Research data management

Bidding for funding

Data management is a crucial part of the research project life cycle from the very beginning and many funders now require a data management plan as part of the bidding process. The guide below will help you to find out what your funder's requirements are and what you need to do to meet them.

What do funders expect?

Many research funding agencies also require their recipients to create and follow plans for managing and sharing data. The degree of planning and explanation required varies from agency to agency.

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) provides an Overview of Individual Funders' Data Policies

Horizon 2020, the successor to FP7, has recently launched and includes requirements for Data Management Plans and encourages providing Open Access to Data. Find out more about the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data Pilot and how to produce a Data Management Plan for a Horizon 2020 proposal. 

How can data planning affect my bidding process?

How you manage your data is likely to affect the costing of your project. These costs will need to be considered and included as part of the funding bid process.

There are two ways to cost data management for your research project:

  • All activities involved in the entire data life cycle - from data creation, through processing, analyses and storage to sharing and preservation - are priced to calculate the total cost of data generation, data sharing and preservation. Costs to be budgeted for include:
    • How much storage space will you need over the life of the project?
    • How much of the data will you want to keep after the project is over?
    • How long will you want to keep it for?
    • Is it important to have regular back-ups?
    • What are the funder requirements for this?
    • What are the institution's requirements for this?
  • Alternatively, cost the additional expenses - above standard research procedures and practices - that are required to make research data shareable beyond the primary research team. This is calculated by first listing all data management activities and steps required to make data shareable then pricing each activity in terms of people's time or physical resources needed such as hardware or software. The UK Data Service has developed a simple tool that can be used for this costing option.

How can I best meet my funder's data management requirements?

Research proposal submissions usually require a statement on how you will access, manage and preserve your research materials and outputs. Common areas to cover include how you will:

  • Manage the data you produce – how will you document and maintain the research you produce? Includes areas such as describing raw data and saving files correctly.
  • Publish your results – how will you make the results of your research available? For example, through published papers?
  • Share your outputs – Open access of research outputs is now a requirement for many funders. You will need to describe how you will make your publications freely available, or if your data will be accessible through channels such as data centres
  • Deposit and preserve your outputs – How will you ensure that your data is accessible in the long term? This will involve depositing papers in a funder’s publications repository or a recommended data centre who will ensure the safekeeping of project data.

The best way to address these requirements is to produce a Data Management Plan (DMP).

Useful links