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Developing Your Proposal

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Support for developing your proposal for external funding is provided by the Funding Development Team in RDS.  We are a team of Research Facilitators (including specialism in international and industrial collaborative funding), Funding Development Officers, and a Funding Development Coordinator.  We can assist with all aspects of developing your proposal to increase your chance of success.

Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework

The RKE development framework offers a range of opportunities for BU academics  to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities in relation to research and knowledge exchange through thematic pathways.  Details of workshops, on-line support, writing retreats, funder visits, and many more activities can be found here.

Initiative pathways include:

‌Research Council funding
Research Councils are a major UK research funder.  This pathway provides information, advice and guidance about the Research Councils, including the Research Council Development Scheme (annual cohort based set of workshops to take you through the whole process of applying and peer review – currently paused due to C19 restrictions), how to approach the case for support, writing your impact statement and working with stakeholders.
International Funding This pathway explores international funding activities, concentrating on particular regions of the world, as highlighted via the BU Global Engagement Strategy.  It provides an introduction to EU and other international funding schemes. These include Horizon Europe, other selected international opportunities and call-specific bid writing retreats.
Funding from the Academies
The national academies (the Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering) are esteemed bodies of scholars (Fellowships) tasked with championing excellent science in their field. Each offers research funding, and this pathway aims to support colleagues in applications to one of these bodies.
Funding from Charities This pathway provides an introduction to applying for funding from major and smaller charities, as well as more detailed bid-writing sessions to support specific applications.  The stream includes sessions on specific funders, such as the Wellcome Trust and Leverhulme Trust and more general sessions on working with stakeholders and building partnerships.
National Institute for Health Research The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides funds health and care research and helps to translate new discoveries into practical improvements for patients.  This pathway is designed to help staff considering applying to one of NIHR’s funding schemes.
Pre-Award at BU The research and knowledge exchange (RKE) development framework offers a range of opportunities for academics at all career stages to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities in relation to research and knowledge exchange. The Pre-Award pathway offers all of the starting information required by Academics and Researchers at BU to undertake research bidding.
Building a Team Building a research team, whether of academics, researchers, external stakeholders or others, is an integral aspect of undertaking research. It contributes to the career development of an academic. This pathway will offer some insights into team-building and ensuring you involve the right partners in your bid, together with some opportunities to develop multi-disciplinary teams through STEAMLabs. This pathway includes workshops and guest speakers that highlight the benefits and protocols when working with Industry as research partners.
Career We have different options available for all levels of career stages. This includes an ECR Network (contact Theresa McManus to join) and research leadership training at all career stages.
Post Award at BU Helping researchers with post-award processes including financial management and research data management.
Returning to Academia after a break This pathway targets those academics who may be returning to academia following a break for any reason. It will be further developed over the next 2-3 academic years.
Academic Publishing Including writing an academic paper, dealing with editors and Open Access, and the established Writing Academy.
Planning for impact and communicating research Engaging with policymakers, public engagement, social media for impact and digital communication
Skills Development  Practical sessions designed to build experience in using BU and external systems and processes, such as BRIAN, RED, BURO, Using the Library, Je-S, FlexiGrant, ECAS, IPR, Contracts and BU procedures, and Ethics.
Research Excellence Framework The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK HEIs. It takes place every 5-7 years with the next submission due in March 2021. The REF assesses research excellence through a process of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate. It is based on HEIs submitting evidence of their research activity and outcomes to units of assessment (UOAs) to be assessed by expert panels. It is expected that all academic staff will be submitted to REF2021. This pathway provides further information on all things REF-related.


Peer Review

All Faculties have their own peer review system in place, which is explained on the Intention to Bid Form. Check what this is with your Faculty FDO.

Successful Application Library

booksWe have a successful application library available to all BU staff.  It is a collection of successful applications that BU staff have made to research councils, the European Union, charities, government departments and other funding sources. 

These applications have resulted in successfully funded bids and have been made available to Bournemouth University staff with the aim of assisting them with their future applications. Please be especially mindful that requirements of grant proposals and schemes may have changed since these proposals were submitted, it is essential that you always consult the latest funder guidelines for information on current requirements for applications.

To view the documents within the Application Library please click on the titles/headings within the library.

The Application Library is presently being updated with further applications however there are currently still plenty for you to view.  Please note the following usage policy: The examples are for use by Bournemouth University members of staff only and Principal Investigators have given their approval to share their applications on this basis. (Please also note: Any information that is deemed confidential in these documents has been deleted)


RDS Academic Induction Industry collaboration

RDS provide an induction to new to BU academics and researchers.  This covers a broad range of topics, which includes but is not exclusive to: an overview of RDS; research funding opportunities; developing – research plans, networks; ethics, outputs; and how to apply for funding at BU.  The next induction will take place on 19th May 2021.  If you wish to attend then please book through the OD pages.





Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) is a model for supporting and conducting health related research in Dorset. It supports researchers in improving the quality, quantity and efficiency of research across the University and local National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. BUCRU is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS) to provide support to researchers in developing grant applications in the area of health and social care aimed at national peer reviewed competitions.

BUCRU can provide support in the following areas: Methodology collaboration, including statistics; Patient and public involvement; Identifying and linking collaborators; Advice on writing grant applications; Mock funding panel for providing feedback; Grant application workshop; Residential Research Retreat. Please contact them for more information.


Support for developing your proposals include:

We have dedicated Research Facilitators available to develop and critique your proposal.  They can help you identify research teams; write, review and critique text; ensure your proposal meets the funder’s strategic aims; suggest ideas to strengthen the content of your proposal;  help you form inter/multidisciplinary research collaborations; and facilitate internal peer review.  The Facilitators will horizon scan research funders’ strategic agendas and potential future funding opportunities to ensure that we are ready to respond to these opportunities, maximising the Universities chance of success.

Ainar Blaudums specialises in international and EU funding, Ehren Milner specialises in industrial collaboration, with both being the faculty contact for FST, whilst Lisa Andrews (contact for FHSS), Alex Pekalski (contact for FMC and FM) specialise in UK funding. Nicolette Barsdorf-Liebchen is the contact for the Strategic Investment Area ‘Animation, Simulation and Visualisation’.

We also have Funding Development Officers (FDO) who will assist with all operational aspects of the pre-award process, to include checking eligibility and funder guidance, advising on timescales, costing and pricing, producing pre-award contractual documentation, institutional approval and proposal submission.  So, if you have an idea about what you want to apply for, contact your FDO and we’ll kick start the process. Find out more about us here including who your FDO is for your Faculty.

Useful documents for application preparation:

  • Guidance on external bids – this provides the latest information on internal processes and timings
  • Intention to Bid Form  – this is mandatory for any application for funding.  The form should be completed and submitted to the Funding Development Team as soon as you are aware that you will be applying for funding.
  • RKE Application timeline – this sets out each of the BU processes that an application will need to go through, including Legal Services review and adherence to BU financial regulations.
  • Sample costs for applications (external) – RDS FDT will always provide actual costs for all applications.  However, to enable you to complete the intention to bid form, we have provided a broad guide on estimated costs.
  • BUs guide to full economic costing FAQ – this guide will help you understand the TRAC methodology approach used in all HEIS in calculating the true economic costs of research projects
  • Full economic cost thresholds – this sets out the fEC thresholds that external bids must meet in order for a bid to financially viable and supported for submission by BU approvers.

BU Research BlogResearch Blog

The research blog contains a wealth of information on writing a good proposal.  There is a research toolkit, which contains information on research ethics and tips on research council applications, such as how to write: a research/lay summary; case for support; impact statement; justification of resources; data management plan; and ethics.



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