Quality, Quantity and Cash - Turning Your Research Ideas Into Reality [James Gibbs & Karen Furness]


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The UHI Research Office is a central facility sitting within the executive office which provides the main point of contact for research and research development throughout the UHI academic partnership.

It provides the administrative support for grant applications through the research councils and monitors the progress of these applications whist disseminating funding opportunities to the appropriate research centres. It also provides guidance and administration for the RAE 2008 and is the first point of contact for the research groups involved in this exercise.

Commercialisation of research is also supported from the research office with support for knowledge transfer, business liaison, technology transfer and commercialisation provided for all the academic partnership.

The research office provides support to academic staff through conference support and provision of information concerning forthcoming conferences and research development courses.

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Quality, Quantity and Cash - Turning Your Research Ideas Into Reality [James Gibbs & Karen Furness]

  1. 1. Quality, Quantity and Cash Turning Your Research Ideas Into Reality James Gibbs & Karen Furness, UHI Research Office
  2. 2. Research – what’s it all for? The discovery of new knowledge to inform teaching for the advancement of society
  3. 3. Research activity – who is involved? In this room: Career Researchers Lecturers engaging in research Lecturers who wish to engage in researchLecturers who wish to engage in research Postgraduate students Administrative Staff and Management
  4. 4. Why are you here? PhD students may be here because they are considering research as their future career Career researchers may be here to assist them in finding funding and support for their research ideas Lecturers may be keen to find out how administrative staff can assist them in fitting research into their already busyassist them in fitting research into their already busy schedules Administrative staff may be here to discover more about the researchers’ point of view Management may be here to inform their overall view of operational issues
  5. 5. What’s this workshop about? 'The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "hmm....that's funny..."' - Isaac Asimov ‘Contrary to what Asimov says, the most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” or “That's funny...,” it's “Your research grant has been approved.'” - John Alejandro King
  6. 6. Quality, Quantity, Cash! Quality Issues involved in producing research applications of the highest quality so as to have a better chance of winning funds QuantityQuantity The reasons why, even if your funding bid is of the highest quality, you may need to make multiple applications in order to score a hit Cash Potential funding sources; who to ask for what; why all this admin?
  7. 7. Rules of the proceedings This is an interactive session - please feel free to interrupt at any point
  8. 8. Research Unit Business Plan Research Unit Business Plan KT revenues Teaching IP Research Grants
  9. 9. Quality Know your funder – what are they looking for, what’s their research strategy? Application process – what are the rules and regs? What can you ask for? When’s theregs? What can you ask for? When’s the deadline? Information you need but don’t have – who supplies it?
  10. 10. Know Your Funder Types of funder Research Councils Charities and Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)(NGOs) Super-national bodies e.g. EU & UN Government Departments and Non-departmental bodies Industry & Private Companies Internal Schemes
  11. 11. Application Process Each funding stream - and each funder may have several - will have its own application rules and regulations Some funders won’t even read your proposal if these aren’t followed
  12. 12. Information you need but don’t have Project costs Yours Project Partners Agreement to submit the bid fromAgreement to submit the bid from Your organisation Project Partners The institutional processes you must follow which leads to…
  13. 13. … a Conundrum “If you know what you're doing, how long it will take, or what it will cost, it isn't research.” - Anon “A possible research project? Lovely! Okay, we need to know what you're going to be doing, how long it will take, and what it will cost.” - University Administration
  14. 14. Quantity “Research Councils receive more high quality applications than they are able to support and institutions submit more applications than are likely to be funded.”likely to be funded.” - RCUK
  15. 15. RCUK Research Grant Application Success Rates
  16. 16. Research Council Funds Research Councils do consider the research record of applicants. This can appear to favour those organisations with greater research experience. Consider a collaboration strategy for your area of research to get around this; who do you want as partners? In your business plans factor in the time it takes to build networks and make applications
  17. 17. Partnership Strategy Super-nationally EU: Cross-border; Northern Periphery Nationally RegionallyRegionally Intra and inter discipline Put effort in to forming networks and partnerships so you are ready for the funding calls
  18. 18. Cash Where’s my cash? How much can I ask for? Where can I find the rest?
  19. 19. Where’s my Cash? First, find a funder (or funders) “ResearchResearch” is now “Research Professional” http://www.researchresearch.com/http://www.researchresearch.com/ Access to funding opportunities via the Login button Any problems, contact Shirley Leckie
  20. 20. Where’s my Cash? There may also be funding opportunities accessible via your local community local authoritylocal authority local businesses local benefactors your organisation e.g. seed corn your wider professional networks
  21. 21. Where’s my Cash? You have a better chance of finding it by approaching funders most appropriate to your research needs knowing what they want (strategy) knowing what they will fundknowing what they will fund producing a high quality application following the funder rules and regs enlisting the help of colleagues (a ‘fresh eye’) ensuring that your proposal demonstrates good value to the funder Outputs/Cash = Value
  22. 22. How much can I ask for? As much as they are prepared to give you! be guided by hints in the callbe guided by hints in the call
  23. 23. An Example ERC Starting Grants – current call document states total pot for 2011 = €661.4 m BUT… Each research domain has an indicative budget – a Whoopee! Each research domain has an indicative budget – a percentage of the total pot Physical Sciences & Engineering: 40% Life Sciences: 35% Social Sciences and Humanities: 15% Cross-Domain: 10%
  24. 24. An Example So for a Social Scientist, the pot is really €99.21m, but it still looks good for your BIG idea What the call paper doesn’t tell you but the ERC Work Programme does Maximum grant normally €1.5m for a five year project Pro-rata for shorter projects Therefore, for a 3 year project, the max to aim for would be €900,000
  25. 25. How much can I ask for? Depends upon the nature of the funding body, but it is unlikely to cover 100% of the project’s actual costs So….
  26. 26. Where can I find the rest? Match Funding ‘In kind’ What is ‘in kind’ …. It depends on who you are dealing with – check the regs againdealing with – check the regs again Private sector Charities and NGOs Businesses Other government funds
  27. 27. Match funding Other government funds Regional Development Agencies (HIE and Scottish Enterprise) – needs to be a strong economic development dimension to the project, contribute to:to: New product or process New policy Rural Payments Directorate Principally a rural development and SME focus Some food and drink related areas e.g. FPMS Significant funds to SAC, Rowett Institute and MacAulay Institute
  28. 28. Match funding Other government funds Local Authorities Economic development or policy development bias NHS and CSO Generally a medical/life science focus, but NHS alsoGenerally a medical/life science focus, but NHS also interested in management knowledge
  29. 29. Maximising the project’s value Are there KT/KE possibilities from the work? Consultancy More contract research Is there potential for IP?Is there potential for IP? Where are you hoping to publish (REF)? How will the project enhance your academic reputation and thus research career?
  30. 30. In the end Successful applications require planning and being prepared Preparation requires research units to have defined their business strategies AND WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU TOO karen.furness@uhi.ac.uk james.gibbs@uhi.ac.uk