Posts By / Susan Dowdle

Research Outcomes System (ROS) – AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC & ESRC

Over the last three months, four Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and ESRC) have been working to collect research outcomes through the Research Outcomes System (ROS).  This system replaces the ESRC’s data collection system, “manage my grant”.  NERC are continuing with their own system for this year’s data collection but will move over to ROS for 2013.  The aim of this system is to collect outputs from projects as they go along, and provide a central repository for information on the impact and importance of research.

ROS is available all year round for submitting research outcomes, but every January to March RCUK will be conducting an annual exercise to encourage submissions. For this first collection period (Jan – Mar 2012) outcomes should be submitted for grants that are currently in ROS by Monday 30th April and:

  • started more than 12 months ago, or
  • have ended, but a final report has not been submitted, or
  • a final report has been submitted and relevant information has been transferred to ROS by a Research Council on your behalf.

The Research Councils are working to transfer all relevant final report information into ROS. If you have already completed a final report, please wait until that information is in ROS before adding any new or additional outcomes. Individual Research Councils will contact you when this information is ready to review in ROS.

ROS is available at and you can log-in using your standard Je-S account details.

A set of frequently asked questions and a number of video tutorials about ROS and how to use it are available on the website here. If you would like any further information or have any questions, please email:


AHRC seeks applications in Environmental Change and Sustainability

Applications for up to £1.5m (full economic cost) are invited under a highlight notice in AHRC’s standard and early career research grants routes. The highlight notice addresses the ‘Environmental Change and Sustainability’ area within the Care for the Future theme and is open until 30th October 2012.

Aims and Scope of the Highlight Notice

The aim of the highlight notice is to encourage collaborative arts and humanities-led research which explores the potential of a temporally inflected lens to provide new insights on the challenges of environmental change and sustainability.

For the purposes of the highlight notice, ‘environmental change’ is defined broadly and includes climate change, environmental hazards, agriculture and food security, water, landscape and natural resources. The issues may be at any environmental scale and be focused geographically anywhere in the globe. ‘Sustainability’ is also defined broadly but with particular reference to inter-generational relationships, and the broader ways in which the past, the present and the future inter-relate, in respect to issues of environmental change. There is no limit to how far back in time (or how far forward in the future) the temporal horizon may reach, but proposals must demonstrate a significant temporal dimension which extends beyond contemporary or near contemporary themes.

More information on the call can be found on the AHRC website and in the call document.

Do you have a smart idea for using technology at BU?

If you’re looking for rapid project funding, pitch your idea on a new JISC website and receive feedback from your peers.

The JISC Elevator is a new beta platform for people to pitch ideas for projects up to £10,000 using video and short descriptions.

Once an idea has been submitted to the site, people working and studying in UK higher and further education will be able to vote if they like the idea.

When an idea receives the target number of votes then JISC will decide whether or not to fund the idea.

Andrew McGregor, who is managing the JISC Elevator, said: “JISC’s remit is to fund cutting edge innovation – so we hope that by creating a different platform for bidding we’ll be able to capture the brainwaves of many more people in colleges and universities, perhaps people who haven’t previously bid for JISC funds.  The voting mechanisms on the Elevator will also allow us to respond directly to what’s important for people in further and higher education.”

The JISC Elevator is open to all kinds of ideas, with suggestions including:

  • Innovate with e-books
  • Start a student led project
  • Open a can of worms – propose a technical project that starts a big conversation in your institution
  • Use gaming principles to improve research or teaching processes
  • Apply work previously funded by JISC to your own situation
  • Create online services to help students make decisions about university
  • Develop cloud solutions to account for and monitor cloud security

For details on what kinds of idea JISC are looking for please see the submission criteria.

Successful projects will be notified in April and expected to complete by the end of July 2012.

Visit the JISC Elevator

Find out about our other funding opportunities

Give your feedback on the JISC Elevator


NERC – Demand Management is coming…

From the 1st April 2012 NERC will be monitoring the number of proposals that institutions submit and the quality of the proposals.  In July 2012 NERC will identify research organisations with high number or proportion of uncompetitive submissions and will begin discussions with these institutions on reducing their submissions and improving their quality.  It is undecided yet whether sanctions will be applied. 

Initially uncompetitive submissions are being defined as those receiving a final grade of 6 (out of 10) or below for excellence.  Full details on the new demand management policy can be found on the research council’s website.

What does this mean for me?

BU will be closely monitoring all applications to research councils.  We have a 5 day internal deadline for research council applications to allow time to complete checks on applications before submission.

The best way to ensure that your application is of a high standard is to obtain feedback from academic colleagues.  Our internal peer review service (RPRS),  managed by Caroline O’Kane, allows you to select two academic staff to undertake a review of your draft application.  Caroline also provides feedback on content, structure, a lay perspective and whether funder guidelines have been met.  More information on using the RPRS is available here.

NERC plans to move to shared Research Outcomes System (ROS)

NERC has been collecting research outputs data on NERC-funded research through its Research Outputs Database (ROD) for nearly a decade.  This year’s collection exercise on ROD is progressing towards its 13 March 2012 submissions deadline.

NERC has decided it will in future adopt the Research Outcomes System (ROS) as used by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and ESRC.  By changing systems NERC expects to:

  • Reduce the reporting burden for universities by reducing the number of equivalent systems;
  • Simplify submission by moving to a more standardised questionnaire;
  • Improve how publications are handled;
  • Share information better between systems, reducing data entry and reducing transcription errors; and
  • Improve the quality of performance information available to support the case for public investment in the environmental sciences.

The research council are putting measures in place to ensure a smooth transfer to the new system before next year’s data collection and to engage with users to obtain feedback on the system so that user requirements are met.

JISC offer advice on making your grant application stand out

JISC funds a wide range of infrastructure, services, innovative projects and studies.  As competition grows for funds, JISC have offered some advice on successful bidding that can help you make a strong application that stands out from the crowd.  Their advice is worth considering for all grant applications.

Sarah Porter, Director of Innovation at JISC, said:  We want to attract bids from a wide range of universities and colleges, those that know JISC well and others that might be bidding for the first time or need additional help with their application. We know bidding for funds is a time-consuming process and we are therefore aiming to give organisations the best possible chance of being successful in their applications.”

JISC advice for successful bidding includes:


  • Describe how your proposed project meets the criteria set out in the call


  • Demonstrate how your idea  is aligned with the objectives of your college or institution, including what buy-in you have from senior management


  • Carry out an initial assessment of the risks of undertaking the project – and then mention this in your bid


  • Include an initial project plan and show how the project will be managed


  • Think ahead – include information about dissemination, embedding and evaluation mechanisms


  • Show that your project is sustainable once the funding has ceased – not just financially but also in terms of the skills sets of the people involved, and any data/software preservation


  • Go green – show that you have considered the environmental impact of your project, eg. server power and data storage space you need


  • Consider the wider benefits of the project  for UK education and research to show that your project is good value for money.  You might think about generating workshops, briefing papers or web pages to help disseminate the findings of your project more widely


  • Don’t let your bid fail on the easy stuff: make sure you stick to the page limit and get your bid in on time


More information on specifically what JISC are looking for and the funding available can be found on their website.


Research Development Fund – Small Grants Scheme Closes 28th February

The next round of the internal small grants scheme closes this month on 28th February.  The scheme provides up to £2000 per application for direct costs.

Examples of research activities covered by the RDF include:

  • Pilot projects
  • Pump-priming
  • Interview transcription
  • Fieldwork
  • Visiting major libraries, museums, other research institutions, etc.
  • Organisation of an academic conference at BU with external participants
  • Attendance at external networking events leading to collaborative research proposals
  • Meetings with external organisations to establish collaborations
  • Preparation of specialist material or data
  • Short-term Research Assistant support or replacement teaching
  • Research consumables and equipment (providing it is clear these would not normally be purchased by the School)

This list is not exhaustive; applications can be for other expenses providing it is clear how the funding will benefit research at BU.

If you would like to apply the application form and full details can be found here.  The applications must be emailed to the Research Development Unit ( by 28th February.

Grant writing workshops for BU Studentship Competition

To assist staff in preparing their applications for the internal PhD funding competition John Wakeford, Director of the Missenden Centre, is coming to BU to deliver 2 one day workshops on 31st January and 1st February.   There are only a small number of spaces remaining on each day so if you would like to come along please register here asap. 

The workshop will run from 9:30am to 4:30pm and it is an excellent chance to pick up some advice from John on bid writing in general as well as honing your application for the studentships.  The first 6 draft applications received by John will be reviewed as part of the day.  A copy of the draft programme of the day is below.

If you have any queries about the day please contact Susan Dowdle.

Draft programme

 9.15                Coffee and Registration

 9.30                Institutional context – information on the studentships and the support of the Graduate School. Questions.

                                    Prof Tiantian Zhang – new Head of Graduate School

                                    Dr Fiona Knight – Graduate School Manager

 10.00              Agenda sharing (participant introductions and identifying concerns and priorities to be covered).

 10.30              Introduction – National policy and recent developments. Questions and discussion.

 10.45              Coffee break

11.00              Reviewing good research bid.  Teams act as reviewers and prepare outline of comments.  Plenary feedback from John Wakeford and teams.

 12.00              What to do before applying.

 12.30              Lunch.  Groups discuss bidding narrative.

 13.15              Plenary discussion of points arising from narrative.

 13.30              Advising colleagues on draft applications.  Teams act as critical colleagues and prepare advice on drafts direct at different agencies.  Plenary feedback.     Questions and discussion.

 14.30              Coffee break

 14.45              Writing a good application.

 15.30              Reflecting after having an application turned down.

 16.00              Action planning: individual participants draw up plans for progressing own research.  Participants make suggestions to the university to help those bidding for funds.

 16.25              Evaluation

 16.30              Close

Join the ESRC as a peer reviewer

ESRC is now inviting applications for membership of its Grants Assessment Panels in the following disciplinary areas:

        • Sociology, particularly sociology of health
        • Socio-legal studies
        • Science and technology studies
        • Management and business studies, including accounting and finance
        • Economics, particularly micro-economics

This is an opportunity to work with other experienced people from across the academic, public, private and third sectors to help ensure ESRC funds high-quality research at the forefront of social and economic science whilst working to maximise the impact of the research it supports.

For further information on the vacancies and the work of the GAPs, please see the website and vacancy specification (PDF, 93Kb). For questions or queries that are not covered in the vacancy specification, please contact Gavin Salisbury at ESRC on email or telephone 01793 413136.

Application forms, with a short curriculum vitae (no longer than two A4 pages), should be submitted by email to not later than 17.00 on Wednesday 1 February 2011.

Funding Opportunities: HEA & MS Society

We have received information on the following funding opportunities which may be of interest to staff.

Teaching Development Grants from the Higher Education Academy

1. Round 2 of the Individual Grants scheme will open on January 3rd 2012, with a maximum of £7,000 per project, with a focus on employability or internationalisation.

•          The submission deadline is February 19th 2012.

•          Unsuccessful bids from the previous round could be re-submitted if they can be revised in line with the feedback you received from the HEA.

•          However, any bids that do not satisfy the two key principles of student engagement and outputs of benefit beyond BU, or do not thoroughly address ethical issues, will not be considered by the reviewers. So it is critical to get these sections as strong as possible.

•          Successful bids from the July 2011 round are here:

2. The Collaborative Grants scheme opens on February 27th 2012, with a submission deadline of April 22nd 2012.

•          The maximum funding per project is £60,000, one bid per institution.

•          These can be either collaborative bids between BU and external bodies, or interdisciplinary between different departments within BU.

•          With collaborative bids, there must be a minimum of two UK HE partners, but other partners could include FECs, private providers or overseas HEIs.

•          The project must be led by a Fellow of the HEA and matched funding is required. 

•          Some further details are available here to support early thinking, but more information will be available in January.

If you would like to discuss potential projects, please contact Jennifer Taylor, Janet Hanson or Linda Byles (both Janet and Linda are TDG reviewers for the HEA).

MS Society Grants 2012

The MS Society intends to run three grant rounds in 2012:

  • Grant Round 1 – PhD Studentships and Innovative Awards
  • Grant Round 2 – Project grants and Junior Fellowships
  • Grant Round 3 – PhD Studentships and Innovative Awards

The MS Society 2012 Grant Round 1 for Innovative and PhD Studentship awards will open on the 17 January 2012, with a deadline for applications 12 noon on 10 February 2012.

For an overview of all the intended 2012 grant rounds and guidance on how to apply for an MS Society research grant please see thier website:

What do they fund?

As the largest dedicated charitable funder of MS research in the UK, the MS Society welcomes applications for projects that will increase the understanding of, and find new effective treatments for MS, as well as improve care and services for people affected by MS. The Society will consider any application that is relevant to MS. Applications are divided into two funding streams:

  1. Care and Services Research Research proposals that are focussed on relieving the symptoms of MS, developing and evaluating services for people affected by MS or exploring the social and economic impact of MS are classified as care and services research applications.
  2. Biomedical Research Research proposals that are focussed on identifying the causes of MS and/or identifying and developing disease modifying therapies are classified as biomedical research applications. In response to a strategic review the Society has issued a highlight notice for translational and clinical biomedical research and would particularly encourage applicants to submit proposals with this focus.

If you have any questions the society’s research team are happy to answer them at: or on: 020 8438 0822.

Leverhulme Trust – Research Leadership Awards

The Leverhulme Trust has announced that the Research Leadership Awards are now open to applications.  Each university is only allowed to put forward one candidate for this scheme.

The aim of these awards is to support those who have succeeded in beginning a university career but who are then confronted with the task of building a research team able to tackle an identified but distinctive research problem. The awards provide support for research assistants and research students led by the award holder. Applicants will have held a university post for at least two years.


The awards:

• are each for a sum of between £800,000 and £1 million;

• are for the provision of research assistants and research students to build a research group under the direction of the grant holder. A fraction of the award (up to a maximum of 25%) can be used for associated costs;

• are for research activity over a five year period;

• are offered in any subject area within the Trust’s normal remit;

• will be allocated with attention to three selection criteria; namely, first the record and promise of the group leader, secondly the fit of the group’s research involvement and resources, and thirdly the extent to which the work of the group can be seen to bring about a fruitful reshaping of the disciplinary landscape.

More information is available on the Leverhulme website.  If you are considering applying please register your interest with Susan Dowdle asap.

Call for Papers – Council for Hospitality Management Education Conference

Call for papers for peer-reviewed consideration for presentation at the 21st CHME Annual Research Conference hosted by University College Birmingham.

Both full papers of 4,000-6,000 words, and developmental papers of 1,000-2,000 words are invited under the three panel themes of

  • Cultural and Critical Studies in Hospitality,
  • Developments in Hospitality and Tourism Research, and
  • Research and Practice in Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

For notes and guidelines on submission format please follow those set out by Hospitality & Society which can be located at,id=194/view,page=2/


Papers should be submitted as a word document to

Final Submission Deadline: Tuesday 31st of January 2012


For further information visit the website:


Call for Members – NERC Peer Review College

NERC invites nominations for membership and affiliate membership of the NERC Peer Review College by 27 January 2012. Those selected will make an important contribution to determining the research that NERC funds and have a pivotal role in maintaining its quality. The Council is looking for College members with a high level of expertise and experience, who are prepared to devote sufficient time and take responsibility for contributing to these key decisions.  They are asking you who you think should be representing the environmental sciences community and peer reviewing applications to the NERC by nominating yourself or a colleague for membership.  Further information and guidance on how to apply can be found on the NERC website at or by contacting the College team (

PGR Workshops: January 2012

Sessions for the BU Researcher Development Programme in  January 2012 are below.  Booking is essential as places are limited, details of how to book are listed under each session.

PGR Induction Dr Fiona Knight

Introduction to BU’s academic and professional support for your research degree

Can social media enhance my research profile? Susan Dowdle

Using Twitter, blogs, social citation to raise your research profile.  Discussion on how to use Web 2.0 technologies professionally and some top tips on making connections and raising your profile.

Introduction to Education Practice: for Postgraduate Research Students (PGRs) Linda Byles

This 3 day event is designed to prepare Post-Graduate Research students to undertake their teaching responsibilities

Grant Writing Workshop for Early Career Researchers Martin Pickard (external)

This workshop is aimed at early career researchers and phd students in the mid to late stages of their phd, starting to think about grant writing.  More details on the event can be found in this blog post.

  • Date: 26 January
  • Time: 9:30 – 17:00
  • Room: K103, Kimmeridge House
  • Booking:  All bookings for this event are via Susan Dowdle

Introduction to Mixed Methods Research Dr Carol Bond

These sessions are primarily aimed at new PGRs however all PGRs and ECRs are welcome.

ESRC Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme

The new Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme opens today until the 07th February 2012.

This scheme provides researchers with a great opportunity to engage with organisations in the private, public and civil society sector(s) on a social science issue.

The KE Opportunities Scheme now covers activities at all stages of the research process; from setting up networks to help inform the first stages of research; to the development of activities designed to apply previous research to policy and practice issues (previously covered by the ESRC Follow on Fund Scheme).

Please note this is a collaborative scheme and, as such, all applications must include at least 25% co-funding from partner(s) in the user community (depending on the sector involved). For further details, including how to apply, please visit the website:

There have been a number of changes to this call from previous ESRC Knowledge Exchange calls.  For this reason, please ensure you have read the guidance notes carefully before submitting your proposal.

Please contact RKE Ops as soon as possible if you are considering applying to the scheme – they can help you with costings, school approval and using the JeS system to prepare your application.

We also have RPRS – the internal peer review scheme which you can use to obtain comments from our academic staff on your draft application.

Santander Research and Travel Grants Fund – Deadline Extended to 13th January

In the second round of funding we have 4 x £5000 scholarships from Santander for BU staff or research students to travel to at least one university from the Santander overseas network to undertake a specific piece of work and build or develop links with international researchers.  This call is open to applications until 13th January.

Awards will be announced by the end of January 2012, and funds must be spent before the end of July 2012.  Preference will be given to applications received from postgraduate research students and early career researchers.

Funds can only be used to cover direct costs (i.e. not salary costs or overheads).

To apply complete the Santander form 2011-12 Round 2 and submit it by email to Susan Dowdle:

Successful applicants will be expected to participate in general PR activities about their research.  This may involve attending events and promoting the benefits of the funding.

The closing date for applications is Friday 13 January 2012.

Unsuccessful submissions from the last round of the Santander Scholarship funding cannot be resubmitted to this round. Previous unsuccessful applicants can submit new projects/ideas to this round.