Bidding for Funding (Pt 2)

Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Are Re Are (Dil To Pagal Hai)

Doug was telling Gill and I that there is usually a 20-30 % success rate of getting a bid successful. And since he was a relatively new researcher, he had a plan to put in 5 bids over a 2 year period, so he could get that probability 🙂 .

He is currently looking at three bids:

  1. ESRC/ NERC studentship: relating to the biodiversity project and reputation management (submission in May)
  2. ESRC: Shiny new kit for the Jennie Lee Building working across three groups of people and possibly with the U3A groups who are enthusiasts (hopefully, submitted in March)
  3. EU funded: Related to econtentplus (submission in June)

He thinks that there will be no problem, in running all three concurrently as in the 1st one, this will be done by a student, in the second by a research fellow and in the 3rd either himself or P. would be lead investigators. However, if there is a circumstance in which one could not take up a project, there may be consequences depending on whether it is a collaborative or individual project.

His opinion is that if you were in an individual project and hence the principle investigator (PI), you may be black-balled in future bids. In a collaborative bid (hopefully where you’re not a lead investigator), then all it needs is to find someone who can replace you with similar expertise.


There are several paths for putting in a bid for a studentship. Firstly, you can bid internally via the university through the research centre. These tend to be given to people with a team that has supervisors with some kind of reputation. Secondly, you can bid through the research council – where there is sometime a call (or the studentship can be part of a larger ESRC research project). Some of the studentships may be interdisciplinary such as the ESRC/NERC studentship, or they may be collaborative with the industry such as the ESPRC/CASE studentships, which requires match-funding from the industry. Thirdly, there are industrial studentships where the student is attached to a project and probably in IET these won’t work too well as they often require the student developing and evaluating things – these might be better suited for Computer Science or the Physical sciences.

Shiny New Kit 

For the ESRC project on the shiny kit he is going on a small bid open-call bid, that is for <=£100,000. His belief is that these have a quicker turn around time, and perhaps have a better success rate and probably best suited for him as he especially does not have a track record of being a PI. The bid requires 6 sides of A4 for presenting the scientific case (i.e. 3 pages) and it has a minimum margin size and has to be written in 11 pt font size or larger.

This project he is doing has 100% FEC and thus expects that eventually there would only be £50,000 to really spend on having a person doing a post-doctoral and equipment (of course after eliminating NIS etc.). He expects about a 14 week turnaround – so hopefully in June to get something from the council. Then begins negotiations with them which may take a couple of months because they might not want to give the full amount of money or may want him to focus on something differently. Further, the PI, the research centre, the research council and the OU’s contracts department have to sit on negotiations as well before the money is released.

Once the money is released a budget code has to be set-up, and then the advert for the Post-doctoral fellow begins – but first need the university to know what Grade of person is required along with their specs and then HR releases what the salary should be and this should be within the salary allowed for the post if not need to tweak until you get the figure you need. Then this vacancy post has to be signed off by the head of the unit and the relevant vice-chancellors. He reckons there will be advertisement for the Postdoctoral fellow in Oct with a possible start in January, 2009.

EContent Plus

He and P. perhaps want to use OER stuff (together with the other collaborative partners) for this project (this project not so exciting to me 😀 ), but want to see how they can make OER stuff exciting to the public and perhaps across groups as well. Doug indicated when it came to EU funded projects its best if the lead institution is not restrictive in the releasing and allocating of funds.

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