Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Funding for short courses and summer schools: 2022 to 2023

Apply for funding to hold short courses, summer schools and online training resources in science or technology.

You must be from an STFC-accredited UK university or research organisation eligible for STFC funding.

Your short course, summer school or online training resource must:

  • be aimed primarily at STFC-funded PhD students
  • cover core research activity supported by the STFC studentships programme.

The STFC studentships programme covers:

  • astronomy
  • solar and planetary science
  • particle astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • particle physics
  • accelerator science
  • nuclear physics.

We will not support courses of a specialist technical nature. Every student should have the opportunity to attend an STFC-supported summer school.

Who can apply

We welcome bids from STFC-accredited UK universities and research organisations.

There is an expectation for Ernest Rutherford Fellows to participate as lecturers or tutors. You may also approach UK Research and Innovation Future Leader Fellows in the STFC remit to act as lecturers or tutors.

What we're looking for

STFC will support the following fundamental schools for the core budget:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) STFC Introductory Course in Astronomy for New Research Students
  • British Universities Summer School in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (BUSSTEPP)
  • STFC Introductory Course in Solar and Solar-terrestrial Physics
  • UK Nuclear Physics Summer School (occurs every two years)
  • STFC High Energy Physics (HEP) summer schools.

The courses and schools listed above will be expected to submit a satisfactory bid, should they wish to have support in 2023.

All other proposed summer schools or online training will be considered in competition for the remaining budget. Priority will be given to schools in areas not covered by the fundamental schools above.

The Education, Training and Careers Committee is also inviting bids from organisers of online training resources to:

  • complement the residential schools
  • widen participation for those unable to attend residential schools.

It would be important for the resource to be made available to all STFC-funded students.

If you wish to submit a bid for a residential or online summer school, short course, or hybrid of both, please see the funding opportunity guidance (PDF, 137KB)  and use the most appropriate bid template to justify costs.

Short courses, summer schools and online training resources must be held in a core research activity supported by the STFC studentships programme:

  • astronomy
  • solar and planetary science
  • particle astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • particle physics
  • accelerator science
  • nuclear physics.

They must also be aimed primarily at STFC-funded PhD students. Every student should have the opportunity to attend an STFC-supported summer school. Courses of a specialist technical nature will not be supported.

Bids should include sufficient detail and address what the course aims to deliver in terms of content, and how this links to the STFC science programme. Refer to the funding opportunity guidance (PDF, 137KB) for full details of the expected content and ensure there are elements of public engagement in the school.

If you require any content advice, email neville.hollingworth@stfc.ukri.org

Costs and financial restrictions

Organisers should aim to keep the cost per student below £150 per day. However, some consideration will be made for overheads where the cost may exceed this figure, where specific justifications are provided.

Please note the following financial restrictions for summer school costs:

  • lecturer fees: a maximum of £170 per day or £85 per half day, as appropriate
  • conference dinner: a maximum of £50 (£60 in London) per delegate in total for the conference dinner or excursion, or both
  • management fees: if you are using postdoctoral research assistants or PhD students to manage the school, you may claim costs at the appropriate hourly rate or you can claim a one off £500 management fee
  • contingency costs: 5% of the total cost or £1,500 (whichever is the least).

Equality, diversity and inclusion

STFC is committed to ensuring that its policies and practices reflect the diverse needs and experiences of its employees and other stakeholders. Organisers of an STFC-funded summer school are required to ensure that the arrangements for the school:

  • comply with the UKRI key principles of the UKRI equality and diversity policy
  • place no barriers in the way of participation by students from any of the protected groups (gender, disability and race)
  • involve no discrimination or bias against any of the protected groups in the selection of lecturers.

Learn more about equality, diversity and inclusion.

How to apply

Bids for the 2023 opportunity must be emailed to studentships@stfc.ac.uk in the following format.

Summer school and short course bids

All summer school and short course bids must be contained within three sides of A4 and provide the following information:

  • course organiser details, date and venue of the proposed course or school
  • justification for the course, in terms of its relevance to the STFC studentships programme
  • the number of STFC PhD students who would benefit from the course or school
  • a detailed breakdown of the budget requested using the summer school and online course costs template and including justification of these costs:
    • management fee: previous schools have employed postdoctoral students and students to assist with the running of the school and found these a valuable source of support. You may either claim these costs at the appropriate hourly rate or claim a one off £500 management fee
    • the maximum for any social excursion or conference dinner should be £50 per student (£60 in London)
    • contingency costs should be 5% of the total cost or £1,500 (whichever is the least)
  • information on funding or in-kind contributions to be provided from other sources: we expect holders of summer schools to seek commercial sponsorship wherever possible, whilst retaining the scientific ownership of the school. For example:
    • a company logo to be included on the event website
    • branded notepads for attendees
    • a specific, identifiable contribution such as a conference dinner or transport
  • details of the proposed lectures and courses (all courses should include sessions on public engagement). Broader issues of undertaking a PhD, including mental health and introductory courses, should include a session on careers advice covering both academic and non-academic careers.

There is an expectation for Ernest Rutherford Fellows to participate as lecturers or tutors. You may also approach UK Research and Innovation Future Leader Fellows in the STFC remit.

Online training resource bids

All online training resource bids must be contained within three sides of A4 and provide the following information:

  • course organisers details and the platform to be used for training. This needs to be made available for all STFC students
  • justification for the course in terms of its relevance to the STFC programme
  • details on how the resource will be updated and maintained and for what period
  • the number of STFC PhD students who would benefit from the course or school
  • a detailed breakdown of the budget requested, including justification of the costs. Please see the summer school and online course costs template
  • information on funding or in-kind contributions to be provided from other sources: we expect commercial sponsorship wherever possible, whilst retaining the scientific ownership of the school (for example, a company logo could be included on the online material).

Feedback

Recognising the important part played by role models in retaining under-represented groups in the STFC funded community, organisers should seek to ensure that the diversity of lecturers reflects that of the wider community.

If successful, organisers are required to provide a report to the STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee upon completion of the course. The report should include student feedback and gender balance between students. The report will be shared with future hosts.

If a bid to host a core or recurrent school is being considered, we would strongly encourage course organisers to contact the previous hosts of their chosen school prior to planning. This is to help progress and improve the school or course year on year.

Final reports and student feedback from previous years can be provided, for reference, by the studentship team during the planning process. Please email studentships@stfc.ukri.org for these resources.

How we will assess your application

The bids will be assessed by the Education, Training and Careers Committee against the following criteria:

  • breadth of subject and fit with STFC objectives
  • speaker, lecturer and tutor equity, diversity and inclusion considerations
  • quality of subject matter
  • school programming
  • skills building content
  • risk management
  • value for money.

Course organisers will be notified by STFC whether their bid has been successful, unsuccessful or requires improvement to be funded after the meeting in late November or early December 2022.

Course organisers may be required to re-submit their bid once amendments have been made.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Jemma Wilson, Programme Manager

Email: studentships@stfc.ac.uk

Neville Hollingworth, Public Engagement

For advice on public engagement

Email: neville.hollingworth@stfc.ukri.org

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