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Research Operations Office


Changes to procedures from 27th April 2020

The Research Office will be prioritising all activity relating to COVID-19, while continuing to support academic and departmental colleagues as effectively as is possible given the challenging circumstances. In particular there are several changes to the way in which grant applications will now be dealt with.

  • Departments are required to give the Research Office a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of their intention to submit to a particular scheme
  • Departments must send the Research Office their full proposal no less than 7 working days in advance of the funder deadline
  • Small applications: Departments to send the Research Office the full proposal no less than 2 working days in advance of the funder deadline.

Further details of these changes, as well as information about restricted calls, managing awards and contract negotiation visit the ROO COVID-19 webpage.  For queries, please get in touch with your Research Office Contact.

The deadlines outlined in the procedures temporarily replace the 7, 5 and 1 working day deadlines. All other guidance remains current.

You need to give everyone involved enough time to check and approve your grant application. This includes taking into account your Department’s own internal deadlines for reviewing and approving your application before you send it to ROO. If you don’t, your application may not be submitted to the funder.

We will not submit late applications to the funder unless we receive a request from the Head of Department (HoD).

Before you submit your application

1. Read the funder’s guidance notes and make sure you're eligible for the scheme you’re applying to.

2. Give the Research Office a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of your intention to submit to a particular scheme.

3. Calculate the full economic cost (fEC) using the X5 costing tool.

4. Get your application approved by your department – this is usually by the Departmental Administrator (DA) and Head of Department (HoD). Check with your department how much time they need to do this.

5. Send your application to ROO to be checked 7 working days before the funder submission deadline.

Your application doesn't need to be checked by ROO if it's under £250k fEC, and has no exceptions. You should check your application and send it to ROO at least 2 working days before the funder submission deadline. We won't check the application but we will submit it to the funder.


  • new funder currently not on X5
  • overseas funder, including European funders
  • subcontracting
  • collaborations where we are the lead
  • ethical issues or special insurance
  • UK government funding or tender
  • 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)


Decision tree for departments to work out when to submit an application (pdf)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Research Office has changed its application procedures deadlines and now requires additional time. Please note that these temporary changes have NOT been included in the  tool below. Further details are available on the ROO COVID-19 webpage.

Use this tool to find out what type of checks your application requires.


Checks by ROO

Send your full and final application (including the academic case) to ROO at least 7 working days before the funder deadline so that we can check your application.


When to send your application to ROO

Example - The funder deadline is Wednesday 20 October, 3pm. 

Send your application to ROO:

  • no later than Monday 11 October, 3pm (7 working days before the funder deadline) for projects over £250k fEC or small applications that have exceptions
  • no later than Monday 18 October, 3pm (2 working days before the funder deadline) for projects under £250 fEC

Application Deadline Calculator 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the  tempoary changes to deadlines are reflected in the calculator below. In addition, Departments are required to give the Research Office a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of their intention to submit to a particular scheme.


  • ROO is closed on UK Bank Holidays

  • ensure that you take into account your Department’s own internal deadlines for reviewing and approving your application before you send it to ROO

  • for collaborations where you're not the lead, you should use the lead partner’s deadline to calculate when you should send your application to the ROO
  • for open calls where your application is to be submitted for a panel meeting, your application should be sent to ROO 7 working days before this date


Sending a late application to ROO

As a minimum, you need to send all applications over £250k fEC to ROO at least 7 working days before the funder submission deadline.

We won't submit late applications to the funder unless the HoD agrees that:

  • the department will accept liability and risks, including any shortfall in funding if the application is awarded
  • ROO will not carry out any checks

Where the late application is a multi-department collaboration, be aware that if one department is late, the application cannot be checked and a Head of Department letter is required from each collaborating Department. This is because all HoDs needs to agree that they accept the risks of an application being submitted unchecked.     


How to request ROO to submit a late application

The HoD or if absent their deputy, needs to email the ROO using this template:


Dear [Name]

As Head of Department for [Oceanography], I [Professor Joe Bloggs] 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:
  • Start Date:
  • X5 ID:
  • fEC cost:
  • Grant number:
  • 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 the ROO will do this without undertaking any checks.

I further 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,




Research support letters

Funders may ask you to submit a support letter signed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research with your application.

You need to request the support letter at least 20 working days before the funder submission deadline. You should still send your grant application to ROO even if you are waiting for your letter of support. The letter can be added to your application once you receive it.


Restricted calls for funding

These 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.


Submitting the application to a funder

Online submissions and X5 costings

We’ll submit the checked application to the funder and notify you when this happens.


Research Councils

We’ll submit the grant application to the relevant research council in Je-S (Joint Electronic Submission System).


When funders make a decision

When you’re notified of the result of an application please tell the Research Support Advisor in your school team as not all funders inform us of the outcome of applications. 


If your application is successful

If the grant offered meets the costs on the X5, we’ll assume you’re happy to proceed with the research. We’ll accept the award and activate the grant.

If the amount is significantly different then we’ll contact you and the HoD before activating the grant or accepting the award.


If your application is unsuccessful

We’ll keep the file until either we’ve been told that it’s been unsuccessful or for 12 months.

If your application is unsuccessful we will:

  • change the X5 ‘funder decision status’ to ‘project rejected’

  • keep the application for 3 months before destroying it unless the department requests otherwise

  • email the department to tell them if an application is due to be destroyed


Prior to the COVID pandemic

In normal working times, the usual deadlines for applications are as follows for projects over £250k fEC

  7 working days 5 working days Up-to 1 working day
2-stage checks X5, JoR, budget tables   Full and final application (including X5, JoR, budget tables)
1-stage checks   Full and final application  

For small applications, Departments send their full proposal no less than 1 working day in advance of the funder deadline.


2-stage checks

We'll review the financial parts of your application whilst the PI can continue to work on the academic case and any other non-financial elements.

Send us:

1.    7 working days or more before the funder submission deadline - your application in progress.

As a minimum this is:

  • the X5 costing
  • the justification of resources (JoR)
  • budget tables

2.    1 working day or more before the funder submission deadline - your full and final application (including the academic case).

When submitting under the 7 working day deadline, ROO will check the application and advise of any changes needed. Errors and inconsistencies can be amended, however when the full and final application is submitted 1 working day before the deadline, there should not be any significant resource changes to the application.

1-stage checks

We’ll check your whole application in one go.

Send us:

1.    5 working days or more before the funder submission deadline - your full and final application.


Due to COVID-19 the usual application deadlines have been paused.