New NERC Fellowship Scheme

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has decided to streamline the provision of responsive mode Fellowships into a single scheme – the NERC Independent Research Fellowships (IRFs) – that will replace the previous schemes (Postdoctoral Fellowships and Advanced Fellowships).

The new scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all Fellows five years’ support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes, and to establish international recognition.

NERC IRFs are open to any nationality, and may be held in any area of the NERC remit, but the fellowship must be based at an eligible UK research organisation. Applicants may not have a permanent academic position in a university or equivalent organisation.

Applicants must expect to submit their PhD thesis before the fellowship interview would take place (April following the closing date) and, if successful, would not be able to take up the fellowship until the intent to award the PhD has been confirmed by the awarding university.

Applicants may have up to a maximum of eight years of full-time postdoctoral research experience between the PhD certificate date and the closing date of the fellowship competition to which they are applying. The eight-year window is based on full-time working. Where applicants have worked part-time or had research career breaks, the eight-year window would be extended accordingly.

Current NERC Postdoctoral Fellows may apply for a subsequent NERC IRF, provided that they meet the eligibility criteria.

The full eligibility requirements – including those related to the research topic, host institution and resubmission policy – are in the Research Grants & Fellowships Handbook.

For further information please visit the NERC website.

FP7 Energy: Booking Open for European Information Day on 2013 Calls

The European Commission is organising an information day in Brussels on 4 July, which will cover most of the final thematic funding opportunities relating to energy research under FP7. It will cover the calls within the 2013 Work Programme for the FP7 Energy theme (which is expected to be published in July 2012), as well as various other FP7 calls related to energy. Booking is now open and if you are unable to attend, then the event will be broadcast online. Videos and slides will be available afterwards too. A brokerage event will also be held on the following day, the 5 July.

The following energy-related Calls for Proposals under FP7 are planned to be published on 10 July 2012:

  • FP7-ENERGY-2013-1: a general call focusing on research with a long-term horizon;
  • FP7-ENERGY-2013-2: a general call focusing on research with a short-term horizon and on demonstration;
  • FP7-SMARTCITIES-2013: a call in the framework of the SET-Plan (the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan) Smart Cities and Communities Initiative;
  • FP7-ENERGY-2013-IRP: a call to support integrated research programmes in the energy field;
  • FP7-FISSION-2013: a call focusing on nuclear fission research;
  • FP7-2013-NMP-ENV-ICT-EeB: a cross-thematic call on Energy-efficient Buildings in the context of the EU Recovery Plan;
  • FP7-2013-OCEAN: a cross-thematic call on marine and maritime research including an energy relevant topic; and
  • FP7-ERANET-2013-RTD: a joint call on ERA-NETs (which is a type of project aimed at getting research funders to work more closely).

In addition, calls focusing on Transport and on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will include topics related to smart cities.

The info day will provide information on these calls and on the submission and evaluation procedure. The day will start with an introduction on the political context of the energy theme’s work programme, followed by presentations of the individual calls. A part of the afternoon session will focus on the rules of participation.

Registration is open until 20 June 2012. After submitting your registration, you will see the registration number on your screen. However, your registration will not be valid until you receive the confirmation by e-mail.

To support the building of consortia, the network of the Energy National Contact Points will hold a ‘Partnering Day’ on 5 July.

The 2013 Work Programmes will be the final Work Programmes (and contain the final calls) published under FP7, which finishes in 2013.  Please note that a draft ‘orientation paper’ is already available with details of the likely call topics in the FP7 Energy theme for 2013. This can be downloaded from the Participant Portal.

Cross-Council Call Supports Research into Ageing

The AHRC is supporting a call with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for proposals from interdisciplinary consortia for evidence-led research into ageing and mobility in the built environment. The call is being run under the auspices of the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) cross-council ageing research programme which supports research addressing factors throughout life that influence health and wellbeing in older age.

The call is seeking to create a step change in interdisciplinary engineering, social science and design research for wellbeing in the built environment. There is up to £7m available (EPSRC up to £4m, ESRC up to £2m and AHRC up to £1m) to support a maximum of five large multi-disciplinary projects of up to three years’ duration.

Prospective applicants will need to complete an Expression of Interest form by 12:00 on Monday 10 September 2012.

The expressions of interest will be assessed by an expert short listing panel in September 2012 and those aligned appropriately with the assessment criteria will be invited to submit full proposals. The deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest is12:00 on 10 September 2012. Those invited to submit a full proposal will be notified by the end of September 2012. The deadline for the submission of full proposals will be 28 November 2012, and will be peer-reviewed in March 2013 with the expectation that funding decisions will be made by the end of March 2013.

For further information and call documents, please go to:

Pathways to Impact Case Studies Now Available Online

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have today launched a number of best practice case studies online to help inspire applicants with the Pathways to Impact section of their application.

Pathways to Impact encourage researchers to consider the sorts of activities that may help their research to have an impact. A wide variety of activities have been funded by being specified within the Pathway to Impact section including public engagement, direct collaborations with beneficiaries, events, policy briefings and many more.

The case studies provide personal accounts from RCUK funded researchers in regards to their approaches and experiences of Pathways to Impact. The case studies also provide guidance, top tips and best practice for helping researchers to realise the impact of their research.

Further case studies will be added over the coming weeks to build a knowledge bank of experience and best practice that researchers can draw on.

The cases studies can be found here.

ESRC Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

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 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 the general public, or developing existing research to make it more applicable to policy or practice.

The current call opened on 9 April 2012 and will close at 16.00 on 7 June 2012.

Call documents, including the scheme guidance are provided below: