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Research Operations Office


Submitting your grant application

The application process is managed by the Research Operations Office's Research Development Teams working closely with staff in Departments. All applications for external research funding must go through the Research Office.



Departments are required to give the Research Operations Office (ROO) a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of the intention to submit an applicationPlease highlight clearly if the application involves a Clinical Trial of an Investigational Medicinal Product (CTIMP), a Clinical Trial Unit or a Clinical Trial involving international sites.


Application Processes

  • Standard Application 

    1. All applications over £250k fEC must be sent to ROO to be checked and approved

    2. The full and final application and X5 costing must be received by ROO at least 5 working days before the funder deadline

  • Small Application: this is for applications <£250,000 fEC (excluding the examples listed below). The full application must be received by ROO at least 2 working days before the funder deadline.  These are not checked by ROO.

  • Clinical Trials: applications involving Clinical Trials must provide additional information at least 3 weeks before the funder deadline. Please contact your Research Development Team at ROO.

  • Late Applications: in exceptional cases, the Head of Department can request dispensation for submission of a late standard application. The request must be received, with the full application, at least 2 working days before the funder deadline.

Under certain circumstances it may be necessary to implement a 7 day deadline for particular calls (e.g. major schemes funded by the European Research Council). Ample notice will be given.

Use the flowchart below to help you work out what type of application process you need to use. Click on the image to open as a pdf.


Standard Applications that are received late will not be submitted to the funder unless we receive a request from the Head of Department (HoD).

Applications Deadline Calculator



  • Departments are requied to give the Research Operations Office (ROO) a minimum of 4 weeks' notice of the intention to submit an application

  • ROO is closed on UK Bank Holidays

  • you must also follow your Department's own internal deadlines

  • where Cambridge is not the lead, you should use the lead partner's deadline to calculate when you should send your application to ROO
  • applications involving Clinical Trials must be received at least 3 weeks before the funder deadline 


Before you submit your application

  1. Read the funder’s guidance notes (check eligibility to apply, any pre-selection criteria, timeline, paperwork required etc.).
  2. Inform your department of the intention to apply, and liaise with department staff regarding departmental approval required.
  3. Departments are required to give the Research Operations Office (ROO) a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of the intention to submit an application. Please highlight clearly if this includes a Clinical Trial.
  4. If you require input from the ROO’s Contracts Team (e.g. you are applying for a tender, or as part of an industrial collaboration that requires additional paperwork at application), this must be requested at this stage.
  5. If you require a letter from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research; this must be requested at least 20 working days before the funder deadline.
  6. Ask your department to calculate the costs and budget using the X5 costing tool.
  7. Review the flowchart and deadline calculator (above) to establish whether the application is required to follow the Standard Application Process or Small Application Process.
  8. Get your application approved by your department and submitted to ROO by the required deadline. Check how much time the department need to do this.



Standard Application Process

  • The department must send the application (full and final application and X5 costing) to ROO or submit it to the ROO via the funder’s submission portal (e.g. on JeS, Flexigrant depending on the funder).
  • The application must be received by ROO at least 5 working days before the funder deadline.
  • ROO will check the application, liaise with the department if needed and then either submit the approved application to the funder or approve it for submission by the PI (depending on the submission process).


Small Application Process

Your application doesn't need to be checked by ROO if it's under £250k fEC unless any of the following exceptions apply. If any of these do apply, then the Standard Application Process must be followed.  


  • new funder currently not on X5
  • overseas funder (except PoC and PSCA, see note *)
  • subcontracting
  • collaborations where we are the lead
  • ethical issues or special insurance
  • UK government funding or tender
  • Research Strategy Office restricted call
  • funder requires specific checks from ROO (e.g. all applications to Wellcome Trust, CRUK, and BHF)
  • MSCA where Cambridge is the lead (excluding IFs)

* Note: EU Proof of Concept (PoC applications and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships are managed by ROO as Small Applications - unless we are the lead on a MSCA Network.

For the Small Application Process, please use this checklist and then send the full and final application and X5 costing to ROO at least 2 working days before the funder deadline. 

We will submit to the funder without ROO checks. Late applications risk not being submitted to the funder.



Late Applications 

Late applications will not be submitted to the funder. However, in exceptional cases, a Head of Department (or, if absent, their Deputy) can request that a Standard Application, which did not meet the ROO deadline, is submitted to the funder on the understanding that:

  • the department will accept liability and risks, including any shortfall in funding
  • ROO does not carry out any checks

Where the late application is a multi-department collaboration, a HoD email is required from each collaborating Department. All HoDs must accept the risks.   

The HoD (or, if absent their Deputy), must email ROO at least 2 working days before the funder deadline using the following template:


Dear Research Development Team

As Head of Department for [ name ], I am aware that the Principal Investigator listed below has submitted a grant application after the Research Operations Office (ROO) deadline.  

The application details are as follows:

  • PI Name:
  • Project title:
  • Funder:
  • X5 Number:
  • fEC cost:
  • Collaborators (if applicable):  
  • Reason for late application:

I acknowledge that although this application is late, I would like it to be submitted to the funder, and understand that this will not be checked by ROO.

I acknowledge and accept that any errors or omissions in the application will be the responsibility of the department which shall bear any costs or consequences arising from such.

Yours sincerely,





Support Letters from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research

If you need a support letter signed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, please request the support letter at least 20 working days before the funder deadline. You should still send your application to ROO by the normal deadline, even if you are waiting for your letter of support. 


Restricted calls for funding

Restricted call shappen are where the funder requires the University to coordinate and/or preselect which applications are submitted. Typically this happens when the number of applications an institution can submit or the number of awards the funder can make is limited.

Check the current restricted calls deadlines.


When funders make a decision

When you’re notified of the result of an application please inform your department and the relevant Research Support Advisor in ROO as not all funders inform us of the outcome of applications. 

  • If your application is successful and the grant offered meets the costs on the X5, we’ll assume you’re happy to proceed. We’ll accept the award and activate the grant. If the amount is significantly different then we’ll contact you before activating the grant or accepting the award.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, we keep electronic records, but these may be deactivated after a minimum of 12 months.