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Autumn 2017

Low EPSRC Grant Success Rate in the School of Technology

In recent years we have been doing less well than our competitors in terms of the number of EPSRC grant applications submitted and the proportion of those applications that have been successful.  This is a cause for concern.  Our level of EPSRC grant funding has a direct effect on the number of research students funded in our EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).  EPSRC funding is also used, incorrectly but unavoidably, as a proxy for the amount of research activity and excellence in particular areas.

May I urge academic staff to consider submitting applications for EPSRC grants, perhaps alongside other funding sources.  This will help to put their research on the map when national initiatives are being considered.  It is also a good idea get draft grant applications reviewed, before submission, by one or two appropriate colleagues.  This provides a chance for constructive comments and criticism that can greatly improve the quality of the proposal that is eventually submitted. 


Introducing the new Equality and Diversity Champions for the School of Technology

We warmly thank Prof Tim Minshall and Prof Sabine Bahn for their work and achievements as our first Equality & Diversity Champions. Having reached the end of their terms of office they have now handed over to Prof Sucheta Nadkarni (from the Judge Business School) and Prof Gopal Madabhushi (from the Engineering Department).

We have formed a small informal group to support the E&D Champions comprising Ms Tracy Brooks (Technology HR Business Manager), Dr Miriam Lynn (E&D Consultant, assigned to Technology) and me. Between the five of us, we plan to visit each of the five departments in the School to learn about current E&D priorities and discuss the work, such as Athena Swan activity, that is already going on.


Andy Hopper elected Treasurer of the Royal Society

We congratulate Prof Andy Hopper who has been elected as the next Treasurer of the Royal Society.  He will take over from Prof Tony Cheetham in December 2017. It is great that someone from a discipline in Technology has being recognised and elected to such a key role in the scientific life of the nation.


Procurement Services seeks your feedback

On Wednesday 18th of October 2017, members of the University’s Procurement Services team will be visiting the Engineering Department Trumpington Street Foyer as part of a stakeholder feedback process tour to gauge experiences of procurement across campus.  Our aim is to meet as many academic and administrative staff as possible, in order to better understand the ways in which we manage our budgets and decide on how best to procure goods and services we need for our teaching and research.

The team, based at Greenwich House have a new Head of Procurement,  Helen Wain, who shared:

“As the University moves to manage uncertain headwinds in the education and research sector, our key priorities are to ensure everyone is able to do more with their budgets and that the excellent standard of teaching and research, as recognised by HEFCE, is able to flourish unimpeded.  We really want to understand more about your work; understand your procurement experiences and look at a service provision to best suit all”.

The team will be available between 08:45 and 10:30 in the Baker Building Foyer.  Please drop by to talk with them about your procurement needs, the experiences (positive or negative) you have had with the University procurement process, the things that you believe are done well and those that you think could be improved.  All conversations will be kept confidential if required.

For more information, contact the team via email:


Personal Honours

Prof Andy Hopper has been awarded the Bakerian Medal and Lecture 2017 from the Royal Society for his outstanding research in computer technology. Prof Julian Allwood and Prof Richard Prager have been elected Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  Prof Dame Ann Dowling has received the 2016 James Watt International Gold Medal from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  Dame Polly Courtice received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Ethical Corporation Awards in London.  Dr Jenni Sidey has been named as IET Young Woman Engineering of the year 2016.  Dr Mateja Jamnik received the Royal Society 2016 Athena Award in recognition of founding women@CL.  Prof Andy Neely has received the IET Achievement Medal for Manufacturing.  Prof Andrea Ferrari has received the Nanosmart Award 2017 and the Pettinos Award 2017.  Dr Matthew Cole has been awarded the inaugural 2017 Kroto award from the Nanosmart Society.


Senior Academic Promotions Mentoring Scheme

The University runs a Senior Academic Promotions (SAP) CV scheme  to provide mentors for Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Readers who are considering applying for promotion.

The Scheme provides academic staff who may be considering applying for promotion the opportunity to discuss their work and their application with an academic who has experience of the Senior Academic Promotions process.

If you are interested in becoming either a mentor or a mentee, further details about the scheme are available at


The Leverhulme Trust is not just for the Humanities and Social Sciences!

The Leverhulme Trust funds people to do projects.  About 40% of their income is spent on research grants of up to £500k taking up to five years.  Up to a quarter of any grant can be for "associated costs", but the rest must be pay for the researchers who do the work.  There is a two-stage application process.  The success rate in the first stage is 50%; in the second stage the success rate is about 40% of the people who reach that stage.

They are looking primarily for outstanding scholarship.  The quality and innovativeness of the idea is paramount.  Unlike research councils they are not concerned with impact or national priorities or focussing on growing particular research areas.

Full details are available at:


Fieldwork Funds

The School of Technology has a fund to support postgraduate students who need to carry out fieldwork as part of their research. In the last year, there have been very few applications from some parts of the School.  If your students need to do part of their research away from Cambridge then it may be worth applying to the fund.  Please see the detailed eligibility rules which are available at:


Richard Prager
Head of the School of Technology
October 2017