Checking the funder remit
How to check your proposal is in remit for a particular funder
1. Don’t rely on hearsay
Funder strategies and priorities change over time, and increasingly organisations are co-funding schemes where they have priorities in common. These factors can change the kind of research that funders support. Always check the latest remit statements for both the funder and the scheme or call.
2. Remember that remits may differ between schemes within a funder’s portfolio
Most funders operate a range of schemes that can cover discovery science or fundamental research through to knowledge exchange, innovation and translation.
They may have different programme areas that operate these schemes, which will affect the remit of the research that is covered. The type of research supported can also vary depending on whether a scheme is a regular responsive mode call or a one-off targeted call.
3. If in doubt, fill out the remit check form
The UK Research Councils have a Cross-Council Funding Agreement to coordinate the peer review and funding of research proposals that straddle the remits of their responsive mode schemes. They aim to ensure that no gaps develop between the Councils’ subject domains, and equality of opportunity for proposals at the interfaces between traditional disciplines.
Each Research Council has a ‘remit query’ process for researchers to check where they fit best (usually via an online form hosted on each Council’s website).
Programme Managers from the different Councils meet regularly to discuss these and agree where proposals fit based on an assessment of the aims and objectives, research questions, methodology and where the academic interest in the research outcomes will predominantly fall.
For many funders, and the most common interfaces between them, you can also find remit statements online –for example:
- Joint AHRC, British Academy and ESRC statement on early and mid-career support
- AHRC-ESRC joint statement on subject coverage
- BBSRC-MRC interfaces: joint statement
- BBSRC-EPSRC-MRC-NERC joint statement on handling bioinformatics applications
- EPSRC-ESRC-NERC joint statement on handling land management applications
- EPSRC-MRC joint statement on support for Healthcare Technologies
- Wellcome Trust science remit
4. Check recent awards and awardees
Public funders regularly publish lists of awards. Look at the most recent of these, where available, and see whether the work and researchers they are supporting matches your understanding of what is meant by the disciplinary terms in the remit statements.
If you are struggling to find this information, contact a member of the R& I Development team or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Contact a Programme Manager/Portfolio Manager with a brief outline
Programme and Portfolio Managers for funders are often happy to advise on whether your proposal fits the scheme you are considering, and their contact details are available online.
They typically ask for a brief outline (no more than one side of A4) to read ahead of a conversation as background. R&I Development staff can help set up conversations with funders if you are unsure about who to speak to.
6. Seek advice from colleagues
Colleagues within the R& I Development team are happy to offer guidance on whether your proposal is in remit for a particular funder.