Project Portfolio

PLMCS helps clients to develop strategically important initiatives for which there is limited internal resource by providing focus, drive and external perspective. Many of these commissions are from small organisations or groups of organisations that wish to do something collaboratively but which require wider networks, expanded memberships or business cases to be made across organisations. PLMCS provides independent advice and support to ensure that the perspectives of all of the stakeholders are represented and provides leadership for the development of the initiative whilst ensuring that ownership remains with the partners.

Bid writing is now a large part of our portfolio and we have developed proposals for a wide range of national and international funders mainly with our university clients. These are for the most part high-value, strategically important projects but we have also been commissioned to support first time applicants helping them to interpret funders’ rules, address priorities and act as “critical friend”.

In recent years, we have had more approaches from clients seeking interim and project management support. This ranges from short term cover (e.g. pending the recruitment of project staff) to longer term roles delivering activities for which there is limited internal capacity or expertise. At PLMCS, we know how to...

Examples of our projects include:

Collaborative proposal for an Applied Research Collaboration for West Midlands

PLMCS was asked to support the development of a bid for an National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) led by University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Warwick Medical School. The purpose of the ARCs is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through high quality research and funding of up to £9M is awarded to successful consortia for a five year programme of work. These large collaborations include NHS providers and commissioners, local authorities and social care providers as well as universities, AHSNs and private and third sector partners. Paddie worked alongside Prof Richard Lilford’s team to prepare the background information required which included collating large volumes of publication and research grant income from the partner organisations to hone and specify those that were relevant to the proposal. In addition, she contributed to the drafting of several parts of the document where PLMCS experience and knowledge of the regional health landscape was particularly relevant.

“Just to say big thank you for the work Paddie. Your positive can-do approach was very much appreciated by me”.

Prof Richard Lilford CBE, Director WM CLHARC

Charnwood Bioincubator

PLMCS was commissioned by the University of Leicester to contribute to the feasibility study for a new bioincubator facility at the Charnwood Campus near Loughborough (see https://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2018-archive/june/the-uk2019s-first-life-sciences-opportunities-zone-praised-at-ministerial-visit). The site, formerly occupied by AstraZeneca, is at the heart of the UK's first Life Science Opportunities Zone and is currently configured to meet the needs of a multi-national pharmaceutical company. Working with David Rowe of Warwick Enterprises, a colleague for many years, Paddie was engaged to consult with established life science companies to understand how their needs for facilities and services changed over time. These case studies are being used inform the re-configuration of the building and the nature and structure of facilities and services that will be offered by the bioincubator to its tenants.

PLMCS was subsequently asked by the University to facilitate a workshop for the College of Life Sciences to raise the profile of Charnwood Project, secure buy-in and start to develop the institutional offer. The half-day session was designed to be interactive and engaging and was well received and productive.

EIT Health

The Knowledge and Innovation Community for Healthy Living and Active Ageing Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are large international partnerships comprising academic and industry partners who work together to deliver solutions to Europe’s key societal challenges of which the ageing population is one. PLMCS was commissioned initially by Birmingham Science City and subsequently by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) to facilitate the participation of the West Midlands (WM) health economy in such a partnership.

The main priorities of the initial phase were to:

  1. Understand the level of enthusiasm for participation - which was significant but clear that we should join a consortium and not seek to develop our own partnership,
  2. Articulate the WM’s ‘offer’ to an existing consortium – which was focused on citizen-engagement and living laboratories at city and regional level
  3. Identify a suitable consortium – we approached, and were accepted as a core partner in a strong consortium initiated by Imperial College, Karolinska Institute, Roche and Siemens called InnoLIFE which included more than 150 members and comprised elite institutions from across Europe.

PLMCS represented the interests and ambitions of the WM throughout the development of the consortium both nationally and internationally and when the call for proposals was published by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), Paddie was nominated to join the international Editorial Team preparing the proposal document. She contributed extensively to the development of bid document which was coordinated by EY in Germany, developing concepts to deliver the required outputs, drafting and reviewing text, in adherence to tight deadlines. The InnoLIFE proposal was announced as the winner in December 2014 and commenced operations in January 2015.

PLMCS was retained by WMAHSN to oversee the involvement of the WM in EIT Health during its set up phase in 2015 and support the first year of operations in 2016. In addition to ensuring that the involvement of WM stakeholders was optimised, for the first half of 2016, Paddie had national and international responsibilities for the establishment and operations of EIT Health’s Proof of Concept funding. Supporting WM organisations to participate has reaped benefits and the additional income to the WM from EIT Health in 2016 was in the region of €1M; this success has encouraged higher levels of engagement in 2017 and contributions to the development of the 2018 Business Plan.

“Paddie Murphy (PLMCS) was both instrumental in the formation of the organisation of which I am the Commercial Director namely the West Midlands Academic health Science Network and also in the creation and continuing development of the Health EIT (KIC) West Midlands. In working with Paddie I have found her to be highly professional and one of a very small number of people in the UK who fully understands the initial developmental and then continuing support needs of academia, business and the NHS. Paddie is a great communicator and networker and her abilities to broker relationships and to deliver programmes on time and to budget, is key in the continued joint working between my organisation and PLMCS”.

Tony Davis, Commercial Director, West Midlands Academic Health Science Network

“Paddie was engaged by Birmingham Science City for almost two years, to represent the health partners of the WM from the earliest stages of development of the EIT Health KIC to the award to the consortium of which we were part, and through to set-up of the KIC. Paddie engaged throughout with enthusiasm, tenacity and professionalism, building the trust and confidence of local and European partners and bringing to bear her expertise in the health and life sciences field. Paddie was undoubtedly a key factor in the success of this complex and ambitious bid and secured a prominent role in the KIC for the WM Health Partners within the winning consortium”.

Dr Pam Waddell, Director of Birmingham Science City / Dr Andrew Roadnight, European Strategy Development Officer/External Affairs, University of Warwick

Commercialisation of moving and handling training at Birmingham City University

PLMCS was initially commissioned to provide an appraisal of the commercial potential of an online training tool to support mandatory training in moving and handling which involved the identification of a niche and specific offer that would survive in this extremely competitive market. Paddie retained her links with the team through several iterations of the technology and the offer has now been augmented and there are plans to bring the product to market. Paddie has provided a practical exploitation plan to steer the commercialisation activity and will shortly commence work on a business plan for the new venture.

Bid writing support for the University of Wolverhampton

PLMCS has a long-standing relationship with the Project Support Office and is called upon regularly to support researchers – both experienced and first timers. The University of Wolverhampton has a particular approach to bid development and PLMCS is able to dovetail support into their structures to create proposals and respond to reviewers’ comments. The most recent assignments include:

  • Helping a first time applicant to an EC Horizon 2020 programme to coordinate an international partnership
  • Providing a critical review of a proposal developed by an experienced Principal Investigator to the DfID SPHEIR programme
  • Working closely with an early stage researcher who was developing a competitive proposal also as part of the SPHEIR programme, specifically drafting project management, impact and sustainability sections and providing feedback on work plans and budget and, ensuring an overall fit with funder and partner priorities
  • On extremely short timescales, supporting research teams to respond clearly and comprehensively to queries and challenges made by reviewers on two strategically important projects.

“In recent assignments PLMCS has worked well alongside my staff to meet the scope and timeline of particular bidding objectives. The work is of a high professional standard, Paddie’s expertise is always useful in shaping up proposals with us. I appreciate her commitment and flexibility very much and importantly the fact that she helps to increase the scores of our bids so that we can win them as a result of the additional insight that she brings to us. I find Paddie’s working style to be extremely professional, friendly and supportive, which is essential when dealing with my customers and meeting the demands of time-sensitive projects”.

Mrs Jan Gilder, Director Project Support Office, University of Wolverhampton

Interim support for business engagement activities at the University of Birmingham

Pending the recruitment of a full-time member of staff, Dr Murphy is working in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences to support greater engagement between the College and industry. The role includes working with academics to identify areas appropriate for collaboration with industry, identifying relevant companies to participate in research, responding to enquiries from companies and building multidisciplinary research teams to address industrial problems. As part of this role, Dr Murphy is also contributing to outputs for a recently funded ERDF programme supporting interactions with knowledge based small businesses in the West Midlands.

"Over the past 10 years I have worked with knowledge transfer experts in five separate universities. Paddie provides by far the most effective support in the KT arena, she is one of the few who truly understands the interface between academic and commercial organisations".

Professor Tim Dafforn, Director of Knowledge Transfer, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Proposal development for Warwick Medical School

PLMCS has been working with the senior academics at the Division Of Health Sciences at Warwick Medical School to develop high quality, multi-million pound research proposals for strategically important initiatives. Working with Prof Swaran Singh, Deputy Head of Division and expert in youth mental health, PLMCS helped to write two large bids; one to the National Institute of Health Care Research (NIHR) Global Research Priorities Programme, which was successful and a second to the Economic and Social Science Research Council, the outcome of which is as yet not known. Most recently, we worked alongside Dr Steven Marwaha, an expert in depression in young people, to develop a Stage 1 proposal for a commissioned NIHR Health Technology Assessment call. All of these projects are large and involve researchers from multiple organisations - in the case of the Global Research Priorities Programme, span five countries.

PLMCS is not a bid-writing consultancy and we do not purport to be experts in all areas. However, we work alongside researchers providing organisational support for the management of multi-partner projects, drafting and editing text and giving an external perspective that ensures that proposals are focussed, address the requirements of the call and are clear and concise'

"Paddie came highly recommended by colleagues at Warwick Medical School and did not disappoint. We've worked together on two multi-million pound, multi-institution research proposals now and her support with drafting sections of the proposal, organising and incorporating inputs from partners and reviewing and editing text to ensure it fits the funders' requirements has been extremely valuable. She is experienced, knowledgeable, easy to work with and willing to pull the stops out to get things done - I'm happy to recommend her to anyone looking for bid writing support.".

Prof Swaran Singh, Deputy Head of the Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School

Strategic support for the new Health Partnership Board

PLMCS was commissioned by Warwick Medical School and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to provide an external perspective on the key areas of strength in research and innovation of the partnership. The aim of the commission was to identify, through consultation with key individuals at WMS and UHCW, areas in which there is critical mass, opportunity and capacity that could be enhanced by greater collaboration. The report contains benchmarking against other partnerships as well as proposed metrics to monitor the effectiveness of cross-institutional working and the development of collaborative activities.