Tagged / research council

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.

AHRC – So, why not apply?

At the end of our week focusing on AHRC, perhaps you are inspired and now want to see what opportunities are currently available….?

Please check the AHRC’s listing  for the most up to date information and specific closing dates and times for grants. The following are correct at the time of posting:

  • Data Exploration – creating new insight and value. This is collaboratively funded by the TSB, AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC and DSTL and involves an investment of up to £4.5m in collaborative research and development that addresses the technical challenges and business opportunities presented by the huge growth in data. Applicatants must register by 26/01/14 and the final application submitted by 05/03/14
  • Valuing Nature. A five year research programme which aims to better understand and represent the complexities of valuing the natural environment and to consider the wider societal and cultural value of ecosystems services. Funds of up to £1.1 million (80 per cent fEC) are available for a single grant of 5 years duration to support an interdisciplinary Programme Co-ordination Team. Closing date 20/03/14
  • New Generation Thinkers 2104, in collaboration with BBC Radio 3. Those selected will benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own programmes for BBC Radio 3 and a chance to regularly appear on air. Closing date 06/02/14
  • Connected Communities Research Development Workshop on Addressing the Challenges of Disconnection, Division and Exclusion. Attendees at the workshop will have an opportunity to apply for ring-fenced funding for follow-up projects of up to £100,000 to support inter-disciplinary collaborative grants combining arts and humanities expertise with other research disciplines and community, policy and practice partners, to take forward the most innovative research ideas that emerge during the workshop. Closing date 30/01/2014
  • Digital Transformations Amplification Awards.  The aim of this call is to exploit the potential of digital technologies to transform research in the arts and humanities, to create exemplars of transformative approaches to digital arts and scholarship, and to ensure that arts and humanities researchers are at the forefront of tackling crucial issues such as intellectual property, cultural memory and identity, and communication and creativity in a digital age. Closing date 20/02/2014
  • Translating Cultures Innovation Grants. In a world seen to be increasingly characterized by transnational and globalized connections, the need for understanding and communication within, between and across diverse cultures is stronger than ever. The Translating Cultures theme addresses this need by studying the role of translation, understood in its broadest sense, in the transmission, interpretation, transformation and sharing of languages, values, beliefs, histories and narratives. Funding of between £150-200k is available. Closing date 06/03/2014
  • Science in Culture Innovation Awards. In the context of this call, innovation can take a number of forms: Exploring new inter-disciplinary concepts, methodologies and approaches drawing on both the arts and humanities and the sciences; Developing reciprocal collaborations of a new nature or in new or emerging fields of collaborative enquiry between the arts and humanities and the sciences and  Addressing innovative and inter-disciplinary research questions co-produced through dialogue between the arts and humanities and the sciences. Funding of up to £80,000 over a period of 12 months will be awarded to successful grants.  Up to 10 Innovation Awards are expected to be funded under the Science in Culture theme. Closing date 27/02/2014

The AHRC also supports other funding schemes:

Research Funding


Knowledge Exchange


International Research


Postgraduate Funding

You can read about BU’s success within the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Media School, and with the Block Grant Partnership. You can also read an overview of  the AHRC visit to BU on 20/1/14 and tips for submssion.

Please refer to previous posts on how to apply and make use of the AHRC’s own Research Funding Guide.

 You can search for opportunities on the AHRC website, but why not set up your own alerts in Research Professional so that you receive personalised emails regarding AHRC funding? You can, of course, set up tailored alerts for any other funders that meet your research needs.

You can also check the updates on the Research Blog for funding opportinities from major funders. This is normally posted by RKE  each week.

Please keep in touch with your RKE Operations Support Officer and seek their advice early in the application process. We all look forward to seeing an increase in AHRC bid submissions in the future!


AHRC – a success for BU

By Eva and Alex




Following yesterday’s Blog post on the AHRC – a success for BU, we would like to focus on the Faculty of Science and Technology’s success with AHRC. Over the last few years the Faculty of Science and Technology’s have a 45% success rate from 20 projects submitted with 9 funded.

So how did we achieve this success you ask?  Well we took to the offices of Christchurch House to interview successful AHRC grant holders Dr. Mark Matlby and Dr. Emma Jenkins to find out…

Mark Maltby

What was your project about?

Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions : It’s part of the Science in Culture Call.  The project aims to unite scholars from different disciplines, members of the public, interest groups and schoolchildren through the study of human exploitation of chickens, an under-researched species that has the potential to provide new insights about the past, present and future of human society and their relationships with animals.

 How is it going?

It began on January 6th – so early days!

What do you want to achieve?

One of the main aims is to get researchers from different disciplines to work together constructively and exchange knowledge and expertise in pursuit of a common research goal.

What gave you the edge, do you think?

Being positive/enthusiastic in statements in the application and in response to reviewers’ comments.. Working with colleagues from other institutions who have successfully gained and carried out research grants. Their expertise in writing the Case for Support, Objectives etc was invaluable.

In hindsight, what would you do differently, what advice would you give to others?

Despite our best efforts, we were tight to the deadline for application. What took more time than I expected was getting the cost estimates sorted. Particularly if you are applying with partners, allow enough time for members of other institutions to react.

Any other comments from your experience that are worth noting.

We certainly benefitted from having an interview rehearsal. Learn to write very concisely as word limits are challengingly limited.


Emma Jenkins

What was your project about

The project is concerned with developing a method to help us understand more about how Neolithic sites in southwest Asia (c 11,700-7800 cal BP) were used. This is an important period in human history which saw the advent of sedentism, agriculture, and ultimately the rise of complex societies. It is also, however, one of the most poorly understood. This is partly due to the problems associated with site recognition and partly because of the lack of preservation of many forms of evidence, particularly biological. As a result, many Neolithic sites are comprised of a series of structures, the function of which is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret. Therefore, it is critical that we maximise the information that can be acquired from these sites.

 Our project uses recent advances in archaeological scientific techniques, namely phytolith (bodies of silica that form in and around plant cells)and geochemical analysis (traces of chemicals in soils resulting from human induced activities and waste, e.g. phosphorous, calcium and manganese) in a novel way. We will conduct a large scale combined analysis of phytoliths and geochemical elements from ethnographic sites to determine if certain activity areas, for example middens, hearths and floors, have particular phytolith and geochemical signatures that can help us recognise these same areas archaeologically.  

 How is it going

We have recruited two excellent new team members who will start with us in March and April and are busy making plans for our field season in April in Jordan. However, we have also hit problem number one but I am a firm believer in looking for solutions rather than focusing on the problem!

 What do you want to achieve?

On the academic front I want to have a successful field season in Jordan, leading to the collection of a good range of samples which will enable us to produce worthwhile and valid results. The aim is to publish these as peer reviewed journal papers. The ultimate aim is for us to apply for further funding to pursue related research areas.

We also plan to produce two 10 minute documentaries. The first will show  how scientific methods can be used in archaeology which I can use in my STEM Ambassador and general outreach work. The second is focused on documenting and presenting a sympathetic portrayal of traditional ways of life in Jordan and the relationship between people and a challenging but beautiful and ancient environment and landscape. The latter film is particularly pertinent because the traditional lifeways in Jordan are fast disappearing as a result of western influence.

 What gave you the edge, do you think?

I think there were a number of factors which led to this project being funded. Perhaps the most important was the team of people. All of us had a proven track record in our discipline and a history of working in Jordan. Even though this was awarded to me as an Early Career Grant, my collaborators hold senior positions within their institutions and have a strong publication record relating to the project research areas. We had done pilot studies involving phytoliths and geochemical analysis on ethnographic sites in Jordan which demonstrated that the method had potential. Another strength was the fact that I had run (or co-run) projects in Jordan previously so could demonstrate project management skills. Last, but definitely not least, I think Martin Pickard from Grantcraft helped a lot in the layout and design of the proposal which improved it enormously.

 In hindsight, what would you do differently, what advice would you give to others?

I over thought the impact part of the project (the documentaries) and originally made them too specific and complicated. We have since changed their focus and this makes them much more in line with the academic aims.

 As for my advice-don’t have two babies while trying to write a grant application in a timely fashion!

 No seriously,

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about the project and don’t under estimate how much time the project planning can take.
  • Cover yourself for every possible criticism. I wrote in a contingency plan in case there were any political problems in Jordan that made fieldwork unfeasible. The reviewers all seemed to like the fact that I had addressed this potential problem.
  • Make sure your project is good value for money and that you have a good team of people
  • Ask for help . I asked a lot of people within my discipline for advice and to read my application. One of my colleagues noticed a rather fundamental flaw in my proposal in its early stages and suggested alternative archaeological sites which made the project much more coherent.

 Also any other comments from your experience that are worth noting.

Designing the project was a really worthwhile experience and led to me finding fantastic team members whom I hope to work with in the future.

~Don’t miss tomorrow’s edition, when we hit the streets of Weymouth house for the Media School story on their fantastic success with the AHRC.

Changes to Research Council research grants administration

Changes to final reporting

In a move to reduce the amount of effort required of grant holders and peer reviewers, and building on the policy of consolidating outcomes reporting through online systems, the Research Councils have decided to scale back their requirements for final reporting on grants.

For Councils other than BBSRC and ESRC, most grants with an end date on or after 1st January 2013 will no longer require a final report. ESRC will for now be continuing with its end of award reporting process and BBSRC intends to phase out final reports over the coming months. Some grant schemes within the other Councils may also continue to require reports and in these cases a final report request will be issued in the normal way. But, in the majority of cases, a final report will not be required.

Grants ending before 1 st January 2013 will continue to require a final report in the normal way, unless this requirement has previously been waived.

Changes to research grant terms and conditions

Some changes have been made to the core terms and conditions of Research Council grants, affecting grants announced from 1 October 2012. These are:

GC7 (Extensions) – grants may now be extended for up to 12 months, in total, as a result of maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

GC2 (Research Governance), under Misconduct and Conflicts of Interest – inclusion of a requirement that the Research Organisation has in place procedures for governing good research practice, and for investigating and reporting unacceptable research conduct, that meets the requirements set out in the 2012 Concordat to Support Research Integrity (as well as the RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct).

Improvements to peer-review feedback

In a first step towards improving the transparency of the peer review process, the Councils are making changes to the Je-S system in November that will enable the decision provided to grant applicants on the outcome of their proposal to be made available, through Je-S, to research organisation administrative offices.

fEC step by step guide to costing! ~ Step 5 Exceptional costs

This week is fEC week on the Blog! Each day we have been explaining a different element of fEC as a quick reference guide to help you prepare the budgets for your research proposals. Today is the last in the series and the focus is on Exceptional costs.

See Friday’s blog post (Introduction to full economic costing) for an explanation of what fEC actually is and why we use it.

Step 5 – Exceptional costs

For Research Council applications in particular, certain costs will be classified as Exceptional and will be subject to a different funding arrangement to the rest of the costs on the project. These are:

  • Postgraduate student fees and stipends
  • Equipment costing in excess of £10k
  • Large survey fees

Research Councils will usually pay 100% of the fEC of these exceptional costs, with the exception of equipment costing in excess of £10k for which the Research Councils will pay approximately 50-100% of the fEC depending on the total cost of the equipment. For further information, see the RCUK statement on the Changes to Requests for Equipment from 1st May 2011.

Tuition fee and stipend levels for Research Council funded students can be found on the RCUK webpages.

This is the final installment of this week’s step by step guide to fEC. The other steps can be accessed here:

Step 1 – Directly Incurred costs

Step 2 – Estimating staff time

Step 3 – Directly Allocated costs

Step 4 – Estate and Indirect costs

RCUK delivery plan published

RCUK logoLast week Research Councils UK (RCUK) published its new delivery plan. The plan sets out the programme of collective activities for the period 2011-2015, building on the strategic objectives set out in the RCUK Strategic Vision.

The collective work that the Research Councils do as RCUK will cover two broad areas: delivering excellence with impact and enhancing efficiency.

The RCUK programme, detailed in the Delivery Plan, contributes to:

  • Co-ordinating multidisciplinary research to address societal challenges
  • Maximising the impact of the research funded by Research Councils
  • Supporting research in the international context
  • Ensuring a continued pipeline of highly skilled researchers for the sustained health of the research base, and for wider economic and societal benefit
  • Engaging the public with the research.

Collaboration and multidisciplinary research will continue to be supported through the six cross-Council themes:

Research Councils will also work collectively to both improve the efficiency of their own operations and drive enhanced efficiency in the wider research base.

For further information read the full RCUK Delivery Plan

EPSRC study days

EPSRC logoThe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is holding Study Days on 17 May and 14 July at their offices in Swindon. Study Days are one-day events designed to give university researchers and administration staff an overview of the EPSRC and their peer review process.

A Study Day typically involves:

  • Presentations – Introductory presentations from experienced members of EPSRC staff;
  • Mock Panel – Attendees have the chance to participate in a mock prioritisation panel meeting, led by a real panel convenor;
  • Pathways to Impact – An interactive session offering advice on how to complete the Pathways to Impact question on the grant application form;
  • EPSRC activities and opportunities – introductory talks on Transformative Research, People Support and International Engagement
  • Tips on Proposal Writing – First steps in grantsmanship.

This is an excellent opportunity for any academic staff interested in applying to the EPSRC for funding.

Study Days are free to attend. If you are interested in attending please contact Julie Northam in the first instance as the Research Development Unit will administer your booking on your behalf.

For further information please see the EPSRC Study Days webpage.