hands and notebooks There will be many sections to an application form beyond the science and the budgets which need to be completed and considered.

While the list below is not intended to be exhaustive it does cover many of the common requirements for a grant application.

Things to Consider


It is normal to include a CV for all applicants (and normally any named researchers who will be employed on the grant) as part of the proposal. How these are prepared varies from funder to funder but you should always check that you have complied with the guidance. This may be for specific page limits or specific headings. Where the CV is drawn from the personal information you have added to the funders system you should ensure that this is updated each time an application is prepared to ensure that all new publications and grants are listed.


Fulfilment of GDPR requirements (UK DPA 2018, Data Protection Act 2018 ) is very important. However, the basic principles are easily grasped and really amount to common-sense privacy. Thus, there is no need for unnecessary anxiety.  The thinking behind it is highly thought out and rational.

If in doubt ask Dr Joseph Boyle (NHLI GDPR Rep). Or ask Faculty themselves (a.mateiro@imperial.ac.uk or nicholas.wood@mperial.ac.uk).

It is helpful to do 3 things first. Please register the project with Faculty and do a basic privacy risk assessment (DPIA in the legal jargon). Please do the 2 courses on  Data Protection and Security Awareness, which are mandatory for all staff as part of Imperial Essentials.

Health and Safety

It is important to consider any elements which may require assessment of health and safety at an early stage in the development of the application, and definitely prior to submission, to ensure that if awarded the research can commence. This may include elements such as the need to use higher level containment facilities (which often have limited access), use of radioactive materials etc. This should be discussed with Sue Francis in advance of submission who can provide advice in advance of submission, especially in relation to new projects.

Further information can be found within the College on Laboratory Safety and for Health and Safety Guidance.


The justification of costs on a grant application is more than a list of what you require for the project. The budgets will already be available and it is not usually required to reiterate these. Instead, include a clear rationale for why these posts, why the specific consumables and equipment that you are requesting are essential for delivery and demonstrate that this has all been thought about. It also provides an opportunity to show that Value for Money has been considered. For example, why is a postdoc needed and what skills would they need or why a particular item of equipment is needed and not currently available.

Justification sections are often written as a last-minute section to complete the application, but are very important to the funder, and may be the deciding factor when there is close competition for funding.

Justifications are not normally required for estates and indirect costs, but if the funder does ask for this please contact Alun Owen.

Letters of Support

Letters of Support are a critical element for fellowship applications and other proposals where it is considered by the funding committee. Letters can take many iterations to finalise and should be considered well before the deadline, and not as a last-minute addition to complete the proposal.

Within the NHLI letters should be drafted by the applicant in conjunction with their sponsor and/or Head of Section. This draft text should be sent to Alun Owen for further editing and will then be sent onto Head of Department for final edits and sign off.

Online Forms

Most funders now use some form of online application which requires completion. The sections details and approvals required vary from funder to funder but it is normal for them to require 1 or more levels of approval once you submit. As this may not be able to happen immediately, and potentially there may be errors in the form which require correction before it can be signed off, it is essential to allow sufficient time. College guidance is that 5 working days should be allowed for checks and corrections to be made.

If the application system you are using requires Head of Department or JRO approval this should be checked prior to completing the form to ensure that the relevant people have accounts and can approve. Additionally, for some systems the JRO use generic email addresses or registrations and these can be confirmed with your Section Manager.

More details on the NHLI process for approvals are available.

Research Data Management Plans

Imperial is committed to promoting the highest standards of excellence in research data management and are a requirement formany grant applications.

The Imperial RDM Policy outlines responsibilities in managing research data. Research data management quick guides are also available here  which contains lots of information on preparing the Data Management Plan.

The College has access to DMPOnline which leads applicants through the process and allows Data Management Plans to be produced quickly and easily. Full details on how to use DMPOnline are available.

Space Requirements

It would normally be assumed that any research being proposed will be accommodated within the laboratory and office space which is already available to the PI. In any circumstances where that will not be the case, for example where more desk space is required for the staff which would be employed on the grant, specific space for new equipment or any other space resources which would be new, this should be discussed and agreed initially with the Head of Section but will require Head of Department approval.

Where research cannot be accommodated locally, or if it requires specialist facilities, or working at other locations (e.g. off site facilities) please contact Sue Francis.