Tagged / RCUK

Update to the RCUK Research and Training Grant Terms and Conditions

The Research Councils have reviewed the current grant terms and conditions and are making changes to include additional information on up and coming legislative changes and additional clarity on the guidance provided these changes will start on Monday 15 January 2018.

The aims of the changes are to clearly communicate and clarify the responsibilities which are part of holding a Research Council Grant.

The changes include:

  • Compliance with Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • General Data Protection Regulation changes coming into effect May 2018
  • Transfer of grant assets to UKRI
  • Adding NHS Clinical sessions to the list of approved tasks
  • Clarity of training grants

Links to the full terms and conditions can be found in the press release.

RCUK Mental Health webinar

Date: 20 September 2017;  Time: 14:30 – 15:30

This cross Research Council organised webinar is open to participants from across the remits of the Councils. It will provide further detail regarding the recently published Cross-disciplinary Mental Health Research Agenda (PDF on RCUK website), which was collectively developed by the Research Councils in consultation with a wider audience.

It will also provide details about a soon to be announced Cross-disciplinary Network Plus call, which will be led by the ESRC on behalf of the Research Councils, and will be open to applications from across the remits of the Research Councils. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session towards the end of the webinar.


Participants will need to register in advance by emailing mentalhealth@esrc.ac.uk. Please include the following information within your email:

  • Full name
  • Institution
  • Country you will be dialing in from

Once your place has been confirmed you will receive a confirmation email giving you the details needed in order to participate in the webinar.

The deadline for registration is 15 September 2017. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis within each Research Councils remit.

UK Research Councils join forces on mental health

The UK’s seven research councils have announced they will be working together to encourage and strengthen mental health research. Mental health is recognised as a major societal challenge that requires novel cross-disciplinary research approaches, that is, research that spans more than one branch of specialist knowledge. They have published a new research agenda, paving the way for cross-council collaboration on mental health in the years ahead. Following the publication of the research agenda, a cross council call will be launched in early September 2017.

In 2016 an expert group was set up to advise the research councils on the development of a new mental health research agenda to strengthen cross-disciplinary research. The group was made up of leading academics in the field of mental health. It considered specific research areas that could be tackled through cross-disciplinary work and across the individual remits of each research council. A wider group was also consulted, including academics, funders, mental health charities, representatives of end users of research and service user organisations.

It is estimated that 23% of the UK population is affected by mental health problems at some point each year. In spite of recent progress, more research is needed to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat mental illness. Only about a quarter of people with a mental health problem are deemed to receive ongoing treatment, leaving the majority grappling with mental health issues seeking help or information on their own, and depending on the informal support of family, friends or colleagues.

You can view the new mental health research agenda here .

RKEO will publish on the blog the calls related to this agenda; with the first expected in September.  BU academics are well-placed to submit to upcoming calls.  Watch this space!

GCRF – Funding Update

The second GCRF Research Councils UK Collective Fund call “Growing Research Capability grants” worth £225m is due to come out soon. Keep an eye out and watch this space for more information.

The BEIS Global challenges Research Fund Strategy is now live on GOV.UK website. For the full strategy see here.

The Global Challenges Research Fund has a couple of calls open now. In each case, please refer to the call website for full details including eligibility requirements and thematic priorities:

Interdisciplinary Research Hubs to Address Intractable Challenges Faced by Developing Countries

This RCUK call invites proposals from UK research organisations to establish challenge-led and impact-focused GCRF Interdisciplinary Research Hubs. Between £8M – £20M (full economic cost) will be available for each Hub, provided over a 5 year period starting on 1st December 2018. RCUK are looking to award 12-15 Hubs.

Each Hub is required to demonstrate:

  • Challenge and impact focus – address a specific currently intractable development challenge(s) with realistic pathways with the potential to deliver a broad range of  measurable impacts, and a clear plan for sustaining and further developing the work undertaken during the lifetime of the Hub.
  • Interdisciplinary research excellence – anchored by well-integrated interdisciplinary approach which demonstrates both underpinning research excellence and the ability to think across, between and within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and that adds significant value to existing global research efforts.
  • Global partnerships – a commitment to capacity building and a programme of research and supporting activities which is co-developed with international partners, through genuine and equitable partnerships with researchers and relevant development agencies; third sector and Civil Society Organisations; industry and other private sector organisations; policy makers.
  • Organisation and leadership – strong research and operational leadership which incorporates robust financial and risk management, assurance, governance and effective monitoring and evaluation, and facilitates the ability to learn and adapt over the lifetime of the Hub.

If interested an Intention to Submit survey must be completed by 29th September 2017. Outline proposals must be submitted by 16:00 on 9th November 2017.  For more information see here.

Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries

This call aims to support an internationally leading programme of research, centred on energy networks, to tackle the challenges faced by developing countries.  Proposals to this call must focus on energy distribution in off-grid locations or locations with sporadic grid connection. A particular emphasis should be placed on energy distribution which is maintainable, has good longevity, has low cost and addresses a range of energy uses beyond home lighting. EPSRC invite attention to the robustness of a local grid or micro-grid to natural hazards, with an emphasis on the vulnerability of physical assets.  Projects which aim to tackle the energy distribution issues faced by low-income countries are particularly welcome. Please be aware that proposals primarily focused on advancing renewable energy sources, including solar energy, will not be considered through this call. £7.5 million is available from the EPSRC for this call to fund 6-8 projects up to 36 months in duration. Deadline for submission of an expression of interest is 16:00 on 17 August 2017, the call for full proposals closes 16:00 on 21st September 2017. For more information see here.

If you are planning to apply to any of these schemes, please contact your Research Facilitator for help and support.

Research Council Policy Internships Scheme

The Research Council Policy Internships Scheme provides the opportunity for Research Council-funded PhD students to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential policy organisations.

Next funding opportunity:

  • Call status: Open
  • Call opening date: 19 June 2017
  • Call closing date: 10 August 2017


The Research Councils organise internships for current Research Council-funded PhD students to work at partner host organisations on one or more policy topics relevant to both the student and the host. The student will be expected to produce at least one briefing paper, participate in a policy inquiry and/or organise a policy event, or equivalent piece of work.

Internships are awarded to a number of Parliamentary Departments, Government Departments and Non-Governmental Bodies, Learned societies and other organisations.  See the RCUK site for a list of the 22 Hosting Partners for the 2017/18 competition round and application process, together with forms to be completed.

If you are interested and eligible then please contact your RKEO Funding Development Officer in the first instance.

RCUK Pre-election rules – what they mean for researchers

The RCUK has issued a statement setting out the pre-election rules and what this means for research council funded researchers.  This includes press releases about your research, expert commentary on the election, presenting at conferences concerning the election, research council funded data about voting patterns and behaviour, and election related content on websites and social media.

Please read the statement for exact details, but basically, you can’t mention your research council source of funding (unless directly asked) if talking about anything connected with the election.

RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct

The RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct aims to help researchers and research organisations to manage their research to the highest standards, and provides guidance on the reporting and investigation of unacceptable research conduct.

The guide has been updated from 1 April 2017.  The updates include the need to notify the relevant research council of an allegation of research misconduct at the stage that it is decided to undertake an informal inquiry; not, as previously, at the (later) stage of deciding to undertake a formal investigation.  Please see the link above for the full changes.

RCUK launches impact reports

Yesterday, the RCUK launched reports detailing the impacts of a collective investment of £3.4Bn in 2015/16.  These impact reports showcase specific examples of the impact of investment through their various awards, programmes and collaborations. The wide-ranging nature of the impact extends from furthering technological advances to combatting disease to breakthroughs in the creative economy.  Click here for an overview.

Links to Impact Reports are available below:

Impact – in numbers

  • Growth, productivity and job creation
  • 93% of Research Council funded PhD graduates are employed 6 months after graduation
  • 17,435 current doctoral students
  • 57 spin out companies and 182 instances of IP in 2015
  • 30% of academics interact with private business
  • £229M additional funding leveraged from external partners
  • 17% rate of return on public investment in medical research (See MRC impact report)
  • 3202 instances of new collaborations reported in researchfish® in 2015/16 across all Research Councils
  • More than 50% of PhD graduates work outside academia 7-9 years after graduation – CFE Research (2014)

Global impacts

RCUK statement on Apprenticeship Levy

RCUK have issued the following statement this week:


Any Research Organisation submitting an feC Proposal to the Research Councils can now recover the costs of the new Apprentice levy.

The Research Councils in informal consultation with the sector, have agreed that the cost of the Levy can be recovered by adding the levy charge through direct staff costs, for both Directly Allocated and Directly Incurred Staff. This should be added to any UK based salary at 0.5%. This would not apply to any staff based at overseas Organisations.

The levy charge can be included on all future applications submitted from this date, no amendments to applications or grants submitted or funded will be allowable, though the charge can be recovered through grant virement within the cash limits of the grant. Further details on how this can be entered into Je-S is attached here .

We will be working with TRAC Development Group (TDG) in the coming year in order to include the levy for indirect staff as part of the indirect cost and how the income can accounted for.

The RKEO Funding Development Team will be adding the 0.5% cost (where DA and DI staff are included) to all research council applications with immediate effect.

HEFCE & RCUK report: Understanding the interdisciplinary research environment

HEFCE and Research Councils UK have published a review of the interdisciplinary research landscape in the UK, supported by a report examining 10 institutional case studies in English universities.

hefce-idr-reportThe studies complement work recently published by the British Academy, the Global Research Council and HEFCE with the Medical Research Council.

The reports will form part of the discussion at the conference: ‘Interdisciplinarity: Policy and Practice’ on Thursday 8 December 2016, co-hosted by HEFCE, the British Academy and Research Councils UK.

The reports provide an overview of the current interdisciplinary research landscape in the UK, drawing on a survey of over 2,000 participants, workshops, interviews and case studies.

The findings reflect researcher, strategic leader and funder perspectives, highlighting interdisciplinary research (IDR) as a crucial part of the UK research landscape.

A desire to achieve broader impact, the challenges associated with peer review and evaluation, the importance of institutional support and the value of flexible funds featured as common themes.

The case studies identified good practice in a range of institutions seeking to grow, sustain and embed interdisciplinary practice in their research cultures.

The importance of balancing top-down and bottom-up approaches, the role of flexible funding, and institutional infrastructure that prioritises high-quality research were identified as some potentially beneficial features in successful institutional IDR environments.

The reports also highlighted that:

  • Submitted outputs declared as interdisciplinary did as well as single discipline outputs in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). This is despite the structure of the REF being perceived as a barrier by some researchers.
  • The measurement of impact in research assessment is seen by some as a showcase for interdisciplinary activity that has helped IDR to gain traction in universities.
  • Universities can and do use many models to support IDR. What works is contextual, but there are lessons to be learned from existing good practice.
  • IDR often requires more time for initial teams to develop and for projects to result in outcomes.

The evaluation of interdisciplinary research outputs, and their impact, were highlighted by Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the Research Excellence Framework as areas for further development.

Subject to the views of our respective Ministers, the UK higher education funding bodies intend to take this forward in a consultation, to be launched before the end of 2016.

Read the reports

RCUK Policy Internships Scheme

PhD students! An exciting internship opportunity has come up. RCUK Policy are looking for PhD students, funded by the UK Research Councils, to work for three months in one of a selected group of highly influential organisations relevant to UK policy. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work on one or more policy topics of interest. This will give you the chance to participate in a policy inquiry, organise a policy event and produce at least one briefing paper.

The internship is open to all Research Council-funded students. All applicants must be funded until 31 December 2017, to be eligible for the scheme.

Interested? All applications must be submitted by 4pm on Tuesday 1 September 2016. You’ll be notified by the end of September 2016 on the success of your application. If you’re successful, then you’ll be interviewed sometime in October or November.

Click here to find out more information and submit your application.

Research Councils new grants service Regional Workshop

RCUKRCUK are undertaking a project to upgrade their electronic grants submission service.  Do you want to go and hear more about the grants service in person? They are running regional workshops around the UK and will be holding a workshop in London on 26th September 2016.  Alice Brown from the RKEO will be attending but it would also be useful for academics to attend.

The aim of this event is to come and talk to the research community about the Research Councils programme to replace their existing grants service and to, where possible, simplify and standardise grants policy and process. This event will be an opportunity to hear about what progress they have made and to ask them questions. In the afternoon they would also like to carry out user testing with a smaller group. They would like to invite a mixed audience to attend including academics, university research administrators and managers, system and data staff etc.

When – Monday, 26 September 2016 from 09:00 to 17:00 (BST)

Where – Imperial College London – Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ

To register, click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/research-councils-new-grants-service-regional-workshop-tickets-27166553894

New business and university collaboration platform


konfer has been developed to faciliate easier access to the university sector for the business community, by collating a large amount of information all on one platform. UK universities are bursting with innovation  and  world-class academics who are keen to collaborate with industry, charities and the public sector.

konfer was created by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) to make this astonishing wealth of expertise and resources more accessible. Working in partnership with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Research Councils UK (RCUK), konfer brings knowledge and growth to businesses, valuable exposure for university talent, and future prosperity for the UK.


When a business owner spots an opportunity, konfer supports the journey from finding a research partner and funding to planning and co-creation. It does this by giving direct access to:

  • 8000 academics
  • 11,000 facility and equipment listings
  • 800,000 web pages from university sites and social media
  • 22,000 YouTube videos from university channels
  • 10,000 news, funding and events articles from curated feeds
  • 50,000 publicly funded research projects

konfer brings knowledge and growth to businesses, valuable exposure for university talent, and future strength for the UK economy.

Learn more


NCUB want  konfer to be as useful as possible, so  access to the  Alpha version of the site is available. No need for passwords or user names – just dive straight in. https://konfer.online

This means things may be a little rough around the edges and there may be some bugs to be  squished ! But,  hope  by sharing the site early,  hope to consider suggestions fro improvements. Planned live date is erly in the New Year.  Feedback can be emailed  konfer@ncub.co.uk . For more information on this platform and NCUB in general contact Jayne Codling within RKEO.

RCUK GCRF Call for Evidence

RCUKlogoThe Government Spending Review on 25th November 2015 announced “a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund, to ensure UK science takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries, whilst developing our ability to deliver cutting-edge research”. The Global Challenges Research Fund is a BIS initiative which operates across a number of delivery partners, including the Research Councils, National Academies and HEFCE.

The RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) represents the largest portion of this Fund. They have launched a call for evidence to gather your views on the high-level challenges that will form the basis of the funding calls from the GCRF Collective Fund, the information gathered will also be shared with the other delivery partners so that it may inform their own strategies. They would also like your views on the most effective ways of delivering GCRF.

They are seeking inputs from individuals and institutions across all academic disciplines, non-governmental organisation and industrial sectors both in and outside of the UK.

The results from the survey will be reviewed alongside feedback from the Town Meetings. They will share a short summary of evidence they have collected and outline how that has informed their strategy in the autumn.

This call for evidence forms part of a broader programme of strategic engagement activities taking place under the GCRF programme. They will be running focus groups later this year and opening a Call for Ideas early next year to generate priority themes within each challenge.

You can complete the survey by clicking the link below. The survey closes at 16.00 on 22 August:


Respondents are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the following background information whilst completing the survey: