Research proposal development and submission
How to develop your research proposal, prepare your budget, and the internal and external approval processes for research funding applications.
At the University of Bath there are a number of teams in Research and Innovation Services (RIS) who will support you through the research proposal development process.
Proposal development is not linear and you may need to interact with different support services throughout the process. The support you need may look different from one project to the next. How it looks may vary based on the size, complexity, funding source and research discipline(s) of the proposed project.
Our Research Grant Development team works with academic staff to develop high-quality research proposals and secure grant funding.
Our Industrial Partnerships team helps academic staff build relationships with industry partners and supports applying for collaborative funding.
Our Pre-Award team help academic staff with preparing the budget elements of funding proposals and with compliance aspects, checking and advising on all research grant applications.
There are three key elements of internal approval. These must be obtained prior to your research proposal being submitted:
- budget preparation and review/approval (Pre-Award) (NB: if you are applying to one of the UK Research Councils, you will also need to complete the viability calculation step)
- ethical consideration (EIRA1)
- Head of Department approval
The first and third steps will take place through the Proposal to Award Management system (PAM). The EIRA1 form will be completed in SharePoint but the output of that will feed into the PAM workflow, and your costing will not progress to the next step (HoD approval) until the EIRA1 is signed off.
Further detailed information on these steps can be found in separate sections below.
Other things you may need to consider:
Due Diligence/Heads of Terms (HoTs) will need completing if your project involves overseas partners/collaborators.
Your proposal may require Peer Review, which is a process led by your academic department.
NHS Costs or Involvement:
Budget preparation and review/approval
Costing and pricing in PAM
If you cannot see 'PAM' in the menu or you are an Administrator requiring access, request access to PAM using the TopDesk form.
The Pre-Award Team will support you during this part of the process.
Research sustainability - viability calculation
If you are applying to one of the six Research Councils, there is an additional step in the process, the viability calculation, which your Pre-Award Development Officer can help you with.
Ethical consideration (EIRA1)
As with the costing element of the process, you must show you've considered the ethical implications of the research you plan to undertake.
The EIRA1 process will take you through this and your EIRA1 form must be signed off and linked to your PAM costing prior to submission of an externally funded full-stage research proposal. This always applies, even where Bath is not leading the proposal. Outline applications do not require ethical approval.
You can start the online ethics form at any time. However, do include the PAM reference number (21-xxxxx) when submitting your online EIRA1 ethics form for approval.
If you have any questions about this stage in the process, please contact your Department Research Ethics Officer.
Head of Department approval
Your Head of Department will be sent an approval task in PAM (Agresso workflow notification email), where they will review your proposal budget If approved, you will receive a notification once this step is complete (‘Draft Research Costing(s) Approved’). They will contact you for further information if they have any questions prior to approving your budget.
University contribution requests
As part of your research proposal development you may wish to include university support in the form of a Leveraged University Research Studentship (LURS).
The funder you are applying to may also require a university contribution to equipment being purchased as part of the project (e.g. UKRI funding), which is referred to as an EQR1 at the University of Bath.
Occasionally, for large pieces of equipment over the OJEU limit, you may also need to complete the EQR2 process. Further information.
When you have obtained internal sign off, you will be notified via PAM (Agresso workflow notification email) and this means you can then submit your proposal to the funder when it is ready.
Most funders require institutional approval/sign-off before they will accept your proposal, so please check with your Pre-Award Development Officer how much time they will need to review your proposal prior to the deadline and allow plenty of time for this. The Pre-Award Service Level Agreement (SLA) sets out more detail on the timelines involved with this.
Award stage: What happens when I'm successful?
Pre-Award will support the setup of your award, which will involve the following:
- review of your award letter
- acceptance of the offer on your behalf (where the funder system dictates this e.g. for UKRI funding through JeS, or flexigrant for funders like Royal Society and British Academy)
- setting up your Award costing in PAM (you are not able to do this yourself)
This part of the process may also involve Pre-Award supporting you in:
- a referral to our Research Contracts team, either where a collaboration agreement is required, or the funding is being awarded by a company/industry funder
- due diligence on partners involved with the project
- obtaining signature from a delegated authority signatory
You may also need to make contact with other areas of the University:
- additional ethical review if your funding involves certain activities or your funder requires it
- liaising with HR if your project requires recruiting new members of staff, or alteration of existing staff contracts
- contacting Procurement, Estates or your Faculty technical support team where new pieces of equipment or large sub-contracts are involved
Where your project involves recruiting new members of staff, you will also need to liaise with our Post-Award team who will sign off on your Stonefish Request on behalf of RIS.
Once any relevant contracts have been fully executed and your award budget signed off in PAM, you will be issued with a research project code and you will be supported by our Post-Award team and, where relevant, our Project Management team.