Research Themes

A theme is a connected programme of visitors, workshops and events, conceived and driven by a Theme Leader, focusing on a specific issue in e-Science that crosses boundaries and raises new research questions. Themes set out to identify the research issues, rally a community of researchers and map a path of future research that will make best progress towards new e-Science methods and capabilities.

Since the beginning of the thematic programme in 2004, research themes have spanned a wide range of disciplines and approaches, and have resulted in an array of substantive outputs including peer-reviewed publications, technical reports, grants for new research and the creation of teaching resources.

A theme is driven by a Theme Leader (TL) who is in effect a funded long-term visitor to eSI and is committed to the topic for its duration. The TL is responsible for developing a connected programme spanning many months and ensuring that it will engage leading researchers in the specific field over an extended period. The theme should bring visitors to the Institute and other e-Scientists to work with the TL throughout its duration. Themes will also contribute to the eSI's summer schools programme.

The e-Science Institute plans to run two active themes and to have two in preparation at any time. Scientific oversight of the Themes programme is done by the Science Advisory Board (which meets every 6 months) and the more local Programme Committee which meets approximately every 2 months.

Responsibilities of a Theme Leader

The TL is responsible for developing a theme to run over a period of twelve months - though shorter times are also possible.

Generated activity should minimally include two public talks, one workshop on current fundamental issues, two talks on research issues, two posters, interim reports to be considered by the Programme Committee, a final report on outcomes to the Science Advisory Board and for inclusion in the Annual Report, and material for the Web. They are also expected to engage with groups across the UK to encourage related activities not at eSI, associated workshops, to liaise with International and UK groups, to bring researchers engaged in related activities to eSI as visitors, to work with the eSI team to promote the theme and to join in the Summer Schools programme.

What Funding is Available

A budget of around £60k is available for each theme (though this is indicative only) and it is intended that this funding is to support activity focussed around the Institute in which people can participate. The funding can cover partial buy-out for the leader(s), the cost of running workshops including speaker costs, travel and subsistence for visitors to engage in the theme, support for post-graduate students to engage in the theme, travel to and from Edinburgh for the theme leader(s) and to appropriate conferences (though the last should not make up a significant proportion of the budget). Other costs are allowable if they can be justified in terms of the theme's programme. Note however that these are not research grants and the following items are not fundable: any element of overhead or FEC at the leader's home institutions, support staff costs at their home institution, costs for running or subsidising summer-schools or workshops at other locations (except where this is an agreed part of a collaborative theme between eSI and another organisation) or funding other individuals to attend such non-local meetings.

The next Call for Themes

The next round of call for mini themes has a closing date of 26 November 2010 for fast track review by the Science Advisory Board. We hope to make any decisions by 10 December 2010.

Suggesting a Mini Theme/Becoming a Theme Leader

If you are interested please read the full documentation on Themes and the Guidleline for Proposal and Outline Proposal Form first.  (Microsoft Word version .) 

These mini themes are intended to be a shorter version of the same activity. We envisage a minimum of two workshops per theme and would particularly encourage proposals in the area of e-Science applications. Please note:

  • Ignore question 11 on the form dealing with theme duration.
  • All proposed activity must be completed and reported on by 31st July 2011 when the current tranche of funding ends. This should be clear from your project plan.
  • Due to new UK Border Agency regulations, we can only fund Theme Leaders who are eligible to work in the UK and who do not require a work permit.

Then send the completed application to Anna Kenway (anna [dot] kenway [at] ed [dot] ac [dot] uk). 

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