The Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) Funding Development Team (FDT) are here to help academics apply for external funding. There are so many funders out there with so many different guidelines that it’s not always easy to find out how, who and what you should be applying to.
There is huge kudos in obtaining external research funding for the academic and BU. It not only enables you to progress your research ideas and potentially build centres of excellent in your area at BU, but knowing that your research has made a benefit to society has to be the greatest achievement.
How can FDT help? The competition is tough out there and so we want to ensure that you are fully supported at BU to submit a winning application. The costing of all proposals (including those that we are not the lead on) need to be undertaken by FDT before proposals reach the submission stage. Costings are undertaken by FDT to ensure that a) they are complete and include full costs, b) that they include indirect and estates costs at current BU rates and c) that they include inflation at the BU rate. Proposals need to be added to our grants system RED in order to track our bidding activity, which is in turn reported on and used for KPI’s, REF, HEBCI and HESA returns; and RED generates the APF (Activity Proposal Form explained below). The costs need to be added to our costings system, pFACT, for accurate costings and audit purposes.
In addition to this, Legal Services need to check whether we are agreeing to any terms and conditions in advance of submitting the bid – and, if so, what these are. We also need to check for any potential financial issues in advance of submission that need to be noted (for example, the risk of exchange rate fluctuations, if match funding is required, etc.). The APF (Activity Proposal Form from RED detailing the costs and income) and CAF (Contract Agreement Form from Legal Services detailing any legal or financial risks) need to be signed by a BU authorised signatory before the bid can be submitted; this gives approval for submission. This approval ensures that the appropriate senior staff (DDRPP/DoP/Dean/UET members/Board members) are aware of the risks and commitments which arise from us undertaking the project, assuming it were to be awarded. All proposals will also have to go through your Faculties agreed Quality Approval process.
The FDT will need to complete all of the above processes before the approval process can be completed. In addition, an intention to bid form needs to be completed at the beginning to establish what processes an application may need to go through and the timescales required. If you are intending to bid then please contact the Funding Development Officer for your Faculty to obtain a form (they have been tailored for each Faculty).
Why do we need to go through these processes? The purpose of having a centralised group is that we connect all the necessary processes for academics (Finance, Legal, Faculty signatories) and we’re there to help ensure that the application has the best possible chance of being funded. If academics are successful then they will receive a contract and that contract has to go through certain processes in order to obtain the money and ensure it goes to the correct place. Most importantly, if this information is never recorded on RED then it has a knock on effect on several things. BU receives additional money from HEFCE based on the funding that we have received throughout the year and this also improves our REF submission. Small pots of money add up to large sums and if these are never recorded then we lose out on additional funds from HEFCE. Also, there are KPI’s with targets for R&KE funding to be obtained by academics in each of the Faculties. By not recording funding this will have a detrimental effect on the faculties targets for meeting the KPI’s.
The FDT also have Research Facilitators available to help you develop your research ideas at an early stage of your application. We have also provided a number of pages to help you identify which funder would be appropriate for your research. There is a wealth of information that can be found in the Research Funders’ Guide. We have also put together an application submission timeline and have provided sample costs to aid you drafting out your costs. More details can be found here. Finally, there is a comprehensive list of all RKEO’s activities that support you in the Research Lifecycle.
Do get in touch and see how we can help you acheive your goals.