Delivery across the Spectrum

Over the last year here at Cloud Chamber we have expanded the amount of support we can offer through research development activities, support and training. It has been an exciting year that has seen us work with a number of new clients including Leeds Beckett University, Bucks New University and CREST. I’m often asked exactly what support we can provide so I thought it would be useful to outline these below. If any of these might be of interest to you or your institution or you would like more information then please feel free to get in touch.

  1. Grant Application Reviews: We have worked on a number of applications with academics and universities providing a critical friend role to help strengthen the application, ensure it meets guidelines and criteria and to input best practice from across the sector. This support has ranged from reviewing the earliest drafts right through to reviewing the final drafts only. It can be tailored to suit your needs.
  2. Research Strategy Support: We have supported universities and departments/schools to explore research funding strategies and find ways to plan pro-actively for funding opportunities as they arise. I have blogged about our CREST workshop on this.
  3. Grant Writing Training: Our support is tailored specifically to those with limited or no experience in grant writing and covers a range of topics including developing a research career, where to find funding, the basics of writing a proposal, developing a research budget and impact. These sessions are a mixture of practical exercises and presentations and run for around half a day which in our experience is the right length for those new to grant writing! Some of the topics we cover are summarised in blogs which can be found here and here.
  4. Mock Grant Panels: These interactive sessions use real funding applications as examples for researchers to review and make decisions about whether they would fund them or not. They provide an opportunity to show academics how grant panels work, the types of things panels might look at and experience of reaching a consensus. At the end of the session the fate of the real applications is revealed along with any feedback received from the funders.
  5. Grant camps: These camps are a brilliant way of supporting people write the first draft of a funding applications, especially if they are inexperienced or are having difficulty finding the time. The camps run for about 4 hours and take participants through six structured writing sessions which ultimately produce a first draft of an application. We all know that writing the first sentence is tough and this approach helps take care of that, getting people writing quickly and effectively. The idea came from Melbourne via Research Whisperer and I blogged about a couple of grant camps I ran which explain it in more detail.
  6. Arts and Humanities specialist support: Often researchers within Arts and Humanities can feel overlooked and isolated with many messages coming from funders and government relating to impact, economic development and STEM. We specialise in working with Arts, Humanities and Social Science researchers and can provide tailored support to help you achieve impact and funding success via workshops or specific grant support.
  7. Mentoring scheme development and training: We have run successful training sessions for universities who are interested in setting up research mentoring schemes in their institutions. The training sessions cover the basics of mentoring, why you might want a scheme, what you want it to acheive and how to set it up. The session will  enable you to think through what is best for your university. We also deliver training for researchers to enable them to become effective mentors.
  8. Blogging: We regularly blog (you are reading one now!) and we aim to cover topics that are of interest to academics and institutions who are looking to increase their research income and infrastructure.
  9. Twitter: We are on Twitter as @HEResearchfund and @cloudchamber – do follow us for the latest advice, blogs, tips, funding opportunities and to find out more about what we are up to.
  10. Supporting small and specialist institutions through ARMA and CREST: We are actively working with ARMA and CREST  to support research development in small and specialist institutions. These institutions often have unique challenges that can best be solved by working together and we help to bring people together to learn from each other, share best practice and to be a peer network.
  11. Other training courses and services we deliver include:
    1. Reading and writing for Doctoral students
    2. SPSS and a basic introduction to statistics
    3. Research contract training including the development of contract templates
    4. Other tailored workshops and sessions to meet your needs

Do get in touch if any of the above is of interest to you – we are happy to have a chat and see how we might be able to help. I can be contacted at