Launch of INTERREG EUROPE in Bologna (2nd and 3rd December).

IMG_0546audienceMore than 800 people coming from 30 countries attended the launch of the new interregional cooperation programme INTERREG EUROPE in Bologna (Italy) and over 1000 connected online took part in it.

Those present were given the opportunity to share their project ideas at four thematic workshops and numerous networking sessions.

Staffordshire University attended this two-day event, looking at collaboration opportunities with public and private European stakeholders around Research and Innovation. Key contacts were met there, and the relevant information will soon be circulated within the University.

If you missed the event, you can watch the recorded web-streamed part online and have access to the programme and presentations at:

Interreg Europe budget allocation is 359 million Euros for 2014-2020. The first call will be released in April next year. We will soon be posting a new article with the main criteria of the programme.

In the meantime, if you want to know more about Interreg Europe, go to, or contact directly the External Projects Team (Marie Pandolfo or Jose Beech).

Marie Sklodowska-Curie innovative training networks

Proposals are invited under Horizon 2020 for Marie Sklodowska-Curie innovative training networks.

This action aims to raise excellence and structure research and doctoral training, extending the traditional academic research training setting, and equipping researchers with the right combination of research-related and transferable competencies.

The different types of networks must be created by at least three beneficiaries or at least two for European industrial doctorates located in three different member states or associated countries.

The overall indicative budget for this call in 2015 is €370 million. Closing date is 13/01/2015.

Call for HEI proposals to host national debates as part of the AHRC’s 10th anniversary


To mark its tenth anniversary in 2015, the Arts and Humanities Research Council will support number of activities for celebrating and promoting the achievements and the role of the arts and humanities research community.

A call, ending on 18th December 2014, invites Higher Education Institutions to host national debates that address the theme ‘The way we live now’, and explore specific aspects of our human world, such as The City, Identity, The Book, Faith, Diversity, The Nation.

A series of five to six national debates are planned to be supported and held at universities and cultural organisations around the UK at intervals during the year. Each debate should feature three to four speakers, and should allow plenty of time for audience participation.

Only one application is accepted per institution. Each debate may receive up to £7,500 from AHRC, with matched funding required from the host organisation. Each organisation may host one or two events.

How to strengthen the quality of your bids?


The development of a robust full application is an important element of any project, essential for the approval of funding and as an evolving tool to measure, control and evaluate delivery.

A quality bid is one of the outputs of a strategic approach to project development – the strategy and budget plan underpinning the project are one of the key elements of a successful bid.

Step 1: To build up a strong efficient environment as a background for quality projects.

  • Network to create long-lasting links and to promote the University externally : Make yourself known regionally, nationally and at a European level or more: Network with lobbying organisations, potential partners and funding authorities. Target national or international events and trainings.
  • Understand and target the University and Faculty’s priorities and plans for future: make sure the project you are developing fits the overall plan, as you will need to demonstrate it in your bid.
  • Identify and communicate with key members of staff who will be involved in your projects. Training on funding opportunities might be an option to be considered.
  • Learn lessons from rejected bids: have and ask for feedback from funding contacts about the reasons for their rejection.


Step 2: Identification and development of the project

  • Assess the demand for the project and collect evidence to demonstrate this demand (from a beneficiary point of view as well). Depending on the size of the project, this could take the form of a report from a third party – either an independent study, or a verification of in-house findings.
  • Give evidence of market failure, and explain why the project should be funded by the public sector in general. What is preventing the private sector from solving this problem or exploiting this opportunity?
  • Build up the right team* for the project to be developed and implemented. Make up your team strategically: gathering the right people is vital for creative ideas to construct the content of the project and to share the administrative tasks.

*TIP: Aspects of the team to consider: Interdisciplinary (cross departmental?), collaborative (scholars from other Universities?), other groups external to Higher Education (such as museum, schools, community groups, public policy bodies?). Note that external groups will bring expertise, resources and sometimes financial aid.


Step 3: Identifying the right fund and developing the bid

  • Contact the external project team: Once you have defined your project [it is your project that determinates the fund you will apply for, not the other way around], choosing the right funding programme that fits the project specifications is not an easy task. The External Project Team is your key contact within this step, and will conduct the funding search for you, as well as the bid writing if needed. Please note that bids above £100,000 need the Executives approval. Some online process needs the EPT approval (i.e. Je-S British Academy, Wellcome Trust).
  • Inform the team on the fund modalities. The external project team will also support you in this step. Make sure the persons involved in the project/bid development are aware deadlines, modalities, requirements and criteria of the fund. As well as the audit requirements and reporting requirements if the bid is successful.
  • Create convenient ways of working in order to move the project forward: One or two key people are needed at this stage, to drive the project forward. Develop an agreed timetable with all academics/partners involved for the bid development, with key milestones and clear deadlines for matching the submission deadline. The external project team will help you in defining a time scale for submitting the grant application for concrete to be achieved.
  • Sort out the bid budget: contact your faculties finance staff early to sort out the budget and benefit from their understanding of University’s approach to Full Economic Costing (FEC). Identify the match funding available, which can be from other national or local public funders and private match funders. it can also be in-kind (staff time).
  • Bid writing: the External Project Team can support you. Give enough time to write the bid (drafting and rewriting), make sure the project is compliant with any criteria specified in the relevant grant/call template, and describe how the project supports any relevant internal, regional, national and European plans/strategies/projects.

*TIP: Write a first draft of the whole bid in “bullet point” format, and circulate it to colleagues and collaborators for comments, then collect any additions and changes. Contact the funding body/main contact for a first submission of the draft to get their advice (when permitted).

Don’t forget to identify key milestones, to avoid any delays or key elements:

  • Funding Approval
  • Contract Signature (if applicable)
  • Key deliverable milestones
  • Completion of deliverables
  • Completion of benefits monitoring
  • Payments Complete (note possible retentions for capital projects)
  • Project Close
  • Independent project audit and evaluation
  • Please ensure that both capital and revenue milestones are included.


And don’t give up if the bid is not approved. Get feedback from the funding body and rewrite/rethink your project to be ready to the next call for proposal.  You will be known then and expected to bid again, with a better quality bid.

H2020 call to come: Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0

A Horizon 2020 call, for supporting Universities to become Open Innovation Centres for their region, will be launched on 10/12/2014 with a total budget of €13,670,000.

The term Open Innovation “assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their technology.” Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, 2006.

Implementing a model of open innovation is naturally associated with a number of risk and challenges, including the possibility of revealing intellectual property. However, numbers of successful initiatives exist and Universities can act as a trusted intermediary to bring multiple parties together and to allow them to collaborate in a hosted and trusted way.

The actions under this topic will help universities, companies and public authorities to enhance their capacity to engage in science 2.0 and open innovation. They will build or reinforce structures and mechanisms to support effective linkages for innovation between universities and companies and other employment sectors, and provide freely accessible innovation training platforms, including digital platforms.

If you are interested in getting involved with European funded projects and to know more about Horizon 2020, please contact us on to register to: Be a Part of European Funding – Thursday 20 November – LT114/116 Ashley Building, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent.

11.8 billion Euros for 2014-2020: the European Commission has formally adopted the UK partnership agreement on the 29th October.


The European Commission (EC) has adopted Partnership Agreements with six Member States on the 29th October, including the United Kingdom. The UK Partnership agreement allocates €11.8 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for key thematic investments during the period 2014-2020. The UK government is now waiting for a formal response from the European Commission to its Operational Programmes.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) covers the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The funds are concentrated on a limited number of priorities for a better impact on growth and jobs in the UK: research and innovation, ICT, competitiveness of enterprises and low carbon economy represent more than 80% of the total allocations.

Both the European Commission and the United Kingdom are expecting to increase the number of innovative enterprises, including the number of collaborations between SMEs and academic institutions in the UK. Superfast broadband, low carbon economy, sustainable land management, inactivity levels, higher level training and skills are also within the main targets of the UK Partnership Agreement.

Within the ESI Funds Growth Programme, England is being allocated €3.6 billion of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), €3.3 billion of European Social Fund (ESF), and €3.4 billion for Rural Development.

The ERDF and ESF Operational Programmes, which are breaking down the investment priorities and objectives of the Partnership Agreements into concrete actions, are due to be adopted by the European Commission in the next few months. Applications will then be able to be submitted to the relevant Managing Authorities of the programmes for applying to these funds.

To find out more: