New AHRC Requirements: Technical Summaries and Plans

Starting this week, all applicants to the AHRC will now need to include a Technical Summary heading within their Case for Support and, where digital technologies or digital outputs are an essential part of the research outcomes, an additional Technical Plan attachment must be included.

Both the Technical Summary and Technical Plan attachment replace the previous Je-S-based Technical Appendix.

The length limits for the Case for Support have been extended to 7 pages for standard and early career Research Grant and Fellowship schemes to incorporate the new Technical Summary. Within the Technical Summary you need to provide a brief description of the digital outputs or technologies that will be produced as part of your project. If you feel that the technologies or outputs produced do not merit the inclusion of the more detailed Technical Plan attachment, for example because the research outcomes do not depend on the digital outputs, you need to justify that case here. The AHRC give the example of a website which simply contains information about the project – because the research outcomes don’t depend on this output, this would not require a Technical Plan.  If your project does not have any digital outputs, then you should use the Technical Summary section to state this.

In all other cases you do need to produce a Technical Plan. This takes the form of a separate attachment on Je-S and needs to adhere to the headings specified. AHRC have lots to say about the Technical Plan on their website:

Its purpose is to demonstrate to the AHRC that technical provisions within a research proposal have been adequately addressed in terms of:

(a) Delivering the planned digital output or the digital technology from a practical and methodological perspective;

(b) Doing so in a way which satisfies the AHRC’s requirements for preservation and sustainability. The AHRC has a responsibility to ensure that the research which it funds is achievable and high-quality, and that the outputs of the research will wherever appropriate be accessible to the community over the longer term.

The Plan contains four sections: Summary of Digital Outputs and Digital Technologies; Technical Methodology (including hardware and software, formats to be used); Technical Support and Experience; and Preservation, Sustainability and Use. Technical reviewers will comment specifically on the Technical Plan for your application, providing feedback in addition to the peer review feedback.

Applicants are advised to allow extra time to prepare the Technical Plan and consult RBS at an early stage for guidance.