Finding Grant Funding By Professor Roland Jung and Ms Gillian Harris Tayside NHS R&D Consortium Ninewells Hospital and Medical School Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland FINDING GRANT FUNDING CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 2. IS MY RESEARCH NOVEL? 2.1 Literature Search 2.2 The National Research Register (NRR) 3. WHAT FUNDING DOES MY PROJECT REQUIRE? 3.1 Preparation - The Ten Point Plan 3.2 Different Grant Types 4. RESEARCH GRANT FUNDING BODIES 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 5. DOWNLOADING AN APPLICATION FORM SUMMARY REFERENCES & FURTHER READING FINDING GRANT FUNDING OBJECTIVES 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 materials. 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. FINDING GRANT FUNDING 1. INTRODUCTION 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. 2. IS MY RESEARCH NOVEL? 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: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr 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: http://www.doh.gov.uk/nrr.htm. 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. 6. Select ONGOING PROJECTS. 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 research. 9. Try another search to familiarise yourself with the process. 3. WHAT FUNDING DOES MY PROJECT REQUIRE? 3.1. Preparation - The Ten Point Plan Figure 3 diagrammatically shows the “Ten Point Plan”. capital costs ethical consumables approval salary permission costs total travel costs costs training overheads costs variable allowance FIGURE 3. RESEARCH TRIAL COSTS AND PREPARATION (TEN POINT PLAN). 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 Trusts. 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. 4. RESEARCH GRANT FUNDING BODIES There are many sources of information on research funders available. We will cover the following: ⇒ 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 http://www.hci.leeds.ac.uk/rdinfo/ 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 information. ⇒ The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is another useful database accessed on http://www.amrc.org.uk ⇒ 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 http://wisdom.wellcome.ac.uk/wisdom/schemes.html A common source for accessing all of the above is through the Tayside NHS Research & Development Consortium website http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr. WORKED EXAMPLE - Using RDinfo 1. Enter RDinfo using http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr , select National Research Funding, select RDinfo or enter using http://www.hcp.leeds.ac.uk/rdinfo/ 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 FIGURE 4. 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 following: ⇒ 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 http://www.amrc.org.uk or via the Taysidehsr site as detailed in the first Worked Example (on http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr). 2. Select AMRC LINKS (Figure 5). Click Here FIGURE 5. 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 http://wisdom.wellcome.ac.uk/wisdom/schemes.html or via the Taysidehsr site as detailed in the first Worked Example. 2. Subject area: select ENDOCRINOLOGY (Figure 6). Click Here FIGURE 6. 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 FIGURE 7. 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 http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr, 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. charitynet.org but regrettably their database is not yet available on this website. The CD-ROM is interactive and has a comprehensive search facility. WORKED EXAMPLE - Using GRANTSEEKER 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 firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr and selecting STOP PRESS from the left-hand selection. This information is updated monthly. ⇒ 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 provided. 5. DOWNLOADING AN APPLICATION FORM 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 http://www.shert.com 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 directly. WORKED EXAMPLE - Downloading a CSO Grant Application Form 1. Enter CSO website on http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/cso or via the Tayside R & D website (http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr, 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 directly. Good luck with all your research applications. SUMMARY Choose an R & D information website you find comfortable using. One example is the Tayside R & D website on http://www.dundee.ac.uk/taysidehsr. 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 http://www.hci.leeds.ac.uk/rdinfo/ For information on funders for mainly small grants and with a local bias then use the CAF CD-ROM called GRANTSEEKER 2000. 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 Office. 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 you. REFERENCES & FUTURE READING Research Matters on http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/cso Research Funding Guide 2000. Ed. E. Bottomley. Research Fortnight, London. ISBN 0- 9533138-1-6.
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