The 2018 call for applications to the Leadership Fellowships in Public Engagement is now closed.
STFC Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement undertake high quality programmes of engagement and outreach while concurrently acting as champions for the value and practice of engagement with research in their host institution and research community.
Proposed engagement programmes must clearly focus around the remit of the STFC science programme (astronomy, solar and planetary science, particle physics, particle astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear physics and accelerator science) or clearly and demonstrably align to the science and technology work of STFC’s national and international laboratories and facilities.
Fellowships will not be awarded unless there is a strong and demonstrable link between the proposed activities and STFC science and technology.
STFC intends Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement to play a prominent role in raising the standards of public engagement – either in their host department, institution, and/or wider research community, and to champion the value of public engagement with research.
A substantial proportion of time (at least 25%) of every Leadership Fellowship application must be dedicated to activities the applicant considers to be dedicated to leadership and capacity building. Applicants are required to propose activities tailored to their working environment or community networks, and explain why such approaches are appropriate. Where evidence exists as to an institution or community’s existing attitudes towards engagement, this should be cited to present a strong case.
Applicants should use their Case for Support to clearly explain how their Fellowship will further the aims of the STFC Public Engagement Strategy.
Applications that highlight the social, ethical, and economic benefits of research are welcomed.
Applicants are encouraged to propose novel or innovative approaches towards engagement as part of their Fellowship, as long as these are demonstrably well-planned.
We encourage applications that propose engagement with audiences considered to have low ‘science capital’. Applicants may choose which audiences to engage with, and the methods of engagement. These must be outlined in the Case for Support.
STFC Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are not intended to fund single, ‘one-off’, activities. For such engagement activities, applicants should consider alternative funding sources, including other STFC awards. Fellowships will not be awarded for the sole purpose of authorship and publication of books and novels, though proposals in which the production of a book is an output of a longer programme will be considered.
Applicants are advised to contact their proposed host department as early as possible, and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the deadlines for these may be several weeks in advance of an STFC closing date.
Research Organisations – via a Head of Department or equivalent – must provide a host institution statement to accompany any application. This statement must outline how the department will recognise and support the Leadership Fellow and the aims of their Fellowship, should they be successful in their application.
Research organisations should:
STFC Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are open to any applicant who can demonstrate a strong and prolonged track record of research in an STFC-funded area of science and technology, or can demonstrate a strong track record of research that has been clearly underpinned by use of STFC’s national or international laboratories and facilities.
Applicants must have a demonstrable record of success in planning, delivering, and evaluating public engagement activities to a wide range of audiences.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement may be based at any eligible UK research organisation as set out in the STFC Research Grants Handbook.
At the time of application, applicants must have a contract of employment at the UK research organisation that wholly covers the duration of the Fellowship. Leadership Fellows must be in the employment of their host research organisation when the Fellowship commences.
Anyone who wishes to apply for a Leadership Fellowship but is not employed by an approved research organisation should approach an appropriate research organisation to explore arrangements for that research organisation being willing to host the Fellowship. In this case, the hosting research organisation will need to confirm as part of their host institution statement that they are in a position to accept the Fellowship when it commences.
The maximum value that may be sought is £125K. As the scheme comes under the Full Economic Costs (FEC) framework the maximum payable by STFC would be £100K.
The Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement scheme falls under the Full Economic Costs (FEC) framework. Therefore, all costs that contribute to the FEC of the proposal should be included under the cost headings as shown in the ‘Applying for a grant’ section of the STFC Research Grants Handbook. Please note that, as the scheme has no capital budget, applicants cannot request funds under the Equipment heading.
The time commitment and duration of a Leadership Fellowship is flexible; a typical Fellowship would be for between 20%-40% of a Leadership Fellow’s time for a period of up to 36 months. Leadership Fellows can commence their award at any time after the 1st August immediately following the application deadline.
STFC intends this scheme to be flexible and reserves the right to deal, as it thinks fit, with application of unusual character and to waive any rule at its absolute discretion.
STFC Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are governed by the grant conditions as set out in the Research Grants Handbook, unless otherwise stated. Applications are accepted and awards are made on the understanding that research organisations and Leadership Fellows agree to observe the terms and conditions and the scheme requirements set out in this document and any amendments issued.
Awards are made on the understanding that the Leadership Fellow’s work and progress are subject to the same monitoring and appraisal procedures as those of other academic staff within the host institution.
Leadership Fellowships in Public Engagement are typically awarded at 20%-40% FTE. Leadership Fellows may arrange their engagement activities in order to combine their Fellowship with caring responsibilities.
After a Leadership Fellowship grant has started, the duration may be extended to cover maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, parental leave, extended jury service or paid sick leave for a Leadership Fellow, in line with the terms and conditions of the Leadership Fellow’s employment. Otherwise, the conditions for extending the grant of a Leadership Fellow in Public Engagement are the same as apply to research grants. Any request for an extension should be made via the Grant Maintenance facility in the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S), once the required duration is known. All requests for extensions must be made before the grant ends.
Leadership Fellows are entitled to take maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment. If requested, consideration will be given to allowing a Leadership Fellow’s grant to be placed in abeyance during the absence of the Leadership Fellowship for maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave, and the period of the Leadership Fellowship extended by the period of leave. Consideration will be given to requests to continue the Leadership Fellowship on a flexible basis to allow the Fellow to meet caring responsibilities.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are entitled to take sick leave in accordance with the research organisation’s terms and conditions. If requested, consideration will be given to allowing a Leadership Fellow’s grant to be placed in abeyance during the absence of the Leadership Fellow due to sick leave, and the period of the Fellowship extended by the period of sick leave. The additional salary costs for the Leadership Fellow (pro rata to their percentage FTE on the Fellowship) should be claimed, as necessary, at the end of the extended period.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement will be allowed a break in service not more than twice during the period of the award, for periods amounting together to not more than two years, to enable time to be spent on another related activity not supported by STFC.
Breaks in service will not normally be permitted during the first or final years of the Leadership Fellowship, unless this is on maternity or sick leave, and must be endorsed by your Head of Department. Where STFC agrees to a break in service, the duration of the Leadership Fellowship will not be extended and payments to the institution will cease for the period of the break.
Applicants must take up the award at the host institution identified in the application. STFC will not allow a Leadership Fellow in Public Engagement to change their host institution prior to taking up an award. Consideration will be given to requests during the course of an award to relocate the Fellowship, together with any other grant(s) held by the Leadership Fellow, to a different institution for scientific or domestic reasons. The agreement of the institutions concerned will be required before seeking approval from STFC. Movement between institutions will not normally be allowed during the first year of a Leadership Fellowship.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement will be required to provide reports of activities to the STFC Public Engagement Team when requested. STFC reserves the right to request periodic information or to visit the Fellow. Leadership Fellows will be expected to meet with the STFC Public Engagement grants mentor a minimum of twice a year.
The Leadership Fellow may also be asked to attend meetings to exchange information and ideas with others undertaking STFC Public Engagement activities. The Leadership Fellow must make all reasonable efforts, if so invited, to respond to requests for information or to attend events or activities organised by the Research Council concerning the research undertaken. Such events may be held after a grant has finished.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement will be expected to attend an annual meeting of all STFC Leadership Fellows and other engagement grant holders.
Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are required to regularly update the record of their Fellowship using the Research Council reporting tool, ResearchFish. This enables STFC to easily extract data regarding the impact of the work of our Fellows whenever required, and provides a tool for the Leadership Fellow to record the ongoing impact of their Fellowship.
Publications and other forms of media communication, including media appearances, press releases and conferences, must acknowledge the support received from STFC, quoting the grant reference number if appropriate.
Resources produced as a result of any grants should acknowledge STFC as the funding source using the standard format agreed by funders and publishers and detailed in the additional information accompanying this grant.
In order to ensure appropriate coordination and opportunities to increase the impact of engagement, external media activity produced as a result of this award must be signed off by the STFC Media team before the activity takes place, or is published. This includes press releases, online videos and media briefings. Award holders are responsible for giving STFC sufficient notice in advance of activities such that STFC can advise on content, and/or build the activities of grant holders into our own communications and engagement programmes.
It is the responsibility of the research organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the intellectual assets obtained in the course of the research, whether protected by intellectual property rights or not, are used to the benefit of society and the economy. Outcomes and resources should be disseminated and/or made available to both research and more widespread audiences - for example to inform potential users and beneficiaries of the research.
Unless stated otherwise, the ownership of all intellectual assets, including intellectual property, and responsibility for their application, rests with the organisation that generates them.
STFC may, in individual cases, reserve the right to retain ownership of intellectual assets, including intellectual property (or assign it to a third party under an exploitation agreement) and to arrange for it to be exploited for the national benefit and that of the research organisation involved. This right, if exercised, will be clearly set out in an additional grant condition.
There should be suitable recognition and reward to researchers who undertake activities that deliver benefit through the application of research outcomes. The research organisation must ensure that all those associated with the research are aware of, and accept these arrangements.
Funding is provided in order to enable to undertake specific public engagement activities, free of some or all of the restrictions imposed by their normal employment. Awards are made on the understanding that the Leadership Fellow's work and progress are subject to the same monitoring and appraisal procedures as those of other academic staff within the host research organisation. Furthermore, awards are made on the presumption that there are adequate facilities at the host organisation to support the proposed programme of work.
It is a condition of every grant that STFC accepts no liability for the manner in which the work in connection with the grant is undertaken, and the research organisation and Leadership Fellow will be responsible in all respects for the work and the consequences of it.
A grant may be terminated, or its conditions varied, at any time at the absolute discretion of STFC. Should the Leadership Fellow leave their institution for another research organisation or an alternative type of employment, they must notify the Public Engagement Team immediately. If it is not possible to transfer the grant then STFC will terminate payments from the day immediately after the Leadership Fellow leaves the host institution. Failure to submit reports will result in termination of the award unless there are mitigating reasons.
Applications for Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement are submitted via the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. If you have not previously used the Je-S system to submit an application, please ensure that, well in advance of the closing date, that you have set up an account. Guidance for completion of the application is provided through the Je-S help text, available from the Je-S front page, and context-sensitive help throughout the system.
Applicants are advised to contact their host organisation’s Research Administration as soon as possible; they will be able to advise about costing your proposal and internal procedures relating to submitting an application through Je-S. Your Leadership Fellow in Public Engagement application must be costed and submitted by the host organisation.
It is important to note that when you press ‘submit’, it doesn’t mean that the application has been submitted to STFC - the application will be in your approver/submitter pool for you or your organisation to submit to the Research Council. You can track your application in Je-S by selecting the option, ‘Show Submission Path’. This shows the submission process set up by the research organisation, where the application is currently in the process, and the individuals who receive a system-generated email when the application has been submitted.
The page limits outlined below will be strictly enforced by STFC. If any of the supporting documents exceed the specified limits, only the pages within the limits will be considered. The documents must be submitted as .pdf attachments in 11 point Arial font and have a minimum 2 cm margin.
Together with your completed Je-S application form, you will need to provide the following mandatory attachments, in .pdf format:
All items requested in the Je-S form must be justified.
Any proposals requesting items that would ordinarily be found in a department, for example non-specialist computers, should include justification both for why they are required for the project and why they cannot be provided from the research organisation’s own resources (including funding from indirect costs from grants).
The Justification of Resources is a free-text document. So that you don’t miss any costings from the Je-S form or any justifications for the items requested, we recommend that you match the costs to the proposal headings below (where appropriate). Further details of how costs should be justified can be found in the ‘Supporting Information’ section of the STFC Research Grants Handbook.
STFC public engagement awards are often partnerships between the grant holders (who apply for and receive financial support from STFC) and ‘project partners’. Such partnerships are not a requirement of STFC support, but will strengthen a case for funding when they are deemed well planned and important for delivery of an impactful programme.
Before an application is made, STFC requires that applicants create proposals that commit the involvement of all parties required to make the proposed programme a success. If an organisation wishes to receive funds from STFC, it must be a listed applicant on the grant. If an organisation will not receive funds from STFC but will have an integral role in the proposed programme, that organisation is a project partner. We encourage applicants to create these partnerships in advance of submitting an application for funding, and to include details of the partnership in the application. Well-constructed partnerships strengthen proposals by providing complementary skills and knowledge, additional staff time, and additional cash or ‘in-kind’ support.
As part of the application process, project partners are invited to provide a ‘statement of support’ alongside the main body of the application. This statement is read alongside the proposal’s Case for Support, and is considered as part of the peer review process. A well-written statement of support will confirm the organisation’s commitment to the proposed project by articulating the benefits of the collaboration, its relevance to the partner and the potential impacts of the programme in the eyes of the partner. The statement of support should also identify the period of support, and detail the range of ‘in-kind’ and financial contributions offered by the partner.
Letters of support can be up to two sides of A4 in length, and must be submitted on headed paper. A statement must be dated clearly, within six months of the submission date of the application. To provide assurance that the project partner has authorised the proposed contribution or commitment, the statement should be signed by a named contact, stating the capacity in which they are providing the sign-off. Letters of support are submitted electronically alongside the grant application, via the Je-S system.
Letters of support must show meaningful contribution to the proposed public engagement programme – statements featuring supportive language but offering no contributions to the project are of little-to-no value, and should not be included.
Should an applicant state in their proposal that the involvement of a party or organisation is important to increase the chances of success of their proposed programme, these organisations must be included as either applicants or project partners. Applications received without these collaborations in place by the point of submission will not be supported.
STFC employs hundreds of scientific and technical staff, alongside our own team of public engagement professionals based at our laboratories across the UK. Applicants for public engagement funding are welcome to seek to include STFC as project partners on public engagement applications where relevant, subject to the guidance above. Applicants must contact STFC staff at least four weeks in advance of the submission deadline if they consider STFC involvement to be important in making their proposal a success.
Should applicants wish to discuss the ability of STFC to participate in their proposal, the following individuals are appropriate first points of contact for the major national laboratory sites:
|Rutherford Appleton Laboratory||Daresbury Laboratory||UK Astronomy Technology Centre|
Public Engagement Manager
Public Engagement Manager
Public Engagement Manager
|01235 445 950||01925 603 231||0131 668 8263|
STFC reserves the right to choose not to participate in proposals at our own discretion. Please note that applications involving STFC as a project partner are treated no differently to other applications in the peer review and funding decision process.
Public Engagement Fellowship applications are submitted via Je-S.
All applications are initially discussed by an independent panel of peer reviewers. The peer review panel will have a range of expertise in engagement, outreach, education and communication of science and technology. The panel will also have knowledge of STFC facilities and grant funded research.
The panel selects a number of applicants to go forward to the interview stage of the scheme. The panel uses the panel assessment criteria as the basis for selection for interview:
Applicants short-listed on the basis of their written application will be provided with feedback on any aspect of the application that the panel would like to explore further at the interview. Feedback will also be provided to applicants who were unsuccessful via Je-S.
For applications that are short-listed in stage one, written peer review comments will be sought; these peer reviewers are selected from those that the applicant has nominated, and those identified by the Public Engagement Team. Applicants will be given the opportunity to respond to the comments made by reviewers, through the PI Response process.
Peer reviewers are required to comment on the written assessment criteria:
|Experience||The research experience of the applicant and their track record in outreach and or communications work.|
|Expertise||Whether the application has the necessary expertise and/or access to any necessary expertise to carry out the proposed programme of work effectively.|
|Relevance||How well the proposal matches the aims of the STFC Public Engagement programme.|
|Impact||Whether the proposed activities would make a significant impact in terms of the numbers reached and the effect on the audience.|
|Planning & Delivery||If the planned delivery of the project is likely to achieve the declared objectives.|
|Evaluation||Whether there are appropriate stated criteria for the success of the Fellowship and quantitative and qualitative means of evaluating them.|
|Overall Assessment||Comments relating to the proposal that have not been made elsewhere.|
Applicants are required to attend a panel interview, during which they will have an opportunity to give a brief overview of their proposal, followed by detailed questioning from the panel members. The interviews will be held on a single day, usually between late-May and mid-June. Interviews typically comprise of a ten minute presentation from the applicant, followed by a question and answer session of around thirty minutes.
Aspects of the application that have been raised in the earlier peer review stages, or feedback provided, can be addressed in either part of the interview.
The panel will make final recommendations for funding on the day of the interviews, based on their assessment of the applicant’s interview performance against the panel assessment criteria, and the written peer review.
Based on the recommendations from the interview panel, STFC will then take decisions regarding which applications are funded. The STFC Public Engagement Team will then prepare feedback for all applicants. Once this is approved by the panel Chair, it will be added to the Je-S system and applicants notified officially of the outcome of their application. It is the intention that this process is completed within two weeks of the stage three panel meeting.
|Call Activity||Indicative Timetable|
|Call announced||December 2017|
|Call closes||22 February 2018 at 16:00|
|Stage one panel short-lists applicants for interview||April 2018|
|Stage two independent reviewer comments requested||April 2018|
|PI responses to reviewer comments||May 2018|
|Stage three Interview panel||June 2018|
|Awards announced||July 2018|
|PE Fellowships start||From August 2018 onwards|
Before submitting your application you are encouraged to contact the Public Engagement Team to discuss your ideas.
*These may be convened by the Executive to include consolidated grants, contiguous groups of research requests, or research requests which are judged (on the basis of cost or propriety) with regard to the Terms of Reference for the panel.
The STFC, as a publicly funded organisation, is accountable to Government and the public for its actions and for the way it conducts its business which must be undertaken in a way that is transparent and guards against conflicts of interest influencing the outcome of decisions. Further information for managing conflicts as an STFC Panel member can be found here.
The STFC is fully committed to ensuring that all applicants receive equal treatment throughout the peer review process and will provide the necessary training and support to panel members and peer reviewers. STFC policies on inclusion and diversity are available on the STFC website. STFC will keep these policies under review to ensure that its policies and practices reflect best practice and enable full compliance under the Equality Act 2010.
The STFC will distribute peer review papers via a secure extranet and all information must be considered as confidential i.e. the contents should not be disclosed. The confidential nature is intended to ensure that the contents of the proposals, reviews etc. are not made known more widely than is necessary for proper consideration by the peer review panels. Names of reviewers are not disclosed to applicants and neither are those of the lead introducer for the proposals.
Applications, independent reviews and PI Responses are available to panel members via the Peer Review Extranet (STFC’s preferred method for sharing data). Strict controls on data security and data handling are currently in place for Government departments and Government-funded organisations, including the Research Councils. Panel members must not save data (on to laptops, discs or hard drives) and if printed copies of any of the documents are made, these must be shredded after use.
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