The Research and Knowledge Exchange Operations (RKE Ops) team are here to help academics apply for external funding. There are so many funders out there with so many different guidelines that it’s not always easy to find out how, who and what you should be applying to.
Costings of all proposals (including those that we are not the lead on) need to be undertaken by RKE Ops before proposals reach the submission stage. Costings are undertaken by RKE Ops to ensure that a) they are complete and include full costs, b) that they include indirect and estates costs at current BU rates and c) that they include inflation at the BU rate. Proposals need to be added to RED in order to track our bidding activity, which is in turn reported on and used for KPI’s, HEBCI and HESA returns; and RED generates the APF (Activity Proposal Form explained below). The costs need to be added to our costings system, pFACT, for accurate costings and audit purposes.
In addition to this, Legal Services need to check whether we are agreeing to any terms and conditions in advance of submitting the bid – and, if so, what these are. We also need to check for any potential financial issues in advance of submission that need to be noted (for example, the risk of exchange rate fluctuations). The APF (Activity Proposal Form from RED detailing the costs and income) and CAF (Contract Agreement Form from Legal Services detailing any legal or financial risks) need to be signed by a BU authorised signatory before the bid can be submitted; this gives approval for submission. This approval ensures that the appropriate senior staff (DDRE/DoP/Dean/UET members/Board members) are aware of the risks and commitments which arise from us undertaking the project, assuming it were to be awarded. Some proposals will also have to go through the Quality Approval process, which is processed by RKE Operations.
The RKE Operations team will need to go through all of the above processes before the approval process can be completed. In addition, an intention to bid form needs to be completed at the beginning to establish what processes an application may need to go through and the timescales required. If you are intending to bid then please contact the Support Officer for your School to obtain a form (they have been tailored for each School).
The purpose of having a centralised group is that we connect all the necessary processes for academics (Finance, Legal, School signatories) and we’re there to help ensure that the application has the best possible chance of being funded. If academics are successful then they will receive a contract and that contract has to go through certain processes in order to obtain the money and ensure it goes to the correct place. Most importantly, if this information is never recorded on RED then it has a knock on effect on several things. BU receives additional money from HEFCE based on the funding that we have received throughout the year. Small pots of money add up to large sums and if these are never recorded then we lose out on additional funds from HEFCE. Also, there are KPI’s with targets for R&KE funding to be obtained by academics in each of the Schools. By not recording funding this will have a detrimental effect on the Schools targets for meeting the KPI’s.
If you’d like more information on RKEO as a whole then please see this helpful leaflet: R&KEO Leaflet