Research Operations Office

Applying for funding

Research Operations Office provides assistance to academics, departmental administrators and research support staff when applying for research grant funding.

The standard research grant application process

Once you have decided to apply for a research grant from a sponsor, please complete the following steps:

1 Check the sponsor’s guidance notes
As well as providing useful guidance, these notes should indicate whether you are eligible for the funding scheme for which you are intending to apply.

2 Work out costs and price using X5
X5 is the costing tool used to calculate the Full Economic Cost (fEC) of a given project before applying for funding. Your Departmental Administrator is your first point of contact when needing assistance with the application.

3 Obtain departmental approval
Please consult with the appropriate person in your department (Head of Department or their designated delegate such as the DA) to check that the project proposal has their approval.

4 Check tenure requirements
Please check that the academic who is leading and responsible for the research project – the Principal Investigator (PI) – meets the tenure requirements of the funding body. This is also relevant for Co-Investigators (Co-Is).

How to submit your application

There are two types of application procedures: applications under £150,000 fEC* (full economic costing) and applications over £150,000 fEC.

1. Applications under £150,000 fEC*

The Research Operations Office will not routinely check any applications under £150,000 fEC*, this means that Departments can use a checklist to review their own applications. The Department checklist can be found here. Although the application may not be checked by the Research Operations Office, we still need to submit the application, so please ensure this is with us at least 1 working day before the deadline.

If you would like the Research Operations Office to check your application, please advise the administrator in your School Team at the Research Operations Office. You will also need to allow 3 working days turnaround for specific calls and 5 workings day turnaround for open calls.

*Exceptions: If there are any costs for subcontracting, ethical issues, collaborations, special insurance requirements or if the application is for a restricted call, please contact the administrator in your School Team at the Research Operations Office so that we can carry out full checks on your application.

2. Applications over £150,000 fEC

For applications over £150,000 fEC, Departments are asked to categorise applications into high and low risk.

High risk factors for an application include:

  1. New sponsor - as this requires ethical and finance checks
  2. PI / Co-I eligibility queries
  3. Further budget checks are required
  4. Criteria as agreed by Department and ROO Assistant Director

Depending on an application being high or low risk, then the following deadlines apply for it reaching the ROO.

Budget, Justification of Resources, X5

  Full checks Possible minimal checks*   No checks
High risk   5 to 10 working days   24hrs to 4 working days Less than 24hrs  
Low risk 3+ working days 24hrs to 2 working days Less than 24hrs

*At discretion of Assistant Director at ROO

Full Application including Academic / Scientific Case, Final Budgetase, Final Budget

High risk   24+hrs
Low risk 24+hrs


Whilst allowing PIs to work on the academic case until close to the deadline; the budget, justification of resources and X5 record need to reach the ROO within the above timeframes to ensure appropriate checks can be made.

Additional deadlines

  • If your application is for an open call please allow at least 5 working days for the ROO to check it.
  • Clinical School applications over £1million fEC require approval by Head of the Clinical School so allow an additional 3 working days to the above deadlines.
  • Other School applications over £5million fEC, should allow an additional 5 working days to the above deadlines.

When Departments are ready to send the application to the ROO for checking:

  1. Using the workflow in X5, your Head of Department / Departmental Administrator can approve the costing which will then be submitted to ROO.
  2. Send an e-mail to your Research Support Administrator (RSA) in the ROO informing them that you have completed your work on the budget. Create a PDF of the partially completed sponsor application and include it as an attachment.
  3. Submit the full application including academic case and final budget to ROO at least 24 hours before the sponsor deadline.

Research Support Letters

Where sponsors request a support letter signed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor Research to be submitted with the application for funding, in order to allow sufficient time for the review and signing of letters, the requests for support letter are to be submitted to the Research Strategy Office 10 (ten) working days ahead of the sponsor’s deadline or other institution’s deadline (if another HEI is the lead on the application), whichever is sooner. Further information and guidelines available here.

Submitting the application to the sponsor

For electronic submission forms and X5 proposals, we will submit the checked application to the sponsor on your behalf and notify you of the submission. For paper applications, we will notify you that we have completed checking the application and that the document is ready for collection for you to send to the sponsor.

Further information

RG number

We will provide you with an internal reference number (an RG number) on the X5 proposal that you can quote in any future correspondence.

Does your funding application also require negotiation?

Certain research projects require the University to sign a contract with the other parties involved. If this applies to your project, please get in touch with your Contract Manager at the Research Operations Office who will help put a contract in place with external funding bodies such as industrial sponsors on behalf of the University. As the Research Councils and most UK Charities have standard terms that are accepted by the University, most funding applications do not require negotiation.

What’s our role in the process?

Our aim is to ensure that all applications meet the criteria set out by the sponsor to avoid delays or disappointment for academics later in the assessment process. We endeavour to ensure that the sponsor will have all the information they need to make a decision about your proposal and that the application is submitted in time.

If your application is successful

  • When you are notified of the result of an application please tell the administrator in your School Team as not all sponsors inform us of the outcome of applications
  • If your application is successful and the grant offered matches the costs identified on the original X5 proposal, we will assume you are happy to proceed with the research, and will accept the award and activate the grant so that you can get started. If the amount is significantly different then we will consult you and the Head of Department before activating the grant or accepting the award.

If your application is not successful

When an application is submitted to a sponsor, the Research Operations Office retain the file until either we have been advised that it has been unsuccessful or 12 months has passed. Once an application is deemed unsuccessful the Research Operations Office will:

  • Change the X5 Funder Decision Status to Project Rejected
  • Send a monthly e-mail to Departments listing the unsuccessful applications which are due to be destroyed
  • Retain the paperwork for a further 3 months before destroying unless the Department requests otherwise

Need further information?

Please contact the Administrator in your School Team.