Grants and Research Funding

Contents of this section:

[Note. An asterisk denotes a reference to a previously published or recurrent entry.]

Return to Contents Page of this issue


GRANTS ADMINISTERED BY THE GENERAL BOARD'S RESEARCH AND EQUIPMENT COMMITTEE

Non-recurrent Equipment Grants

The Research and Equipment Committee is responsible for administering the portion of the HEFCE's formula capital grant to the University which has been allocated for equipment. The committee allocates the major part of this grant to departments and faculties on a recurrent basis, so that there should be only a minimum of calls for non-recurrent grants. The University's equipment budget has been cut by 31.8 per cent for 1996–7 compared with 1995–6, and the committee has sought to protect recurrent equipment grants at the expense of the budget for non-recurrent equipment grants. Consequently, the budget for the latter is only £300K for 1996–7, which is about one-third of the level in 1995–6, and only one round for non-recurrent equipment grants will be held, in Hilary Term 1997.

In recent years the level of demand for non-recurrent grants has greatly increased and it is emphasised, particularly in the context of the reduction in grant outlined above, that only very exceptional cases are likely to be considered favourably by the committee. Non-recurrent grants are normally given for equipment the cost of which is substantial in relation to the department's recurrent allocation. Subject to this condition, some priority is given to applications for: (a) a contribution to the cost of a major piece of basic equipment of wide use which by its nature is unlikely to be provided by a research council or other outside body, or for (b) a major piece of equipment for a research project which forms the subject of an application to such bodies, particularly where a contribution would perform a pump-priming role (in both cases the committee will normally expect a package deal to be proposed in which departments make a significant contribution to the cost); (c) the committee will also give some priority to applications for equipment for new University or CUF lecturers (defined as those in their initial period of office before their appointment is confirmed to retiring age).

The Research and Equipment Committee now gives recurrent equipment grants to arts faculties to allow them to provide for their equipment needs, including personal computing equipment. Individuals in arts faculty boards who wish to apply for funds for equipment should contact their faculty board secretary regarding arrangements for applications to their faculty boards. In all cases, applications may only be made to the Research and Equipment Committee through an individual's department or faculty board.

Applications for non-recurrent equipment grants must be made on the committee's application form, which must be signed by the head of department or chairman of the faculty board. The committee will consider these applications only at its meeting on Tuesday of week three of Hilary Term. In order to allow time for any necessary enquiries to be made in advance of the meeting, the application form must be sent to the secretary (Dr Nigel Berry) in the University Offices so as to reach him at the latest by the Wednesday, 8 January 1997.

Full details of the scheme are contained in the notes of guidance. These, and the application form, are available from departmental administrators and faculty board secretaries, and also from the committee's secretary, Dr Nigel Berry, in the University Offices (telephone: (2)70563, e-mail: nigel.berry@admin.ox.ac.uk). The application form is also available in electronic format on the University network: the file can be downloaded from the Central Administration section of the Oxford University Networked Information Service.

Return to List of Contents of this section


Special Research Grant Scheme

The committee awards three types of research grants:

(a) Pump-priming research grants—these are intended to support promising new developments, particularly where funding at an early stage in a project could play a seed-corn function. They are chiefly made to enable researchers to carry out pilot work which an outside body would not and the department could not support and are considered as a preliminary step to large outside grant applications.

(b) Emergency research grants—these are intended to help support promising research projects unexpectedly in serious difficulty, when a short-term grant can enable a project to go ahead or continue which might otherwise have to be seriously delayed or abandoned.

(c) Special short-term dual support grants for the arts—these grants are restricted to members of arts faculties whose research is not eligible for support from any of the research councils, including the ESRC, and consequently excludes subjects such as Economics, certain branches of Law and Social Studies as well as Mathematics, Statistics, Geography, Anthropology, and Scientific Archaeology. The grants are designed to support small-scale projects and pilot studies, which can be self-contained and need not necessarily be intended as preludes to large outside grant applications. Under this scheme, the Research and Equipment Committee will normally meet 50 per cent of the salary costs of a research assistant for a maximum period of one year, together with support costs, subject to the other half of the costs being obtained from the British Academy.

The committee is keen in particular to support the research interests of new lecturers. For all three schemes the committee has agreed that very high priority will be given to applications from new University and CUF lecturers (defined as those in their initial period of office before their appointment is confirmed to retiring age).

There is no application form for research grants, but applicants should follow the notes of guidance which set out the committee's guidelines and the information which should be included in applications for all three types of special research grant. The notes for applicants are available from departmental administrators and faculty board secretaries, and may also be obtained from the committee's secretary, Dr Nigel Berry, in the University Offices (telephone: (2)70563, e-mail: nigel.berry@admin. ox.ac.uk). In 1996–7 only two rounds for special research grants will be held. Applications for all three types of grant will normally be considered only at the committee's meetings in week three of Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, so that bids can be assessed in competition with one another.

In order to allow for any necessary enquiries before the meeting, applications must be submitted to the secretary in the University Offices so as to reach him by the following closing dates: Michaelmas Term 1996: Monday, 7 October 1996; Trinity Term 1997: Monday, 21 April 1997.

Bridging Support Scheme

The General Board has provided the sum of £76,000 in 1996–7 to continue the Bridging Support Scheme, a limited discretionary fund to finance the employment of member(s) of academic-related contract research staff in circumstances where there is a gap between research contracts at Oxford and certain conditions are satisfied. The scheme is administered by the Research and Equipment Committee, and has been endorsed by the Staff Committee and the Joint Consultative Committee with the Oxford AUT.

The Bridging Support Scheme is intended to permit the employment, in certain circumstances, of academic-related research staff between fixed-term contracts, in order (a) to encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff; and (b) to avoid the traumatic and disruptive break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff. It is emphasised that bridging finance is intended to be used solely to fund the salary costs of employing staff and does not extend to financing expenditure on equipment, consumables, etc., which remain the responsibility of the department concerned.

Further information about the Bridging Support Scheme is available from departmental administrators and faculty board secretaries, and may also be obtained from the committee's secretary, Dr Nigel Berry, in the University Offices (telephone: (2)70563, e-mail: nigel.berry@ admin.ox.ac.uk).

Return to List of Contents of this section