All proposals for research funding and related agreements require internal approval prior to submission to the Funder and also prior to acceptance of awards. The university scheme of delegation Annex A, which describes who has authorisation to approve Research grant applications and awards, can be found here.
In practice, the process involves assessing the risk by completing a Risk Review Dashboard (RRD) or a simpler Declaration form (DEC). The risk review dashboard or declaration will be initiated by the Faculty Research Office and sent to the Principal Investigator for completion. The PI and the FRIO will work together to complete the risk assessment to indicate the approval level required:
- Primary (typically requires an approval from a member of the Faculty Research and Innovation Office),
- Secondary (typically approved by a Head of School, Faculty Research Manager or Director of Research) or
- Central (approved by the Director of Research and Innovation Development, Director of Commercialisation or Head of Research Operations and Reporting).
The approval process is managed through the Kristal system with notification emails being sent to approvers to check the application or award acceptance and record notes & mitigating actions in Kristal. If an approver is comfortable with the cost/price and the outcome of the risk reviews they will approve your project. If an approver is not comfortable with any aspect of the cost/price or reviews they have options to escalate to the next level of approval, reject or ask that it is revised. In some cases the project may be rejected completely in which case it will proceed no further.
For standard applications, PIs should submit proposals for approval at least two weeks before the funder deadline, although some departments may require longer. Whilst the Faculty Research and Innovation Offices will strive to approve proposals, if insufficient notice is provided this may lead to authorisation being withheld and deadlines missed. Late submissions will be referred to the Head of Division who will assess the risk level and agree an approach in consultation with relevant Heads / Deans.
It is policy that contracts for research grants, including sub-contracts with suppliers and partners, will not be signed unless the appropriate level of approval has been obtained. Delays in the signature process will occur when contracts are presented for projects which haven’t been communicated to the Faculty Research office. In these cases, it takes time to complete the risk review document, verify the costings and pass the grant through the approval process, with suitable sign-offs, before the contract can be signed.
Full details of the process including videos showing how the process works on various operating systems are available on the SharePoint page (staff only).