This page contains all the links in the “Winning Research Income” session, all the links from the collaboration links section (scroll down) and any new links suggested by participants in sessions.
In 2015 I wrote a guide to funding for the Institute of Physics, Navigating the Funding Landscape. This was launched at a series of events in London, Dublin and Edinburgh where experts from funding bodies and universities shared advice about successful applications. If you are a member of the IOP, get in touch with your regional officer or the Careers and CPD Manager for your copy.
The best book on applying for funding in the UK is the Research Funding Toolkit, which is supported by a website. One of the books authors, Professor Andrew Derrington, has a fantastic website where he shares his expertise – this is highly recommended, particularly to help with the process of writing proposals. The Key Sentences approach he has developed will help you to write better proposals more quickly.
If you are looking for funding opportunities and based in a university, your institution will probably have access to a directory such as Research Professional. This allows you to use key words to search the thousands of different schemes.
In the UK, applying for funding is critical for academic career success. A recent blog by Professor Glenn Lyons of UWE offers great advice on developing your career in the context of the REF assessment. It’s worth reading this as you prepare your funding strategy.
A great overview of grant writing comes from the Chronicle of Higher Education, presented tongue-in-cheek as “How to Fail in Grant Writing“. Thanks to John M for this suggestion.
Here are some starting points for the main sectors…
UK Research Councils
· The Nurse Review, published in late 2015, looked at how the Research Councils could support research more effectively. At this point, the implications of the report are being considered, but it seems likely that there will be changes to encourage greater collaboration and impact.
Visit RCUK to link to all 7 research councils and their strategic and delivery plans
· AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC
· The six major cross-Council themes are Digital Economy; Energy; Global Food Security; Global Uncertainties, Lifelong Health and Wellbeing; Living with Environmental Change (source: RCUK Delivery Plan 2011-2015)
· Joint electronic submission (Je-S) help includes a Useful tab “Guidance on Completing a Standard Grant Proposal” which expands to each of the Research Councils and discusses Impact Requirements amongst all the other elements.
- Research Research publishes ‘Research Fortnight’ – the University has a subscription
EU EU front page for research: http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm
· European Research Council – researcher led (will fund any research, no strategic priorities)
· MSCA – focus on individual training, namely fellowships and studentships
· European Commission Funding Portal (principally Horizon 2020, but also links to a number of other initiatives, mostly related to industry sectors or societal needs)
H2020 is a single programme bringing together three separate programmes/initiatives
§ Coupling research to innovation – from research to retail, all forms of innovation
§ Focus on societal challenges facing EU society, e.g. health, clean energy and transport
§ Simplified access, for all companies, universities, institutes in all EU countries and beyond
Participant portal to view existing research and submit proposals: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/home.html
UK Research Office is a great source of advice on all EU programmes, but your first point of contact should be your European Research Office.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh offers a range of funding. A presentation from Colleen Tait gives a great overview of schemes for ECRs.
The Scottish Government funds research which directly assesses and informs its policies and aims to boost the national knowledge base.
· Chief Scientists Office, supports NHS Scotland and welcomes applications from inexperienced researchers for its small grants scheme (up to £50k and 12 months)
Government Departments: UK
· Innovate UK provides funding for research, with a commercial endpoint and often with an industrial partner
Government Departments: International
· NATO – most funding relates to defence and threats to security under the Science for Peace & Security (SPS) programme (www.nato.int/science)
· UNESCO – Natural Sciences: environment, sust. development and capacity building to widen knowledge based economy (www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/)
Charities, societies and foundations
· Large number, wide range from small local charities to very large trusts
· Many are more interested in the potential social benefits
· Whilst others are more focussed on development of high flying individuals
· www.charitychoice.co.uk – for encouraging donations, but links to >10,000 charities
Learned societies are mostly discipline specific, but also…
· Royal Society of Edinburgh (provide fellowships) (www.royalsoced.org.uk)
- Wellcome Trust are a major funder of biomedical science, but also ethics and public engagement (www.wellcome.ac.uk/funding/). The trust supports early career researchers through its fellowship schemes.
- Association of Medical Charities with 111 members (www.amrc.org.uk)
Other well known UK charities
- Leverhulme Trust (research in all subject areas) (www.leverhulme.org.uk)
- Nuffield (social issues and science fellowships) (www.nuffieldfoundation.org)
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation (social issues) (www.jrf.org.uk)
- Esmee Fairbairn (arts, social change, environment) (www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk)
Major US charities
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (world health) (www.gatesfoundation.org)
- Carnegie Corporation (education) (www.carnegie.org)
- MacArthur Foundation (sustainable development) (www.macfound.org)
Targeting funding bodies: Finding out about funding bodies. Some general advice:
- Stay up-to-date with their websites, strategic plans, annual reports etc
- Watch for targeted schemes that might apply to you
- Try to track the trends in successful applications
- Use “gateways” and Glasgow Research Strategy and Innovation Office
- Talk to established researchers around you
- Look at applications that have been successful
Some questions to consider as your investigate and contact funding bodies:
•What are the current trends in funding? Are their funds for research in other areas?
•What are the current limitations and restrictions? Are the different schemes for researchers at different career stages? Are there schemes for smaller scale projects?
•What subject areas were awarded funding last year? Who was awarded funding – what was their career stage?
•What are their future plans? What does the annual report or strategic plan say?
•Who are the decision-makers/ assessors? Are there any from Glasgow University I could approach for general advice?
•What review processes do they follow? Do I have a chance to respond to reviewers before the decision is made?
•What are the deadlines for submission? How much time will it take me to get internal signatures or to get help to cost the project?
•How long will the process take? Do I have time to do it properly?
•What is the proper way to approach them? Should I make an initial approach with an outline proposal?
•How many people apply each year and what percentage are awarded grants? How have previous years’ budgets been allocated?
All the funding bodies provide reams of information on what they are looking for; how they will assess proposals and who they have funded. The EPSRC advice is detailed and includes a video of their peer review process. (www.epsrc.ac.uk and search for ‘peer review’).
Some concise insights from Computer Science academics at Edinburgh, but widely relevant: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/bundy/how-tos/rsg-how-to-get-funding.html
An article on grant writing from a research programme manager http://www.hfsp.org/funding/art-grantsmanship
Website supporting recommended book http://www.researchfundingtoolkit.org
Another American academic gives a view on grantsmanship http://theprofessorisin.com/2011/07/05/dr-karens-foolproof-grant-template/
Blog from a new academic on the first steps to securing grant income http://www.nadinemuller.org.uk/the-new-academic-guides/writing-grant-applications/
This page supports the sessions we run on the theme of collaboration.
These sessions look at various aspects of UK and international research collaborations with the objective of equipping researchers with the skills, questions and attitudes they need to manage these complex projects more effectively.
In addition to the slides, which are on the password protected pages of this section, we’ll link to the key sites and resources that we highlight during workshops.
We don’t claim to be experts in funding, but most researchers have access to these through their Research Support Offices. USE THESE EXPERTS to help you find the funding that is a good match for your career stage, research interests, research outcomes and amount of funding required.
However, in order to answer questions and run these sessions we do try to keep abreast of funding trends and these links have helped us:
http://ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/pdf/press/horizon2020-presentation.pdf Overview of Horizon 2020
http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/international/funding/ RCUK pages on international funding
http://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/IN/IN.cfm Leverhulme Trust International Funding
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2013_12_11/caredit.a1300274# Horizon 2020 – What’s in it for young scientists
Phil Ward of the University of Kent Research Services takes stock of Horizon 2020 in this blog post from May 2014 http://fundermental.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/h2020-taking-stock.html
At the moment, the European Commission is recruiting people for its Horizon 2020 experts’ pool. Although this opportunity may require more experience than most early career researchers demonstrate, it is worth being aware of and perhaps applying for (or encouraging a more senior colleague to do so).
Full details: http://ec.europa.eu/rea/become_an_evaluator/index_en.htm
Although we aren’t experts on European funding, Dr Sean McCarthy of Hyperion is – he runs comprehensive and insightful training into the background, rules and insider knowledge of H2020.
There is also advice from the British Council’s Dr Claire McNulty here – Advice on Applying to Funding Schemes.
Devising and managing a research workshop is a great stepping stone to larger scale collaborations. You have the chance to position your work at the heart of a topic, to identify and engage with the key senior players in your field and to interact directly with funders.
Current workshop funding is available from a number of sources. Here are three we often look at in our sessions:
BBSRC international workshops http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/inter-workshops-pa-guidance.pdf
EPSRC funding for workshops http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/routes/network/Pages/workshops.aspx
British Council Researcher Links programme http://www.britishcouncil.org/cy/society/science/researcher-links (The workshop strand of this funding programme is aimed at building an international community of researchers with interest in a uniting theme – the British Council then help to organise and publicise the event. Current workshops are listed here http://www.britishcouncil.org/society/science/researcher-links-workshops.)
Understanding partners and people
The “Center for the Advancement of Collaborative Strategies in Health” has developed many resources including a Partnership Self-Assessment Tool which can be sent to collaborators to determine the effectiveness of the research management and relationships. Although the online support has expired, the documents give a useful framework which could be used at meetings to ensure people can review the processes and project management.
In our internationally themed sessions we discuss the impact of cultural differences on collaboration. This is a topic which needs to be carefully handled as it is easy to make assumptions about nationalities which aren’t helpful. However, cultural awareness is an important consideration and has been the focus on a lot of research and investigation. For more information see www.geert-hofstede.com – we mention the Cultural Dimensions in some of our workshops as a starting point. The British Council are also, understandably, interested in cultural communication and have produced the Culture at Work report with some interesting insights into this topic.
Other useful links:
www.researchtoolkit.org – an online resource for research project management
http://ombudsman.nih.gov/tools.html Tools for handling conflict in collaborations
When we first started developing the workshops on collaboration, we were lucky enough to collaborate with Dr Catherine Lyall of the University of Edinburgh. Catherine has been involved in research on the understanding of collaboration for many years and has been co-author on a number of really useful guides produced during an ISSTI project.
Short interdisciplinary guides are available on: Developing ID proposals, Reviewing ID proposals, Building ID teams, Supervising ID PhDs, Troubleshooting, Knowledge exchange …and other topics
Other sites we’ve found over the years that have been useful:
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/vmt/collaborate/ – a series of questions to diagnose problems with simple collaborations – very much a beginner’s guide.
Assessing Your Collaboration: A Self Evaluation Tool – Lynne M. Borden and Daniel F. Perkins, Journal of Extension April 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 2 available online : http://joe.org/joe/1999april/tt1.html
Andrew Schwartz’s article on group decision processes is available on-line at http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/old/15703015.htm (CPA = Certified Public Accountants)
What Is Research Collaboration? J. Sylvan Katz and Ben R. Martin, Science Policy and Research Evaluation Group A report on the distinction between collaboration and co-authorship in science research. Now a little dated (1995) but provides interesting background. Availble online from : www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/sylvank/pubs/Res_col9.pdf
Emil Chuck’s article on Successful collaboration and mentoring is one of a range of professional development articles available from the Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. These are written for a general audience. http://www.springer.com/chemistry/analytical?SGWID=0-136-12-459899-0 (Boo! Just checked this link which used to take you to a free download of the article and is now behind a paywall. Meanies.)
Workshops (password protected) – click on the workshop title for the slides or contact us using the form if you have attended these sessions and forgotten the password (more straightforward for us if you use a university email address)
The international nature of academic careers is such that your professional recognition and visibility need to reach far beyond the UK. This half day course, for early career researchers, is designed to help you identify and connect with the broadest possible research community.
- understand academic reputation in UK and international systems.
- explore differences in research cultures.
- develop a plan to improve personal impact and visibility
- evaluate social media tools as a mechanism for improving academic networks.
This workshop is aimed at staff wishing to develop substantial collaborations with groups outside the UK and focuses on strategies for effective working practices when working with researchers based in other countries.
- strategies for identifying potential collaborators.
- effective behaviours to establish successful research partnership.
- understanding the potential risks of international collaborations in terms of cultural and system differences.
- tailoring project management processes for international collaborations in areas including outputs, time management and feedback.
This workshop is aimed at research staff who are involved in, or planning to establish collaborative research projects. The workshop will explore the benefits and risks associated with collaborative research, introduce strategies to identify potential partners and work with them effectively and explain how to make collaborative decisions, map out projects and communicate with local and remote partners.
- apply relevant communication skills to initiate and sustain collaboration
- develop coherent project plans to clarify and manage expectations between partners
- use decision making processes in groups
- identify sources of risk in projects and have strategies to minimise the impact of these
- evaluate the processes which influence collaborations