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Managing Your Grant

Grant Management Procedures

To help you navigate some of the hurdles related to managing a grant we have produced a Managing a grant checklist which identifies different areas of focus (e.g. Recruitment, Procurement, Finance etc.), this is not an exhaustive list but provides some areas for thought.

Contracts, terms and conditions

  • Contact Research Contracts Team to arrange contracts/subcontracts for named organisations providing core research services.
  • Provide contact details for any co-applicant/partner institutions to your Contracts Manager in RES, if you have not already done so. They will include them in any required contracts, subcontracts or agreements.
  • Inform any co-applicants/partners that the University will need to send them a collaboration agreement and possibly a due diligence questionnaire to sign and complete - in order that they are ready to respond in a timely manner.
  • Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions within your contract, subcontract or agreements in order that you can maintain compliance for the duration of the project.
  • Familiarise yourself with the University's HR, finance and procurement policies

Finance and purchasing

  • All costs over £5k will be approved by Research Accounts
  • All SRF’s approved by Research Accounts
  • All collaborator invoices approved by Research Accounts
  • All invoices raised by Research Accounts
  • Purchase orders are raised within the school
  • Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions within your contract, subcontract or agreements in order that you can maintain compliance for the duration of the project.
  • Familiarise yourself with the University's HRfinance and procurement policies
  • Many funders allow flexibility within the budget post-award. If you want to do something different with the funding, speak to Research Accounts before you speak to your funder – we can help you decide the best way to speak to them and/or we may already have knowledge of what you can/can’t spend. If you underspend on something you cannot spend left over money on something else without agreement from the funder.
  • Some funders require monthly timesheets of hours worked for individuals working less than 100% of their time on your project e.g. Research Council and the EU. Where these are required they must be submitted to Research Accounts on time so that the University can claim the relevant funding from your funder; without timesheets they may not pay out. If an individual is leaving the University, for example at the end of a contract, please ensure timesheets are signed before they go. Finance will provide you with a template to use where required
  • As a PI you should familiarise yourself with the University finance policy and ensure you are complying with it
  • Research Accounts will set the project up on the finance system and issue the project number along with the PI information pack

PI/Researcher/School should:

Research Accounts will:

Familiarise themselves with the University finance policy and ensure you are complying with it

Set project up on finance system and issue project number along with the PI information pack

Purchase goods and services in compliance with the University procurement policy

Raise statements of expenditure and issue invoices to funder at the time points agreed in terms and conditions or contract

If relevant, complete timesheets and submit them to Research Accounts on time (for individuals splitting their time across different Schools and/or projects)

Provide information and advice to researchers and Schools about the terms and conditions of funding

Undertake a monthly review of financial reports to check everything is correctly allocated and within budget

Quarterly and annual monitoring of budget and spending at a summary level (will only contact PI if there are queries)

 

Ensure research projects are accounted for correctly in Agresso

 

Balance and close the accounts at the end of a research project

Reporting

  • Agree with any partners how you will monitor their performance (research and financial).
  • Familiarise yourself with the reporting requirements of your funder, so that you are prepared for what you need to do and when.
  • For all awards financial reporting is undertaken by your Research Accountant
  • For UKRI awards and some Charities (e.g. NIHR, British Heart Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, STFC and The British Council) output and outcome reporting is undertaken via the Researchfish platform and deadlines apply to their submission, if these are missed sanctions can be imposed against the PI (e.g. preventing you from applying for further grants or withholding funding for live projects). If your funder uses Researchfishregister for an account.
  • Ensure all requested reports are submitted on time and in the requested format.

Procurement of goods and services

If you intend to pay an organisation or person to provide a service for your project and have not named them in your application, contact the Procurement Team to arrange a subcontract . Examples include, carrying out a feasibility study, purchasing lab equipment or providing a data set.

If you need to purchase goods or services through a grant funded contract then this may need to go through the Procurement team. The procurement team will help you with procuring services under sub-contracting arrangements where they were not foreseen within the proposal and to buy goods within procurement guidelines and following the Universities policy.

Project Change Requests

Throughout the lifetime of a grant situations may change which may necessitate a formal change request to the funder, these may be for extra funds or extra time (or sometimes both) or to change collaborators, co-applicants and whilst the format for requests may differ from funder to funder (e.g. UKRI has an online grant management portal) the questions to consider when asking for a change are common:

  • Why am I asking for the change? What has led to this request?
  • Are there any additional deliverables that might arise from the request (added value)

There are also some things to bear in mind:

  • Project extensions are not given to make sure the funds are spent
  • Your Head of School/Head of function needs to be aware of the implications of the request (both financially and non-financially)
  • You must have a conversation with your research accountant to understand the budgetary possibilities as early as possible
  • Requests for extensions for UKRI grants are submitted by your Research Accountant
  • With most grants you can usually request a change at any point up to the last few months of a grant, (UKRI allow requests until the last month of a grant)
  • Prior to working on a change request the T&Cs for the grant should be checked to see it would be permissible

If you are thinking about making a project change request please speak to the Project Setup Manager first to make sure it is possible.

PhD students

Key information

  • Your funding application should have included the costs for all student resource needs. Once the funding has been awarded, you need to think about the best way to fulfil these resource needs. PIs and their School are responsible for making these resource decisions in line with University policies.
  • Student recruitment: Once your funding has been accepted by RES and a project code has been set up, please contact your School PGR Administrator and Christine Macfarlane (christine.macfarlane@reading.ac.uk) at the Graduate School to discuss the process for advertising and recruiting your student. The Graduate School will advise on how to advertise your studentship, the recruitment process and how to finalise awarding the studentship, once you have selected the successful candidate.
  • Student applicants will need to apply to the specific studentship they are interested in AND to the University for a formal offer of a place to study here, to ensure they meet the entry requirements. Applicants are advised to submit a PhD application at the point of expressing an interest for a studentship.
  • Students involved in your project will also need to follow all relevant University policies and abide by the terms and conditions of the funding you have received. The University’s Graduate School provides support for doctoral researchers.

 

During your Research

  • The PI or Co-PI takes the lead with ongoing project management of the research project. This includes ensuring meeting the requirements of the contracts/subcontracts you have in place with your funder and/or partners, as well as compliance with the relevant University policies and procedures.
  • The PI or Co-PI is responsible for encouraging research staff to participate in training courses and other personal and professional development opportunities, including attending conferences and the annual performance and development review process. HR provide information about this for PIs and research staff; the Graduate School provides information for doctoral researchers.
  • You should be completing and submitting timesheets based on the requirements for your funder.

Associated areas and requirements

  • You should develop a data management plan (DMP) for your project. If you submitted a DMP for your funding application, you will need to add more detail to make it applicable in practice – giving it consideration at an early stage will make it easier to share your data later in your project and allow you to focus on carrying out your research. You will need to comply with your funder’s requirements for data management and sharing if they have them. The Post-Award data management guide can help you address data management requirements when the project is being set up. Contact the Research Data Service if you require support.
  • You should develop a publications plan - considering quality, visibility, funder compliance and likely costs of OA publication and available funds (whether in grant funding or available from the UKRI or BHF block grants). The Research Publications Adviser in the Library can advise, there is also a publishing guide available here and an Open Access publishing guide here
  • You should think about any intellectual property or patents which could result from the research.  If new IP or patents will result from the research this should be discussed with the IP Manager.
  • You should also make sure that the impact and engagement activities, which you detailed as part of your funding application, are factored into your project planning. The Research Impact team can advise and potentially support you, during your project and afterwards.
  • The University’s Code of Good Practice in Research helps you find information and support about further areas associated with your research, including data protection, research ethics and health and safety.
  • The University has useful information on ethics as a downloadable ethical framework on the governance and policies page.