Research Networking Scheme
Research Networking Scheme Overview
The Research Networking Scheme is intended to support forums for the discussion and exchange of ideas on a specified thematic area, issue or problem. The intention is to facilitate interactions between researchers and stakeholders through, for example, a short-term series of workshops, seminars, networking activities or other events.
The aim of these activities is to stimulate new debate across boundaries, for example: disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and/or international. Proposals should explore new areas, be multi-institutional and can include creative or innovative approaches or entrepreneurship. Proposals must justify the approach taken and clearly explain the novelty or added value for bringing the network participants together.
Although the Research Networking Scheme is primarily aimed at the development of new networks and interactions, existing networks can also apply where they are addressing a new or novel area.
The AHRC will be piloting a policy to allow international researchers to act as Co-Investigators on Research Networking proposals. This policy applies to proposals received until 31 December 2016. Detailed information about eligibility, costs and application guidance can be found within the relevant sections of this guide.
The aims of the Research Networking Scheme are:
- to support collaboration and the exchange of ideas across boundaries, primarily between researchers in the arts and humanities, as well as with colleagues in other disciplines and other stakeholders, in order to explore a particular theme, issue or problem
- to enable groups of researchers and other stakeholders to explore ideas which could lead to tangible projects and maximise opportunities for advances in creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in the area to be explored, with results of value both to the arts and humanities research community and to wider contexts where they can make a difference
- to encourage and enable researchers within the research community to involve new researchers and research students, as well as people or organisations from outside the academic and research community, in the discussion and development of ideas
- to foster (where appropriate) international collaboration and the development of strong academic links with overseas researchers, in order to develop understanding through engagement with different cultures and parts of the world, and to enhance research standards
- to provide a framework for the Arts and Humanities Research Council to learn of emerging areas of intellectual urgency and potential strategic importance, both within the UK and internationally, identifying key research challenges by building new collaborations as well as strengthening existing ones.
Scheme, limit and duration
Proposals for full economic costs up to £30,000 for a period of up to two years may be submitted.
The exact mechanism for networking and the duration is up to you to decide but must be fully justified in the proposal. Costs within the £30,000 full economic cost (fEC) scheme limit should include all UK based activities. Such costs can include the Principal Investigator (PI), and Co-Investigator’s time on the project, administrative support, estates and indirect costs, costs involved in organising events, and travel and subsistence costs for UK participants.
A further threshold of up to £15,000 in addition to the £30,000 fEC may be sought to cover the costs of any international participants, co-investigator or activities.
Proposals will need to be submitted by an eligible Research Organisation (RO) but must involve collaboration with at least one other international organisation, as well as have significant relevance to beneficiaries in the UK.
Eligible costs above £30,000 limit are only those which can be directly attributable to international collaboration.
This scheme operates without formal deadlines. You are able to submit proposals at any time of the year and we will aim to inform you of the outcome within five months of submission.
The proposed start date of your project must be at least six months from the date of submission. For example, if you submit a proposal on 15 January, the earliest possible start date would be 15 July. If the start date is not at least six months from the date of submission, if the proposal is successful you may be asked to change the start date.
The Research Networking Scheme will meet the salary costs for you and a Co-Investigator for the time spent overseeing and providing intellectual input to the activities, the cost of setting up and coordinating the activities (for example, the salary costs of a coordinator) along with associated indirect and estates costs, although Indirect and Estates costs will not be eligible for any international co-investigators.
Time spent by you on the co-ordination of the activities is not expected to form the majority of the cost of the proposal. Research Assistants are not eligible under this scheme and the salary costs of participants may not be included.
Proposals for the development of European collaborative networks and/or consortia that might support the development of applications to the Europe Union (EU) under the Framework programme or other EU funding opportunities are also welcome.
The following costs are eligible to be included under the additional £15,000 limit:
travel and subsistence
international participants visiting the UK
UK participants travelling to events/activities outside of the UK
international phone calls and/or video conferencing
cost of overseas events/activities
costs incurred by the international co-investigator, including salary where applicable (see Proposals with an international element for more information on international co-investigator salary eligibility).
Costs over and above those specified for the standard scheme must be directly related to the activities fostering the contribution of colleagues from other countries including events in those countries. The added value and contribution of the international participation to the research networking activities, must be clearly explained and justified in the proposal.
The following costs are not eligible to be included under the additional £15,000 limit:
Additional Investigator time or administrative support in the UK spent supporting the international collaboration (whether in the UK or abroad)
Costs of UK based workshops involving international participants (for example, room hire, catering)
Costs of other UK based activities involving international participants.
The scheme is not intended to fund stand-alone events which are not part of the research process, for example events held to disseminate findings from research already undertaken, or networks based around an existing conference where the networking activities would have taken place without funding.
Fees for consultants or speakers will therefore be considered only on an exceptional basis where it can be demonstrated that their participation is in keeping with the aims of the scheme to facilitate the exploration of new ideas.
All costs must be itemised separately within the budget breakdown section of the application and the costs of any international collaboration clearly indicated. In addition, all costs must be justified in the justification of resources attachment. See the Justification of Resources section for more information regarding what to include in this document.
Case for support
You must outline clearly the rationale for the activities, approach and the research context in which they will operate by answering the following questions:
- What is the central theme of the proposed activity?
- Why is it important that this theme be explored?
- What is new and novel about the network?
- How will the questions be addressed?
- How will the proposed activities generate genuine and novel interaction across boundaries and so lead to advances in understanding?
You should also give details regarding the aims and objectives, the timetable for any activities proposed, proposed participants and key speakers, and plans for management and co-ordination, including the membership of any proposed advisory group or steering committee.
Provided that you meet the eligibility criteria, additional participation from those in other organisations can be as broad as is needed to achieve the aims of the networking (within the budget available), and additional members can be brought in during the course of the award. To meet the scheme's intention of crossing boundaries, activities of participants from beyond the academic community is encouraged. As well as any named participants, an indication of the subject and sector interests to be represented should be provided.
Instead of the headings in the Case For Support Section, you should use the following:
Rationale and research context
You should describe clearly the rationale, approach and research context of the activities:
- Why are the proposed activities necessary to address this theme at this time?
- To what extent do the proposed activities generate fruitful and novel interaction?
- You will need to provide a clear explanation of how your activities cross boundaries and how this adds value to the proposed activities.
- What is the research context in which the activities will operate and how will it advance knowledge and understanding in the fields concerned?
- To which audiences/disciplines will the activities and its outcomes be of interest?
Aims and objectives
You should describe the aims and objectives of the activities. What specific targets or outcomes will you have achieved by the end of the project?
Timetable of activities
You should give a clear timetable of activities for events such as workshops, symposia, conferences, meetings of the advisory group.
Key speakers or participants
You should indicate any specific speakers or participants who would be central to the success of the project, along with their expertise and availability.
Management and co-ordination
How will the activites be managed? Will there be an advisory group or steering committee? If so, who are the proposed members and does the membership reflect the constituencies the proposal intends to reach? What will be the roles of the principal investigator, the co-investigator, and other participants?
Information under this heading should build on the details given in the Academic Beneficiaries and Impact Summary sections of the Je-S form.
Please provide examples of the kinds of outputs you propose to produce druing the award and their proposed focus. Please explain further how the research will benefit other researchers in the field and - where relevant - academic beneficiaries in other disciplines.
How do you propose to maximise the value of the proposed research outputs? You should cross refer here to the separate attachment 'Pathways to Impact. See the Pathways to Impact for more information regarding what to include in this document.
Justification of Resources Attachment
The breakdown of costs should clearly explain any additional costs sought for international participation, where applicable.
Proposals are required to justify the inclusion of any international participants itemised within the budget breakdown and outline why they are necessary for the success of the proposed activities.
Technical Plan Attachment
A Technical Plan is not required for this scheme.
Principal Investigator Response
There is no Principal Investigator response stage for this scheme.
In addition to the information in the Assessment and Peer Review section the following assessment criteria will be taken into account:
- the quality of the research process outlined, including: research agenda, participants, sustainability and appropriateness of methods to foster interactions
- the level of genuine collaboration proposed across boundaries and the value that this will add to the development of research in that area
- the significance and importance of the thematic area to be explored
- the extent to which the proposed activities will generate genuine and productive interaction across boundaries (e.g. disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical, methodological and/or international), including the potential for them to lead to advances in knowledge and understanding in the fields concerned and/or new high quality cross-disciplinary research projects
- the level of involvement from different organisations and interaction between participants (creative techniques for fostering interactions are welcomed).
Further the following will also apply to proposals requesting additional funds for international collaboration:
- the extent to which the proposed activities will foster the development of strong academic links between the UK and researchers in other countries and the value that this adds to the research area
- the contribution and added value of the proposed international collaboration to the research networking outlined
- to also note: there is no PI Response stage for Research Networking
Peer Review Process
Where the peer reviewers’ comments and grades are consistent, the AHRC will allocate theirs as the final grade for the proposal.
Where the grades differ, or the comments are inconsistent with the grade, the proposal and peer reviews will be moderated by a third member of the Peer Review College. S/He will consider the proposal, allocating a final grade. S/He will then rank all batched applications by priority for funding. Final funding decisions will be made by the AHRC.