Proposal Development Policy

The Proposal Development Policy ROP-06 [pdf] provides a brief overview of the principles governing the development of funding proposals (grant applications and research contracts) and relevant College policies; as such, it aims to provide early stage guidance to academic and administrative staff. The policy also sets out the principles and obligations governing bid management of ‘complex’ proposals to ensure consistent understanding of responsibility and to support a co-ordinated approach for cross-Faculty collaborations.

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Who does what?

The Academic Department is considered the primary owner of the pre-submission stages of proposal development. However, early notification / consultation with Faculty Research Services is encouraged to ensure complex issues are identified at an early stage.

The Principal Investigator is responsible for overseeing the proposal development and submission process. However, elements may be appropriately delegated to administrative or other staff e.g. InfoEd costing.

For complex bids, a Bid Manager is required (this can be, but is not necessarily, the PI), who will be responsible for ensuring (for that bid) that all relevant business areas are consulted and informed throughout the bid preparation and submission process to ensure a properly scoped, costed, priced and authorised research bid. The Bid Manager is also responsible for ensuring that the bid is appropriately reviewed prior to submission and where the application process involves an interview, that this is prepared for through a mock interview or similar.

Faculty Research Services / Contracts are responsible for the provision of advice and guidance in support of proposal development and to act as the interface between College and the Funder for issues relating to contractual and financial matters. They are explicitly responsible for ensuring that Funder and College Policies have been duly considered and that all internal approvals have been secured before granting institutional authorisation to submit / execute the proposal (i.e. that the financial and contractual terms of the proposal / agreement are acceptable to the College and that the proposal is in line with Funder requirements).

The College’s Research Office is responsible for the policy and system frameworks within which the Faculty Research Services teams operate. The Research Office has authority to accept a number of contractual terms outside of the preferred terms and is also responsible for negotiation of all European Commission contracts / consortium agreements.

The process

For the majority of proposals, grant applications follow a standard application process. There are however a number of factors with potential for complexity.

If the answer is yes to any of the following questions, reference should be made to the guidance for managing non-standard factors.

Is the application:
  • in response to a restricted / quota call?
  • in response to an internal call?
  • to fund a Research Centre or Institute?
  • being submitted to a new funding body and / or funding scheme?
  • to be stated in a foreign currency?
Will the research project (or an element thereof):
  • require institutional contributions / commitments and associated supporting statements?
  • involve external organisations such as other UK universities or overseas organisations?
  • be carried out off-site?
  • involve creation of new buildings and / or major modifications to existing buildings?
  • involve installation of large equipment requiring special access?
  • conflict with existing space allocation plans involving external environmental, security or planning regulatory bodies?
  • involve humans, their tissue and / or data (e.g. healthcare projects)?
  • be considered politically or ethically sensitive?
  • require non-NHS ethics approval?
  • involve persons who could be perceived as having a conflict of interest?
  • involve the processing of personal data or sensitive personal data?