Home » RDS advice to academics during COVID-19 » Funding Development Team Guidance to applicants to external funding

Funding Development Team Guidance to applicants to external funding

Updated 1/4/21

The third lockdown had an increased expectation on parents home schooling and as a result, we had limited resources and some responses to queries were out of core hours. We appreciated your patience during this difficult time for all. In addition, the university have introduced new processes which has a knock on effect on the timeline for submitting external applications for funding. Details of these are available in the ‘Guidance for external bids’ on the staff intranet here. Please read this if you are intended to apply for external funding. The application timeline will also be of use and 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 weekly funder briefings at 12 noon on a Wednesday (click on link to see dates for specific funders and how to access slides from previous events). Any academic can join on MS Teams. Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

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).

For those submitting bids to external funders, please note the following:

Standard competitive research bids:

BU will be enforcing a four-working week notice period (calculated from receipt of a completed Intention to Bid (ItB) form to the funder call deadline) for all competitive research bids. This also includes bids where BU is non-lead. Where completed ItBs for competitive research bids are received with a shorter notice period than four working 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. We recently had an example of an incomplete ItB, which resulted in 20 emails being exchanged to complete it. This is not efficient and so please think through what your bid will achieve and what it needs to do this.

There are caveats on certain bids requiring finalisation three weeks before the funder deadline. This is to allow for the additional time required for approval by UET, and Legal Services where a CAF is required. Please see the guidance for more details. 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 four-working 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 four-working week notification period.

Expressions of Interest with no commitment and costings required at submission stage will be excluded from the four-working 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 four working 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 CAT).

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. Legal Services will need to CAF bids where required, and Finance will need to carry out due diligence checks where required. The application timeline and sample costs will enable PIs to prepare for bids. Please also read the guidance on BU’s financial regulations. Applicants cannot submit external applications without the required BU approvals.

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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