Grants and Research Funding

Contents of this section:

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

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

This notice summarises the arrangements for each of the grant schemes operated by the Research and Equipment Committee. Notes for applicants are available which contain full details of the schemes, including the information required in applications. Copies have been sent to departments and faculty boards. They are also available on the Web (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/comm/rec.htm) or from the committee's secretary on request (contact Ms Samantha Jones, telephone: (2)70563, e-mail: Samantha.Jones@admin.ox.ac.uk).

Non-recurrent equipment grants

The Research and Equipment Committee will hold two non-recurrent equipment grant competitions in 1998–9:

Week 3 of Michaelmas Term 1998 (deadline for applications Monday, 5 October 1998)

Week 7 of Hilary Term 1999 (deadline for applications Monday, 8 February 1999)

The original budget for non-recurrent equipment grants in 1998–9 was £408,840. This has been augmented by a transfer of £473,970 left over after the allocation of support grants for 1998 Joint Research Equipment Initiative (JREI) bids. Therefore £882,810 is now available for ordinary non-recurrent equipment grants in 1998–9. This will be divided between the two competitions as follows: £450K for Michaelmas Term, and the remainder for Hilary Term. It should be noted some of the support funds allocated for the JREI are likely to return to the committee's budget for redistribution if some of the JREI applications fail. Any money so freed will be used to increase the budget for the Hilary Term round of non-recurrent equipment grant applications. In recent years the level of demand for non-recurrent grants has greatly increased and only very exceptional cases are likely to receive funding.

The JREI is principally for the science (including clinical) departments. The committee will take into account the degree of support provided in the JREI for some subject areas in considering applications in the Michaelmas Term round. A degree of favour might therefore be given to subject areas which cannot benefit from the JREI.

Non-recurrent grants are normally given for equipment, the cost of which is substantial in relation to a department's or faculty board's recurrent equipment allocation. Equipment is taken to mean items that will be used for research, teaching, and/or administration in General Board departments or faculty boards. Grant applications from Council departments must be referred to the Committee for the Council Departments in the first instance. Subject to these conditions, some priority is given to applications for

(a) a contribution to the cost of a major piece of equipment, which will be widely used and 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.

In view of the cessation of the provision of General Board start-up grants for new lecturers, 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).

Requests for non-recurrent equipment grants must be made on the committee's application form (available with the notes for applicants). This must be endorsed and signed by the head of department or faculty board chairman.

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Wellcome Trust/HEFCE equipment funding schemes

The Research and Equipment Committee also has available £100K in 1998–9 to support applications to:

—the Wellcome Trust scheme to support infrastructure for biomedical research;

—the Wellcome Trust/HEFCE joint equipment initiative.

Details of these schemes may be obtained from the Wellcome Trust. Applicants are required to submit a preliminary proposal to the Trust in order to determine eligibility for funding.

Bids to the Research and Equipment Committee for support funding should be made through the non-recurrent equipment grant programme before a preliminary application is submitted to the Wellcome Trust. The deadlines for receipt of bids are:

Monday, 21 September 1998 for Week 3 of Michaelmas Term 1998

Monday, 8 February 1999 for Week 7 of Hilary Term 1999

Further information about the application procedure is given in the notes for applicants for non-recurrent equipment grants.

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Special research grants

Two special research grant competitions will be held in 1998–9:

Week 7 of Michaelmas Term 1998 (deadline for applications Monday, 2 November 1998)

Week 3 of Trinity Term 1999 (deadline for applications Monday, 19 April 1999)

A maximum of £311,761 is available for special research grants in 1998–9. With funding at this level only a relatively small number of grants can be made.

There are three categories of special research grants:

(a) pump-priming grants, intended chiefly to fund pilot work considered as a preliminary step to large outside grant applications.

(b) emergency grants, intended to support, in exceptional cases, promising research projects in serious difficulty, where a grant would enable a project to go ahead or continue which might otherwise have to be delayed or abandoned.

(c) matching funding for arts projects, intended to complement research grants offered by the British Academy or the new Arts and Humanities Research Board.

The committee does not maintain separate funds for each of the three types of grant; all applications are considered in a gathered field, according to their individual merits, for support from the total sum available. At the request of the General Board, given fulfilment of scholarly criteria for award, priority for grants will be given to pump-priming requests which are intended to lead directly to applications for outside sources of support. For all three schemes very high priority will be afforded to applications from new University and CUF lecturers.

The committee particularly wishes to encourage the submission of applications for the support of projects in the arts. It is therefore willing to receive applications for pump-priming grants from individuals in the arts and from arts boards for priority research projects. Arts boards should set any such bid in the context of their strategies for research. Joint bids from arts boards will also be accepted.

Eligibility for special research grants is restricted to established academic and academic-related staff in General Board departments and faculties. Special grants are mainly intended for salary costs (on the research-support and technician scales). However, in appropriate circumstances grants may be made for consumables and travel.

All grant applications must include a statement of support from the relevant head of department or faculty board chairman.

Bridging support

The sum of £99K has been provided in 1998–9 to continue the bridging support scheme, which has been endorsed by the Staff Committee and the Joint Consultative Committee with the Oxford AUT.

The scheme is intended for outside grant-funded academic-related staff on fixed-term contracts. Funding is available for the employment of such staff where there is a gap between research contracts, no other source of funding exists, and certain other conditions are satisfied. The aim is to (a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff and (b) to avoid the traumatic and disruptive break in employment which might be faced by such staff. It is emphasised that bridging support is intended solely for salary costs.

There are two modes for grants under the bridging support scheme. Funds are available for up to six months where further funding has been confirmed and the individual has at least two years service in academic-related research contract posts at the University of Oxford, or for up to three months where further funding is yet to be confirmed and the individual has at least six years service in academic-related contract posts at HEIs.

All applications must be submitted by the relevant head of department or faculty board chairman.

Career support scheme

The sum of £102K has been made available to continue the career support scheme, which has been endorsed by the Staff Committee and the Joint Consultative Committee with the Oxford AUT.

The purpose of the scheme is to enable a limited period of continued employment for academic-related contract research staff. Certain conditions must be satisfied, including that:

—staff members must have at least fifteen years' service in academic-related research posts in universities and comparable institutions;

—it is expected that their funding will be about to cease and cannot be replaced readily despite efforts being made to do so.

The intention is (a) to encourage the retention of long serving, key members of staff whose research contribution is of particular value; and (b) to avoid the traumatic and disruptive break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff, while efforts are made to secure future funding. It should be noted that career support is intended solely for salary costs.

All applications must be made by heads of department or faculty board chairmen.

The Research and Equipment Committee would prefer to consider bids for bridging or career support within meetings (which are held on Tuesdays of Weeks 3 and 7 each term). However, where necessary, applications will be reviewed in between meetings.

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