Bidding for external research funds?

The good news is that a lot of BU’s academics are bidding for external research funding. Our numbers of bids in preparation is up by 20% on pre-pandemic levels. This is helping BU build a healthy and sustainable pipeline to good quality research.

If you’re planning to submit a bid, you’ll need to be aware of the application timeline and the various processes involved in the submission of a bid. Please ensure you read the application timeline when considering what to apply for (in addition to RDS, the following BU teams may need to be involved: UET, Legal Services, Finance). In short, a fully completed intention to bid form must be received by RDS at least four weeks before the funder call deadline.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume being processed at present (and staff shortages), we will be unable to accommodate any bids under the notice period.

Here are a few tips on what you can do to ensure a smoother process and good quality bid:

  • Please read the funder guidance to ensure that you are eligible to apply, the deadline is doable, and that the funding provided will be financially acceptable to BU (the costing and pricing guide for R&KE activity will help, as will the fEC thresholds);
  • If partners are involved, you need to ensure you have these in place as their costings will need to be included in the bid. If they are international or industrial, due diligence may need to take place at pre-award stage and so a longer lead time will be needed (we’ve produced a Leading an external research application guide, which will be useful to you when partners are involved);
  • Ensure your intention to bid (ItB) form is fully completed before submitting to RDS. This saves on multiple email exchanges to finalise the form (we’ve created sample costs to help you get an idea of budget and whether what you need to complete your research is achievable with the funding on offer);
  • Finally, run your ideas/draft bid past your peers, research mentor, or Head of Department. Constructive criticism will help improve the quality of your bid and reduce the need for last minute changes. If you have a long lead in time, an RDS Research Facilitator may be able to help review your bid content, or one of our External Application Reviewers (EARs) may be able to critique it (please see here for more information on which bids are eligible for an EAR).

Good luck and thanks from all in RDS.