Key Points: Head of EPSRC Speaks to THE

The head of EPSRC, Paul Golby, has spoken to THE about the concerns voiced by academics on the research council’s strategies.

Key points he raises are as follows:

  • “With a real-term budget cut of 12-14 per cent, the EPSRC has had to make difficult choices to ensure that the UK’s research base remains internationally competitive; but there are things we could have done better.”
  • “While peer review determines which research to fund, the EPSRC is responsible for creating the right environment for this to happen, and our communications about this have not been crystal clear.Academic excellence is our number one priority and always will be. Let’s shout that from the rooftops so no one can doubt our commitment to it. From now on, we need to send a clear signal that this takes priority over all other considerations.”
  • “Asking researchers to identify the national importance of their research “over a 10-50 year time-frame” has caused most angst. We recognise that impact doesn’t happen overnight and can be difficult to predict. This phrase was misleading so we will no longer use it and give clearer guidance to our peer reviewers.”
  • “We have also heard concerns about PhD studentships, particularly the problems that young academics have in securing funding for students. We are addressing this through the doctoral training grants awarded to universities, and will be encouraging them to use those grants strategically including in support of their early-career appointments.”
  • “We plan to do much more to involve and engage the community in future. I would like to create more opportunities for people to meet and discuss issues with members of EPSRC Council, as well as our advisers and staff, so that we increase the transparency of what we do and give everyone greater access to those responsible for making decisions.”
  • “We are commissioning two independent reviews: one to look at how the EPSRC obtains strategic advice to help it develop effective policies, and one to evaluate our overall peer-review processes. The first will report back to EPSRC’s governing council in six months and the second a few months later and they will both be made public.”

The full article is available here.

Hopefully EPSRC’s transparency and clarity will improve following this statement and the forthcoming reviews, so we as a research community will be able to pro-actively and positively engage with them to shape future strategies.


Christmas Application Deadlines

Please be aware that if you are applying for funding, and the official deadline falls between 21 December 2012 and 2 January 2013 inclusive that your application must reach Research Services by 14 December 2012.

Full details can be found at this link.

Technology Inspired Innovation

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £10m in fast-track and collaborative research and development projects that stimulate innovation across the key enabling technology areas of advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, sensors and photonics and information and communications technology.

The focus is on projects that advance the development of recent technological discoveries or breakthroughs. Proposals must align with one of the following areas:

  • advanced materials – sustainability and materials security, materials for energy or high value markets;
  • biosciences – characterisation and discovery tools, production and processing or bioinformatics;
  • electronics, sensors and photonics – photonics, sensor systems, plastic electronics, electronic systems or power electronics;
  • ICT – big data exploration, simple user experience or advanced, modern software engineering.

Proposals should be collaborative and led by a business.

Full call details can be found at this link.

Call Opens: 3 December 2012

Strand 1 Deadlines & Info:

Registration Closes: 23 January 2013
Intent to Submit:
Contact Kelly/Sharon, no later than 9 January 2013
Departmental: 15 January 2013
Internal: 16 January 2013
: 30 January 2013

Duration: 6-12 Months
Funding: Up to £150,000

Strand 2 Deadlines & Info:

Registration Closes: 23 January 2013
Intent to Submit:
Contact Kelly/Sharon, no later than 9 January 2013
Expression of Interest to TSB:
30 January 2013

Invited applications to Stage 2 opens: 25 February 2013
: 1 April 2013
Internal: 3 April 2013
: 10 April 2013

Duration: 12-24 months
Funding: Up to £500,000

The time for all deadlines is noon.

Collaborating with Industry Workshops (Postponed)

This workshop has been postponed until the new year. Check back in 2013!

I am excited to invite Computer Science staff from the University of Oxford to attend the first in a series of workshops on Collaborating with Industry, run by the Business Development Team. I had the pleasure of attending the trial run of the workshops not long ago and learnt a great deal. I would definitely recommend attending!

The intended audience for this course is relatively junior PIs (e.g. recently appointed, or soon-to-be appointed, University/Department Lecturers) but established PIs who are keen to work more with industry are most welcome.

Details of the first workshop are as follows

Title: What is industry looking for?
Date: 11th December 2012 (Tuesday Week 10)
Time: 12:15-2:15pm (lunch is provided from 15mins before the start)
Location: 23 Banbury Road (Keble College conference venue, opposite Engineering)

 If you would like to attend Workshop 1, or would like further information, please email Places are limited, so please RSVP by Monday 3 December 2012. Details about workshops 2 and 3 in Hilary Term will follow in due course.

Violette & Samuel Glasstone Research Fellowships in Science

This has come on to my radar today. It’s short notice but well worth it if you’re eligible!

Deadline midday 30 November 2012

Applications are invited for the Violette and Samuel Glasstone Research Fellow in Science, tenable at the University of Oxford, in the fields of Chemistry (Inorganic, Organic or Physical), Engineering, Mathematics (including Computer Science and Statistics), Materials, Physics, and Plant Sciences. The Glasstone Research Fellowships are supported by the Glasstone Bequest, there are two fellowships to be awarded from 1 October 2013.

Glasstone Fellows are expected to conduct original research in one of the eligible fields specified above and may undertake teaching of up to a maximum of six hours a week. Applicants should have completed their doctorate by the time of taking up the Fellowship (normally 1 October of the year in which the offer is made). They should show aptitude for original research in one of the eligible fields above and have a publication record in scholarly journals consonant with experience and field of study. Preference will be given to candidates who are at an early stage in their academic career.

The Fellowships are normally awarded for three years (subject to successful completion of a probationary period) and will be available from 1 October 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter. Depending on the successful candidates’ proposed research topic, the Fellowships will be held at one of the following departments: Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Maths, Materials, Physics, Plant Sciences, and Statistics.

Potential applicants wishing to discuss their research proposals or the availability of facilities should contact the relevant faculty members directly in Theoretical Physics.

The closing date for this vacancy is 12 noon on Friday 30 November 2012. By which time all documents, including references must be submitted.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. Further information regarding the criteria for applying can be found in the further particulars document.

Further information about how to apply, an application form and a CV template.