fEC Grant and Awards Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I hold a Fellowship: can I apply for a standard research grant?

A. Yes you can apply for a Research grant but you cannot claim salary and indirect & estates costs if you are already receiving these on the fellowship. Further details of eligibility can be found in the Research Grants Handbook section 2.3 Eligibility of Applicants

Q. Do visiting researchers attract estates & indirect costs?

A. Estates, Infrastructure Technicians & Indirect costs may only be requested for individual visits in excess of six months. Further details of the application process and eligible costs can be found in the Research Grants Handbook Section 5.2.8 visiting researchers

Q. My proposal has been through peer review and I have been asked to re-cost it prior to award. Can I revise the Estates and Indirects if they have increased since submitting the proposal?

A. The original rates used on your application should be used during and re-costing exercise.

Q. I have received my grant confirmation document but I anticipate delays in recruiting a PDRA (Postdoctoral Research Assistant), can I delay the start of my grant?

A. You may delay the start of your grant by up to 3 months, after which time the grant offer will lapse. Please see the Research Grants Handbook Section 7.4 Starting a Research Grant for more details

Q. Who should I contact for information or advice concerning my award?

A. In the first instance you should email the RCUK post award team or call +44 (0)1793 867 121.

Q. Can the start confirmation be submitted prior to the start of the research grant?

A. No, A start date is defined as the date when expenditure is first incurred. Please see the Research Grants Handbook, section 7.4 Starting a Research Grant for details of appropriate costs to start a research grant. You should have documentary evidence that expenditure has been incurred, e.g. proof that a member of staff has commenced work on the project.

Q. I am a PDRA funded for 100% FTE (full time effort) on a grant, can I be named as a Researcher Co-Investigator (CO-I) on another grant?

A. No, to qualify for Researcher Co-Investigator status you need to make a significant contribution to the proposal & the ensuing research and be working on the grant for at least 50% of your time, which would not be the case if you are funded 100% on another grant. Please see the Research Grants Handbook for further details regarding eligibility Section 2.3 Eligibility of Applicants

Q. Could I vire funds from the equipment heading to pay salary costs?

A. No, The virement of funds between fund headings is permitted only within and between Directly Incurred costs and Exceptions excluding equipment. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of equipment headings, whether under Directly Incurred or Exceptions is not permitted. Please see the Research Grants Handbook Section 7.10 Virement of funds

Q. I am a non-STFC funded PDRA but I am working on an STFC funded project, can I use travel and subsistence funds in my research group's STFC grant?

A. A non-STFC funded PDRA can claim T&S (Travel & Subsistence) costs as long as they 1) are working on the STFC project & 2) obtain the Principal Investigator's (PI's) approval to use the grant funds for each time T&S costs are incurred. Please see the Research Grants Handbook Section 7.8 Travel and subsistence

Q. What action do I need to take if the applicant on an award changes?

A. The Research Organisation (RO) must notify STFC if it is proposed to change the PI, for example, following retirement, resignation or death, in which circumstance the research organisation may nominate a replacement PI. In all circumstances, STFC will wish to be assured that the replacement meets the eligibility criteria for applicants and has the expertise and experience to lead the project to a successful conclusion, in accordance with its research objectives. Please see the Research Grants Handbook section 2.3 Eligibility of Applicants. The official request should be made via Je-S using the grant maintenance functionality.

Q. Can I transfer my grant with me if I move to another RO?

A. Yes you may transfer your grant award to another UK RO as long as written agreement from both the relinquishing and receiving organisations has been received. The relevant STFC secretariat should be notified and the new institution must meet STFC's eligibility criteria . Further information regarding the transfer of a grant to another UK Research Organisation can be found in the Research Grants Handbook section 7.11, Transfer of a Grant between Research Organisations in the UK. The request should be made via Je-S using the grant maintenance functionality.

Q. Can I transfer my grant funds to a Research Organisation in another country?

A. Transfers of funds can be made to research organisations in other European countries under the Money Follows Researcher scheme, provided the relevant Research Funding Organisation in that country has signed up to the scheme. Further information and details of the scheme can be found on the following Research Grants Handbook reference: Section 7.12 Transfer of a grant to another European Country

Q. What provisions are available if a researcher will be going on maternity leave during the grant?

A. You may extend the duration of the grant by up to 12 months or claim additional funds for making a substitute appointment. Please see the Research Grants Handbook for further details, Section 7.13 Extensions to Research Grants. The salary costs of any substitute appointment must not exceed that of the individual on leave. Please see the Research Grants Handbook for further details, Section 7.7 Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, and Parental & Long Term Sick Leave

Q. When should an award be put in Suspension?

A. Suspension should be considered when no research is being carried out on the grant or fellowship e.g. no member of staff employed on the award at that time. This will include issues such as gaps in employment whilst awaiting staff replacements.

Q. I'm a PI on a grant and I'm about to retire. My RO has given me emeritus status - can I remain on the grant?

A. You may remain on the grant as a PI or a CO-I so long as your RO has provided formal commitment that they will continue to provide support for your post until the end of the grant. For further details, please see Section 5.3.1 Investigator Posts and Section 2.3 Eligibility of Applicants

Q. My grant is due to end but I have an under-spend, can I use the remaining funds to purchase equipment?

A. The virement of funds between fund headings are permitted only within and between Directly Incurred costs and Exceptions excluding equipment. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of equipment headings, whether under Directly Incurred or Exceptions is not permitted. Section 7.10 Virement of Funds refers. Additionally, prior written approval must be sought from STFC in order to purchase equipment in the last 6 months of a grant. Section 7.9 Equipment refers.

Q. What is the RCUK funding Assurance Programme?

A. RCUK visit research organisations or carry out desk-based reviews to ensure that there are proper controls and procedures in place so that research council grants are managed appropriately. Those ROs which feature in the top 50 funded (by value) by RCUK should ordinarily expect to be approached every three years. Those with lower volumes of funding will be approached on a risk basis.Further details can be found in the Research Grants Handbook section 1.3 Accountability of Research Grant Funds

Q. What is the procedure if I am unsure to which area of STFC, or to which Research Council, my application is most appropriate?

A. Potential applicants should contact STFC via email well in advance of submitting a proposal if they are unsure whether their proposal falls within STFC’s remit or which are of STFC is most appropriate. Please see the Research Grants Handbook section 2.1 Eligibility of Subject Area for further details including procedures for administering proposals that cross Research Council boundaries.

Q. Under what circumstances might sanctions be imposed on a grant, and how can they be resolved?

A. STFC reserves the right to impose financial sanctions where it identifies areas of non-compliance in relation to the terms and conditions of grants. Any deliverables that are received late will incur a sanction, although the Research Organisation can appeal up to 90 days after the sanction was implemented. Payments may also be suspended for non-completion of ResearchFish. Please see the Research Grants Handbook section 7.17 for further details

Q. What is ResearchFish and why should I use it?

A. Researchfish is a means of collecting data, impacts and outputs from the results of research grants. Principal Investigators will be requested to participate in updating the Researchfish database with updates during the lifetime of their grant and for up to 5 years afterwards. Further information is available on the STFC website.

Q. What is required in a data Management Plan and is it mandatory that I provide one?

A. Proposals for projects that would result in the production or collection of scientific data should include a Data Management Plan within the case for support. In the case of proposals that are part of a larger collaborative project, STFC recognises that data management may not be within the sole control of the applicant, or the applicant’s institute. In such cases, where a suitable project wide data management plan exists, this may be referred to.

Further details can be found in the Research Grants Handbook section: 5.8.5 Data Management Plan

Q. What is required in an Impact Plan and is it mandatory that I provide one?

A. All standard grant proposals are required to submit an Impact Plan, identifying the potential economic impacts of their proposal. The STFC website has further details of what is required, please see: Economic Impact in Peer Review. This page also has a link to Guidance for Completing the Pathways to Impact document.

Q. I’m applying for a grant as part of a joint project but am not the lead. Do I need to provide separate attachments (Case/Impact Plan etc) to the lead and, if so, do they need to be an exact copy?

A. The Case for Support, Impact plan and other attachments are only required on the lead proposal, except in the case of consortium grants where non-lead proposals may have different Impact Plans.

Q. Can I apply for any publication costs on my proposal?

A. Following the publication of the revised RCUK policy on open access, and the decision to provide research organisations with block funding for publication costs, STFC no longer provides funding in research grants for any publication costs associated with peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. Publication costs associated with research outputs other than journal articles and conference papers, such as books, monographs, critical editions, catalogues etc may, however, continue to be included in grants as a Directly Incurred Other Cost. The Research Grants Handbook section 5.2 refers.

Q. What might you use my personal data for?

A. STFC comply to an Information Charter, encompassing the Data Protection Act 1998 which can be viewed on the STFC website.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000