Keep Looking to Europe

A number of things prompted this week’s post – an email from a colleague in our Finance Department about spaces on some of their Financial Skills Development courses, including  “Managing an EU Research Grant Budget” (April 20th) and a meeting with our Research Support Office about another event “How to Write a Competitive Proposal for Horizon 2020” on May 24th. 

I’d also been running a Research Leaders course this week and heard about some recent successes from our academics in European funding (including an ERC Advanced award) and run a few workshops on funding. As part of the latter, I was pointing to various resources to help you tune into minds of funders and pointed to Phil Ward’s blog – Research Fundermentals. A recent post took stock of the European situation and I was particularly struck by Phil’s closing comments – “As a recent editorial in Nature, put it, ‘leaving the European Union is not yet a done deal, and UK researchers must look past a pay-off and take a stand.

The extent of your campaiging to urge more careful consideration of the implications of leaving the EU is a matter for you. However, the key line above is that “leaving the European Union is not yet a done deal” and we must continue to behave as the full members that we currently are. Many of the claims about UK applicants being treated unfavourably by reviewers and panels appear to be refuted by the latest results from those panelsl. We are still being awarded many grants and in fact, topped the table for the recent “Proof of Concept” awards as detailed in the Research Support Office’s recent blog.

The two workshops highlighted above demonstrate both the University’s current and future commitments to European funding streams. If you are planning to pursue an academic career, I’d encourage you to attend the proposal writing course which is given by one of the recognised experts in European funding and provides you with an opportunity to learn from his experience leading, reviewing and managing many projects.

If you are a researcher on a European funded projects, the other course could provide you with an opportunity to develop skills that will be valuable on the research and many other tracks. Why not discuss this with your current PI and come along to understand how the finances on these complex projects are managed?

Europe still presents us with many opportunities as researchers. Whatever the future holds, now is not the time to be stepping away from chances to develop your understanding and applying for funding.


One comment

  1. Endorsed! In fact we have even more EU awards in preparation for signing grant agreements and have seen a repeat of success at stage 1 of ERC Starting Grants in the most recent call.

    It is worth noting that while things are uncertain there is every chance that we will retain access to FP9, the EU’s successor to the Horizon 2020 research funding programme. We also have commitment from the Chancellor for the exchequer to fund successful EU projects even after we leave (see here:

    The European Commission have repeatedly stated that UK based researchers are entitled to apply up until the point at which the UK leaves the EU and have gone to considerable lengths to protect the their commitment to fund excellent research regardless of it’s country of origin. It is worth noting that evaluators of EU proposals from the University have noted that there are no evaluation grounds on which Brexit can be considered and little discussion of it when it comes to evaluation meetings.

    Researchers should rest assured that the University is keeping a close eye on developments and playing a key role is influencing for the best possible outcomes in this situation. More information can be found on the RSO blog and the University’s EU information page

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