Research Development Fund applications open

Read the experiences of those who have secured Research Development Funding (RDF) as the next round of applications is now open.

Since September 2017, there have been more than 20 applications under the Awards Scheme with in excess of £8,000 committed to date and £2,000 paid to successfully completed projects.

Awards of up to £500 are available to support patient/public/stakeholder involvement or engagement in the research design stage and the next round of awards is now open.

The awards are supported by Wellcome Trust ISSF funding and a small selection of previous recipients are detailed below:

Fabulous Femininities: Extravagant Costume and Transformative Thresholds

Jacki Willson, from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, applied for a grant under RDF to set up a focus group in support of this project. The aim of the research is to understand and archive the way that theatrical femininities are performed by people who identify as women within alternative burlesque club culture.

Funding was used to help find key stakeholders from within the burlesque industry. They were looking for people who would either be able to join future focus groups, or key players within the industry who would like to be partners. They needed to find key figures who could supply ‘letters of support’.

Jacki said: “Long-term professional relationships cannot be made in the cold. You have to go out on a limb in terms of building these relationships – going to them and meeting them face-to-face in their place of work or emailing them and asking if you can Skype. Stakeholders wouldn’t turn up to a focus group (even if there is food!) unless a personal connection has been made beforehand.”

Following the meeting, Jacki was able to find five burlesque producers who are keen to work on the project and hopes to have letters in support of her submission.

Growing Old Successfully – a Research Open Day

Melanie Burke and colleagues from the School of Psychology were able to host an open day, showcasing current innovative techniques in Psychology for optimising cognitive and motor function in older age, with more than 60 attendees. A wide range of information was gathered and will be used in future grant applications in the field of ageing.

One of the lessons learned was around how to widen the demographic of those attending and to target a greater range of attendees from a more mixed background for future events.

Trans/performance: A virtual experience for clinical diversity education

A multi-disciplinary team under the leadership of Valerie Farnsworth hosted a halfday event to explore the ways their project on ‘trans/performance’ could have impact on clinical communication and diversity education. Stakeholder participants were provided with background on the project and shown some short extracts from Lou Harvey’s performance work.

Valerie said: “It meant we were pulling our ideas together into a common narrative, which could then be explored and discussed. We gained insight into potential misunderstandings and the expectations of the medical communication stakeholders in particular. We also gained new contacts, who asked to be involved and may be partners.”

When asked about lessons learned, she said: “I learnt that the project is readily understood from a diversity education perspective and this is perhaps a better angle to take than the communication-specific angle. The interdisciplinary aspect of this has been particularly enlightening – the word ‘choice’ from one discipline may not translate well to another discipline and so alternative words may be needed to communicate what you mean.”

The team is hoping to apply for an AHRC grant in January 2019 and the RDF funding meant that travel expenses and catering could be covered.

Visit the Public Engagement webpages to find out more or to apply for the current round of funding.

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