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Research Operations Office

 

Published on 25 February 2011


Research Grants User Group (RGUG) Meeting - Tuesday 1 March 2011

The next meeting of the RGUG will take place on Tuesday 1 March at 9:30am and will be held at Little Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Sidgwick Site. The RGUG is led by the Research Office and is a forum where research grant administration issues and developments are discussed. Further details and minutes of the previous meeting can be found on the Research Office website https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/research/rgug/.

BBSRC: Changes in procedures and processes

The BBSRC have announced several changes to their processes and procedures. More detailed information can be found at: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/policy/2011/110124-n-changes-in-bbsrc-grants.aspx. In summary the changes are:

  • The timing of future grant rounds and delays in processing grants
  • Changes to the committee structure (particularly Committee C)
  • Prioritisation - ensuring that grants are prioritised according to the BBSRC's strategic plan
  • Quality of proposals and peer review effort - recommendation to have internal review procedures and referee scoring
  • Changes to standard procedures - reduction of application errors and better justification of resources
  • Eligibility, resubmissions and BBSRC remit - ensuring that only eligible persons apply for grants that are in the remit of the BBSRC
  • Scoring "Pathways to Impact"
  • Refereeing of grant applications - track record of being a referee

In addition to the above, the BBSRC have also confirmed their move to the Shared Services Centre (SSC) and have advised of the following:

  • A slowing of service between February and April 2011
  • For Pre Award, those grants with an application close date of January 2011 will take much longer than normal to announce. Referee co-operation is extremely important at this time
  • For Post Award, no grant changes will be processed in this transition time (transfers, No Cost Extensions, Start dates etc). The BBSRC will adjust the dates of final expenditure statements and reports in due course. The Research Office are liaising with the BBSRC for confirmation dates
  • There are also a number of process changes particularly in using JeS, which will be enforced for all changes to grants. Also, a pre award tracker is to be implemented along with online refereeing

More information on the announcements following their move to the SSC, can be found at  http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/news/2011/110124-bbsrc-grant-administration.aspx

Further details and a presentation will be made at the RGUG on Tuesday 1 March 2011, however, if you have any questions, please contact your School Team https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/research/contact/list.aspx

Wellcome Trust Schemes Update

Following the launch of the new Wellcome Trust schemes and the first round deadline in November 2010, the Research Office would like to update you regarding progress on the current round of applications and information on future submissions.

First round applications are currently going through Stage 3 of the Trust's application process, which is the Scientific Review and Shortlisting phase. This should be near completion and applicants should find out soon whether they will proceed to Stage 4, External Peer Review. If applicants are successful in the shortlisting phase - they have 7 days in which to complete Part 3 of the application form (this contains information on data management, clinical trials and animal experiments). Please note that Part 3 is already available for completion on eGrants.

External Peer Review will be taking place during March and April and successful applicants will then be invited to attend an interview, which is currently scheduled for 10 - 12 May 2011. If successful, the Trust will proceed to Award stage, which will involve the completion of Part 4 (Final Details section of the application) which includes detailed budget information, Ethics and Regulatory Issues, Research Conduct and Conflict of Interest, and IP. At Award stage, the Trust expect to visit the University and hold a meeting with the PI and Research Office to work out the final details of award. The Research Office will be in touch with successful departments to discuss this further in due course.

With respect to the Interview stage, they have strongly advised that applicants consider undergoing a mock interview, paying particular attention to ensuring that they are familiar with recent advances in their field and are prepared to provide a concise summary of their proposed project and research career to date.

We have also been advised by the Trust, that even though they are now accepting applications on a rolling basis, with interviews taking place four times per year and the second round of interviews scheduled for October 2011, that potential applicants will need to submit a full application to the Trust by the first week in April if they wish to be considered in the second round.  The subsequent round of interviews will not take place until early 2012.

The Trust also strongly recommend that potential Investigator Award applicants undertake an initial CV Check (via the eGrants system) to obtain advice on their eligibility and suitability.  These checks take the Trust 2-3 weeks to process. Applicants who wish their full applications to be considered in the second round will therefore need to have submitted their CV check to the Trust within the next month.

Further information will be presented at the RGUG on Tuesday 1 March 2011. If you have any further questions, please contact your School Team https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/research/contact/list.aspx

ARMA Membership 2011/2012

Following on from last year’s successful sign up to ARMA (Association of Research Managers and Administrators in the UK), the Research Office would like to invite departmental staff with a direct responsibility for research grant administration to consider joining ARMA for 2011-2012.

ARMA is the professional association for research managers and administrators in the UK. Members work in a variety of organisations, including universities, funding bodies, the NHS and independent research organisations, as well as organisations providing services to research support offices. Their activities are focused on encouraging professional development and networking amongst research managers and administrators.

To keep members up to date with developments in the field, ARMA provides training and information events, including an annual Conference, a series of one-day seminars, a structured programme of training courses and short Study Tours. It also supports the exchange of knowledge and best practice through focused Discussion Groups and a number of email lists.

New Members: how to join

If you wish to join ARMA, then please join via their website http://www.arma.ac.uk/ but please DO NOT generate an invoice as the University qualifies for a group discount.

Once you have joined online, please send your name and email address to hannah.pawson@admin.cam.ac.uk, who will add you to the group list and generate a group invoice for all University members in April 2011.

Existing Members: what to do 

If you are an existing member, you will automatically be registered for 2011 – 2012, but if you no longer wish to be a member, please contact Hannah (details above).

The deadline for signing up or cancelling your membership is Wednesday 10 March 2011.

Please note that only the subscription charge will be met by the University, additional fees for training and events will need to be met by the member themselves or their Department.

RCUK - Reporting Overspends on Grants

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have recently advised that following discussions between themselves and Research Organisations, they have decided that the requirement for reporting overspends on grants will no longer be enforced as a condition of their funding for the time being.

However, after consulting with the Finance Division, the Research Office can confirm that the University guidance is to continue our current practice as outlined in the Financial Procedures, whereby we report on overspends using the method prescribed. This process will now be advised as best practice instead of being a compulsory requirement. If you have any questions please contact your School Team https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/research/contact/list.aspx.