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Research Operations Office


These are frequently asked questions about applying for funding. See also the X5 FAQs.

Q. How much time does it take to check an application?

For applications with a specific deadline, you should allow 3 working days to check your research grant application, and if it is an open call please allow at least 5 working days. It is crucial that you build this into your planning. During this time we work to the deadline, to ensure that the funding body will have all the information they need to make a decision about your proposal. Should you need help with costing and pricing of your application or any other aspect of creating an application, please contact your Research Support Advisor.

Q. Do I need to submit an X5 proposal for an equipment grant?

For further guidance on purchasing equipment go to Research facilities and equipment at Cambridge

Q. How do I establish whether the funds I am to receive are part of a research agreement (and therefore need to be set up as a research grant account) or a donation?

If you answer 'yes' to any of the following questions, your funding must be set up as a research grant account. If you answer 'no' to all of them, your funding is a donation.

Questions regarding research agreements and donations:

  • Is there a proposal submitted for consideration?
  • Are there scholarly terms?
  • Are there deliverables?
  • Are reports required, accounting for the financial or academic performance of the project?
  • Are there disposal terms for equipment or property?

Q. Who should sign my studentship application on behalf of the University?

Student nomination forms should be submitted to the Student Registry if they are either applications to a Research Council or are brand-new named studentships from any sponsor. Studentship nomination forms should be submitted tothe Research Operations Office if they are new applications for an unnamed student to any sponsor other than a Research Council, or are a renewal for any studentship. Contact an Research Support Advisor if you need more information. Further information about graduate fees and maintenance is available from Graduate Admissions .

Q. Can retired staff hold grants?

Not unless they hold a Voluntary Research Agreement (only awarded in exceptional circumstances) and provided sponsor terms and conditions allow retired PIs. For further details about Voluntary Research Agreements see HR's page about Retirement Policy

Q. My sponsor has an electronic submission system. Can I submit my application electronically?

We submit the majority of Research Council grant applications electronically, as well as applications for many other sponsors. If you are unsure please see our electronic submissions page, or contact your Research Support Advisor.

Q. What are the Terms and Conditions related to being a PI?

The PI is generally the academic who has overall responsibility for the conduct of the project. They will be responsible for managing the research budget and providing all deliverables and reports requested by the sponsor. The PI is normally expected to have tenure for the period of the grant, although see below.

Q. If the PI or a researcher leaves a project, is it possible to replace them?

This is governed by the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions as specified in the contract/award letter. If the Terms and Conditions allow a replacement, please contact the sponsor directly and ask them to put it in writing. We will process the changes accordingly.

Q. What should I do if the PI does not have tenure for the life of the grant?

Please raise any queries with us as there are sometimes exceptions to the tenure requirement. However, note that some sponsors always require the PI to have tenure to the end of the project, and in this case you will be expected to attach to the application a letter of support from your Head of Department to the Research Operations Office explaining your status. Note that if you are applying for your own salary or a fellowship, there is usually no tenure requirement by the University or sponsor.

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