Computer Science @ University of St Andrews

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Applying for a research grant

The aim of this page and its links is to provide help for people applying for research grants. Some of it will mostly be of interest to those applying for the first time but other information will be, I hope, more universally useful. Links for more information are:

This page focuses on admin things that you need to do. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask either Alex Bain or the DoR.

The process

I assume that you have already identified a funding opportunity and a potential funder. You must now ensure that the intended Funder has been ethically approved by UTREC, in conjunction with the Deputy Principal. A list of ethically approved Funders can be found on the following weblink https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/utrec/FundersApprovalApplication/. If your intended funder is on the UTREC 'Automatically Approved Funders' list you may proceed. If however, your funder does not appear on this list you must submit a Funders Ethical Application Form to your HoS who will submit to UTREC. Only once ethical approval for your intended Funder/Sponsor has been received should you then write a proposal and work out the resources that you need. This will be the basis for calculating the cost of the work; from this, you then calculate the price which you will charge to the funder. Administratively, the things you have to do are:

  1. Tell Alex Bain about your proposal - he can help you with this process and tell the HoS to expect your proposal. If Alex doesn't know about it, then there could be some delay in getting the HoS approval (which is required by the University before a proposal can be submitted). You should ask Alex if there are policies for costs which should be included (e.g. you should always include some funding for secretarial support under EPSRC proposals). Alex will tell you what to include under School costs and where to put them in your proposal. He will also let the HoS know about the proposal. You should always include at least 10% of your own time (preferably more).
  2. If your proposal involves equipment that we need to accommodate in a machine room, talk to the systems people about your requirements. Please don't just assume that there is space.
  3. Get in touch with Research Support with an estimate of the resources that you need. They have a system which they can plug these into to calculate the cost of the research. If you tell them who the funder is, they will also propose a price that is to be charged. There is are a team of people there to help. Just email compscifas@st-andrews.ac.uk
  4. If the funder is not the EPSRC or the European Commission, (e.g. it might be from industry) you will need to talk to Research and Enterprise Services who will 'help' you negotiate with the funder and set a price for the work. Be warned though that some members of staff have found that their 'help' is about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane, but you need to talk to them to get your proposal through the system.
  5. Once you have an initial estimate of the price, you may wish to change this. You can't change the costing parameters in the model (e.g. cost of space) so you have to change your requirements, such as grade of staff appointed, etc. The folks in Finance are usually pretty good at turning around changes pretty quickly.
  6. Once your costs have been finalised, you then need to have the proposal signed off by the HoS or a deputy. This will all happen automatically, driven by the Research Finance people. However, the HoS needs to know this is coming - hence the importance of telling Alex that you are writing a proposal.
  7. If you are submitted an EPSRC proposal, you need to go through their on-line application process (JeS system). You fill in the form, transferring the figures from the Finance spreadsheet. When you are finished the form, you flag it as ready for submission. If I have remembered the process correctly, this will then trigger a request to the Finance people to 'officially' submit it. It is always worth keeping them up to date anyway with the progress of your proposal.

Reviewing

We are thinking about establishing a formal process for reviewing research proposals before they are submitted but we don't want anything that's too heavyweight. Meanwhile, a number of experienced staff in the School have indicated that they are willing to review and comment on proposals that are under development. If you would like someone to look at your proposal, get in touch with the Director of Research and he/she will facilitate this process. Remember that people are busy and allow enough time for them to do the review.