Finding Grant Funding by ngs20854


									      Finding Grant Funding
By Professor Roland Jung and Ms Gillian Harris
        Tayside NHS R&D Consortium
    Ninewells Hospital and Medical School
              Dundee DD1 9SY



   2.1 Literature Search
   2.2 The National Research Register (NRR)

   3.1 Preparation - The Ten Point Plan
   3.2 Different Grant Types

   4.1 Databases on the Web
   4.2 Local Grants on the Web
   4.3 CD-ROM Accessible Databases
   4.4 Printed Matter
   4.5 Latest Funding Opportunities





Upon completion of this module the student should be able to:

1.   Access information on projects currently funded which are related to your chosen
     research theme.

2.   Assess the financial requirements of your research project for a grant application.

3.   Access information on research funders using the Internet, CD-ROM and printed

4.   Access regular published material detailing current research funding opportunities.

5.   Identify appropriate research funders for your project; obtain the required
     application form, details on how to complete the form and any information on any
     restrictions or application deadlines.


This unit covers the final stage of preparing a research project - finding an appropriate
grant funding body who will be willing to provide the required financial support to
allow your project to go ahead.

Thinking up a novel research project can be a daunting process but finding funding can
become an overwhelming obstacle unless you know how to proceed. Possibly you have
made preliminary enquiries and the common funding sources have been mentioned to
you. However, these are often only available to experienced researchers and you will
not be eligible to apply as a beginner.

Competition for funding is tough, with success rates as poor as 1:10 for a beginner with
this only improving to 1:3 or 1:4 for very experienced researchers. Therefore, to
improve your chance of success it is important you are well prepared. Your project must
be novel, not only should you check the literature but you should also ascertain there are
no currently funded projects with a similar research question. This is covered in Section
2. It is important to know the financial requirements of your project when trying to
ascertain who are the most appropriate grant funders for your particular research field
which is covered in Section 3. There is a vast amount of information available on
research funders and Section 4 shows where it can be found. Section 5 covers the final
stage of making a grant application and what information is required.


Now that you have thought of a research idea, you have to make sure no one else has
thought of this previously. Even if someone has researched your idea, it may be that the
method used was inappropriate, inaccurate or outdated, or possibly came to the wrong
conclusions because of poor design. Previous experiences will also assist you in
strengthening the design of your project or may even initiate new ideas, which can be
incorporated and tested out through your research.

⇒ Literature Search.
⇒ National Research Register.

  Carefully check if any similar work has all ready been carried out.

2.1 Literature Search

A literature search is required to show that there has been no published evidence of
previous research identical to your proposed project. Every research funder will ask for
any related references and they are unlikely to fund a project if identical work has been
done previously. The search results can also be useful for providing references to
support the need for your research to be funded. See Unit 2 “Information Gathering &
Review” for details on how to undertake a literature search.

2.2 The National Research Register (NRR)

Whereas a literature search provides information on published research results, the NRR
is a register of active and recently completed research projects from throughout the UK.
Searching this register will give you some confidence that no one else has recently
received funding for a similar project as your own. The other useful features of this
register are to give you contacts of researchers with similar interests and to give you
ideas on possible funding sources for your type of research. Every project on the
register provides the following information:
             ⇒   title,
             ⇒   name of contact,
             ⇒   short description of study,
             ⇒   methodology in use,
             ⇒   outcome measures,
             ⇒   duration, and
             ⇒   funding source.

             WORKED EXAMPLE - Using the NRR

             The NRR is available on CD-ROM at the NHS Research & Development Office and is
             also sometimes available in University libraries. However, the easiest method is to
             access the register via the web using Internet Explorer and following either:

             Access the NRR by selecting the NRR button in the left-hand column of the front page
             (as shown in Figure 1).

Click Here

             FIGURE 1.

             or directly by using: Once at the NRR front page use
             the register as follows:

             1. Select NRR online (Figure 2).

                                        Click Here

             FIGURE 2.
2. Please notice ‘click here to access the NRR on line’. Select ENTER.

3. In the MESH OPTION enter your choice of topic, for example OBESITY.

4. Select the SEARCH button.

5. Under the Projects database title the number of ongoing and completed projects
   containing the word “Obesity” is shown.


7. Select one of the NEW projects and view the information.

8. Select another project to note the variation and the type of grant supporting the

9. Try another search to familiarise yourself with the process.


3.1. Preparation - The Ten Point Plan

Figure 3 diagrammatically shows the “Ten Point Plan”.



                 total                                                           travel
                 costs                                                           costs



First you should analyse your research project for the components of costs required.
This is done by carefully annotating the project requirements against the following 10
major headings.

3.1.1 Capital Costs

Capital costs include equipment and instruments, computers, software, laboratory space
etc. Grant funders are not bottomless pits of finance and will expect full justification for
any capital costs requested. It is worth finding out if anything you require can be
borrowed/accessed from other researchers as this will help keep your grant request
within any financial limits.
3.1.2 Consumables

Work out the costs generously as this component always costs more than you initially
estimate (see variable allowance). If you need routine laboratory tests then visit the
laboratory concerned and find out if there is a charge. Never presume that someone will
do a test for you free of charge because you know him or her, their department will have
its own budget constraints. Annotate all charges for the grant request.

  Be careful not to underestimate your consumable costs.

3.1.3 Salary Costs

Carefully consider all the people required to complete your project. Will you require
nursing assistance, a doctor to review medical notes or patients, laboratory assistance,
secretarial input, computing skills, statistician etc? The Personnel department (Human
Resources) will be able to provide information on salaries and the rates of additional
employers costs which must be taken into consideration (national insurance, super-
annuation etc.). Remember that pay rises, inflation rises, and seniority payments etc.
must also be taken into consideration. Sometimes it may be prudent to add 10% per
annum if you are unsure. There may be a cost for advertising the post and for removal
expenses that may need to be taken into account.

3.1.4 Travel Costs

These may be required for volunteers, patients, and researchers. The mileage charges
relevant for your institution will be available from the Personnel Department or the
Finance office.

3.1.5 Training Costs

A visit to another institution to learn a particular technique may be required. The costs
for this can be included in the grant application.

3.1.6 Variable Allowance

Estimating costs is a difficult process and is something one improves at with
experience. As a beginner you are bound to underestimate the full costs so consider
adding 10% to consumable costs to cover inflation, price rises and wastage.

3.1.7 Overheads

Some grants allow overheads but most do not; these vary but are usually 40 - 46% of
entire budget after costing for the above. At present only the research councils, NHS
Executive and Chief Scientist Office (Scotland) provide overheads. These are paid to
your institution (e.g. University) for hosting the research but are never paid to NHS

3.1.8 Calculate Final Costs

Total all the costs and then work out the costs per annum (usually financial years as
opposed to project years).

3.1.9 Permission

Permission should always be sought to carry out your research from either your
University or from the respective Research & Development office for the NHS. In some
situations both NHS and University will need to be approached. Why? It is not only
courteous but there are issues concerning indemnity, liability and the use of public
property. Also as an employee your employer has the right to have the final say on
whether you may spend work time on your chosen research project or whether this time
is required for other purposes. The NHS will also have to cost the use of any NHS
facilities (such as inpatient beds, outpatient space, reception time, theatre usage, day
case, laboratory usage etc.) required. Also confirmation is needed from the different
departments concerned that they can and are willing to provide the NHS facilities
requested from within the NHS budget for R & D. The Chief Scientist Office provides
research support monies, mainly to the major teaching Trusts, known as the Culyer
levy. As the Culyer fund is Public Money it must be fully accountable and there are
restrictions on its usage. You will not be asked to fund this cost from your grant unless
the use of NHS facilities requested are more than the NHS can supply. Therefore, it is
prudent to gain permission and enquire of such costs before applying for your grant. If
this is not prearranged you may achieve a grant which is then refused by your institution
and has to be returned!

3.1.10 Ethical Approval

Make sure if your project requires ethical approval before sending in a grant application.
If approval is required some grant funders require this to have been achieved before
grant application. Certainly no grant will be paid or project allowed to start without
ethical approval if it involves patients, patient material or volunteers.

3.2. Different Grant Types.

Grants vary considerably and can be based on:

⇒ Geographical area. Some funders restrict their funding to certain areas (e.g. USA,
  Wales, Kent).

⇒ Themes of research (e.g. cancer, nutrition). Which theme applies to your idea?

⇒ Capital costs. Some grants do not fund equipment etc. whereas others only fund
  this type of request.

⇒ Salaries. Some grants fund salaries whilst others do not. Some grants do not fund
   salaries of lead applicants so this needs to be considered.

⇒ Age and experience. Some funding bodies only support new researchers, less than
  40 years of age for example; others may have no restriction.

⇒ Study duration. There can be restrictions here especially if the research takes more
   than 2 years.

⇒ Cost. The most important restriction as every fund has a maximum level to which it
  will fund. Never presume that they will fund more than their limit for a brilliant
  idea - they will not. Also never undercost your project to keep within the funders
  budget. Remember that any extra costs during the research programme will have to
  be paid for somehow. Once the grant award has been offered that is the amount that
  will be received, no more, also, if there is an underspend at the end of the project
  the funder will expect the money to be returned. If the project costs exceed the
  funders maximum, consider applying to some of the smaller charities for some of
  the capital costs.


There are many sources of information on research funders available. We will cover the

⇒ databases on the web,
⇒ CD-ROM databases,
⇒ printed matter, and
⇒ latest funding opportunities.
4.1 Databases on the Web

There are a number of web based databases for finding a research funding body. The
three major sites are:

⇒ RDinfo on The NHS Executive commissioned
  this extensive database that provides researchers with direct access to up to the
  minute information on health related funding and training opportunities. This is
  possibly the most sophisticated database available and has won the Healthcare IT
  Effectiveness Award for the best publicly accessible database of health related

⇒ The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is another useful
  database accessed on

⇒ WISDOM database organised by the Wellcome Trust is extensive but mainly is
  concerned with biomedical research rather than Health Services related research. It
  is available on

A common source for accessing all of the above is through the Tayside NHS Research
& Development Consortium website


1. Enter RDinfo using , select National Research
   Funding, select RDinfo or enter using

2. On entry you will note a series of stars in the opening window. Select LINKS to
   other FUNDING ORGANISATIONS on the right hand side (Figure 4).

                                                                      Click Here


3. A window will open with an extensive list of icons for major fundholders that you
   can select. Why not try MRC.

4. Select back twice to return to the home window.
5.   Select the right hand star called SEARCH for FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
     (this can also be accessed from the Links to other Funding Organisations page by
     selecting CRITERIA SEARCH at the top of the page).

6. A window now opens allowing you to search different funding criteria. Try the

     ⇒      Research area       Select:   Health Services Research
     ⇒      Type of grant       Select:   Projects and Programme
     ⇒      Amount              Select:   £50k - £100k
     ⇒      Duration            Select:   1 year - 3 years
     ⇒      Keywords            Select:   Cancer

7. Select Search.

8. A list of possible grant sources are now shown for you to peruse.

9. Try other options to familiarise yourself with the search facility.

WORKED EXAMPLE - Using AMRC database

1. Enter AMRC either directly on or via the Taysidehsr site as
   detailed in the first Worked Example (on

2. Select AMRC LINKS (Figure 5).

                       Click Here


3. Select as an example NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS SOCIETY. Details concerning
   this society will be provided.

4. Try other options to familiarise yourself with the website. Note that regrettably the
   GRANT SEARCH option is still under construction.

WORKED EXAMPLE - Using Wisdom Database

1.   Enter Wisdom directly on or
     via the Taysidehsr site as detailed in the first Worked Example.
2.   Subject area: select ENDOCRINOLOGY (Figure 6).

                                                     Click Here


3. Type of award: select PROJECT grants.

4. Select: FIND RECORDS and view the selection.

5. Select: British Diabetic Association Project Grant and view the details (Figure 7).

                                               Click Here


6. Try other search combinations to familiarise yourself with the facility. For example
   try DERMATOLOGY as subject area and FELLOWSHIPS as Type of award.

4.2 Local Grants on the Web

Local funded grants may be available and will often be made known to you by visiting
the R & D office or their web site.
Look at, select Local Research Funding for
examples of the type of local grants that can be available.

4.3 CD-ROM Accessible Databases

There is one other major database which is useful for researchers who require small
grants. This is produced by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) as a CD-ROM called
GRANTSEEKER (a book is also available). Both database and CD-ROM should be
available in your local R & D office or library. Their website is http://www. but regrettably their database is not yet available on this website. The
CD-ROM is interactive and has a comprehensive search facility.


Proposed Project: A one-off grant is being sought for a project researching cancer in
Perthshire, Scotland.

1. Open Grantseeker 2000 and select CONTINUE from the front page. After reading
   the information select CONTINUE again.

2. Enter the information on the type of grant required using the series of question
   buttons. To Enable each category select the box next to the coloured emblem. Enter
   the following information:

    ⇒    World wide             Select:   UK
    ⇒    Country                Select:   Scotland
    ⇒    Region                 Select:   Perth & Kinross
    ⇒    What is funded 1       Select:   Health
    ⇒    What is funded 2       Select:   Medical Studies and research
    ⇒    What is funded 3       Select:   Cancer research
    ⇒    Who can benefit 1      Select:   Beneficiaries by disease & medical condition
    ⇒    Who can benefit 2      Select:   Cancers
    ⇒    Type of grant          Select:   One-off

3. Now select SEARCH.

One local grant source is supplied.

4. Now try REGION as Edinburgh but maintain the criteria as above.

5. Select SEARCH. (Note that one local charity is given specifically for research into
   cancer in Edinburgh.)

6. Continue to try different search criteria (e.g. England & West Midlands or England
   & North West). By changing the region and type of grant you will notice there are
   many local charities which could be useful for small grant applications for
   equipment purchase etc.

4.4 Printed Matter

Research Fortnight issues a short pamphlet entitled Research Fortnight at 2 weekly
intervals. This contains the latest call for grant applications giving details of where to
apply, application deadline etc. Note that this is an expensive publication but is likely to
be available in your library and/or your local R & D office.

There is also a book produced by the same distributors called THE RESEARCH
FUNDING GUIDE and this is also available in libraries and R & D offices. This book
lists many of the grant funding institutions and is invaluable if you regularly seek funds
(for further information contact Research Fortnight Telephone: 020 7972 0080 or email

As mentioned previously Grantseeker is also available in book form.
             4.5 Latest Funding Opportunities
             ⇒ Some local NHS R & D offices provide information on latest grant application
                deadlines. (Make sure you are on their Mailing list.) Some offices place such
                information on their website.
             ⇒ An example of this can be found at and
               selecting STOP PRESS from the left-hand selection. This information is updated

             ⇒ Some of the National databases also provide information on funding opportunities.
                The RDinfo site has two very useful search facilities.

             WORKED EXAMPLE - Funding Opportunities

             1. Enter the RDinfo website.

             2. Select the star called NEW ENTRIES and UPDATES (Figure 8).

Click Here

             FIGURE 8.

             3. A list of new funding opportunities is shown. Select: Wellcome Trust.

             4. A list of all the available grants from the Wellcome Trust and their next application
                deadlines is given.

             5. Select: HOME.

             6. Select: FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ordered by CLOSING DATE.

             7. Select the most recent month and a chronological list of deadlines and funders is


             Once you have decided on the most appropriate grant source you will need to source an
             application form. Most charities with a website and the Research Councils provide their
             application form in a downloadable format. An example of how to locate an application
             for from SHERT follows:

             1. Enter SHERT either directly on or via the Tayside R & D
                website as detailed in the first Worked Example.

             2. Select How to apply for funding from the home page (Figure 9).

Click Here

             FIGURE 9.

             3.   There are six types of applications available. Select Research Grants (Figure 10).

                                                                     Click Here

             FIGURE 10.

             4. The download types of application forms and guideline notes available are
                indicated. Select Application form - MS Word Document (Figure 11).
                                                                         Click Here

             FIGURE 11.

             5. You will now be able to print out the document or enter you research details

             WORKED EXAMPLE - Downloading a CSO Grant Application Form

             1. Enter CSO website on or via the Tayside R & D
                website (, select Research funding National,
                select CSO button).

             2. At CSO site select Applying for Funding (Figure 12).

Click Here

             FIGURE 12.

             3. Scroll down to the section stating ‘Please check below for guidance notes and
                forms’. Select Application form.
             4. An application form is now available to print out or enter your research details
                 Good luck with all your research applications.


Choose an R & D information website you find comfortable using. One example is the
Tayside R & D website on

Check your project is not already being researched through literature searches and the
National Research Register.

Carefully assess the total funds required for you to be able to complete the research (and
disseminate the results).

Locate a suitable funder for your project using a database for searching grant funders in
detail which also gives you up to date information and dead-lines, such as RDinfo
accessible via the Taysidehsr website or directly on

For information on funders for mainly small grants and with a local bias then use the

For up to the date grant information use the web on Rdinfo or STOP PRESS on the
Taysidehsr. Another option is to view Research Fortnight in the library or R & D

Use the web to download application forms and guidelines for many of the major
funders as they will expect you to use their website rather than have to send them out to


Research Matters on

Research Funding Guide 2000. Ed. E. Bottomley. Research Fortnight, London. ISBN 0-

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