Research Funding Observatory

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The Research Funding Observatory is a formalised series of focussed, targeted events and seminars for academic and research staff at ARU, underpinned by bursaries, to support you on the path to success.

Led by Research Services, the planned programme of events and support will utilise the expertise of the academic community, and those outside of it, to develop research ideas and potential, to offer insights and support on applying for and winning research funding, as well as contributing to world class research and its impact. The RFO is coded and built around thematic strands:

  • Discover: Events, seminars and tools to learn about resources available at ARU
  • Explore: Activities designed to put ARU resources in practice and find ways in which they can work for you.
  • Succeed: Seminars, events, and resources around best practice on award management, tips, reusing and resubmitting bids

We already offer you a strong level of support if you want to apply for research funding but by providing a centralised staff training and support programme we can:

  • develop our research activities and culture and change the current responsive bidding patterns together
  • we can grow our pool of research applicants
  • we can help you find others to work with or learn from
  • we can give you the opportunity to network with others in and outside of your areas of expertise, helping you to build teams and apply for collaborative funds

All of this will lead to higher quality applications and greater success.

The RFO is aimed at academic and research staff, but we anticipate that postgraduate research students, especially those enrolled on an MPhil/PhD, could be interested in attending some of the events and seminars and are welcome to contact us for availability

To find out more and book on an event or seminar please visit


Our Research Services Team holds conferences and organises training and workshops. We've also introduced funding streams to support our researchers.

Research conferences

Our conferences give you the opportunity to present your research and network with colleagues in other departments, faculties and institutes.

This year's conference was on 1 July 2015. It was open to all staff and postdoctoral students and focussed on 'Excellence in Research'. Held on our Cambridge campus in the ALSS Recital Hall in Helmore, we took a different approach this year, seating you cabaret style for a more convivial and collaborative atmosphere.

In the morning you had the chance to listen to an exciting keynote from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on excellence in research, meet our new EU and International Funding Manager, and hear about research success and future plans from our faculties.

The afternoon kicked off with our second keynote, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Keele University, Professor Mark Omerod, talking about best practice and new ways to improve our submissions for the next REF. Following that, we used the new seating style to discuss, in small cross-faculty groups, practical and innovative ways to reach our targets in the Corporate Plan. Each group was given a specific goal and suggested real, fit-for-purpose ways we could work together to reach our goals.

We also held successful research conferences in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

The next annual conference will be held in July 2016.