Invites for research on management practices and employee engagement, and their relationships with productivity.

As part of ESRC’s commitment to a longer-term strategic, coordinated portfolio of productivity investments, we are inviting proposals from researchers at eligible UK research organisations to carry out research on management practices and employee engagement, and their relationships with productivity.


New insights from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Management and Expectations Survey (PDF, ESCOE website) across multiple business sectors demonstrate that moving the quality of a firm’s management practice from the bottom decile to ‘average’ can deliver a 19% increase in productivity. This supports 2017 results from Sadun, Bloom and Van Reenen showing that better management practices are associated with higher profits, faster annual growth and higher productivity.

Another example is the positive impacts on productivity associated with investment in workplace mental health and wellbeing, with returns to business of up to £9 per £1 invested (see Mental health and employers (PDF, Deloitte website)). While these relationships have been identified, there is a dearth of knowledge about why they exist and how individual managers, employees, firms, regions and national policy can support, diffuse and capitalise on the factors that drive effective management and employee engagement practices. This understanding will not only inform interventions that could improve productivity in the private sector, but will also yield potential improvements in public sector productivity.


Research projects to the call should sit across the following areas:

  • Variation in management practices, employee engagement, drivers of that variation and relationship with productivity outcomes
  • Exploring manager and employee engagement, including motivations, trust and absorptive capacity.
  • Adopting, diffusing, scaling and sustaining beneficial innovations and changes in management practices.
  • Opportunities for improvements in productivity, mental health, physical health and wellbeing through innovations in management practices.

Up to £4.5 million total (80% FEC) research council contribution is available for this call (subject to final HMT approval). Proposals can bid for up to £900,000 for up to three years. It is anticipated that up to five proposals will be funded under the call.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via Je-S before 16:00 on 18 September 2018.

Successful awards will be announced in December 2018 and should expect to begin on 14 February 2019.

Key dates

  • Opening date for proposals – 6 August 2018
  • Closing date for proposals – 18 September 2018
  • PI response invited – 23 October 2018
  • PI response due – 29 October 2018
  • Panel – 3 December 2018
  • Grants start – 14 February 2019

Call documents

Search starts for 2019 generation of great thinkers and broadcasters – deadline 4 October

The Arts & Humanities Research Council and BBC Radio 3 are on the lookout for a new generation of arts and humanities broadcasters.

The New Generation Thinkers 2019 scheme has been launched with a call for entries.  Once again, ten academics will be given the chance to front engaging and innovative programmes on BBC Radio 3 and beyond, as well as working with the AHRC on public engagement opportunities.

Now in its ninth year, the scheme aims to cultivate talented, articulate academics into exceptional all-round communicators. It provides a variety of training opportunities and the chance to work with world-class broadcasters from across the BBC.

The 2019 New Generation Thinkers scheme is open now to early career researchers from all research backgrounds, provided their research is linked to one or more arts and humanities disciplines.

The ten chosen academics will be picked from a shortlist of 60 applicants who will all be given the chance to attend one of three workshops to develop their media skills and receive guidance from experienced BBC producers.

The final ten – selected by a panel of BBC programme makers – will then be given media training by the AHRC and the unique opportunity to develop a 15-minute programme based on their research for BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, as well many other opportunities to appear on air.

For more information on the call – which is open until 4pm on, Thursday 4 October 2018 – and details of eligibility and how to apply please visit the New Generation Thinkers 2019 call page here.

Update on the 2019 Work Programme for Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing

The European Commission has published the updated 2019 Work Programme for the Health, demographic change and wellbeing. The work programme has not changed since the last draft which was published earlier this month, however there are a few changes since the draft sent out last year.

What is new in 2019?

Specifically, the addition of the words ‘mental and non-mental disorders’ to the tile of call SC1-BHC-01-2019 (Understanding causative mechanisms in co- and multimorbidities combining mental and non-mental disorders) and the removal of Other Actions: 6 (Subscription fee: World RePORT international health research database).

Moreover, six new calls have been added:

  • SC1-BHC-30-2019: Towards risk-based screening strategies for non-communicable diseases
    • This Research and Innovation Action sets out to develop new or refined, targeted population-based screening interventions aimed at identifying populations or groups at high risk of developing disease. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of €4-6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.
  • SC1-BHC-31-2019: Pilot actions to build the foundations of a human cell atlas
    • Each pilot within the Research and Innovation Action, should demonstrate the utility of an interdisciplinary technological/biological platform to generate and integrate standardised molecular, cellular, biochemical and other data sets, characterising single cells or their nuclear components, their interactions and/or spatial location in tissues from one human organ. Platforms supporting analysis of tissues from more than one organ are also in scope. The Commission considers proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of €3-5 million would allow for the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.
  • SC1-BHC-32-2019: Towards a next generation influenza vaccine to protect citizens worldwide – an EU-India collaboration.
    • This Research and Innovation Action aims to further the advancement of next generation influenza vaccine candidate(s) with improved efficacy and safety, duration of immunity, and reactivity against an increased breadth of influenza strains. Proposals should make use of new knowledge of, for example, structural biology, immunology, genetics and genomics, influenza transmission modelling, vaccine production, formulation and delivery methods The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of €6-10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.
  • SC1-HCO-15-2019: Support for the functioning of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R)
    • This Coordination and Support Action should provide administrative and organisational support to the Chair and Vice Chairs of GloPID-R, in close collaboration with the European Commission. Proposals should also maintain and expand GloPID-R’s external communications activities and provide technical support on topics requested by the GloPID-R Chairs or groups such as the SAB or ISG. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around €1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.
  • Other Actions: 7. InnovFin Infectious Diseases (InnovFin ID)
    • InnovFin Infectious Diseases aims to finance pre-commercial stage investments in the field of
      Infections Disease (ID). Projects developing innovative vaccines, drugs, medical and diagnostic devices must have gone successfully through the preclinical stage and preferably through early stage clinical development and now require clinical validation or be ready for later stage clinical trials in order to be eligible for InnovFin ID. Projects on research infrastructures must refer to facilities, resources and related services to be used by the scientific community to conduct top-level research and must be novel e.g. not replicate what already exists, in order to be eligible for InnovFin ID. InnovFin ID will make loans of between €7.5 million and €75 million to SMEs, midcaps, special project vehicles, research institutions and other legal entities for the purposes of corporate or project finance, and to large pharmaceutical companies for financing the development of pre-identified medical products on a risk-sharing basis.
  • Other Actions: 8. Grant to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
    • Grant to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) objective is to finance and coordinate the development of new medical countermeasures to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics, which are of particular concern to low income countries. The H2020 funding will be used to enhance and expand CEPI’s activities. This is different from the ERA-NET Cofund and the EJP Cofund actions. The main purpose of this action is to provide financial support to third parties through calls for proposals, in the forms of grants. The EU contribution will be limited to a maximum of 70% of the total eligible costs of the action.

Further information on the Health Work Programme can be found in UKRO’s dedicated factsheet.

​The Horizon 2020 ‘Health, demographic change and wellbeing’ info day was held on 12 July 2018 and you can watch a web stream of the all-day event on the EC streaming services website. There will also be a brokerage event on 3-4 September 2018 in Oslo, Norway. The event offers an opportunity to find out more about the calls and identify partners. Registration is open until 15 August 2018.

IMI2 Update – Calls 15 and 16 Information Webinars Now Online

As previously published the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI2) Calls 15 and 16 were launched on 18 July 2018 and a series of webinars were held between 4 July and 23 July inclusive.

The webinars are now available online and you can either download the presentations or watch the webinar itself (~1hr20min). At the end of each webinar there is short Q&A session. The webinars are an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Call topics, as well as the funding rules, intellectual property policy and tips on the preparation of proposal submissions. Each presentations starts with a short overview of the IMI, the evaluations criteria and tips of writing a successful application. There is also a dedicated webinar for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The webinars include the following topics and can be accessed on the IMI2 Call 15 and 16 Webinar pages along with the presentations and a list of the participants.

  • IMI rules & procedures;
  • Opportunities for SMEs in IMI2 – Calls 15 and 16;
  • Development and validation of translational platforms in support of synaptopathy drug discovery;
  • Integrated Research Platforms enabling Patient-Centric Drug Development;
  • AMR Accelerator programme – Pillar C (IMI2 – Call 16): Microenvironment imposed signatures in tissue and liquid biopsies in immune mediated disease;
  • Emerging translational safety technologies and tools for interrogating human immuno-biology;
  • AMR Accelerator programme – Pillar A (Call 15): and Pillar B (Call 15);
  • Block chain enabled healthcare; and
  • Digital endpoints in neurodegenerative and immune-mediated diseases


Royal Academy of Engineering: Chair in Emerging Technologies – Deadline 13th September

Deadline for submissions is 4pm – Thursday 13 September 2018.

The Academy’s Chair in Emerging Technologies scheme aims to identify global research visionaries and provide them with long term support to lead on developing emerging technology areas with high potential to deliver economic and social benefit to the UK.

We will now be opening this prestigious call every year and hope to appoint 7 new Chairs in Emerging Technologies in the 2018/19 round of applications. By covering employment costs for the Chair, the award enables sustained focus on advancing the technology to application in a strategic manner over a period of up to 10 years.

The Academy is not prescriptive in defining the focus of Chairs, except that they require a powerful case to be made for the value of an extended long-term vision through to application, and hence for funding that provides sustained support for a world-leading researcher, ensuring continuity of their focus across other grants and contracts and removing any expectation of duties that do not support the technology programme.

Emerging technology fields that have been highlighted as having particular potential include:

  • Engineering biology
  • Machine learning
  • Neurotechnology
  • Quantum technologies
  • Regenerative medicine/engineering
  • Robotics

However, it is often the nature of an emerging technology that its potential is not widely appreciated until championed by a visionary individual. Thus this call is deliberately broad and open, and we encourage applications that make a case for emerging novel and/or disruptive innovation in well-established areas or overlooked fields. Similarly, we are not prescriptive about the Technology Readiness Level or similar assessment of innovation readiness expected of applications. We expect a ten-year vision that will make a significant difference to how the emerging technology is implemented and the economic and social benefit to the UK.

Applications are welcome from across a broad remit of engineering and technology, including areas currently considered basic science, but now requiring engineering ways of thinking to drive them towards application, and in more-established technology areas where the applicant has identified a high-impact novel approach.

  • The Academy is committed to diversity, and welcomes applications from women and other groups who are currently underrepresented across engineering
  • The Academy welcomes applications from high-calibre researchers currently based outside the UK, in line with the Government’s Rutherford Fund to attract global talent to the UK

Horizon 2020 Funding Call: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships – Deadline 12 September 2018

MSC Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to experienced researchers of any nationality, age and discipline to advance their careers and acquire new skills through advanced training, international mobility, and optional intersectoral secondments at academic/non-academic organisations in Europe and beyond.

European Fellowships are held in Member States and are open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe. Global Fellowships are based on a secondment to a third country and a compulsory 12 month return phase in a Europe host organisation.

Eligible applicants

The fellow must be an experienced researcher. He/she must be, at the date of the call deadline, in possession of a doctoral degree or has at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.

The researcher cannot have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies) in the country of the beneficiary for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the call deadline.

All domains of research and technological development are eligible for funding.

Financial aspects

The financial support for MSC- IF takes the form of a grant covering 100% of the action’s eligible costs. The EU contribution covers:

  • Living, mobility and family allowances for the researcher
  • Research, training and networking costs
  • Management and indirect costs

Proposal Submission

The proposal should be prepared by the researcher in cooperation with the applicant organisation, which is represented by the main supervisor in the framework of the proposal. The maximum length of a proposal is 10 pages, excluding the CV of the researcher and the annexes.

Proposals must be submitted electronically, using the European Commission’s Online Submission Service accessible via the Participant Portal, before Thursday 12 September 2018, 17:00:00 Brussels time.

Link to the call:

Funding Call: The Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK’s International Challenges – Deadline 3rd October 2018

The British Academy is inviting proposals from UK-based researchers in the humanities and social sciences to develop interdisciplinary projects which bear on our understanding of the UK’s international challenges and opportunities (past, present and future). Proposals will relate to the themes of Conflict, Stability & Security; Europe’s Futures; Justice, Rights & Equality; and Urban Futures. This call for proposals is the third round of this programme, following the first two rounds in 2016 & 2017.

The purpose of each project will be to bring original interdisciplinary research ideas from the humanities and social sciences to bear on our understanding of the international challenges and opportunities which the UK has faced, is facing and will face. The projects awarded will aim to deliver specific academic, public, cultural and/or policy-relevant outputs.

For this scheme originality can arise also from looking at material (such as archival material) in new ways or bringing forth new understanding from material that has previously been unknown or less well known, or innovative combinations of researchers (and/or practitioners) in an interdisciplinary manner.

Eligibility Requirements
The lead applicant must be based at a UK university or research institute, and be of postdoctoral or above status (or have equivalent research experience). International co-applicants are strongly encouraged.

Value and Duration
Awards are of 18 months in duration and are available for up to £50,000. Funding can be used to support research and/or clerical assistance; research expenses and consumables; travel and subsistence; and networking, meeting and conference costs. Awards are not funded on a full economic costs basis, with contributions to overheads an ineligible cost.

Application Process
Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy’s Grant Management System, Flexi-Grant®.

Application deadline: Wednesday 3 October 2018 (17.00 UK Time)

Host Institution deadline: Thursday 4 October 2018 (17.00 UK Time)

Funding for the projects will begin on 31 January 2019.
Link to Call:

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