Erasmus + Event

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The External Projects Team led a workshop this week in the Ashley Centre, over 25 staff from across the institution attended to hear about the new EU funding programme for education and youth, ERASMUS+. This new programme replaces the old Life Long Learning Programme as well as Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Asia Link, Youth in Action and Edulink. The team were joined by our Erasmus Co-ordinator Deb Graddon who shared the latest news on our Key Action 1 bid (mobility of staff and student from SU) and Abdel Hamid Soliman who gave a great overview of a current Erasmus Mundus project PEACE.

If you are interested in this programme, there are a number of ways to find out more, you can access all of the current calls for proposals in the Programme Guide or if you would like access to the slides from the day, please email us at externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Seminar

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In its capacity as UK National Contact Point for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, UKRO is pleased to announce a seminar on the Horizon 2020 COFUND scheme. COFUND offers co-funding for new or existing regional, national and international programmes to open up to:

  • International, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training; and
  • Transnational and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career.

COFUND in Horizon 2020 has a new element to it, as there are now two funding streams: one supporting experienced researchers through a ‘Fellowship programme’ and the second supporting early stage researchers through a ‘Doctoral programme’.
The first COFUND call under Horizon 2020 is due to open on 10 April 2014, with a deadline for proposals on 2 October 2014.

Date and venue

Wednesday, 30 April Queen Mary University of London Mile End Road London, E1 4NS

Seminar format

This seminar aims to provide participants with a better understanding of the COFUND scheme and its requirements, including the new doctoral training option. The seminar will combine discussion on the objectives of COFUND and its fit within the wider postgaduate researcher training landscape in the UK, along with practical information on proposal preparation, submission and finances. The seminar will also feature a case study from previous successful COFUND applicants.
The event will run from 10.30 to 16.00, with a lunch break. Please note that lunch will not be provided.

Registration

Attendance is free of charge but capacity at the venue is limited and places will therefore be allocated on a first come first served basis. Contact the external projects team at externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk if you are interested in attending.

 

Policy & Research Small Grants Open Call

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Nesta have launched a New small grants fund they want to find new ideas and foster collaboration with a wide array of organisations so a open call has been launched where up to ten projects in total will be funded across the year. The maximum budget is 10k and examples of expected projects are:

  • primarily research-based
  • developing a paper
  • a proof of concept
  • policy idea.

 NESTA research themes

  • Development and application of innovative methods for understanding innovation
  • Using big data or open data to understand innovation
  • Mapping and analysing new trends in social, business or technological innovation
  • Public policies to promote innovation
  • Adoption of innovation in public services
  • Innovation in emerging economies

 To find out more click on this link – http://www.nesta.org.uk/Small-Grants-Open-Call

 

Judicial Review: R(on the Application of the HS2 Action Alliance Ltd (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Transport

The Judgment expected this morning in the UK Supreme Court on the HS2 Action Alliance has rejected the HS2 Action Alliance appeal. The points of appeal are listed below. The administrative law procedure for judicial review permits parties in this significant case to challenge the reasonableness of the Government’s decision to go ahead with its plans for a high speed rail network; the challenge in this case appearing to be failure to consult during the environmental assessment process. A serious question was as to whether sufficient time has been allowed to assess environmental issues, including assessment by Members of Parliament; and thus parliamentary procedure would fail to meet the requirements of the environmental directive. This point of appeal also appears to have been rejected.

The Facts

The Secretary of State issued a Command paper titled ‘High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain’s Future—Decisions and Next Steps’ (DNS) setting out the government’s strategy for a new national high speed rail network called High Speed Two (HS2) from London to Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. The appellants contend that the Decisions and Next Steps (the ‘DNS’) paper is a ‘plan or program’ that is ‘required by administrative provisions’ and ‘sets the framework for development consent’ of HS2 and falls within articles 2 and 3 of Directive 2001/42/EC the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (the SEAD) as transposed by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004. Justice Ouseley, found at first instance, that the consultation process in respect of the compensation decision was so unfair as to be unlawful. On all other grounds, however, he dismissed the claims, as did the Court of Appeal.

Main points of appeal:

1. Whether plans that may influence the Parliamentary consent process should be effectively excluded from the requirements of strategic environmental assessment by an unduly restrictive interpretation or application of the Strategic Envinronmental Assessment Directive (the SEAD); and contrary to EU environmental law.

2. Whether on the facts the Secretary of State’s ‘Decisions and Next Steps’ (DNS) paper would have a sufficient influence on Parliament to engage the SEAD (the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive) and whether its very potential to influence Parliament is a compelling factor since, by the time the Bill process is underway, it will too late to challenge the decision in the DNS and provide proof of actual influence;

The writer has not followed the appeal closely, however the Case summary and Judgment issued this morning given its topicality and public importancea are linked below.

Press Summary:

http://supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0172_PressSummary.pdf

Judgment:

http://supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0172_Judgment.pdf

Erasmus + Webinars

Ecorys and the British Council have advertised webinars for the new Erasmus + programme of funding. These are taking place in January and February.imagesCAGFFZM5

All of the details on how to register and when the webinars are taking place can be found Here

The External Projects Team will be listening in to the Webinars, so we will be sending out a blog with all the latest info later this month, in the meantime, if you are interested in accessing the E+ funding please get in touch with us at externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk

 

 

Philip Leverhulme Prizes

 

Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of early career researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. The prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000 a year, across a range of academic disciplines. The 2014 round opens on 6 January 2014 and closes to nominations on 14 May 2014.

For the 2014 competition the selected subject areas are:

  • Biological Sciences
  • History
  • Law
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Sociology and Social Policy

Each Prize has a value of £100,000 which may be used over a two or three year period. Prizes can be used for any purpose which can advance the prize-holder’s research, with the exception of enhancing the prize-holder’s salary.

The Prize is available over two or three years.

Please read the following before submitting a nomination.

Fo further information go to: http://leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/PLP/PLP.cfm?utm_source=FUNDING+BULLETIN&utm_campaign=2189d99bd6-FB_NOV_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_06df278404-2189d99bd6-78732765

 

Erasmus + calls now launched

 

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The successor of the Life Long Learning Programme, Erasmus + has now published its first calls for proposals. Staffordshire University has successfully applied for the “Erasmus Charter” a pre requisite of applying for the programme and there are now open calls. A summary of these can be found with indicative budgets and call deadlines below.

You can link to the programme document for more detail ERASMUS + Programme Guide  

BUDGET

Education and training : EUR 1 305,3 million
Youth : EUR 174,2 million
Jean Monnet : EUR 11,2 million
Sport : EUR 16,6 million

Key Action 1

Mobility of individuals in the field of education, training and youth (all) 17 March 2014
Mobility of individuals in the field of youth only 30 April 2014
Mobility of individuals in the field of youth only 1 October 2014
Joint master degrees 27 March 2014
Large-scale European voluntary service events 3 April 2014

 

Key Action 2

Strategic partnerships in the field of education, training and youth (all) 30 April 2014
Strategic partnerships in the field of youth only 1 October 2014
Knowledge alliances, sector skills alliances 3 April 2014
Capacity building in the field of youth 3 April 2014

2 September 2014

The external projects team will be disseminating this information across the University, but if you would like any further information please get in touch with the team at externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk

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UKRO and H2020 is now Launched!!

Hurrah!! At last all of the next Horizon 2020 proposals have been released. Following a great UKRO session yesterday with Eevi from the Brussels office (see pic below) the External Projects Team hosted a great day long programme of presentations on Erasmus + and the H2020 calls. We have been anticipating the launch which happened yesterday and we are now in the process of producing briefing sheets to help you to digest all of the information, but in the meantime you can access all of the latest info from the Commission HERE

2013-12-11 14.07.39

Disability and rights of persons with reduced mobility (under EU law) only applicable when on ‘terra firma’?

Today’s case in the Supreme Court (Hook v British Airways; and Stott v Thomas Cook) – listed for one day, is on appeal from the Court of Appeal and involves a joint appeal brought by two disabled persons in respect of claims to injury to feelings and failure to meet seating needs (including those for persons of reduced mobility) pursuant to contractual claims arising at the time of booking of air flights (in the course of international carriage by air). The following facts are taken from the judgment of the Court of Appeal at paragraph 6. The facts in relation to Mr Hook can be found at paragraph 8 of the same judgment attached.

The facts in the appeal of Mr Stott

The Appellant (Mr Stott) is disabled and a permanent wheelchair user. When he travels by air he relies on his wife to assist with his personal needs because he cannot move around the aircraft cabin. He and his wife made a booking with the Respondent to fly from East Midlands Airport to Zante departing on 22 September and returning on 29 September. After making the booking the Appellant spoke to the Respondent by telephone to say that he had booked and paid to sit next to his wife on both flights. On 19 September he telephoned again and was assured that he and his wife would be seated together.

At the check-in for the return flight they were informed that they would not be sitting together. When they protested, a supervisor told them that the problem would be solved at the departure gate, but at the gate they were told that other passengers had already boarded and the seat allocated could not be changed. The Appellant was then seated in an aisle seat in front of his wife. It was very difficult for her to assist with his catheterisation and other personal needs during the flight. No assistance was forthcoming from the cabin crew. At trial, the judge granted a declaration that the Respondent had breached the Appellant’s rights under the EC Disability Regulation, but dismissed the claim for damages by reference to the limits imposed by the Montreal Convention, to which the European Union recognised and was a party. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appellant’s appeal in relation to damages; see below the final paragraph of Lord Justice Maurice Kay below.

The Montreal Convention of 1999 (‘MC’) provides a uniform code in relation to the carrier’s liability under the contract of carriage by air. The provisions have been interpreted and found to be the exclusive code in regard to this specific liability: passengers being effective barred from seeking reliance on applicable law in their member states. Article 29 states that

‘In the carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo, any action for damages, however founded, whether under this Convention or in contract or in tort or otherwise, can only be brought subject to the conditions and such limits of liability as are set out in this Convention […]’

Without delving into the case law and the exclusive regime, it appears to be the general position that injury to feelings is not included within the exclusive regime of the Convention, albeit such categories of loss and injury are recognised and compensated under EC law.

EC provisions that do recognise the heads of loss in this appeal

The breaches under EC law brought by the Claimants include the Disability Regulation EC 1107/2006, incorporated into UK law by the Civil Aviation (Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1895), notably as regards appropriate seating arrangements. In their defence, British Airways and Thomas Cook seek to rely upon the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention as a comprehensive code, as incorporated into EU law by Regulation (EC) 889/2002.

Giving judgment in the Court of Appeal Maurice Kay LJ found in favour of the airlines on the basis of the exclusive application of Article 29 of the Convention, displacing any other EC applicable law stating at paragraph 54:
‘…I am satisfied that the case for Mr Hook and Mr Stott is unsustainable. The real injuries to their feelings (for which they deserve and have my sympathy) were sustained at times when the Montreal Convention governed their situations. Its exclusivity both provided and limited their rights and remedies. Accordingly, their claims for compensation for injury to feelings could not succeed.’

In today’s hearing the Supreme Court, constituted of Baroness Hale and Lords Neuberger, Reed, Hughes and Toulson, will have to consider whether the Montreal Convention can operate to exclude a claim for damages arising from a breach of EU law. This raises several important issues:

– to what extent can the well-established line of exclusivity cases (such as Sidhu) be relied upon in the case of ‘novel’ heads of claim?

– on what basis, if any, can claims under the EU’s Disability Regulation be distinguished from claims under the Passenger Rights Regulation, which have been held to fall outside the scope of the Montreal Convention?

– should the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention be determined by reference to a ‘timeline’ of events (as the Court of Appeal’s judgment seems to suggest), or by the type of damage sustained by passengers (the approach favoured by the CJEU)?

The Secretary of State and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are intervening in today’s case (i.e. will be represented and entitled to make submissions in the appeal).
It is perfectly possible that this case will go further on a reference to the European Court of Justice in light of the core issue of effectiveness of EC law and on the facts, the fact that persons who are intended to benefit from EU laws are left without an effective remedy.

The decision of the Court of Appeal can be found at:

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/66.html&query=stott&method=boolean
A very informative blog on this case (which was used to set out most of the above points) can be found on the Supreme Court blog site at:

http://ukscblog.com/case-preview-hook-v-british-airways-stott-v-thomas-cook

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2014

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The European Commission has launched the second edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. The competition is open until 15th October 2013 and aims to raise public awareness about the need for more innovation and more women innovators. It will reward three women who have developed outstanding innovations and brought them to market, with prizes ranging from €25,000 to €100,000.

Any woman innovator complying with the following criteria can apply:

  • Resides in an EU Member State or in a country associated to the Research Framework Programme.
  • Is a founder or co-founder of an existing and active company.
  • Your company must have been registered before 1st January 2011.
  • The annual turnover of the company must have been a minimum €100,000 in 2011 or 2012.
  • Either you or the company you founded/co-founded have received or is receiving funding from the European Union or the European Atomic Energy Community Research Framework Programme, or from the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).

If you would like to participate, please got to the contest website before the 15th October 2013.