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Research Operations Office


Published on 18 August 2011

RCUK Efficiency 2011-2015

There have been a number of updates since RCUK first announced their efficiency plans. Below is the latest summary relating to the Equipment initiative, in particular the 50% contribution and application process for large items. We will be providing a comprehensive summary at the next RGUG which is scheduled for Tuesday 20 September, 9:30am at the Computer Lab, West Cambridge.

A.      50% Equipment Contribution

Full statements from Research Councils about the final details of contributions to equipment funding are starting to be issued, with the EPSRC and BBSRC having recently made their announcements (see links below).

Indications are that most Research Councils will be asking for financial contributions to equipment not only for items between £10k (incl. VAT) and £121,588 (incl. VAT) but also for equipment over the £121,588 threshold (BBSRC confirm this in their statement).

The BBSRC and EPSRC have also stated that applications must include a letter of support detailing the proposed contribution to the cost of the equipment. These letters can be issued by departments, but should be submitted along with the application to the Research Office.

In view of the upcoming October deadlines we strongly advise that any potential applications for equipment funding are discussed at an early stage with the relevant Research Council as well as your School office. In consultation with Schools, the University is in the final stages of concluding the extra funding available to help meet the 50% contribution.

B. EPSRC and BBSRC Interim and New Processes for applying for equipment

Following their May announcement about interim arrangements for equipment funding, the EPSRC have now confirmed their new process:

Most of the new detail concerns the submission of a business case for equipment over the £121k (incl VAT) threshold. Applicants are encouraged to use the new process now, but the interim process is usable for submissions up to 31 August 2011. From September, individual projects including equipment requests over the £121k (incl VAT) threshold will not be accepted as they will have to be applied for via the separate business case process.

The BBSRC have also set out details for how to apply for equipment following both their interim and new process and like the EPSRC set a deadline of 1 September 2011 for the new process to be followed fully:

Note that both Councils make clear that to encourage the culture of equipment sharing they are moving towards primarily funding equipment over £121,588 (incl. VAT) only where it is clear the equipment benefits a range of research.

If you have any questions, please contact your Research Support Administrator/Advisor



Scam e-mail disguised as from the Gates Foundation

It has come to the attention of the Research Office that there is a scam e-mail in circulation which appears to be sent from the Gates Foundation offering individuals the opportunity to apply for research funding via an attached application form. Prior to receiving any potential funds, applicants are asked to make a payment, usually for a few thousand dollars to cover administration costs.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website states that they have nothing to do with this e-mail and that they would not send such requests for handling costs to be covered. Further details and some guidance on how to distinguish these scam emails from legitimate correspondence can be found here