Proposal writing checklist

Navigating the requirements of the University and the funder can be confusing and time consuming. To help you avoid missing important steps which might delay or even stop your applications we have produced a series of checklists for specific types of grants. Many of these might seem like common sense and the lists are not definitive but it is easy to miss basic things.

Generic Research Grants Checklist

Pre-submission

  • Have a good idea / find a suitable call (either can come first)
  • Identify a faculty, theme or RIS staff member as a research support contact point and send them an email
  • Check and double check the eligibility criteria and remit of the call
  • Check the University doesn’t have specific demand management processes in place for this call 
  • Contact your Faculty Research Office to work out a timeline for submission, note deadlines for submission, peer review, costings, sign-off etc.
  • Check the application form requirements (including any extra boxes, tick boxes and required attachments)
  • Check the availability of senior staff (HoS, Pro-Dean for Research, Pro-VC etc.) if required to sign off proposals internally or provide letters of support etc.
  • Write your proposal!
  • Obtain letters of support if necessary
  • If a proposal is likely to have unusual contractual obligations or conditions, contact the contracts team in RIS (link). This includes working in countries with high risks of corruption or economic sanctions, working with companies likely to want intellectual property rights or confidentiality etc.
  • Finalise costings with the Faculty Research Office
  • Submit your proposal for School, Faculty or University level peer review (in highly unusual cases peer review may not be necessary but generally the University expects proposals to have been assessed by academic peers). You should always factor in enough time to receive comments and make the necessary changes!
  • Submit your proposal to the Faculty Research Office for final checks (this will happen automatically through the Je-s system for RCUK applications but FROs should see applications to all funders). You should submit to FROs at least 24 hours before the funder deadline. FROs will give Faculty and call specific guidance.

Post-submission

  • Check funder guidance on timescale for post-submission feedback, PI reviewer responses, interview etc.
  • Regularly check for funder requests (if you’re not going to be working or in regular email contact for significant periods after submission it would be sensible to either inform the funder or set up forwarding to a Co-I)

Fellowship Checklist

Pre-submission

  • Have a good idea and find the appropriate fellowship / ECR scheme
  • Check and double check the eligibility criteria and remit of the scheme particularly how a funder defines career stages. It is also good practice to look at previous recipients of the fellowship to gauge whether your current research and track record would be competitive.
  • Early Career fellowship applicants should identify a senior Leeds University academic willing to act as your mentor. For some schemes this is a formal requirement but it is also helpful for those schemes where a formal mentor isn’t mandatory.
  • Check the internal deadlines for expressions of interest, training etc. here. For many early career fellowship schemes the University runs a mandatory selection and support process, if the scheme you wish to apply for is not mentioned then you can check with the relevant Faculty Research Office or email R-Ideveopment@leeds.ac.uk
  • If required, fill out and submit internal forms and attend the training sessions.
  • Contact your Faculty Research Office to work out a timeline for submission, note deadlines for submission, costings, sign-off etc. Training and peer review for some fellowship schemes will happen at an institutional level but Schools and Faculties may still have systems and deadlines which are mandatory. 
  • Check the application form requirements (including any extra boxes, tick boxes and required attachments)
  • Check the availability of senior staff (HoS, Pro-Dean for Research, Pro-VC etc.) if required to sign off proposals internally or provide letters of support/ mentor statements etc.
  • Write your proposal!
  • Obtain letters of support if necessary.
  • If a proposal is likely to have unusual contractual obligations or conditions, contact the contracts team in RIS (link). This includes working in countries with high risks of corruption or economic sanctions, working with companies likely to want intellectual property rights or confidentiality etc.
  • Finalise costings with the Faculty Research Office
  • Submit your proposal for School, Faculty or University level peer review. You should always factor in enough time to receive comments and make the necessary changes!
  • Submit your proposal to the Faculty Research Office for final checks (this will happen automatically through the Je-s system for RCUK applications but FROs should see applications to all funders). You should submit to FROs at least 24 hours before the funder deadline. FROs will give Faculty and call specific guidance.

Post-submission

  • Check funder guidance on timescale for post-submission feedback, PI reviewer responses, interview etc.
  • Regularly check for funder requests (if you’re not going to be working or in regular email contact for significant periods after submission it would be sensible to either inform the funder or set up forwarding to a Co-I)
  • Interview: many, but not all, fellowship schemes include an interview stage. For fellowships which involve an institutional selection and training process interview preparation will almost always be automatically available but all fellowship candidates can access interview training and request mock-interviews with experienced staff. It is best to get in touch as early as possible if you would this kind of support.