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Step-by-step guide to applying for funding

This page is designed to act as a brief guide for researchers in the preparation of research grant applications for submission to external funding bodies, including the internal SBCS procedures and requirements.

These procedures also apply to outline/preliminary applications and proposals made by external collaborators with an SBCS component.

Please note that the process requires five working days to review and approve your application and we recommend that you contact the Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk) at an early stage to discuss your project and to ensure you can meet any departmental requirements including Head of Department approval.

Please make every effort to plan your applications well in advance and to give the Research Manager as much time as possible.

Step 1 - Identify  a potential funder and funding scheme

Please see our Internal funding spreadsheet (xls) for funding programmes. Issues to consider when selecting a funder are:

  • Programme of work - is your area of research within the funder's area of interest/funding remit and/or does it meet a particular scheme's requirements?
  • Eligibility - are you personally eligible to apply? Is the University eligible to hold the award?
  • The Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk) can provide advice about what you can apply for and where to apply. Please contact us as early as possible to discuss your application or possible funding sources.

Step 2 – Plan the application process

Please note that Preliminary/Outline applications need to follow the same procedure as full applications.

  • Read the guidelines of the scheme you intend to apply for.
  • Note any deadline for submission. Do you have enough time to prepare the application and meet internal deadlines? For internal approval this is at least five working days.
  • Application route. Is the application electronic or paper?
  • Internal ranking/selection. Sometimes funders limit the number of bids by an institution for a particular call, or require that the University ranks its proposals. If this is the case, please do contact the Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk) who will organize this process.

Step 3 - Obtain departmental support for your application

Once you have identified a funding call and scheme, please contact the Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk) and inform her of your intention to submit an application.

Step 4 - Prepare the costing

  • Download the Pre-costing questionnaire for EU [DOC 64KB] / Pre-costing questionnaire for all other calls [DOC 90KB].
  • If you intend to go for a EU-call (e.g. Horizon 2020), please send it to the QMUL Joint Research Management Office (JRMO) for European calls - Catherine Cowton (c.cowton@qmul.ac.uk).
  • If you intend to go for any other call, please send it to the QMUL JRMO (researchgrants@qmul.ac.uk) and the SBCS Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk). 
  • JRMO will work out the exact costings and will email an internal approval form within the Full Economic Costings spreadsheet (FEC) at least 10 working days before the grant deadline. This form is provided for all proposals, including those for studentships, travel and equipment.
  • Please note that every research proposal that applies for external funding needs a budget from JRMO. There are no exceptions.

Step 5 - Write application

Throughout the writing process you should be addressing any specific points requested by the funder:

  • Note the selection criteria for the call, including the weight applied to each, and how your proposal will be assessed (and by whom).
  • Ensure that the proposal is well-structured and addresses the expectations and selection criteria of the funder.
  • Use the advice and expertise of colleagues, especially those who have had successful proposals with the funder. Many funders also provide application writing guides/hints and tips on their website.
  • Care must be taken to ensure the case for support meets the funder's particular requirements, such as page limit, font style and size.
  • In addition, you should ensure that any other documentation required is properly prepared in accordance with the funder's specifications: e.g. CVs, justification of resources, knowledge exchange or impact statements, letters of collaboration, quotations, etc.

Step 6 - The internal approval process

  • Please consider whether any ethical review or approvals will be necessary. If you are unsure, contact the Research Manager (sbcs-research@qmul.ac.uk). 
  • If your budget is over £50,000, you will need to have your proposal reviewed internally. The School strongly encourages all proposals to being reviewed internally.  Internal peer review form 2015 PDF [PDF 123KB]
  • If several members of the School intend to go for the same call (eg. EPSRC), the Research manager might decide to organize a review panel.

Step 7 - Obtain internal approval for application

All external funding applications require internal approval of the Head of School before the application is submitted; this is a University requirement. The Research Manager is responsible for obtaining this approval. For this, it is necessary that you send the following documents to the RM:

  1. Internal peer review from
  2. Copy of the budget prepared by JRMO
  3. A copy of the full application.

All documents need to be given to the RM at least five days before the deadline.

When the application is complete, the RM will send it to the JRMO to be checked and authorised.

Step 8 - Submit your application

Depending on the funding scheme, once the application is approved, JRMO will either submit the application direct to the funding body, or indicate that you can submit it.

Final step - When you hear the outcome 

After the application has been submitted to the funding body, please let us know the outcome and send a copy of any correspondence you receive from the funding body to us for the Department's records and to enable us to fulfil any criteria set by the funding body for the award. 

  • See also: "Post-award – information for grant holders" below.

Post-award – information for grant holders

Step 1 - Inform us of the outcome

After the application has been submitted to the funding body, please let us know the outcome and send a copy of any correspondence you receive from the funding body to us for the Department's records and to enable us to fulfil any criteria set by the funding body for the award.

Step 2 - Set up grant administration

In order to ensure that the grant can be properly managed, please send the grant award letter to JRMO. JRMO will set up a HoD note, stating the details of the award, including project duration, budget code and annual budget.

  • If the award is made by cheque, ask the funder to make the cheque payable to "Queen Mary and Westfield College" and to be sent to the PI, not the College Finance Department to avoid delays.
  • For staff appointments and all other HR related matters (including claiming interview expenses), please contact the SBCS HR officer, Sunita Devi-Paul.
  • For all Research Council grants, the starting certificate must be submitted within 42 days of the staff appointment.
  • For contracts of agreement – for example, for collaborative projects, please contact JRMO.

Step 3 - During the grant

During the duration of the grant, JRMO will send monthly reports to the PI. Please monitor these reports closely to ensure timely expenditure.

JRMO will also send an internal Final Expenditure Statement (FES) to the PI, who should check the form with before signing and returning it to JRMO.

All expenditure (with the exception of salaries and fees) should be made through the SBCS Finance group. If the PI wishes to appoint someone else from their group to spend on their grants, the PI must complete a permission to spend form, copies of which must be forwarded to stores-sbcs@qmul.ac.uk.

Please include original receipts when submitting a  travel and expenses claim form (xls file). Forms should be submitted to Yousaf Khan (yousaf.khan@qmul.ac.uk) in the Fogg Building or Jay Paul (j.paul@qmul.ac.uk) in the Joseph Priestley Building.

If you intend to engage any outside contractors, you must speak to Yousaf Khan (yousaf.khan@qmul.ac.uk) in the Fogg Building at least two weeks prior to the contractor's start date, as procedures for engaging outside contractors have recently changed.

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