Tagged / bidding

Eurostat

Are you trying to justify your research submission to the EU or another funder?

One way that you can support your bid is to use the EU statistical database – Eurostat. The Eurostat website provides direct and free of charge online access to all its statistical databases and associated electronic publications. The Eurostat database is updated twice a day and covers:

  • the European Union
  • the EU Member States
  • the euro-zone
  • Candidate countries
  • EFTA countries

Take a look at the first visit page to find out the main features, including tools for visualisation of data, extraction tools, mobile apps and tutorials to help you make the best use of EU statistical data. You can register for free so that you can receive tailor-made e-mail alerts informing you of new publications as soon as they are online and access enhanced functionalities of the databases (customize the navigation tree, bulk download). You can also sign up to alerts. If you already have an ECAS login, you can access Eurostat using this.

 

Life as an AHRC Panel Reviewer

AHRC

At the moment the Arts and Humanities Research Council are recruiting new members for their review panels. I have been member of the review college (as it’s grandly called) for just over two years have reviewed many bids in that time. Like Dr. Richard Shipway of the School of Tourism – who has recently posted about his experiences reviewing for the ESRC – I’ve found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

I get around 4-5 bids to review a year. It is all done online – although you can save and print all of the documents as PDFs if you want. I’ve looked at all sorts of bids, submitted by all sorts of academics, at varying stages of their career. Sometimes I have heard of the researcher, sometimes not. Sometimes I know a great deal about the proposed topic, sometimes not so much. That’s OK, because you can evaluate your own expertise in commenting on a proposal when reviewing the bid – this is great if you’re not entirely comfortable.

So, you get to see what other people are bidding for, and for what. The review process then directly informs your own bidding activity. The training for reviewers – at Polaris House in Swindon – is excellent, and the regular sessions are a further opportunity to meet other academics from all over the UK. The most useful thing though is to read and discuss same successful and unsuccessful bids with other reviewers, panel chairs and AHRC staff.

Being a reviewer gives me a great insight into the ways in which a successful research proposal can be crafted. It’s like being at the other end of the ‘pipe’ because on one hand I’m putting together bids with my colleagues here at BU, and then I’m very often reading the submissions at the same time. Right now I have a proposal sitting in my inbox waiting to be reviewed, alongside an almost complete proposal I’m working on with a colleague at the University of Wolverhampton, which we will be submitting to the AHRC very soon.

For me, this dialog between the two processes (reviewing and writing) has been invaluable, and has certainly improved the practice of putting together research bids. It’s also shaped my thinking a lot more strategically in terms of what to go for, and who to work with.

There is still time to put yourself forward as an AHRC reviewer and I would highly recommend it.

If you’re interested in being nominated as a reviewer for the AHRC then read how to do so here: AHRC Still Seeking Nominations for Peer Reviewers

Sometimes a kick in the teeth can be good for you!

My rationale needed to be contextualised, my aims were too tentative and I had a weak dissemination strategy. Apart from that my bid had potential.

This was the feedback I got on a two-day course run by the Missenden Centre on bidding for research funding. John Wakeford and his small team of experts began by painting a rather dismal picture – an institutional success rate of more than 50% is rare apparently. And this does not necessarily mean that the amount of bidding should be increased, rather it’s better to ensure that every bid is precise, well-crafted and perfectly pitched.

The course was structured around presentations on the national context, the processes of the research councils and, most usefully, dissection of our own bids. My group was small and we quickly learned not to be too precious about surrendering our proposals for scrutiny. The critique we got from each other, from the facilitators and from the research development officers (who joined us on day two) was invaluable and I left with these key lessons:

  • Take time to prepare a robust bid – rushed responses to late calls are rarely successful;
  • Make sure the bid is going to the right place – make sure you know exactly why a particular body should fund your research;
  • Build in plenty of time for peer review – even minor errors can have a disproportionately negative effect;
  • Be bold and convincing about the impact your research will definitely have;
  • Write like a journalist – seduce and engage your reader – minimise the chances they have to say ‘no’.

And now I have some revisions to do…

 

The RDU has funding available to send BU academics on external proposal writing workshops, such as the one Mark went on at the Missenden Centre. If you’re interested in attending then email me (jnortham@bournemouth.ac.uk) to discuss the workshops coming up.

 

Upcoming Missenden Centre workshops – book your place now!

The Missenden Centre still has places available on a number excellent workshops this autumn/winter.

The Research Development Unit has some funds available to support academics and research support staff to attend. If you are interested please contact Julie Northam in the first instance.

Ensuring PhD completions for REF 2014
15/16 September
With: John Wakeford, Head of Missenden Centre and Fiona Denney, Head of Postgraduate Development at King’s College London
Special session for academic, registry and graduate school staff
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s1

Successful bidding: third of our day clinics
18 November
With: John Wakeford
Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application for advice on how to turn it into an award-winning form.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s4

Bidding for research funding: pathways to success
9/10 November for academics
10/11 November for research support staff
With Sarah Andrew, Dean of Applied and Health Sciences, University of Chester
Robert Crawshaw, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University
‘The course was excellent. I think it will probably change my entire approach to writing grant proposals and will most wholeheartedly recommend it to my colleagues. So, once again, many thanks.’  Dr. Miriam V. Dwek, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Westminster.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s2

Effective supervision
12/13 January
Our unique preparation for supervisors and those with responsibilities for training them.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s6

Speak to the Research Development Unit and book your place now!

Reminder – 5 day internal deadline for Research Councils

Just a reminder that from 1st February 2011 ULT has agreed an internal deadline of five working days prior to the published submission deadline for all Research Council bids made via the Je-S system. 

If proposals are submitted with technical errors they are either returned by the Research Council for amendment or, in the worst case scenario, the application will fail the initial Research Council sift and be rejected. These problems can easily be spotted by CRE Operations prior to final submission if they have enough time to review the application.  The new internal deadline is in line with Research Council recommendations and will allow checks to take place so that the academic content can shine and give the project the best chance of being funded!

Upcoming Missenden Centre workshops – book your place now!

The Missenden Centre still has places available on two excellent workshops in June. The Research Development Unit has some funds available to support academics and research support staff to attend. If you are interested please contact Julie Northam in the first instance.

Successful bidding: second of our day clinics
2nd June
Woburn House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ
Tutor: John Wakeford
Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application for advice on how to turn it into an award-winning form.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s8.htm

Bidding for research funding: pathways to success
15/16 June for academics and
16/17 June for research support staff
With Sarah Andrew, Dean of Applied and Health Sciences, University of Chester
Robert Crawshaw, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University
‘The course was excellent. I think it will probably change my entire approach to writing grant proposals and will most wholeheartedly recommend it to my colleagues. So, once again, many thanks.’  Dr. Miriam V. Dwek, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Westminster.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s7.htm

Book your place now!

Missenden Centre research workshops

The Missenden Centre is running a series of workshops this year that may be of interest to BU academics and research support staff:

Successful Bidding: Day Clinic – 2 June 2011, London 

Bidding for Research Funding  for academic staff – 15/16 June 2011, Missenden Centre

Bidding for Research Funding for research support staff – 16/17 June 2011, Missenden Centre

The Missenden Centre courses are highly praised and well respected within the sector.