A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include cash or in-kind contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.
Their role and contributions should be detailed in the track record section in the case for support as they should be considered part of the research team.
If there are project partners collaborating on a research project, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) requires a letter of support. Well-written letters can significantly strengthen research proposals by demonstrating the benefits of the collaboration, and the potential impacts of the research. It also allows partners to highlight why they support the proposal, and what they hope to get out of it.
What is it for?
The letter of support is part of a proposal’s case for support which is sent to reviewers for assessment. Reviewers are asked if the collaboration is appropriate, and whether appropriate routes and resources have been identified for knowledge exchange and impact development.
If reviews are sufficiently supportive, a prioritisation panel ranks proposals against others based on the reviewers’ comments. Panel members are given copies of the full proposal including letters of support to help them in their task.
What to include
Project partner letters of support are part of the grant application and should be provided on headed paper, dated within six months of the application submission date and signed by the collaborating organisation’s named contact.
A well written project partner letter of support will confirm the organisation’s commitment to the proposed project and should identify:
- the value, relevance and possible benefits of the proposed work to the partner
- the period of support, the full nature of the collaboration or support
- how the partner will provide added value.
Where relevant to the project, details should be provided of:
- the projected market size, customers and sales
- how the organisation will commercialise the technology beyond the project.
Project partner contributions whether in cash or in kind, must be explained in detail in the project partner letter of support. A value must be put on in-kind contributions:
- staff time
- access to equipment
- provision of data
Details of how this support relates to the proposal should be included in the case for support.
Note: project partners cannot normally receive funding directly from the grant. The two exceptions to this are:
- where a project partner is providing services or equipment that will go through a formal procurement process audited by the host research organisation
- the project partner can receive small amounts of funding from the grant, such as for travel and subsistence to attend project meetings. These will need to be requested by the PI and will need to be fully justified.
Last updated: 3 November 2021