The University wishes to encourage high quality proposals for the funding of research and knowledge exchange activities. All proposals should undergo internal review before submission, and pass through the institutional authorisation process.
- Process Description
The development and submission of proposals are supported by R&E and are recorded in the research system. All proposals should be costed on a full economic cost(FEC) basis, subject to an appropriate level of internal review, and appropriately authorised. It is important to allow sufficient time for all of these aspects to be undertaken, so that only high quality proposals are submitted.
- Internal Review
All proposals should be subject to an appropriate level of internal review, to ensure they are of high quality and relevance. The mechanism varies between departments/schools and type of activity, and researchers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with their school's requirements. The University has a policy on internal review.
The Working Group on Project Review (2010) produced guidance for Schools on how the policy might be implemented:
There is a range of responsibilities undertaken by investigators, heads of departments and schools, and professional support staff. An overview of those responsibilities is available.
All employees are eligible to undertake the responsibilities of an investigator of an externally-funded project, subject to agreement by their Head of School or Head of Professional Service that they are suitable to do so. The contract of employment of an individual should extend to at least three months after the end of the defined period of the project for them to be a Principal Investigator (in order to be able to produce all final documentation). Honorary staff are permitted to act as co-investigators under the same terms as employees, and as Principal Investigators subject to the existence of a suitable Honorary agreement.
The authorisation process for research and knowledge exchange activity is the same across the University, and is operated through Research & Enterprise Services.All proposals need the agreement of each investigator’s Head of School, and may also require the relevant Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s and VCEG’s agreement, depending on the assessed level of risk involved. Institutional authorisation is undertakenby the completion of a Project Approval Form (aka Declaration Form), which is routed to the appropriate authorisers.Sufficient time should be allowed for this process to take place, to enable authorisers to consider the project properly.
All research and related projects should be costed using the Full Economic Costing methodology (as defined in the TRAC Manual). It is a requirement of UK Government. This is the cost to the University of the project/activity, regardless of the funder/customer involved. It is used as part of the determination of price, and in order to manage the sustainability of the University. More details on FEC can be found on the University’s FEC web pages. The costing of individual research and knowledge exchange projects is undertaken using a costing tool, available to R&E and school research support staff.
The pricing of a project or activity depends on numbers of factors, including the nature of the market (regulated or unregulated), the value to the customer, the uniqueness of the offering, and the cost and benefits to the University. Further information on the University’s approach to pricing can be found in the policy on negotiation and pricing [PDF 52.98KB].
- Terms and Conditions
Externally-funded research and knowledge exchange activity is usually subject to terms and conditions, whether standard terms (e.g. Research Councils, charities, and some government-funded work), or individual terms (e.g. industry and some government work). The terms of activities funded as “grants” can be as onerous as those described as "contracts". The University, through R&E, reviews funder/cutsomerterms, and uses a set of standard contractual arrangements for a range of activities (e.g. research, studentship, materials transfer, and service provision) for use in negotiation. The key elements within a research agreement are: the ability to publish (or submit and examine a thesis for a studentship); indemnities and warranties; confidentiality; ownership and use of intellectual property (background, foreground and sideground); and price and payments.
- Research Ethics
Research activity, however funded, that involves human participation, data or tissues or the use of animals requires ethical approval before it can start. Approval can only be given by a recognised research ethics committee. Such activity involving NHS staff, patients or facilities is required to be reviewed by an NRES-approved ethics committee. Other such activity must be reviewed by one of the University’s research ethics committees or by another external research ethics committee that is recognised by the University. For details of the University's research ethics committees and procedures refer to Research Governance.
- Sponsorship (for research involving the NHS or social care agencies)
Certain clinical research activities are subject to sponsorship requirements, governed by legislation (the Clinical Trials Regulations) or by regulation (the Department of Health Research Governance Framework). Information about this is available from our NHS Sponsorship Arrangements and Responsibilities [PDF 102.11KB]document.
- Research Management System
This is the management and information system used to capture and administer the University’s research and knowledge exchange portfolio. All externally-funded projects need to be recorded in it, in order to be authorised, and before an account can be set up. In addition to externally-funded projects,the system will also be the means for administering research governance requirements such as research ethics approval, clinical sponsorship, and human tissue licences. (These are currently administered in separate systems, to be migrated to the research management system.)
Most ofthe major research funders now use electronic submission (and onward administration) of proposals. Authorisation within these systems is not a substitute for institutional authorisation, which should take place before submission. The submission process in the funders’ systems is usually controlled by R&E. For further information relating to e-submission, and the systems to which we have access to, refer to Funders Electronic Submission Systems.