Dear UKAN+ Member

Welcome to our November newsletter, a range of news from across our network reflecting and informing our community.
Funding Call 3 - CLOSES Tomorrow (02.11.23) at 23:59
Full details available Funding Information - The UK Acoustics Network
Dr Elaine Massung (Academic Smartcuts) and Professor Dan Allwood (Peak Writing) continue busting common proposal myths.

We highlighted that understanding the funding system you’re operating in is one of the elements of a competitive proposal back in the very first myth of this series. Related to this is our fifth myth:
MYTH #5: The funder decides who gets funded.

This is a slightly unusual myth in that it seems obvious: of course the funder picks who gets the funding. It’s right there in the name.

But, in general, funders are really more like facilitators. They oversee the delivery of the funding process but are typically not responsible for determining who gets the cash. Although the funder will have a say in the assessment criteria used, the process used to evaluate the proposals, and any policies that are used, the ultimate decision—what projects are fundable?—will be left to experts in the research area.

It’s a very different process compared to publishing a paper, where an editor may do an initial cull to decide what gets reviewed or accepted and what gets an immediate rejection. However, providing the proposal is within remit, portfolio managers at EPSRC will send all proposals out for peer review. The research council does not assess the feasibility of the science or technology. Indeed, portfolio managers are intentionally not experts in the research area they oversee to avoid biases and conflicts of interest.

So, what does determine standard mode funding at EPSRC? It’s the comments from reviewers that are key in the decision-making process because they must provide evidence demonstrating how the proposal meets the assessment criteria (or not). It is then the prioritisation panel who has the responsibility of moderating the comments (along with assessing the PI response) to create a rank order list.

It’s only once the list is created that a representative from EPSRC will step in to authorise funding as far down the list as their budget allows. Perhaps you could say that it’s decision-making by committee?

ABOUT: Dr Elaine Massung (Academic Smartcuts) is a former EPSRC portfolio manager, and Professor Dan Allwood (Peak Writing) is a former EPSRC Fellowship holder and successfully funded researcher. They both now provide communication and proposal training for those in higher education and research.
UKAN+ Aeroacoustics SIG Conference
The UKAN+ Aeroacoustics SIG is excited to announce its first conference, to be held in Manchester on Wednesday 7th February 2024.

The conference will cover a wide scope across aeroacoustics from fundamentals to applications.

Contributions are sought from all those working in aeroacoustics and we are particularly interested in contributions from early careers researchers.

Please submit abstracts to Dale Smith (dasmith6@qinetiq.com) or Antonio Filippone (a.filippone@manchester.ac.uk). Deadline for abstracts: 15/12/2023.

More information: UKAN+ Aeroacoustics SIG Conference - The UK Acoustics Network

The event is sponsored by the UK Acoustics Network
UKAN+ Couch to £500k
Is “write a grant or fellowship proposal” somewhere on your to-do list for the new year?
UKAN+ will be sponsoring Professor Dan Allwood (Peak Writing) and Dr Elaine Massung (Academic Smartcuts) to provide another round of the Couch to £500k training programme throughout 2024.

This structured programme takes participants step by step through the grant-writing process in an encouraging and supportive environment. Along the way, attendees gain a better understanding of the principles of writing a competitive grant proposal regardless of funder or funding opportunity. The result is increased confidence, reduced stress, and a toolbox of techniques to use on all future proposals.

Dan and Elaine provide detailed feedback on each submitted assignment, and participants who engage with the material and complete the homework will have written a first draft of their proposal by the end of the programme. Three one-to-one sessions are also provided to discuss your specific project.

Who should attend the programme?

The programme was originally designed to help guide post-docs and early-career researchers who were working on their first proposal. However, the course has also proven valuable to academics with previous experience of applying for funding, so post-docs through to mid-career academics are welcome to attend.

The proposal structure and guidance used by EPSRC/UKRI will be referred to throughout the programme, including the new Funding Service (TFS) format. However, previous participants have had success using the skills learned on the course when applying to other funding bodies.

Read what previous programme participants have said about Couch to £500k.

What’s the catch?

Writing a competitive grant proposal requires one thing that researchers often have very little of: time.

The programme is composed of thirteen 3-hour sessions and will run from January to July. Offline recordings of the taught content will be available if you miss a session or want to re-visit the material, but please note that much of the learning will take place during the live sessions through group discussions and peer-to-peer learning. Time should also be scheduled for the homework (approx. 3-5 hours between each session) and any background research needed to help bring your project idea to life.

We know this can seem daunting, but the programme should be viewed as an opportunity to focus on yourself and your career development. The skills you learn as part of this training can be used every year of your career going forward.

Places on the programme are limited to provide more personal attention. To make the best use of your time, participants should also come prepared with a grant idea they want to write up throughout the duration of the training.

Those who are interested in taking part in the 2024 Couch to £500k cohort should fill out the Expression of Interest form by Monday, 13 November (16:00).

If you have any questions, please contact Elaine at hello@academic-smartcuts.com.
The Bioacoustics SIG is looking to appoint an Early Career Coordinator and welcomes applications from interested individuals.
As Early Career Bioacoustics-SIG Coordinator you will work with SIG Leaders to coordinate SIG activities, facilitate exploratory research, and promote Acoustics in the UK and Europe. You will gain invaluable networking opportunities with people at the highest levels of Acoustics in the UK, both in academia and industry, leadership experience, and an opportunity to influence and facilitate the provision of pilot research funding and training.

We are seeking an individual with experience and interest in any area of bioacoustics or associated fields, whether in academia or industry, and an interest in promoting acoustics to the wider population. The main objective of this role is to facilitate exploratory research, and specifically to help early career members across the SIG to connect with one another, develop research proposals and apply for UKAN+ funding. The nominees should consider themselves to be early in their career. However, there are no restrictions on age.

If you have any questions, or would like to apply, please send letters of interest to p.a.lepper@lboro.ac.uk and Marc.Holderied@bristol.ac.uk. Deadline 30th November 2023.
Kind regards,
Paul Lepper
Marc Holderied
The British Ecological Society’s AER Live event hosted an online workshop on designing an ecoacoustic monitoring program, based on the UKAN+ Good practice guidelines for long-term ecoacoustic monitoring in the UK. The event was hosted by Dr. Oliver Metcalf, recipient of a round 1 UKAN+ KTP grant, and Gavin Ward a director from Baker Consultants - the industry partner for the award. The event highlighted the increasing popularity of ecoacoustic monitoring techniques amongst ecologists and academics, with an audience of 76 from a diverse range of professional backgrounds. The talk covered a range of subjects including selecting the correct hardware, initial survey design, and using an appropriate analytical approach.

The recording will be available here: https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/applied-ecology-resources/updates-and-events/aer-live/ecoacoustic-monitoring/
The UKAN+ guidelines are available to download here: https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/applied-ecology-resources/document/20230136742/


Organisers: Jérémy Froidevaux, University of Stirling & Tom Bradfer-Lawrence, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The second edition of EcoHacK – a hands-on workshop on ecological sound recording analysis – took place from the 9th - 11th of October 2023 at the University of Stirling, United Kingdom. The event was sponsored by the UK Acoustic Network, Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment & Society and the Company of Biologists. The venue was provided by the University of Stirling.

The main part of the programme was dedicated to the hackathon, which consists of a project pitch session, hacking time and a project presentation session at the end of the workshop. In addition to the hackathon, the programme included a workshop talk, four keynote talks and a poster session.

Full details on the successful event are found here
Drone audition for bioacoustic monitoring
A high quality paper from one of the funded UKAN+ projects by Lin Wang, Michael Clayton and Axel G. Rossberg was in featured in Methods in Ecology and Evolution first published 25th October 2023.

For a full read https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.14234
Sounding our National Parks
Radio 4's Today programme invited Pete Stollery on the 19th October to return and highlight how things are developing with the UKAN+ funded soundscape project since his last appearance on the show.

Listen back (08.28am) or visit dropbox for a recording.
UKAN+ Events

You can replay our various webinars via our YouTube, including UKAN+ Underwater Acoustics webinar - Luca Possenti and Gianluca Audone
Get in touch!
If you have any news for our December newsletter do drop us an email before the 28th November 2023. We are interested to hear a range of news, perhaps you have a recent publication, or you would like to offer a blog for our community or maybe you know of some industry news we could share.