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External research funding is important to enabling and promoting excellence in research, as well as supporting the Faculty’s financial health. Due to the ever-growing demand for research funding, and the complexities of putting together multi-partner or international consortia bids, the Research Office assumes a proactive role in supporting colleagues identify appropriate funding sources and advise on how best to apply to them. The below overview aims to summarise the support available and the procedures in place to guide funding applications along their journey from ideation to submission, from award to delivery.
If you are intending to submit an application for external research funding, please take a minute to complete the below form – it allows you to let us know what your envisaged project would look like, what the core budgetary and other requirements are, and ultimately how we can best help support it from costing through to submission. Similarly, form responses are shared with your Research Lead to ensure they are aware of the bid and can also facilitate it as and where necessary.
1. Pre-Award: Submitting Applications for External Research Funding
An increasing number of funding bodies require reassurance that research grant applications have been through an internal review process that ensures only high quality applications are submitted. We also have to verify that applications are costed
correctly, and that we have the facilities and expertise to execute the grant if successful. The University hence requires that each faculty have a Grants Panel to oversee and support the submission of high quality funding applications that have the
best possible chance of success.
To facilitate this process, all internally led applications with an income over £10,000 will be assigned an academic reviewer who will complete an ‘Internal Peer Review Form’ as advised by the respective Research Lead, with a view to help identify
areas that could further improve the application. This internal review process is fundamentally important as it serves to:
that the Research Office will be unable to approve and progress funding applications that have not been reviewed internally and documented on the required form.
The process of costing, approving and archiving funding applications is managed via pFACT (Project Financial Appraisal and Costing Tool). It is not expected that most researchers will learn how to use pFACT for themselves but it is essential that
proposals are properly costed before they are submitted. In a nutshell, the funding journey unto the submission of an application entails:
If you are looking to find funding calls, or have already identified one you wish to apply to, please contact your Research Grants Officer (RGO) and Research Lead (RL) to lodge your intention to submit along with a short note outlining:
Gatehouse, GH 3, Gipsy Lane
BMS: Alistair McGregor, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHPD: Mark Burgess, email@example.com
SHSSW: Helen Dawes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery:
Nursing: Helen Walthall, email@example.com
Midwifery, Community and Public Health: Jane Appleton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have confirmed your eligibility for the funding call with the RGO and RL, please get in touch with the Research and Business Development Office (RBDO) which will assist with the costing of your research grant and setup a Pfact for you.
The sooner you can define your budget the better as different funders allow for different costs which will have a direct impact on the project’s total income level (e.g. charities rarely allow for the recovery of permanent staff salary costs or
overheads while Research Councils do).
RBDO can also assist with making the financial data available in the format you need to complete the application form itself (such as the employer costs, salary spine points, etc). If you have been on pFACT training, you can set up your own
project proposals but certainly run past RBDO before proceeding to the Research Manager approval stage.
Please submit all requests for costing assistance to the RBDO hub e-mail address: Research@brookes.ac.uk
That said, you are likely to work with the following colleagues depending on the source of funding you are looking to apply to:
Peer Review: Your Research Lead will allocate an internal reviewer to your project. Please provide them with a draft of your application at least two to three weeks ahead of the external deadline. The reviewer’s responsibility is to complete the
Internal Peer Review Form and send it to yourself and the RL in time for any pertinent suggestions to be incorporated into the final draft.
Research Office Review: When submitting a copy of the draft to your peer reviewer please also send it to the RGO (Tudor Georgescu) who will similarly provide advice on general readability and ensure that the application meets the requirements of
the funding body and/or other call specific criteria. The Research Manager (Lorraine Williams) will deputise in Tudor’s absence. To facilitate this process, please assign the RGO read-only access to the online application where possible (e.g. if
submitting via platforms such as JeS or GrantsTracker).
‘Preparation’: Up to this point, your application’s status in pFACT will be at ‘preparation’ stage. When the project budget is finalised it will be progressed to ‘Research Manager Approval’.
’Research Manager Approval’: At this point the RGO will check that the Internal Peer Review Form has been received, review the application form and supporting documents (e.g. Case for Support, Justification of Resources etc.), and cross-reference
the pFACT budget with that on the application form. Following these checks the RGO will progress the pFACT to ‘Faculty Finance Approval’. Please note that the project budget cannot be altered after this point.
‘Faculty Finance Approval’: The Faculty Finance Office will review the costings in pFACT and set up the finance journals that will be used to assign costs to overheads or direct costs if the grant is successful. They will also work out what
residual benefit there is to the Faculty after the direct costs of running the project and University overheads have been deducted. Following these checks, they will seek ‘Faculty Management Approval’.
‘Faculty Management Approval’: Faculty Management review and approval will be sought from the Chair of the Grants Panel Prof. David Evans (Associate Dean, Research & Knowledge Exchange), who will subsequently seek ‘University Approval’ from RBDO.
‘University Approval’: RBDO MUST have receipt of the full, final, application including all attachments, and the corresponding pFACT at least five working days ahead of the external deadline. This deadline is not within our Faculty control and
failure to reach it in time may result in the bid being either declined or deferred to a subsequent funding round. Please note that bids with a full economic cost (fec) over £250,000 have to be referred to the Director of Finance for approval, and
that this additional step requires time too.
If you are preparing your application online via platforms such as JeS, please make sure to give RBDO access to it and submit to the ‘pool’ so that RBDO can validate the application. Following this final check ‘University approval’ is given and
pFACT status changes to ‘submitted’. When this status is achieved, RBDO will release the bid to the funder electronically or you can submit the application, depending on the funding body being applied to.
In instances where the application requires wet signatures: It is the applicant’s responsibility to secure the signatures but the Research Office will facilitate where possible and sufficient time is given. If the application needs the signature
of Sarah Taylor as admin/finance representative for the University, all other signatures should be in place first.
2. Post Award: Setting Up and Managing Research Projects
Congratulations you’ve won a research grant! There is a lot of help and support available across the Faculty and University to get your project up and running, all of which can be found in the comprehensive Guide to Managing Research Grants and Research Staff.
As a quick start overview, when you are awarded a grant you will need to follow the following first steps:
Please forward the award letter and the start certificate (if relevant) to Paul Carolan, Post-award Processes Officer in RBDO who will arrange for the official University acceptance of the award and request that a new finance activity code is set up for your grant.
If the award involves signing a contract with the funder or collaborating institutions please forward the documents to Kevin Henderson, Research Contracts Manager in RBDO. The Contracts Team will then review the contract and arrange University signature.
Please note that no data gathering should take place until research ethics approval has been granted. Please refer to the following link for full details of faculty Ethics procedures. Kellie Tune is the Faculty Research Ethics Committee Chair and can provide advice on any issues raised by the research and the ethics approval process. Please also see:
HLS Research Ethics webpage
Converis is the University’s Current Research Information System (CRIS), which is used to store and manage details of research undertaken at Oxford Brookes. When the grant is awarded all award documents will be available in the Documents tab of the Projects screen, including the contract. Once available the project activity code will also be notified via an e-mail alert from Converis.
Further information on Converis, your role in managing the grant, recruiting and selecting researchers, staff induction, on-going management, career development of contract research staff, end of staff contract and key contacts can be found in the Guide.