Frequently asked questions - STFC

I hold a fellowship: can I apply for a standard research grant?

Yes you can apply for a research grant but you cannot claim salary and indirect and estates costs if you are already receiving these on the fellowship.

Find out more about eligibility for funding.

Do visiting researchers attract estates and indirect costs?

Estates, infrastructure technicians and indirect costs may only be requested for individual visits in excess of six months.

Find out more about visiting researchers.

Can I revise estates and indirects if they have increased since submitting the proposal?

If your proposal has been through peer review and you have been asked to re-cost it prior to award, you should use the original rates from your application.

Can I delay my grant start if recruiting a PDRA (post-doctoral research assistant) may be delayed?

If you have received a grant confirmation document but expect delays recruiting a PDRA, you may delay the start of your grant by up to three months. After three months the grant offer will lapse.

Find out more about starting a research grant.

Who should I contact for information or advice concerning my award?

In the first instance you should contact the UKRI post award team.

Telephone: 01793 867 121

Can the start confirmation be submitted prior to the start of the research grant?

No. A start date is defined as the date when expenditure is first incurred. You should have documentary evidence that expenditure has been incurred, for example, proof that a member of staff has commenced work on the project.

Find out more about appropriate costs to start a research grant.

Can I be a post-doctoral research assistant (PDRA) on one grant and co-investigator on another?

If you are a PDRA funded for 100% full time equivalent (FTE) on a grant you cannot be named as a researcher co-investigator (CO-I) on another grant.

To qualify for CO-I status you need to make a significant contribution to the proposal and the ensuing research and be working on the grant for at least 50% of your time, which would not be the case if you are funded 100% on another grant.

Find out more about eligibility of applicants.

Could I vire funds from the equipment heading to pay salary costs?

No. The virement of funds between fund headings is permitted only within and between directly incurred costs and exceptions excluding equipment. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of equipment headings, whether under directly incurred or exceptions is not permitted.

Find out more about virement of funds.

Can I use travel and subsistence funds if I’m a non-STFC funded post-doctoral research assistant?

If you are a non-STFC funded post-doctoral research assistant (PDRA) but are working on an STFC funded project, you can claim travel and subsistence (T&S) costs as long as you:

  • are working on the STFC project
  • obtain the principal investigator’s (PI’s) approval to use the grant funds for each time T&S costs are incurred.

Find out more about travel and subsistence.

What action do I need to take if the applicant on an award changes?

The research organisation (RO) must notify STFC if it is proposed to change the principal investigator (PI), for example, following retirement, resignation or death, in which circumstance the research organisation may nominate a replacement PI. In all circumstances, STFC will wish to be assured that the replacement meets the eligibility criteria for applicants and has the expertise and experience to lead the project to a successful conclusion, in accordance with its research objectives. The official request should be made via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system using the grant maintenance functionality.

Find out more about eligibility of applicants.

Can I transfer my grant with me if I move to another research organisation (RO)?

Yes you may transfer your grant award to another UK RO as long as written agreement from both the relinquishing and receiving organisations has been received. The relevant STFC secretariat should be notified and the new institution must meet STFC’s eligibility criteria. The request should be made via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system using the grant maintenance functionality.

Find out more about the transfer of a grant to another UK research organisation.

Can I transfer my grant funds to a research organisation in another country?

Transfers of funds can be made to research organisations in other European countries under the Money Follows Researcher scheme, provided the relevant research funding organisation in that country has signed up to the scheme.

Find out more about transfer of a grant to another European country.

What provisions are available if a researcher will be going on maternity leave during the grant?

You may extend the duration of the grant by up to 12 months or claim additional funds for making a substitute appointment.

Find out more about extensions to research grants.

The salary costs of any substitute appointment must not exceed that of the individual on leave.

Find out more about maternity, paternity, adoption, and parental & long term sick leave.

When should an award be put in Suspension?

Suspension should be considered when no research is being carried out on the grant or fellowship – for example, no member of staff employed on the award at that time. This will include issues such as gaps in employment whilst awaiting staff replacements.

I’m a principal investigator, about to retire and given emeritus status. Can I stay on the grant?

You may remain on the grant as a principal investigator or a co-investigator as long as your research organisation has provided a formal commitment that they will continue to provide support for your post until the end of the grant.

Find out more about investigator posts.

Find out more about eligibility of applicants.

My grant is due to end but I have an under-spend. Can I use the remaining funds to buy equipment?

The virement of funds between fund headings are permitted only within and between directly incurred costs and exceptions excluding equipment. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of equipment headings, whether under directly incurred or exceptions is not permitted.

Find out more about virement of funds.

Additionally, prior written approval must be sought from STFC in order to purchase equipment in the last six months of a grant.

Find out more about research grants and equipment.

What is the UKRI funding assurance programme?

UKRI visits research organisations (ROs) or carry out desk-based reviews to ensure that there are proper controls and procedures in place so that research council grants are managed appropriately. Those ROs which feature in the top 50 funded (by value) by UKRI should ordinarily expect to be approached every three years. Those with lower volumes of funding will be approached on a risk basis

Find out more about your responsibilities if you get funding.

I’m unsure which research council or area of STFC I should submit my application to. What do I do?

Potential applicants should make contact well in advance of submitting a proposal if they are unsure whether their proposal falls within STFC’s remit or which area of STFC is most appropriate.

Contact STFC


Find out about procedures for administering proposals that cross Research Council boundaries.

Under what circumstances might sanctions be imposed on a grant, and how can they be resolved?

STFC reserves the right to impose financial sanctions where it identifies areas of non-compliance in relation to the terms and conditions of grants. Any deliverables that are received late will incur a sanction, although the research organisation can appeal up to 90 days after the sanction was implemented. Payments may also be suspended for non-completion of Researchfish.

Find out more about sanctions.

What is Researchfish and why should I use it?

Researchfish is a means of collecting data, impacts and outputs from the results of research grants. Principal Investigators will be requested to participate in updating the Researchfish database with updates during the lifetime of their grant and for up to five years afterwards.

What is required in a data management plan and is it mandatory that I provide one?

Proposals for projects that would result in the production or collection of scientific data should include a data management plan within the case for support. In the case of proposals that are part of a larger collaborative project, STFC recognises that data management may not be within the sole control of the applicant, or the applicant’s institute. In such cases, where a suitable project wide data management plan exists, this may be referred to.

Find out more about data management plans.

I’m applying for a grant on a joint project and I’m not the lead. What documents do I provide?

The case for support and other attachments are only required on the lead proposal.
There is no need for you to provide separate attachments such as a case for support to the lead.

Can I apply for any publication costs on my proposal?

Following the publication of the revised UKRI policy on open access, and the decision to provide research organisations with block funding for publication costs, STFC no longer provides funding in research grants for any publication costs associated with peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. Publication costs associated with research outputs other than journal articles and conference papers, such as books, monographs, critical editions, catalogues etc. may, however, continue to be included in grants as a directly incurred other cost.

Find out more about other costs.

What might you use my personal data for?

STFC complies with an Information Charter, encompassing the Data Protection Act 1998.

Last updated: 16 June 2022

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