Tagged / Research Councils

Exploring research impact

Why do I need to think about the impact of my research?

Given the current economic situation, tighter spending reviews and increasing constraints on public spending, there is more of a need than ever to demonstrate the economic, social and cultural benefits of publicly funded research to wider society. This broad definition of research impact is gradually being adopted and used in a number of ways by various funding bodies that need to be accountable for the money they distribute, such as the Research Councils UK (RCUK), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and some charities and trusts.

Consequently, there is now greater impetus to involve researchers more directly in demonstrating the impact of their research. Researchers therefore need to actively think about how to demonstrate the value of their research and its wider impact, from the application stage through to project completion, dissemination and beyond.

This impact pathway is a fluid process and research impacts can occur at any stage in the research life cycle – often they can stem from unexpected or unintended outcomes as well as from planned activity. The key is to start thinking about potential beneficiaries and pathways to impact during the project planning stage and to continue to monitor the outcomes in an ongoing way. This will help you to make new connections and partnerships beyond the project itself, and to put in place resources and activities that enable you to make the most of opportunities for achieving impact when they arise. Keeping a record of activity related to a project, and gathering evidence to support impacts and outcomes achieved, is recommended to enable you to effectively fulfil any current and future reporting requirements.

What are funders looking for in terms of impact?

Many funding bodies, particularly larger ones such as RCUK, have a section on their funding application form that specifically asks you to consider the potential pathways to impact as appropriate for the nature of the research you’re proposing to conduct. This is to enable funders to support you in undertaking these activities – you’re not being asked to predict the actual outcomes that the research will achieve.

Each funder understands that there is great diversity in the kinds of impact that are possible; they also acknowledge that this diversity is a great strength of the research community in addressing such things as urgent social issues, remaining competitive in global markets and improving quality of life. It is about embracing the ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations.
In thinking about potential impacts, you might find it useful to consider the potential beneficiaries of the research – innovative and creative approaches to engaging beneficiaries and fostering impact are generally strongly encouraged by the funders. For more specific information about completing the impact sections on the RCUK application forms and for an indication of the potential range of impacts that can be generated from research, visit the RCUK impact web-pages.

Furthermore, the RCUK has just launched the Research Outcomes Project, which requires all RCUK grant holders to upload information about the various outcomes that have resulted from each of the RCUK-funded projects they are responsible for, and one of those categories is impact.

What is HEFCE looking for in terms of research impact for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)?

As part of submitting to the REF, HEFCE requires higher education institutions to provide evidence of research impact that has been realised within the assessment period but which stems from research undertaken at that institution within a number of years prior to the assessment period. Therefore, rather than looking forward to the kinds of impact that might stem from a research project, HEFCE is asking for information about impacts that are being, or have already been, achieved within a set timeframe. More information about how HEFCE is approaching impact in the REF is available from the HEFCE REF web-pages.

RCUK Research Outcomes Project is ready to launch!

Following my previous post about the development of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Outcomes Project, the launch of the new system for collecting information about research outcomes from all RCUK grant holders is nearly here. Assuming all goes to plan with the final phase of user testing, the system will go live from 14 November 2011. Grant holders will be required to upload information about the following for each of the RCUK-funded projects they are responsible for:

  • Publications
  • Other research outputs
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Exploitation
  • Recognition
  • Staff development
  • Further funding
  • Impact

Grant holders will be able to log in to the system using their Je-S login and will be responsible for maintaining the outcomes information about the grants they have been awarded, even if they move institution. RCUK have issued a list of FAQs to help answer some common queries.

Grant Writing Workshops – Research Councils Focus

Dr Martin Pickard is coming to BU on 23rd and 24th November 2011 to deliver interactive workshops on the preparation of research council applications. 

  • 23rd November will be focused on social sciences and humanities research council bids. 
  • 24th November will be focused on applied and natural sciences research council bids, including engineering.

Martin is a specialist in writing and supporting research proposals – in particular European grant applications and tenders – as well as managing projects. He has 25 years experience of writing, supporting and managing literally thousands of research proposals and has worked across Europe with a large number of universities, research institutes, industrial firms and international companies.

Martin came to BU in May last year to deliver a general session on grant writing skills and the feedback he received was excellent:

I was very impressed by the presentations“,

I must say it’s a great workshop, which provides us a number of important points we should pay attention to while drafting our proposals.”

I am confident that I can apply the tips that Martin gave us to significantly improve my chance of grant success.”

Following the workshop, anyone who attended can send Martin their draft application for a personal review and some feedback.

Sessions are free and available to all staff.  Places are limited so need to be booked in advance.  For further information or to book a place please contact Susan Dowdle.

The AHRC are seeking nominations for peer reviewers

The AHRC are seeking nominations for new members to be appointed to its Peer Review College (PRC) who would be able to assess proposals submitted under AHRC’s research themes. In parallel they wish to increase the capacity of the College in specific research areas.

Peer review lies at the heart of the AHRC’s operations, and they remain fully committed to the principle of peer review for the assessment of proposals to their schemes and programmes. PRC members provide expert quality reviews of proposals within their areas of expertise, which inform the AHRC’s decision making processes. As well as making an important contribution to the AHRC’s peer review processes, the experience gained by membership of the College also provides benefits to individuals, departments and higher education institutions.

We are actively encouraging all research-active staff in relevant areas to consider putting themselves forward as peer reviewers. Being part of a peer review college for a prestigious funding body such as the AHRC has a number of significant benefits, such as:

  • it will help to raise your profile
  • it is a useful way of getting an insight into how the funder works
  • it will help you to keep abreast of what work is currently being done in your discipline, thus ensuring your teaching and research are cutting edge
  • you will gain an understanding of what it takes for an application to get funded
  • you will be in a stronger position to mentor and help your colleagues with regard to internal peer review and bid writing

BU’s Dr Richard Shipway is a peer reviewer for the ESRC and recently wrote an excellent blog post on the benefits of being a peer reviewer. You can read Richard’s post here.

Further details of the call for nominations are available on the AHRC website, available here.

Applications are sought from academics at all stages of their career and, if chosen, you will serve a four year term. Candidates must be nominated by a senior academic within the University. If you want to be nominated then send your CV to me and I will liaise with Matthew Bennett,  who will put forward nominations on behalf of BU.

What do funders look for in a research application?

  • Funders look for a research application that is novel and that addresses an important research question pertinent to their strategic aims.  Check funder’s websites and research their current priorities.
  • They need to be convinced of the Principal Investigator’s ability to deliver and are thus keen to see clearly described aims and a well thought through project plan.
  • Funders are also increasingly looking for a clear indication of what the likely impact of the research will be.

How does the funding decision process work?

  • On receipt of a grant proposal, funders will identify UK and/or international academics with appropriate expertise to provide written assessment of it.
  • On the day of decision-making, there is rarely enough money to fund every grant considered to be fundable and so often a ranking/scoring system is adopted such that only those ranked in the top grouping get funded.
  • How far the bar comes down depends on the committee’s budget – you just have to present the best case you can to catch the eye of the funding committee.

What are the typical reasons for proposal rejection?

  • Applicant is not eligible to apply/exceeding the page limits/missing documentation
  • Uninvited/undeclared resubmissions which fail to meet the criteria after revision
  • Lack of clearly stated hypothesis/research question
  • Research question not considered to be novel
  • Insufficient reference to previously published research
  • Importance of research question not well argued
  • Project too vague in its objectives
  • Not clear how the methodologies/work plan will provide the answer to the question posed
  • Unconvincing track record of applicant
  • Proposal is over-ambitious
  • Lack of sound methodology
  • Not value for money (i.e. a quicker/cheaper way to answer question exists)
  • Outcome unlikely to have much impact on the field or impact of outcomes not explained
  • Proposed research would be run in isolation/in an unsupported environment

Who can I ask for further help?

Contact Caroline O’Kane in the Research Development Unit for advice on what makes a good proposal.  

Caroline also runs the University’s Research Proposal Review Service (RPRS), and can advise on funding criteria, funders and eligibility issues.   For the best results please get in touch with Caroline as soon as you start developing a funding proposal – the RPRS can support your bid in more ways than you think.

Find out more:

Research Council Success Rates

The Research Councils have created central web-hubs with all the key data on success rates in addition to other useful data on funded grants and overall budgets.

The data for each council can be accessed from the following links:

The ESRC seems to have one of the lowest success rates.  In the Nov/Dec 2010 round of their responsive mode grants there was only an 8% success rate.

The success rates for NERC varied by the scheme, in the last round of the Consortium grants only 1 was funded.  If your research falls within the remit of NERC and you are within 3 years of your first academic post I would encourage you to consider putting together an application for the new investigator scheme as this had the highest success rate of 23% in the last round.  Unfortunately their small grants scheme is about to be withdrawn after the September 2011 deadline.

For the AHRC the schemes with the highest success rates were the fellowship schemes and the research networking scheme.  The success rates were 40% and 50% for the fellowships and early career fellowships, and 48% for the research networking in 2010-11.

If you would like guidance on which funder and scheme to apply to then our internal peer review service can provide this along with feedback on your application.

Changes to research schemes at NERC

Yesterday the Natural Environment Research Council announced changes to the Consortium and Small grants responsive mode schemes.

The Small Grants Scheme will close after 2011 with the last application deadline being 1st September 2011.

The Consortium Grants Scheme will be modified to operate via one grant round per year rather than two, and an outline stage assessed by members of the Peer Review College will be introduced. The final closing date for submissions to the Consortium scheme in the current format will be 1 December 2011 (concept notes to be submitted by 1 September 2011).  From 2012 additional resources will be committed to the Consortium Grants scheme.

These changes are part of the NERC Delivery Plan 2011-2015 which includes the following targets for Responsive Mode:

  • reduce demand for research grants,
  • consolidate RM schemes and processes, and balances between them, to deliver NERC strategic needs

The full news item can be viewed here.

Continuing importance of ‘Impact’ highlighted by HEFCE and RCUK

RCUK logoThe Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK (UUK) have issued a joint statement highlighting the continuing importance of the impact of research and making a commitment to developing common frameworks.  Both the REF (undertaken by HEFCE) and the Research Councils place a strong emphasis on the impact of research.

Their key aims are:

  • ensuring that their approaches to supporting knowledge exchange are joined up
  • securing greater impact from publicly funded research whilst ensuring their funding policies are complementary and work coherently together
  • ensuring that their monitoring, assessment and evaluation as well as the collection of statistical data from HEIs is proportionate.
  • supporting the training of new researchers, at both PhD and post-doctoral level, to ensure that they acquire the skills and expertise needed to maximise the impact of their own research.

The full statement is available on the RCUK website.

€4.2M Healthy Ageing in the EU Research funds just released!

Europe’s first joint call for ageing research ‘ERA-AGE 2’ has been released with a whopping €4.2M available. Research Councils from across Europe have contributed to this fund which aims to increase healthy ageing and increase life expectancy by two years within the European Union by 2020.
This call enables researchers from all disciplines to put in applications addressing “Active and healthy ageing across the life course”. The research funded will aim to generate new insights on the factors that enable individuals to live actively and healthily into later life. Applications are invited from multidisciplinary research groups representing three to five funding countries. Stage-one pre-proposals can be submitted until 3 October 2011 under three areas:
1. Generate new knowledge on the biological, clinical, behavioural, social and environmental factors that enable individuals to live actively and healthily into later life.
2. Explore comparatively different models, methods, approaches and good practices in societal responses to increased longevity which emphasise both social inclusion and sustainability.
3. Engage in effective knowledge exchange activities that will assist European and other countries to achieve the goal of increasing healthy life expectancy by two years by 2020.

ESRC Knowledge Exchange Opportunities

ESRC logoThe ESRC has announced two new calls as part of its Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

The scheme exists to enable researchers to work with individuals and organisations in the private, public and civil society sectors. Knowledge exchange can involve a range of methods but is ultimately about sharing and applying good ideas, research results, experiences and engagement skills. The ESRC fund and manage a range of schemes to support collaborative projects and create a dialogue between researchers and individuals/organisations that have the potential to benefit from social science research.

The two calls that have been announced are:

 – the Follow on Fund scheme

 – the Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

The Knowledge Exchange call is open from 1 September until 27 October 2011 and is aimed at social science researchers at all stages of their career and at organisations in the business, public and civil society sectors, with the intention of encouraging dialogue and collaboration between these groups.

Future calls are scheduled as follows:

  • 12 December 2011 – 6 February 2012
  • 9 April 2012 – 4 June 2012
  • 20 August 2012 – 1 October 2012

Further information is available from the ESRC website: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/collaboration/knowledge-exchange/opportunities/index.aspx

If you are interested in applying to one of these schemes, please contact CRE Operations who will happy to support your application.

ESRC Update – Demand Management, Restructuring & Collaboration

With reduced budgets and the resulting increase in competition, times are tough in the search for RCUK funding.  Dr Richard Shipway attended a number of ESRC events recently and highlighted some key messages from the Council.

There was a 12% cut in real terms to the ESRC’s programme budget and a 23% cut to their administration budget.

The ESRC has indicated they will have 3 priority areas for funding:

  1. Global economic performance and sustainable growth
  2. Influencing behaviour and informing interventions
  3. Vibrant and fair society.

Demand Management

The ESRC aren’t introducing strict demand management measures at this stage but they are monitoring the situation closely.  At the moment they are encouraging universities to regulate internally so there are fewer applications but of a higher quality reaching the Council.  More information on the introduction of their intial measures is available on the ESRC’s website.

The ESRC has a useful section on their website providing grant writing advice to applicants.

BU also has our own internal peer review service to help you with applications.

Restructuring of Schemes

The Council have integrated the post-doc fellowships and first grants sheme to create the new Future Leaders Scheme which is aimed at outstanding early career researchers.  The call has recently been announced and closes on 15th Sept 2011.

International Partnership and Networking Scheme 2011 has been launched.  This is aimed at fostering the development of long-term relationships with overseas social scientists in areas of interest that are of direct relevance to ESRC’s current strategic priorities.  The closing date is 12th Oct 2011.

They will be streamlining their funding with fewer but more flexible research competitions.  Small grants are phased out and standard grant thesholds are increased.  Resources will be focused on larger and longer grants – ambitious social science.

Economic and Societal Impact

Creating, assessing and communicating impact are central to all of the ESRC’s activities.  It is very important to consider this when putting together a proposal to the ESRC.

International Collaboration

The ESRC is very keen to promote international collaboration.  They have a ‘Rising Powers’ programme to encourage collaboration with China, India and Brazil (deadline of 8 Sept 2011).  The Council also allow international academics to be listed as co-investigators on the grants of UK universities, more info can be found here.

AHRC members resign over Big Society

Members of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College have resigned over the council’s continued refusal to remove references to the government’s Big Society slogan from its delivery plan.

Maria Manuel Lisboa, a professor of Portuguese literature and culture at the University of Cambridge, told Research Fortnight Today that she resigned a few weeks ago after receiving no response to a letter of complaint to the council.  She described it as “completely unacceptable” that a research council has direct references to a party-political slogan in its delivery plan.

According to an article in The Guardian on 19 June, some 30 academics are planning to resign in the next two weeks. Manuel Lisboa, however, said she was not aware of an organised mass resignation and that her decision was a personal choice. 

In a statement sent to Research Fortnight Today, a spokesperson for the AHRC said the council is not contemplating removing big society from its delivery plan:  “We have over 1,200 members in our peer review college across all the arts and humanities disciplines. Since the initial petition against the inclusion of Big Society in the AHRC delivery plan appeared at the beginning of April only 2 academics have resigned from the peer review college, and they resigned very early on in the process,” he said.

The full story can be accessed on Research Professional

The benefits of reviewing grant proposals for a research council: An insider’s perspective

Dr Richard Shipway, Senior Lecturer in Sports Studies in the School of Tourism, is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and Regional Editor (Europe) for the International Journal of Event and Festival Management. Here he provides an insider’s perspective to the benefits of being a reviewer…

Since 2010, I have been a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Peer Review College, reviewing grants in the social sciences.  This invitation was extended eighteen months ago when I was a PI (Principal Investigator) on an ESRC funded project linked to Sport Tourism and Sports Events (the STORMING Initiative).  At first I was overwhelmed and somewhat daunted by the thought of reviewing up to eight grant applications each year and slightly wary about the additional burden this would add to my existing academic workload at BU. However, upon reflection it has proved to be one of the most rewarding and important aspects of my current role as an academic at BU. It has also been an intense and somewhat steep learning curve.   

Importantly, being regularly involved with the review of grant proposals has provided opportunities to observe what constitutes both good and bad applications, and I now feel far more competent in my own ability to write a competent grant proposal along with some of the possible tactics and strategies that can be used to enhance the possibility of success. In the past eighteen months I have also been able to observe the diversity of innovative approaches that colleagues at other institutions are adopting, along with the range of multidisciplinary projects which are emerging, and how applicants creatively highlight where their research will have both economic and societal impact.

There are also additional benefits to being a member of the ESRC Peer Review College. I am fortunate enough to receive various invitations to attend briefing events and functions organised by the ESRC and other research councils.  These have proved to be good opportunities to firstly stay informed on current strategic developments, and secondly to network with academic colleagues across different disciplines and institutions from all around the UK.  I also take every opportunity to feedback any information to colleagues at BU, both centrally and at School level. Only last week I attended an event at The Royal Society in London, hosted by the ESRC where the challenges and opportunities of implementing the ESRC Delivery Plan 2011-2015 were outlined and discussed at great length.

In my opinion, an active involvement with reviewing (be it on behalf of either a research council or an academic journal) is important for several reasons: firstly, it enhances our own continued professional development; secondly it provides opportunities to be associated with particular research councils or academic journals; thirdly, an active involvement is an important addition to your CV; and fourthly, reviewing can provide opportunities to view new research before anybody else and enables us to remain up to date with emerging research trends and directions. As such, if asked to review work for a research council or an academic journal, my advice to colleagues would be to acknowledge and accept the significant time commitment involved with this process, but to grasp the opportunity for the benefits it can potentially provide.

All of the Research Councils recruit academic peer reviewers differently. If you are interested then familiarise yourself with the recruitment process and times, and keep an eye of the relevant research council website:

The European Commission is always recruiting academic reviewers. See our EU reviewer recruitment webpage for details on how to get involved.

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!

Writing a lay summary is easy, right?

Not necessarily! The lay summary is an extremely important part of most research bids. Most researchers think they write it well, and yet many bids fail because it is not ‘lay enough’. The topic was debated at this year’s ARMA conference (Association of Research Managers and Administrators) in bonnie Glasgow. The highlights of the session are detailed below.

A lay summary is used to explain complex ideas and technical and scientific terms to people who do not have a prior knowledge about the subject. A lay audience is heterogeneous (it includes the general public, patients and users of the science, politicians and other decision-makers, and researchers in different disciplines such as potential research collaborators). A lay summary is a requirement at application stage by most funding bodies, including the UK research councils.

When applying to UK research councils you are normally allowed up to 4,000 characters for your lay summary. There is no need to use all of these characters; often being concise is good for a lay audience! There are also some funding bodies that enforce a much stricter word limit, such as the British Heart Foundation who only allow up to 100 words for a lay summary.

What is the definition and purpose of a lay summary?

This very much depends on which funding body you are applying to as they all have their own definitions. For example, the Je-S Help Guide states the summary should be “written so that it will be understood by a non-specialist audience” but each of the different research councils have their own definition, such as:

EPSRC – “Using simple terms you are asked to describe your proposed research in a way that can be publicised to a general audience. It is very important that you make every effort to ensure that your summary is understandable to someone who is not an expert in your field. This is the section of your application that, if successful, EPSRC will use for publicity purposes. You should also note that the Outline panels who will review your proposal will be drawn from across EPSRC’s remit and will not necessarily have expertise in your research area.”

ESRC – “Write in plain English. Your proposal is likely to be seen by a great many people, some of whom will not be versed in your particular specialisation. Detail and specification may necessitate the use of disciplinary or technical terminology and this will be clear to peer reviewers, but the ideas you wish to convey and your reasons for doing so should be apparent to a wide audience. By the same token, do take the trouble to check spelling, grammar and punctuation. These are all part of the quality of presentation and presentation matters!

What is the story you are telling?
What is the audience?
Why does it matter?
Why now?
Why are they the best person to carry out this research?”

One of the most  concise and succinct definitions is provided by Buckland et al (2007): “a brief summary of a research project or a research proposal that has been written for members of the public rather than researchers or professionals. It should be written in plain English, avoid the use of jargon and explain any technical terms that have been included”. [1]

These different definitions are very confusing! But in essence a lay summary has three main requirements:

  • To paint the bigger picture
  • To answer who, what, where, when, why, how?
  • Be written in plain English

Painting the bigger picture: The lay summary is your first chance to impress the reviewer! Reviewers are very busy and in the majority of cases the lay summary is the first (and sometimes the only) part of a grant application that he/she will read. It is therefore vitally important that it is interesting, easy to read and conscise. It needs to give an overview of the whole project – the background, aims and expected impact.

Answer who, what, where, when, why, how?: It may sound harsh but many reviewers will read research proposals and be left asking themselves ‘so what?’. Your lay summary needs to answer this by explaining why the project is exciting, relevant and timely, and worth funding now above all of the other submitted proposals. Lay summaries are normally used by funding bodies to promote the research project so think about who is likely to read your lay summary, should your proposal be funded, and ensure you answer these ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’ questions with these various readers in mind. For example, your lay summary may be used in the following ways:

  • by politicians in raising and justifying research funds from government;
  • to justify public spending on research;
  • to attract new collaborators such as industrial partners and researchers from different disciplines
  • by press officers to promote your research to the public

Be written in plain English: A strong lay summary will always explain any technical terms used, spell out abbreviations, and avoid using jargon. It will also be written in ‘plain English’ but what exactly does this mean?

  1. Titles should be simple and clear. The European Commission’s FP7 guidance states that titles should be understandable to the non-specialist in the field. The best format for a title is to give a short statement followed by a colon and then a brief explanation.
  2. Simple analogies should be used to help the reader make sense of complex ideas. Arthritis Research UK suggest a good example of this is Bill Bryson’s book ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ [2] which uses analogies of everyday objects and activities to explain complex scientific concepts. Whilst simple analogies might mean that you lose detail and may not be perfect then strengthen your proposal if they make your ideas clearer to the reader.
  3. Clear layout – avoid using English phrases (such as ‘the lion’s share’) as these may not be understood by the reader. Avoid using double negatives as they cloud meaning. Order the paragraphs logically – start with the problem your research aims to solve so the reader can identify with this first. Break up blocks of text with bullet points, shorter paragraphs, etc. It is good practice to match the layout with the layout of your objectives. Do not use jargon (unless it is defined and explained in the summary) and ensure all abbreviations are spelt out.

Media / public engagement training courses: The UK research councils offer media/public communications training courses. These are highly recommended within the sector and offer good value for money. Most councils allow you to include the costs in your research proposal providing you justify it in your case for support, otherwise the training is free to funded students or grant holders. For example:


BU’s internal peer review scheme (RPRS): Support for writing and strengthening research proposals (including writing a good lay summary) is available via the internal Research Proposal Review Service (RPRS). Visit the RPRS webpage for further information!


[1] Buckland, S. et al (2007) Public Information Pack. How to get actively involved in NHS, public health and social care research. INVOLVE Public Information Pack 4 available at: http://www.invo.org.uk/pdfs/pip44jargonbuster.pdf

[2] Bryson, B (2004) A Short History of Nearly Everything, Black Swan: London

ESRC knowledge exchange opportunities

ESRC logoThe ESRC has announced that the next Knowledge Exchange call will go live on the 26 April 2011 will will be open until the 14 June 2011.

There will be two schemes – the Follow on Fund scheme and the new Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme which is an amalgamation of all of the previous KE scheme, i.e. placements and KE small grants. The new scheme allows applicants to apply for a number of activities in one proposal, up to £100k, and it is hoped this will encourage applicants to think creatively about KE/impact and the best mechanisms for achieving these. The scheme is intended as a complement to the Pathways to Impact.

The call is aimed at social science researchers at all stages of their career and at organisations in the business, public and civil society sectors, with the intention of encouraging dialogue and collaboration between these groups.

Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme

This is a new flexible scheme that provides funding for knowledge exchange activities at all stages of the research life-cycle and is intended as a complement to Pathways to Impact.

The scheme provides the opportunity to apply for funding for knowledge exchange activities at any stage of the research lifecycle, and is aimed  at maximising the impact of social science research outside  academia.    The scheme replaces the ESRC Placement Fellowships (all sectors) and Knowledge Exchange Small Grants schemes.

The flexibility built into the scheme is intended to encourage applicants to think creatively about knowledge exchange, and applications are welcomed for either a single activity or a combination of activities; be it setting up a network to help inform the development of a  research proposal, arranging an academic placement with a voluntary or business organisation, or developing  tools such as podcasts and videos aimed at communicating the results of research to non-academic audiences. Some examples of knowledge exchange activities can be found below.

The Follow on Fund Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to provide funding for additional knowledge exchange and impact generating activities to follow on from a specific piece of substantial research that is drawing to an end or has recently finished.

This scheme provides the same flexibility as the Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme, and applications for either a single activity, or a combination of activities are welcomed. Follow on funding should be thought of as an extension and complement to the Pathways to Impact section of a research grant.  Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the format of the knowledge exchange, and to involve research users from the earliest stages of developing the proposal.

Further information is available from the ESRC website: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/collaboration/knowledge-exchange/opportunities/index.aspx

If you are interested in applying to one of these schemes, please contact CRE Operations who will happy to support your application.