Hints and Tips
Hints and Tips
Hints and Tips – resources
Over the past two years several grant submissions have been returned to us from the UK Research Councils for clarification of elements of the bid or with instructions to resubmit some sections of the bid with minor revision. Clearly we wish to avoid this happening in the first place and this guidance note is intended to highlight some of the issues arising out of feedback from such sponsors of research.
Demand Management measures taken by the Research Councils will result in outright rejection of such grants outright rather than seeking clarification from us. Here are some common failings you should take note to avoid:
1. Whilst each project is unique in terms of resources, there is an expectation of what a typical project (defined as a Principal Investigator supervising a postdoc for a year) should request. This is 1 day per week (20% or 0.2 FTE) to be devoted to the supervision of the project by the PI, and the contribution of the Co-I(s) to be half a day per week or less. Clearly large or complex projects may require additional staff resource – this is fine so long as you can justify this in the application itself. (note that staff supervision of PGR students in research projects needs to be separately costed)
2. You are strongly advised not to reduce the PI / Co-I time on projects as a means of artificially reducing the cost of the project to simply make the project more financially attractive or ensure it comes in under a set financial threshold. Funding bodies are wise to this and will reject proposals where the PI or CoI time proposed is unrealistically low, with a resulting danger of poor project management.
3. HR and the Research Support Office have prepared generic role descriptors that apply to different grades of contract research staff in order to aid the costing of such posts in external grant applications. These can be obtained from the finance department when you are preparing the costs of the project and allow you to identify the most appropriate salary band for the researchers you are wanting to employ on the grant.
4. When detailing the resources requested (both in the tables and in the statement) note that certain items including telephone usage, postage etc are not normally eligible as a stand-alone costs as they are assumed to form part of the fEC Estates charge. Clearly for projects in which the use of telephone or postage are exceptional (e.g., in survey work) this can be requested so long as you can justify usage is above the norm.
5. Finally, please check that the page lengths of any word or pdf attachments (e.g., case for support, CVs etc.) you submit with your application do not exceed the limits set by the funding body. This is especially important as these are not checked as part of the in-built electronic validation processes.