MASI Call for Proposals 22/23

Update: If you are interested in the outcomes of the networking events that took place in May, we have a set of resources which can be accessed here, where you can see some of the emerging possibilities and make connections with other colleagues across disciplines. We’re also inviting everyone to send drafts of their proposals to us so that we and all members of our community can add comments before the final deadline.

To send us your proposal or to simply ask for help, email us at: hellomasi@swansea.ac.uk

Introduction

MASI is Swansea University’s Advanced Studies Institute. We are a pan-University movement full of purpose, focused on the highest quality transdisciplinary research that makes transformative, tangible improvements to life and understanding.

Launched by the First Minister of Wales in February 2021, we are now seeking proposals for our second round of investment, with funded work beginning August 2022.

After more than two years of pandemic-life along with more recent global anxieties, MASI is looking for proposals that will enhance the way we live and think, reflecting on and learning from these shared difficult times. While some are calling for us to return to “normal” or the “new normal”, we are looking for work that will define a “new extraordinary”. That is, a world that takes seriously the challenges, problems and opportunities highlighted over the previous 24+ months.

Proposals should address one or more of the following areas:

  • Resilient Futures
  • Equitable Futures
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Innovative Industrial Futures
  • Global South and Global North Futures

However, this should not limit you. If your proposal responds to the core purpose of this call to find the “new extraordinary”, is transdisciplinary in nature and is ambitious and adventurous, please apply.

What we are looking for

If you are already working in an established interdisciplinary team on your proposed topic, this call is probably not for you.

Rather, we are looking for emergent teams across the University and beyond who want an opportunity to explore agilely a highly promising area and approach. Teams will be led by colleagues drawn from at least two faculties and consist of members from more than one discipline and from more than one University Faculty. The approach will be transdisciplinary (where entirely new forms of methods and thinking evolve through the coming together of established disciplines) and the outlook will be high risk, high reward. Please note that to ensure the provision of new opportunities to colleagues as widely as possible, researchers funded for MASI Summit projects started in 2021-22 and recently funded agenda setting events are not eligible to apply in this round.

Proposals should lead to specific, valuable outputs during the award timeframe and lead to external grant application possibilities.

To stimulate your thinking take a look at the interactive word clouds and event posters collated from our recent networking and proposal networking events here

Who can apply?

All members of our community from PhD Researcher level onwards can be involved in a proposal. We particularly encourage applications from early career colleagues. A member of staff whose contract extends beyond the end of the award must be a part of the proposal team. While led by a Swansea colleague, the team can include colleagues in other universities globally. All members of the proposal team must discuss their proposal intention with their line manager before submission to ensure the activity supports the wider work of their Faculty and the University.

Categories of funding

Basecamp Projects: these 1-year activities (Aug 1st 2022-end July 2023), will carry out research in a sprint-like fashion, producing clear outputs, building capacity, carrying out feasibility work for external grant applications and/or future Summit Projects. We expect to fund 6 Basecamps in this Call at a maximum of up to £5,000 per Basecamp.

Summit Projects: these 2-year endeavours (Aug 1st 2022-end July 2024), seek to “plant a flag” on a highly novel intellectual and impact “summit”. That is, they will carry out significant research work with important outputs, defining agendas and creating visions that others will seek to follow. The projects will be expected to lead to at least one strategic external grant application. We expect to fund up to 5 Summits in the call at a maximum of £15,000 a year per Summit (£30,000 total).

International Visiting Fellowships: we welcome proposals for both inward and outward Fellowships. Visitors to Swansea would be expected to commit approximately a month in Swansea and proposals should show how they will help build and strengthen transdisciplinary agendas. Fellows will be expected to give at least one public MASI Lecture (accessible to a general audience) and interact with Universities across Wales. Outward Fellowship proposals should demonstrate how the activity will lead to significantly new collaborations for the Fellow and the University. Outward Fellows can spend up to one month overseas (subject to usual travel approvals). Outward Fellows will be expected to provide a MASI Public Lecture on their return. We expect to fund up to 6 Fellows (4 incoming, 2 outgoing) of up to £5,000 per Fellowship (travel and subsistence).

What we can fund

Basecamp and Summit projects can fund post-doc time/salaries, consumables, travel and subsistence. We do not fund investigator time or overheads. Fellows’ travel and subsistence can be funded.

How we will assess your application

Proposals will be assessed following UKRI-type protocols. All proposals will be reviewed by at least 3 non-conflicted colleagues drawn from the MASI Steering Committee, MASI Research Entrepreneurs and MASI Fellows and reflecting all three faculties. These reviews will be used as the basis of panel meetings that will rank order each proposal category. Proposals reaching the quality threshold will be funded until the resources are allocated.

Assessment criteria will include: 1) Quality (Novelty, Adventure, Ambition, Transformative Nature); 2) Fit to Call (specific and broad including the likelihood of future external grant funding); 3) Team; and, 4) Resources and Management. Criteria (1) and (2) are essential and primary criteria while (3) and (4) are important and secondary in nature.

How to apply

Proposals should be provided as a PDF, no more than 2 A4 pages in length (font no smaller than 11pt). Please ensure your proposal demonstrates quality against all the assessment criteria. These PDFs should be uploaded using this online form


If you are successful, MASI operates an “activist investor” approach – we will convene monthly meetings of all funded projects to encourage and nurture the work and to share best practice.

Important Dates:

Call launched: April 4th 2022
Deadline: Thursday 16th June 2022, 4pm
Panel: Week of 11th July 2022
Outcomes: By the end of July 2022