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Research Operations Office


Published on 27 October 2010

Reminder: CLEER programme – changes in applications procedures

This is a reminder that following the Research Grants User Group (RGUG) meeting on 28 September 2010 the enclosed proposals were discussed and agreed This means that from 1 November 2010, Departments will be able to check their own small applications (under £150,000 fEC).

The default position will be that the Research Office will not check any applications under this value, and Departments should ensure applications are with the Research Office 1 working day before the deadline so that we can submit your proposal straight to the funder. The exception to this is if there are any subcontracting costs, ethical issues, collaborations or special insurance requirements, please contact the Research Office so that we can carry out full checks on your application.

If you would still like a small application to be reviewed by the Research Office please let the administrator in your School Team know, allowing the usual required turnaround times of 3 days for specific deadlines and 5 days for open call applications. Any small applications received with less than 3 or 5 days will not be checked.

A brief checklist has been produced to assist Departments review their own small applications which can be found here

The benefits of this new procedure are that it will speed up the application process, give Departments the choice of having a small application checked, and will allow the Research Office to provide help and guidance for more complex applications. If you have any queries please contact your School Team at the Research Office.

Changes to pFACT: New BHF Student Maintenance Rates

Due to the British Heart Foundation updating their Student Maintenance rates with effect from 1 October 2010, pFACT is being updated to reflect this change. The new rates will be added to pFACT on Monday 8 November 2010 between 8:00 am and 10:00 am during which time the system will be vulnerable.  Further details on these rates can be found on the BHF’s website at

Users are requested to press the Recalculate button once these changes have been made to bring these rates into their proposals. Any proposals that are currently with the Research Office will be recalculated and the necessary amendments made to proposals.

If you have any queries regarding these changes, please contact your School team at the Research Office, or the pFACT helpdesk at or 01223765432.

EC Guidance following recent audit

The Research Offive has received the official findings from the EC external audit conducted by Ernst and Young.  There were a few areas where costs have been disallowed, which we would like to bring to your attention:

  1. VAT on travel expenses.  This is not an allowable expense on EC grants.
  2. Time spent by employees on other activities not related to the grant e.g. Excel Training is not an allowable expense 
  3. If costs of equipment have been prorated then the cost of additional support relating to this equipment should be prorated in the same way
  4. College Fees are not eligible

In addition it is important to remember that only actual costs are eligible on EC grants therefore pooled labour and average costing will not pass a financial audit.

Should you have any queries please contact your School team at the Research Office.

Eligibility of Tuition Fees on EC grants

The EC has confirmed that tuition fees (or University fees) are an eligible cost for Early Stage Researchers under Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITNs) and Industry Academia Pathways & Partnerships (IAPPs) actions. The fees should be charged at the reduced staff rate and should be claimed under category E (Task 3 in CUFS). For all other EC actions tuition fee remains an ineligible cost, except when training can be deemed to be the main objective of the project.

Should you have any queries please contact your School team at the Research Office.

Presentations from BBSRC and NERC visits on the Research Office site

Please note that the presentation slides from the BBSRC visit which took place on Thursday 7 October, and NERC visit which took place on Thursday 13 October, are now available on the Research Office website at