The ESRC has recently announced a number of changes to their grant application process which will be of interest to all potential applicants. Most of these changes bring the ESRC more into line with its sister Research Councils. Full details are available on the ESRC website, but I’ve summarised the headlines below:
- Classifications: From today you can now identify relevant public and third sector engagement activities in the classification section of proposals. This change reflects the increasing importance being placed on impact and engagement outside the academic sphere across the Research Councils.
- Grant administration: The three changes under this heading reflect the ongoing cross-Council harmonisation process and move to a shared back-office via the SSC. Applicants will now have the opportunity to reply to reviewer comments on all Standard Grants, not just those over £500K as previously. In addition, the reviewer scoring has shifted to a numerical 1-6 scale, rather than A+, A, A-. Finally, Je-S has revised its user expertise classifications so all Je-S users will need to log in and amend their expertise to reflect the new categories.
- Equipment: In line with EPSRC changes last year, ESRC has increased the threshold for equipment from £3,000 to £10,000. Anything up to £10K should now be classed as directly incurred. Items from £10K to £113K (the OJEU threshold) need additional justification and will typically be funded at around 50%.