From Monday 8 February 2021, a change is being made to the research proposal submission process at the University of Bath, with the intention of improving the financial recovery and viability of our research portfolio.

This change is based on a recommendation approved by the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, following a piece of work by a working group set up to look at this topic.

Now, more than ever, the long-term sustainability of our research is imperative given the impact of COVID-19 on our activities as a University. Research has long been subsidised by other University income sources and we must ensure we make positive changes to this as we grow our research income in line with strategic University objectives.

Key changes:

  • Changes will come into effect from 8 February 2021 (with a small allowance where bids are due to be submitted in early February)
  • They will only apply to funding bids to AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC and NERC
  • As part of your proposal development, you will be asked to check the ‘viability percentage’ of your proposed budget to ensure it comes above the minimum acceptable threshold of 30% (it is expected most will come above this level as standard, but there will be some that won’t)
  • This calculation will be checked by your Pre-Award Development Officer in RIS, who can then help you improve the percentage if it is falling below the threshold
  • For multi-department costings the viability will be looked at across all departments included and not on a department-by-department basis
  • If, across the project, you cannot bring the viability % up to the expected minimum, you will need to refer the proposal to your Dean (using a specific form, which will be provided to you at the time) and explain the non-financial benefits of the project and why you would like them to approve it for submission at less than the minimum viability %
  • Your Dean will then either authorise submission, or ask you to work on improving the viability % to a more acceptable level
  • The Pre-Award team will only sign off on a costing in PAM under these circumstances, where the Dean has approved the viability % (via a returned form)
  • There are some exceptions where this sign off may not be needed due to the nature of the projects, for example, IAA funding, Fellowships or projects with a significant piece of equipment (i.e. where there is a 50% University contribution expected). Pre-Award will be able to advise.

In order to facilitate this change, it is as important as ever that you allow plenty of time for research proposal budget review. Your Dean will require enough notice to make the decision, so please ensure you discuss your budget with the Pre-Award team as early on in the process as possible (at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline for submission).

Further detailed guidance is available on the RIS webpages for the Proposal to Award Management (PAM) system.

There will be other small changes taking place in the coming months, but further communications will be issued when these are coming online. Any changes will be approved by the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee before being introduced.