The new SIGN Collaborative Research Grants scheme is now live and accepting applications.
This scheme aims to draw together academics across Yorkshire and the Humber to deliver impactful research which will make a difference to the screen industries
The scheme has been developed from our original proposal to Research England’s Regional Development Fund, from which SIGN is funded. Our thinking centred around a research work stream which would advance knowledge about the screen industries, and rather than keep research capacity in-house, we were keen to have a budget we could use to fund new research about, for and from the region. The Collaborative Research Grants scheme is the first major call to support that aim.
Working with SIGN’s HEI Partners Group, we recognised there was a strong desire for academics across the region to work together more, and to do so in interdisciplinary ways. The aim of this scheme comes from those conversations: to foster collaboration between universities in the region and develop interdisciplinary networks that advance knowledge about, and for, the screen industries.
Designing the scheme has been a mix of excitement and bureaucracy, two things which don’t often come together. It has been exciting to draw on our team’s experience of applying for research grants and trying to do things in a more progressive and inclusive way. Fitting those desires into our own institutional and funding restrictions has been a challenge. Nevertheless we have included some amendments that we hope will be positively received:
- If you know a specific research associate will work on a project, we are asking you to name them as a co-investigator
- There is a limit on staff time that can be costed in for people in senior positions
- You can claim costs to cover caring responsibilities
- Proposals need to evidence a strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in the research team and research design. Those that don’t won’t be funded.
Developing the themes the call revolves around has also been fascinating work because the screen industries in the region (and beyond) face a range of issues. We have identified priorities that are informed by industry needs, feed into our work stream activities, and provide potential for innovative research.
The scheme development has been informed by our pilot activities, early research, and work with key stakeholders in the region. To embed these pathways between academia and the region’s screen industries, successful project teams will be able to work with SIGN staff to ensure the research feeds into the priorities of their work and the needs of the individuals, businesses and other organisations SIGN is designed to help.
This attractive and important research opportunity is open for applications now, and we look forward to hearing from colleagues. We are committed to iterating our approach to ensure our schemes have as much impact as possible. More opportunities to get involved with both research and SIGN more generally will be announced soon.