Opportunity Application Contract Post-Award

Information : Application

Guidance Notes for Applications

Applications for research grants will follow various formats and will be driven by sponsor requirements. This section is provided to highlight the most common information requirements for research grant applications and to provide useful information to assist when you are completing these sections of your application. If further clarification on completing any aspect of a research grant application is required, please contact the Research Support Office.

Host Organisation. The research application should clearly state that the research project is to be hosted by Queen's University, Belfast, University Road, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Investigators. The sponsor will require details of the Principal Investigator and any Co-Investigators. The Principal Investigator should normally be the person who is leading the management of the project and would normally act as the main contact between the sponsor and the University. Sponsor guidelines should be carefully scrutinised to ascertain if there are any investigator eligibility requirements. Investigators included in the proposal must meet the eligibility requirements specified. For example, Research Councils may specify that the Principal Investigator is permanently employed by a United Kingdom University and is resident in the United Kingdom at the time the application is submitted.

Recognised Researchers. These are contract researchers who should receive recognition for their contribution to the preparation of the research proposal. Recognised researchers may include, for example, a researcher who is not eligible to apply as a Principal Investigator, but who has contributed to developing the application and who will be involved with the project if the application is successful. It is important to include such researchers, as Research Councils will acknowledge recognised researchers on grant announcements and research databases.

Investigator Contact Details. Clear and complete contact details should be provided to sponsors with the application.

Current Appointment Details. Sponsors may require information on the Principal Investigator's current appointment and the University in which they are employed. Some sponsors will have eligibility criteria that bar some applicants from applying for funding. For example, visiting or honorary staff may be ineligible from applying for funding from a Research Council unless they have a formal contract of employment with the host University. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that they satisfy all sponsor eligibility criteria.

Research Project Title. Sponsors will require applications to include a title for the project. They may provide specific guidelines regarding project titles. Guidelines can include, for example, a restriction of the length of the title, limitations on the use of specialist symbols, etc.

Funding Stream/Type of Proposal. The application guidelines may require the application to indicate the specific funding stream to which they are applying for funding. Research Councils may have various funding streams available and applicants must indicate the type of funding they are applying for.

Start Date and Duration. Most sponsors will require applicants to propose a start date and define the duration of the project. It is important to ensure that the start date and duration of the proposal is within the sponsors funding envelope and provided in the format requested (i.e. weeks, months, etc). It is also important to be realistic about the start date and time required to complete the research.

Project Summary. Research Councils have a responsibility to promote the public awareness and understanding of their fields of research. They will therefore require applications to include a concise project summary. The information included in the summary may be used by the Councils for general publicity purposes, for press releases, etc. Applicants should be mindful of sponsor specifications relating to project summaries.

Scheme of Research/Project Objectives. Sponsors will require a description of the proposed research project. Principal Investigators should pay particular attention to sponsor guidelines regarding this information. It is important to ensure that the information provided in support of the project is focused and concise.

Project Objectives. Project objectives should be provided with the proposal. The objectives should be clearly defined as these may be used by the sponsor to evaluate the research. Principal Investigators should be mindful of sponsor specifications relating to the provision of project objectives.

Beneficiaries of the Research. Sponsors, particularly Research Councils, Charities and Government Departments may ask for details of the envisaged beneficiaries of the proposed research. It is recommended that information on beneficiaries form as broad a group as possible should be provided.

Commercial Outcomes. Researchers are strongly encouraged to consider possible commercially exploitable outcomes leading from the research proposal. Where researchers consider that there may be such a possibility leading from their research project they should raise the matter with the Research Support Office before the proposal is submitted to the sponsor.

Referees and Assessors. Sponsors may seek an expert academic evaluation of a research proposal. To enable proposals to be expertly evaluated a sponsor may require one or more referees or assessors to be nominated by the Principal Investigator. It is usual for sponsors to ask for a statement regarding the nature of the professional relationship between the nominated assessor and the investigator/University. The application guidance notes from Research Councils may specify criteria regarding the types of referees that should or should not be used. Instructions may also be provided regarding the procedures for the provision on an evaluation of the project from nominated referees/assessors. Investigators should be mindful to adhere to the instructions specified.

Ethical Aspects of Research. All research undertaken within the University is expected to be conducted to the highest level of integrity and must comply with the Code of Conduct in Research and the Policy on the Ethical Approval of Research . In particular, the following research must receive approval from an appropriate research ethics committee:

  • Research involving HPSS staff, patients or facilities
  • Research involving human participants, material or data
  • Research involving animals

If you require further information and advice regarding ethical aspects of research you should contact the University Research Governance Officer.

Research Governance (HPSS). Research involving HPSS staff, patients (including their samples and data) and facilities falls under the terms of the Research Governance Framework for Health & Social Care. In order to comply with this a number of requirements must be fulfilled including:

  • Identification of a sponsor
  • Clearance from the relevant Trust(s)
  • Approval from the HPSS Research Ethics Committee

If you require further information and advice regarding HPSS Research Governance issues you should contact the University Research Governance Officer.

Signatures of Approval on Applications . It should be noted that sponsors may state requirements regarding the authorisation of (or signatures on) the application. Applications submitted from Queen's must comply with the stated sponsor authorisation/signature requirements. It should be noted that sponsor authorisation requirements may not be the same as the internal authorisation required by the University. For all applications for research funding both sponsor authorisation and University authorisation requirements must be adhered to.

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