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Funding Development Team Guidance to applicants to external funding

Updated 6/10/20

Whilst we are starting to get back to a normal level of bids, we still have limited resources and so we appreciate your patience during this difficult time. In addition, the university have introduced new processes which will have a knock on effect on the timeline for submitting external applications for funding. Details will be available on internal BU systems.  The application timeline can be found here.

Due to caring for dependents, most Research Facilitators are working flexible hours and so may not be available during some ‘normal’ working hours. However, RFs are running bi-weekly funding call sessions, where the RFs will provide updates on all calls once a fortnight. Any academic can join on MS Teams.

Indicative agenda:
New COVID-19 calls released in the previous week
Update on existing opportunities available
Insights into a successful proposal (including impact and institutional support)
Expectations from internal approvers (e.g. FEC return etc)
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For any ECRs requiring guidance, we still ask that you contact your mentor or Head of Department in the first instance. You can also find useful resources on our research blog and Brightspace. In particular, there is a ‘Research Funders’ Guide’, which contains information about the major funders and application guidance. There are also a plethora of online guidance under the RKEDF on Brightspace, as well as the ECR Network (for access, please contact Theresa McManus).

As a result of changes to the process, BU needs to add an additional week to the application timeline. For those submitting bids to external funders, please note the following:

Standard competitive research bids:

BU will be enforcing a five-week notice period (calculated from the funder call deadline) for all competitive research bids. This also includes bids where BU is non-lead. Where competitive research bids are received with a shorter notice period than five weeks, or the intention to bid (ItB) form is incomplete, the primary applicant will be contacted by an RDS Research Facilitator who will advise on where to find alternative call options with a longer deadline. If  the primary applicant is unable to complete the intention to bid form because, for example, s/he is  formulating an idea or working with partners to develop a bid, then s/he  will need to allow a longer lead time (ideally a minimum of two months). The primary applicant should also contact an RDS Research Facilitator in the first instance. ​The Faculty DDRPPs / DHoDs / Heads of Research Institute and Centres / research mentors are also sources of advice on any future research plans, bidding options and timely submissions.

Applicants must provide a fully completed intention to bid form and a draft one-page summary of the proposal (this will speed up processing) to RDS.

All costings must be finalised two weeks before the funder deadline. This is to allow for the additional time required for approval by UET. Any costings finalised later than this will risk the bid not being submitted.

As a result of the above, the late submissions appeals process is currently suspended.

Contract research, Covid-19 bids​ and EoI:
Contract research bids with a shorter than five-week deadline and an income or fEC value below £100k will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Any that are above £100k income or fEC will be subject to the five-week notification period.

In addition, any bids to rapid response Covid-19 calls will also be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. For rapid response calls, please contact an RDS Research Facilitator. However, if these need to be processed quickly, we ask that applicants only contact RDS if they are definitely going to submit to the call and have a well thought out idea and plan (this includes having a strong methodology, an impact plan that is national and international, any institutional support required is agreed, a strong support case prepared, and the team have a credible profile related to the focus of the bid).

Expressions of Interest with no commitment and costings required at submission stage will be excluded from the five-week notification period. However, applicants should aim to notify RDS by a minimum of three weeks. Expressions of interest still require approval to be submitted.

For longer-term bids:
For bids that have more than five weeks to the call deadline and an ItB is complete, applicants should make initial contact by email to their Faculty Funding Development Officer. RDS will endeavour to be flexible where they can, but services may take longer than usual due to working from home, caring for dependents, annual leave, and the need to access the RKE systems via Horizon (such as RED and pFACT).

RDS will need to cost every bid and APF approvals will still apply (but note that these are now more complex), along with any electronic submissions where RDS are required to submit on behalf of the PI. The application timeline and sample costs will enable PIs to prepare for bids.

The intention is to move towards more forward planning, with early submission of intention to bid forms and long-lead times to submission. Following submission of the intention to bid form, the faculty FDO will contact the applicant to discuss the most appropriate timings for support and to discuss expectations about the level of support RDS can provide (in most cases RDS will set out a plan with timings for each part of the process). Where possible early adopters will be prioritised; this will include support around start date, travel, lab space, etc., in line with the funders latest COVID-19 guidance.

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