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Summary of RAP-n harmonisation activities (2007–May 2010)

Below is a summary of the Research Administration Polices network (RAP-n) harmonisation of policies, processes and administrative arrangements associated with grants, studentships and fellowships.

Eligibility

  • It was agreed that Research Council Institutes should be eligible for grant funding from all Councils
  • Harmonised PI eligibility framework agreed, including common policy regarding seconded, retired and transferring investigators.
  • Revisions to IRO eligibility criteria agreed and published.

Grants and Fellowships Pre-award

Je-S

  • Fund headings for non-fEC/FEC exceptions grants agreed.
  • Font harmonisation on Je-S attachments agreed (Ariel, minimum pt11).

Guidance

  • Common guidance on completion of the Justification of Resources document was agreed and incorporated into the Je-S Help text and funding guidance.
  • Harmonised guidance regarding applications for technician support agreed.
  • Audit requirements (time sheets) for DI investigators – harmonised guidance was agreed & published in FAQs.

Policy

  • Carbon emissions – RCs agreed on a policy of supporting additional costs of low-carbon approaches on grants and fellowships (including videoconferencing) where appropriate, but that they would not support the cost of carbon offsetting.
  • Common policy agreed on funding dissemination costs.
  • Agreed policy implemented concerning justification and support for items that might be expected to be found in a well-found lab/department and not requested in a grant application.
  • Harmonised policy agreed on payment of estates/indirect costs in respect of researchers spending time away from their host Research Organisation.

Peer review

  • A policy that reviewers' comments should not be fed back to Research Organisations' Finance Offices was agreed (after consultation with the peer review community).

Grants and Fellowships Post-award

Offer and acceptance

  • Combined terms and conditions for Research Grants and Fellowships agreed.
  • Harmonised approach to indexation and profiling agreed, for implementation with the new grants system.
  • A common policy was agreed that no financial sanctions will be applied if the starting certificate is submitted more than 42 days after the grant has started

Current grants

  • Harmonised policy on implementation of transfer between headings (virement) rules agreed (GC3 Use of funds and GC6 transfer of funds between headings)
  • A harmonised policy was adopted that equipment purchases should not be made in the final six months of a grant.
  • Grant and Fellowship transfers – removed condition concerning liability of costs for transfers under FEC, to achieve harmonisation
  • RCs agreed on a common approach and policy towards meeting the additional costs of pay assimilation
  • Harmonised policy regarding payment of costs and extending grants arising from extended jury service was agreed

End of grant

  • Agreement was reached on policy regarding the amount of estates and indirect costs payable following significant changes in the research project (GC5).
  • Final Report and FES due date – agreed to harmonise that this should be submitted by the Research Organisation within 3 months of the end of a grant (GC18)
  • Councils harmonised on the policy that an interim expenditure statement (IES) is required when a grant has completed 14 quarters (i.e. 42 months)

FEC issues

  • Common process for validating FEC costing in IROs agreed.
  • Exceptions to FEC: common framework agreed by councils to ensure consistency of approach.
  • Harmonised pre-award checklist for FEC compliance agreed.
  • Revised FEC FAQs agreed and published.
  • Revised FEC peer-review guidance agreed and published.
  • Policy agreed on the issue of additional university contributions to research activities, outside the normal 20% FEC contribution: in the case of major investments, such as research centres, it may be appropriate for Councils to negotiate parallel institutional support for such activities, alongside Research Council funding provided at the normal 80% rate.
  • Harmonised policy adopted concerning application of funding caps under FEC
  • Agreed policy on project partner funding under FEC implemented

Studentships

  • Harmonised terms and conditions for training grants agreed.
  • Harmonised policy regarding payment of college fees for students at Oxford and Cambridge was agreed.
  • Harmonised interpretation of the 50% funding rule for Research Council-supported studentships agreed.
  • Harmonised definition of eligible costs on training grants agreed.
  • Agreement was reached on a common approach to maternity provision for research students.
  • Agreed text on intellectual property rights for Research Studentship support implemented.

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