Research Funding for Early
Career Researchers
Dr. Matt Briggs
Research & Development Office
Part 1: What is research funding?
Part 2: Main Sources of research funding
Research Councils (RCUK)
Funding Councils (QR)
Part 3: Early Career Researchers
Programmes you could apply for
Part 4: What is the REF?
Part 5: Grant application process
Part 5: Q&A / Discussion
What is research funding?
Career driver
A game
Source of esteem
A way to do what you love
A way of driving ‘impact’ of your research
A performance indicator
A way of meeting interesting people in
interesting places…..
• Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration
What is research funding?
• Importance
• This proposal asks an important question
• Success
• This project is likely to answer that question
• Value
• It’s worth the money to get that answer
• Competence
• These investigators can do it.
What is research funding?
• Two main types:
• Research Council Grants
• You bid for these on a project by project basis.
• Typically £30K – £400K
Funding Council
HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales)
Quality Related (QR)
Allocated to universities on basis of quality of research
Peer Review - REF 2014
Research Councils
• Frequent
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• Events /
Trusts & Government :
• British Academy
British Academy
• Leverhulme Trust
Leverhulme Trust
• Wellcome Trust
Wellcome Trust
• Welsh Government
Welsh Government
• CORDIS (Framework Programme)
• Directorates General
Distribution of Research
• Funding Councils (33%)
• Quality Related (QR)
• Research Councils (23%)
• Grants
Other (45%)
British Academy / Leverhulme / Welcome Trust
Central Government
European Union
Wide variety of sources:
Usually better to find responsive research (open and user defined)
than thematic research (grant awarding body defined)
Policy Finder
Alerts and analysis
Funding for Employment –
Two Approaches
Applying for your own grant…..
Be realistic.
You may have to be in employment at HEI
Or could ‘write yourself a post’
• Keeping your ear to the ground……
• Working as a Research Assistant or Fellow on somebody else's
funded project.
• Benefits – good experience and network building
• Drawbacks – little control of research and may end up spending
your career doing this.
• Little job security.
Early Career Researchers
• AHRC Research Grants - Early Careers
• The Research Grants Schemes are intended to support well-defined
research projects enabling individual researchers to collaborate
with, and bring benefits to, other individuals and organisations
through the conduct of research.
• This scheme is not intended to support individual scholarship.
• Guide
• Full economic cost (fEC) between £50,000 and £250,000 for a
varying duration up to a limit of 60 months
AHRC’s Fellowships (ECR)
• The scheme provides time for potential future research leaders,
to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative
activities which have the potential to generate a transformative
impact on their subject area and beyond.
• Salary and associated costs for periods of between 6 and 24
months. Proposals with a full economic cost of between £50,000
and £250,000 may be submitted.
AHRC Research Networking
• The Research Networking Scheme is intended to support
forums for the discussion and exchange of ideas on a
specified thematic area, issue or problem.
• The intention is to facilitate interactions between researchers
and stakeholders through, for example, a short-term series of
workshops, seminars, networking activities or other events. The
aim of these activities is to stimulate new debate across
boundaries, for example, disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical,
methodological, and/or international.
• Proposals for full economic costs up to £30,000 for a period of
up to two years may be submitted. An additional threshold of up
to £15,000 full economic cost may be sought to cover the costs
of any international participants or activities.
British Academy
• Skills Acquisition Awards
• Pilot scheme enabling early career researchers to develop and
enhance their quantitative skills by spending time with a mentor
at a specialist centre.
• The scheme attracted applications from 32 early career scholars
in established academic posts. The Research Awards
Committee was able to agree to fund 20 of the proposals
submitted, benefiting outstanding researchers and encouraging
the development of networks and future partnerships
BA Postdoctoral
• Do not have to be employed at time of application
• Opportunities for outstanding early career researchers to
strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a
university environment which will develop their curriculum vitae
and improve their prospects of obtaining permanent lecturing
posts by the end of the Fellowship.
• The primary emphasis is on completion of a significant piece of
publishable research, which will be assisted by full membership
of an academic community of established scholars working in
similar fields
BA / Leverhulme Small
Research Grants
• Grants are available to support primary research in the
humanities and social sciences.
• The first recourse for funding should be to your own institution
(where applicable).
• Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and
development; to support the direct costs of research; and to
enable the advancement of research through workshops or
conferences, or visits by or to partner scholars.
• Applications will not be considered for less than £500. The
maximum grant is £10,000 over two years. Applications for
collaborative or individual projects are equally welcome under
this scheme. Applications from international groups of scholars
are welcome, provided there is a UK-based scholar as lead
• Research Leadership Awards
• The aim of these awards is to support those who have
succeeded in beginning a university career but who are then
confronted with the task of building a research team adequately
able to tackle an identified but distinctive research problem.
• The awards provide support for research assistants and
research students led by the award holder. Applicants will have
held a university post for at least two years. Each institution is
limited to one bid only.
• Once a university has selected their chosen candidate, they
should provide the Trust with the applicant’s name,
departmental affiliation and email address. Access will then be
granted to the Trust’s online Grant Application System.
Value and Duration
• The awards will be for a sum of between £800,000 and £1
million, over a period of up to five years
• Early Career Fellowships
• Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development
opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their
academic careers but with a proven record of research.
• It is anticipated that a Fellowship will lead to a more permanent
academic position. Applications are welcomed in any discipline,
and approximately 80 Fellowships will be available in 2013.
Fellowships can be held at universities or at other institutions of
higher education in the UK.
• The Trust will contribute 50% of each Fellow's total salary costs
up to a maximum of £23,000 per annum and the balance is to
be paid by the host institution. Given the prestige of the awards
each Fellow may request annual research expenses of up to
£6,000 to further his or her research activities.
• Study Abroad Studentships
• Study Abroad Studentships support an extended period of
advanced study or research at a centre of learning in any
overseas country, with the exception of the USA.
• The Studentships comprise: a basic annual maintenance
allowance of £17,000; a partner allowance of £6,000 if a Student
is accompanied by a dependent partner; a return air fare; and a
baggage allowance. Further allowances are payable at the
Trust’s discretion, e.g. assistance with overseas tuition fees and
essential research costs.
European Funding
• Framework Programme for Research
• FP7 (2007 – 2013)
• Horizon 2020 (2014-2020)
Marie Curie Actions
Annual Work Programme
European Projects
Huge range……
ERDF – Interreg projects
Rural Alliances (ivb NWE)
ACT & CIME (iva IW)
• Universities employ Project Officers to work on
• Project Management
• Research
• Good career development opportunities
• Impact / knowledge transfer oriented…..
QR Funding Research Excellence Framework
• National peer review of research.
• Quality Profile for defined ‘Units of Assessment’
• National funding councils allocate funds based on the quality
• RAE (2001 - 2007)
• REF (2008 -2013)
• 65% - Quality of the outputs
• 15% - Research Environment
• 20% - Economic and Social Impact of Research
QR Funding
• UWL ranked 83 out of 132 HEIs
• Majority of research ranked ‘world leading’ (25%) or
‘internationally excellent’ (30%)
• Above average for Wales (49%) and comparable with England
• QR funding £911,638 in 2009-10, continue to 2014
REF ‘Output’ Aims:
• Drive up quality across the HE research base and in all forms of
• Support and encourage innovative and curiosity-driven research,
including new approaches, new fields & interdisciplinary work
• Maximum of 4 outputs for each member of staff.
• Originality, Significance and Rigour:
Four Star. Exceptional & world leading.
Three Star. Internationally excellent.
Two Star. Recognised internationally.
One Star. Good, with national recognition.
Game changer.
Key reference point.
Incremental advance.
REF ‘Environment’ Aims
• Ensure a high-quality, forward-looking research environment
conducive to a continuing flow of excellent research and to its
effective dissemination and application
• Vitality
• Sustainability
Policy and strategy
Support & infrastructure
Quality Assurance
Contribution to discipline
REF ‘Impact’ aims:
• Reward and encourage the effective sharing, dissemination and
application of research findings and the productive interchange of
research staff and ideas between HEIs, business and other research
• Reward and encourage HEIs that deliver benefits to business, the
economy and society by building on excellent research
• The ways in which research related knowledge and skills
benefit individuals, organisations and nations by:
1. Fostering global economic performance, and specifically the
economic competitiveness of the UK
2. Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy
3. Enhancing quality of life, health and creative output.
Range of Impacts
WG - For Our Future:
The 21st Century Higher Education Strategy and Plan for Wales
Submission Systems
• Research Councils (Je-S)
• British Academy (E-GAP2)
• Speak to Research Office at the very
Approval Process:
Head of School
PVC (Finance)
Quality Control
If required
Je-S requirements
• RCUK & JISC Applications must
be made through J-ES.
• This takes two forms
• 1). Online Form (summaries and costing)
• 2) Attachments (detailed research plan)
Make use of the help files.
Make use of me.
Leave plenty of time.
All applications subject to quality control and institutional
Online Form
Start / finish dates
Academic Beneficiaries
Staff Duties
Impact Summary
Ethical Information
Project Partners
Data Collection
Academic reviewers
User Reviewers
• Case for support:
• Justification of
Resources (JoR)
• CVs
• Pathways to Impact
• Data Management
Costing a RCUK
Research Bid
• What you need to know about the money…..
• And what we will do to help….
• Full Economic Costing (FEC)
– Directly Incurred
– TRAC (Indirect Costs)
– Directly Allocated (Estates) (Existing)
• Match Funding (20%)
Directly Incurred Costs
• These are the costs that are directly incurred on a
research project, and include both staff and nonstaff costs.
• If the project did not take place then the expenditure would not
be incurred, or it would be wholly dedicated to another project or
• These are generally straight forward, as all costs of these items
will be charged to the particular project.
• Examples include research assistants, consumables, travel and
subsistence, dedicated technicians, equipment purchases, and
research facilities where charge-out rates have been calculated.
Directly Allocated Costs
• These are costs of resources, both staff and nonstaff that are shared between several projects or
activities and are charged to the projects on the
basis of estimates rather than actual costs.
• DA academic staff costs. Costs of academics and research staff
who work on more than one project. The Principal Investigator and
any Co-Investigators estimate their time on a project (hours per
week or per project).
• DA laboratory technician costs. These are the costs of pooled
technicians supporting a number of projects.
• DA non-staff costs. These are the costs of using Research
Facilities where charge-out rates have been calculated.
• Estates costs. Costs of the space in the research area required for
the project, and local support space charged on the basis of the
actual costs incurred by the University. These are charged to
projects as a £ per full time equivalent (FTE) of all academic and
research staff.
Indirect Costs
• These are non-specific costs charged across
all projects not otherwise included as Directly
Allocated costs.
• These costs are necessary for underpinning research but
cannot be allocated to individual projects.
• One indirect cost rate is calculated at TSD and charged to
projects as a £ rate per full time equivalent (FTE) of all
academic and research staff (not support staff unless they are
performing research).

PhD Students: First Grants