A Conceptual Framework for Classifying and Understanding Relationship Marketing Within Schools” published in “Advances in Educational Administration” has been chosen as an Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013. The chapter was co-authored by Sophie Yang from Coventry University.

These awards are given annually for each of the academic journals published by Emerald Group Publishing, and the winners are chosen by each journal’s Editorial Team. Dr. Julie Robson’s paper has been selected as it was one of the most impressive pieces of work the editor has seen throughout 2012.

The 2013 winners will shortly be added to and the paper made freely available.

Dr. Robson is Head of the Department of Strategy and Marketing at BU’s Business School.

Congratulations to Julie for writing for an Emerald book series and on her award success.

AECC Participant Event

The Anglo European College of Chiropractic (AECC) are hosting a research event where participants are invited to feedback to the college and hear short presentations about the results of the studies they have taken part in and to find out about other up-coming projects. The event will take place on July 24th 11am-1pm and  7-9pm at the AECC. More details including how to register can be found on the Event Flyer.

 ‘We’re really excited about having the opportunity to thank our research participants in this way, without their time and support we couldn’t complete our research’ AECC Research Fellow Emily Diment.

BU EU template wording available

I’m often told that generic BU and School information would be helpful when drafting EU proposals. I am pleased to inform you that some generic and School specific information is now available on our I drive which we hope will be useful as a starting place for you I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\European Related\General Templates

The perfect academic career path

Knowing what kind of grant you should go for can be a little tricky when you start your academic career. The ESRC have produced this very handy diagram which outlines at what stage you should ideally submit proposals for different types of grants and values.


If you need any help or advice on what types of grant to go for, come and speak to us in R&KEO.


Life after FP7… what’s next?

All has been rather quiet on the EC front for the last few months as we eagerly await the close down of FP7 and see what changes will be made for EC funding 2014- 2020. I have put together a very brief outline of the changes – EC funding 2014-2020 – which we know for definite will happen so far and what the new programmes will look like; including Horizon 2020, Erasmus, Marie Curie, etc.

More information will be given as it is confirmed by the EC over the next few months so watch this space!



Fusion in Action Conference 2013

Thank you to all who attended last week’s Fusion in Action Conference and celebrated BU’s success in Fusion initiatives.

The Fusion presentations from staff and students were inspirational and I am pleased to have had such good feedback on these. Several of the presentations are available at I:\R&KEO\Public\Fusion in Action .

The Fusion surgery sessions provided a key opportunity to ask about Fusion Investment Funding and the posters provided excellent examples of projects already funded under the scheme.

EPSRC Strategic Advisory Routes – time for you to have your say!

EPSRC logoThe EPSRC has recently commissioned an independent review of its strategic advisory routes. The review will focus on how the EPSRC obtains and utilises strategic advice at the Council and Theme levels and both the mechanisms and sources for obtaining such advice and how this influences strategic decision-making. Initial areas covered as part of the review are:

  • Nature of advice – who decides what advice is sought and needed;
  • Structures – to review the adequacy and effectiveness of the structures in place for obtaining strategic advice;
  • Credibility of Advisory Sources – assurance over the extent to which the individuals and bodies providing advice are credible sources;
  • Roles and responsibilities – to review the effectiveness, and clarity, of roles and responsibilities of those involved in commissioning, and those providing, strategic advice in EPSRC;
  • Provision and utilisation of advice – to review the effectiveness of the advice provided (e.g. its robustness and the degree to which it is free from bias or vested interest), and its value (e.g. its relevance and timeliness) in informing EPSRC’s strategic planning and decision making.
  • Transparency – to review the clarity and transparency of the strategic advisory processes to EPSRC’s wider stakeholder community;
  • Cost-effectiveness of the mechanisms and processes used. .

BU has been invited to submit evidence to assist in this review and I am collating responses. Please take a couple of minutes to complete this short survey; all responses will remain confidential. The deadline for completing the survey is 10am Tuesday 23rd April.