From 17:00 GMT on Thursday 21st March to 08:30 GMT Tuesday 26th March 2019 the Je-S system will be unavailable.Working closely with UKRI, UK SBS will be renewing and moving the IT infrastructure that supports the grant administration services for UKRI and their Councils, known as Je-S.To complete this work, the Je-S system will be unavailable for a 4 day period, including the weekend. This is mainly an infrastructure change and there will be no effect on the functionality or look and feel of the Je-S system itself.There will be a change to the email address associated with Je-S which will become JeSHelp@je-s.ukri.org . After the 26th of March, any email to the Je-S service should be sent to JeSHelp@je-s.ukri.org but any mail using the current email will be redirected.
This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Read the first part here.
Je-S, the Research Council (RC) joint electronic submission system used for pre- and post-award management was the topic of an open discussion. A number of issues were raised along with suggestions for improvement:
- Doesn’t allow for ‘soft’ deadlines, to give admin offices time to review proposals before submission – perhaps ROs (Research Organisations) could be given capacity to set own Je-S deadlines
- Doesn’t allow you to see where academics are involved in proposals as Co-Is with other institutions. This can lead to last minute costings being requested
- Doesn’t give enough detail about pre-award status – i.e. it just says ‘with Council’ when a bid has been submitted, but this status covers a number of different stages
- Doesn’t allow for multiple users to edit at the same time and documents can be locked for up to 2 hours by one editor who forgets to log out
- Some Councils have started using their own online forms for outline bids which reflects a lack of flexibility in Je-S, but can add complexity and confusion for ROs
- Not all Councils allow ‘joint’ or linked proposals which allow each institution in a multi-partner bid to input their own costs. The reasons for this were that multiple Je-S forms are administratively more complex for the RC, but this effectively transfers the admin burden to ROs
While answers weren’t forthcoming during the event, all the issues will be taken away by the Je-S team in SSC for a feasibility discussion. Despite these problems, the general feeling among the room was that Je-S is a fairly good system overall for managing pre- and post-award activity, especially in comparison to other funders’ electronic systems.
Sam Madden (EPSRC) gave an update on EPSRC priorities over the coming year. Their spending commitment spike in 2012/13 (which we’ve discussed previously) is almost over, which means that there will be a sharp drop in the number of managed calls from now until at least 2014/15. Most of the budget commitment over the next year for research will be on responsive mode applications.
The main priority for EPSRC in 2013 (reflecting the vast majority of their budget commitment this year) is the Centres for Doctoral Training call, which was prefigured in November last year with a short report on priorities, but will be officially released in early February with an April deadline for outline proposals and a July deadline for full applications.
Physical Sciences are prioritising Early Career Resarchers over the next 12 months, through fellowships and other mechanisms. Engineering and ICT both want to encourage more fellowship applications, having received very few bids over the last year. Maths is also encouraging fellowship applications at the interfaces with ICT and the Living with Environmental Change programme.
In terms of peer review, EPSRC will be looking at the numbers of proposals which are returned for amendment, for example where Justification of Resources or letters of support are inadequate.
Avril Allman (NERC) discussed the new NERC strategy which is currently in development. This will be published in Feb/Mar 2013 for consultation. Current proposals emphasise “Discovery Science” (another name for blue skies/responsive mode applications) alongside three ‘societal challenges’ to be addressed by NERC-funded research. These are:
- Environmental change
- Environmental hazards
- Resource security and supply
There are also preliminary discussions underway at NERC about funding impact through a block grant to ROs, presumably based on the amount of current NERC funding, rather than on a proposal by proposal basis as presently the case. As in the other Councils, there will be and end to NERC final reports (though not to Final Expenditure Statements) as they shift to using the Research Outcomes System to capture this data.
Further to the announcement last July that the government would be requiring Open Access publication for all government-funded research outputs, RCUK have recently highlighted that publication costs will not normally be provided in individual research grants which have a start date on or after 1st April 2013. This means applicants cannot include article processing charges as Directly Incurred costs on grants to any of the UK Research Councils. The announcement appears on the Je-S home page and applies to more or less all proposals submitted from now onwards given typical decision making timescales of 6 months.
Rather than funding costs – called “article processing charges” by publishers – for open access publication, in late 2012 RCUK announced block grants for APCs for all HEIs. These block grants are based on “the amount of direct labour costs awarded on grants that they have received over the three years from April 2009 to March 2012”. This funding is expected to grow to eventually enable 75% of all RCUK funded outputs to be published in Gold OA journals by 2017/18. The remaining 25% of publications are expected to use the Green OA route, i.e. archived in institutional open access repositories.
BBSRC has announced some changes to the way it captures data via Je-S for their Responsive Mode schemes. These changes will affect all applicants currently preparing submissions to these schemes (including Standard Grants, New Investigator Grants, LINK, and Industrial Partnership Awards), for which the next closing date is 24th April 2012.
If you are in the middle of a BBSRC application, here’s how to make sure your proposal will be accepted when submitting on Je-S:
If you are currently developing a responsive mode proposal form for the ‘BBSRC Responsive Mode 24 April 2012’ Call that is under one of the above Schemes then please contact the Je-S Helpdesk who will be able to copy the information from your existing proposal into the new correct proposal form. It is not necessary for you to restart your proposal from scratch.
If you have not yet started developing your proposal, the new scheme that should be used for all future responsive mode applications is called ‘Responsive Mode’. There is a section within the classification area of the Je-S form, called ‘Grant Type’, that allows identification of applications submitted to the New Investigator, LINK and Industrial Partnership Award schemes.
Je-S Helpdesk can be reached on JeSHelp@rcuk.ac.uk or 01793 44 4164.