NERC Demand Management measures – Important changes

NERC is implementing new demand managment measures designed to raise discovery science standard grant success rates.

This is to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme, and ensure research excellence, efficiency and value for money for the taxpayer.

Following an update on demand management measures in November 2014, NERC consulted with advisory boards and research organisations to determine the detailed mechanisms it will apply to reduce demand for discovery science standard grants.

From the July 2015 standard grants scheme, there will be a reduction in the maximum standard grant award size, from the current £1·2m to £800k (100% Full Economic Costing, £640k at 80% FEC).

At the same time, demand management measures in the form of a new institutional-level submission policy will take effect. This will be based on historic application and award data and will limit the number of applications an individual research organisation can make, where that organisation fails to meet a 20 per cent success rate quality threshold.  Research organisations that fail to meet the 20 per cent success rate threshold will have the number of applications the organisation can make in each standard grant round restricted, until the organisation meets the threshold. The data will be re-calculated annually using the most recent six grant rounds.  Restrictions will be calculated on a sliding scale with the most limiting restriction that will be applied to any research organisation being one application per grant round.

Any BU academics requiring further information on the cap should contact the RKEO Funding Development Team.  All BU academics intending to apply to the NERC Standard Grant scheme must contact the RKEO Funding Development Team in the first instance.  For the foreseeable future, there will be an internal competition for NERC standard grant applications in order to ensure that the highest quality applications are submitted.

The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators); likewise the data used to calculate research organisation restrictions is only based on NERC standard grants (including new investigators).

Where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected).  However, as RKEO submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RKEO will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.  Any lead or component application from another research organisation linked to the rejected application will also be rejected. If any applications are subsequently rejected based on rule adherence or remit, a research organisation cannot submit alternative applications.

An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the principal investigator of the lead or component grant (component meaning where BU is the non-lead partner submitting our own application form through Je-S to accompany the lead application and case for support).

As said above, if you require further information then please contact the Funding Development Team (FDT) and if you intend to apply to future rounds then you must contact FDT as early as possible (it is advised that this is four months before a closing date).