How to apply for external research funding

All research grant applications must go through internal authorisation prior to submission. This is done on the pFACT system (download the Guide to Approving a Research Project Proposal through pFACT).

How to apply - advice from external funders

Approval stages using pFACT

  • The approval stages are as follows:
    • The applicant logs on to pFACT and checks the resources and budget are correct and attaches the application form and any supporting documentation. He/she then completes a number of questions and submits the application to the Research Grants and Contracts Office. Note that applicants should have already completed internal peer review and consulted their Head of Department about any resource implications of the application/tender before completing this stage.
    • The Research Grants and Contracts Office checks that the detail of the application against the costing on pFACT to ensure that staff salaries, estates and indirect costs, and terms and conditions of funding are acceptable to Birkbeck and the application conforms to the funder’s rules.
    • Executive Dean. The Executive Dean must be informed of the extent of research in which academic and research staff are engaged. He/she approves that the research can be undertaken within the School, direct costs have been included or can be met by the School, and that staffing implications, including requests for ‘buy out’ time are acceptable.
    • The College Secretary / Director of Finance. This final stage gives Birkbeck approval that the application can be submitted to the funder.
  • The application can only be submitted once the above stages have been completed.
  • Timescales for approval:
    • Each approver above must be given at least three clear working days to review the application and sign-off.
    • Automated emails are copied to the applicant when each approval stage is completed.

How to submit a completed application

  • When the application is fully authorised, the applicant (or where appropriate, the RGCO) can submit the application to the funding body.
  • Paper application forms that require institutional signatures should be passed to the RGCO at the same time that the applicant completes their stage of the pFACT sign-off.

Justification of resources

  • Most funders will require a description of why the resources requested are needed for the particular project.
    • For Research Council applications this is done on a two-page ‘Justification of Resources'. It is important that this document matches with the financial details entered onto the application form, and provides an explanation of why the resources are appropriate for the research proposed.
    • Note that the Justification of Resources should not be just a list of the resources requested, as this is already entered on the application form. Nor should you be explaining the academic proposal in this section – you only have two pages to explain the costs, so you need to ensure that this is done clearly and concisely.
  • AHRC: How to write a Justification of Resources

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