Non research grants and projects
Non-research grants are grants that cannot be treated as research and therefore we need to ensure that the university accounts for them correctly.
Procedures in relation to non-research grants and projects
There are well defined procedures in relation to the pre and post award administration of research grants and contracts, consultancies and CPD courses. The process in relation to other awards has been less clear. These are small in number and until now have been dealt with in an ad hoc manner. However, some of these can be very large (KTA award for example), and others extremely complex to administer (EC awards in particular) and as such can pose a financial and resource risk to the University if not evaluated thoroughly and administered properly.
The Finance Office and RDSO have therefore formulated a set of procedures together with a couple of forms to formalise the pre and post award processes. The documents consist of:
A Non-Research Grant and Project Proposal Form which sets out that grant proposals are subject to full economic costing and formalises consultation with the International Office and Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office where appropriate. It also highlights the administrative resource burden that can come with these grants and stresses the need for the proposal to build in a resource where possible, and for the administration requirements to be discussed and agreed with the faculty Director of Administration and the Finance Office in advance. The form requires some key signatures, which will then provide the assurance to the institutional signatories to be able to commit the University to the proposal. The relevant institutional signatories are the Director of Finance and the University Secretary.
A Non-research Grant and Project Contract Form for completion once a proposal has been successful, to pick up on any changes in the award to the original proposal, to ensure legal scrutiny of any non-standard contract and to enable the institutional signatories to safely sign the contract.
A set of procedures in relation to both the pre award and post award processes. This includes clarification of the roles of the lead individual, the department, the faculty and the Finance Office. It also states how any income in excess of direct costs should be distributed, making it clear that any FEC overheads should go to the department's overhead account and only after that can excess income be distributed within the department.
The Non-Research Proposal Form (NRP-Proposal) should be used at the proposal stage for non-research grants & projects over £5K, including non-Framework EC grants (e.g. Erasmus Mundi, Tempus, Leonardo), grants to support or develop teaching and enterprise awards. It should not be used for research, studentships, consultancy, CPD and other short courses, which have their own procedures. For smaller awards of less than £5K, please contact Emma Hoar in the Finance Office and provide copies of the documentation.
The first question in relation to any proposed grant is whether it can be classified as research. The Research Support and Funding team (RSF) within the RDSO should always be consulted in the first instance to establish whether it can be treated as research.
If it is research, then a RS1 form should be completed. If the RSF deem it not to be research, then the NRP-Proposal form should be completed with the support of the Finance Office. Contacts within Finance for this purpose are Dave Nicholson and Emma Hoar, to whom the completed form should be returned. If you are planning to submit a proposal against a deadline, please make sure that you have the approval of your HoD and have contacted the Finance Office at least 3 weeks before the deadline.
All NRP grants should be full-economic-costed (FEC) using pFACT. The Annex to the NRP-Proposal contains a detailed costing template which must be completed. Where the grant does not cover the full FEC of the activity, then an explanation is required as to the wider benefits of the project outweighing the lack of full cost recovery. The Dean is asked to approve this statement. Help in completing the Budget Template annex is available from the Finance Office.
Income in excess of direct marginal costs up to the point where FEC is covered will be transferred to the department's overhead account as a contribution to allocated staff time, Estates and Indirect costs. Where the income generates a surplus over FEC, that surplus is available to the department to transfer to an account within its range, subject to the Dean's approval.
A number of these grants involve exchanges of students with universities both within and outside of the EU. Where the grant involves EU or overseas students coming to Bath , then the implications should be discussed as early as possible with the International Office as they will be required to give their approval on the NRP-Proposal form.
Where the grant involves the support or development of learning and teaching, the implications should be discussed as early as possible with the Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office (LTEO), whose approval will be required on the form.
In some cases the project will involve refurbishment or other Estates work. In such cases the work should be discussed in advance with Estates, and an Estates quote should accompany the form.
These grants will all involve some administration which in some cases can be quite significant. Central resources are limited and can only give minimal support. It is therefore critical that in respect of the financial and other administration and reporting requirements either: a) they can be managed within the existing resources of the faculty/department, or b) that there is financial provision within the grant to buy in support to the faculty/department for this. This issue must be discussed with the Faculty Director of Administration and with the Finance Office. Responsibility for managing such a project ultimately rests with the lead individual.
If this is not a proposal involving a standard contract with the EC, a research council, funding council or UK charity and you have a copy of the ultimate contract available at this stage, then you should show this to the University's Legal Advisers. They will need to approve the contract documentation if the proposal is successful.
Page 3 of the NRP-Proposal form asks for a number of sign-offs. The Finance Office is the last signature and once they have signed they will pass the Proposal itself together with this form to the Director of Finance or University Secretary for institutional signature. Please note that it is only these people who are authorised to commit the University to such a project.
If the proposal is successful and an award is made, then the University will need to accept that award which will mean an institutional signature on a contract or other award documentation.
To formalise the process, there is a Non-Research Contract Form (NRP-Contract) that should be completed.
Where the award amount differs from the amount asked for in the Proposal, then the budget template should be revised accordingly.
Where the grant involves incoming students, then the International Office should be told that the grant has been awarded. Where it involves the support or development of learning & teaching then the LTEO should be informed.
Administration requirements including financial management should be again discussed with the Faculty Director of Administration and their support confirmed.
The NRP-Contract form can then be passed to Finance (see contacts above). If this is a standard research council, funding council, UK charity or EU contract then the Finance Office will forward the documentation to the Director of Finance or University Secretary for institutional signature. If it is any other contract, then the form and draft contract will be passed to the University's Legal Adviser for approval before being passed on for institutional signature.
Once the contract has been formally approved, a copy should be returned to the Finance Office for setting up a financial project code.
Responsibility for the management of a non-research award is with the lead individual and his/her department. In some cases there will be dedicated project administrative support funded from the grant to assist. Where this is not the case, then support will need to be found from within the faculty/department administration. The Finance Office will agree the financial requirements and ensure that financial reports are available from Agresso. All financial claims and requests for invoicing must be verified by the Finance Office. Day to day financial management and monitoring, including the initiating of claims to funders (unless specifically agreed otherwise) resides with the department/faculty.