Research Staff Development Fund

What is the Research Staff Development Fund?

The Research Staff Development fund is available to all early career research staff (on pathway 2) who wish to create and implement initiatives and opportunities that will develop research staff and improve communication and collaboration across research teams.

This fund is specifically for activities that will benefit as wide a range of researchers as possible by achieving outcomes such as improved departmental practices, increased morale and motivation or the development of transferable skills. This fund is not designed to support actual research.

Proposed projects must be of benefit to a group of researchers either within a school/department or ideally between schools/departments, not just the individual(s) applying. Collaborative proposals between schools/departments are encouraged.

Applicants can bid for funds of up to £3,000 per bid.

The Fund will not cover the costs of:

• Academic Research of any kind
• External trainers for one-off training courses (projects involving training or development must incorporate a plan for sustainability)
• Catering, unless associated with a novel idea
• Room hire within the University (this should be sourced free of charge)

Who is eligible to apply?

All early career research staff (on pathway 2) can apply. Applications can be made by an individual or a group of research staff either within or across schools.

What's in it for me?

Developing a project of this kind will not only help you to develop leadership and transferable skills but to promote creativity and resourcefulness that will be invaluable in any future academic career. You can also demonstrate that you have successfully bid for competitive funding.

Where do I start and what should I consider before I apply?

When preparing your application you firstly need to consider the following:

Essential Criteria:

  1. Innovation: is this a new idea that is not built into an existing programme/practice/budget?
  2. Feasibility: can it happen? (where possible, a time or resource-rich project can be offset by help from other researchers as well as the Academic Staff Development team)
  3. Value for money: how much is it really going to cost? (consider whether other similar programmes/tools are already in place in other areas of the University, whether rooms/equipment can be made available for free from your school/department and carefully consider any other costs that are not essential to the aim of the project).
  4. Maximise the benefits: Consider the benefits of the project to research staff and how this can be maximised -who's going to benefit and how? (in particular are there any training and development opportunities that can be developed and introduced)
  5. Benefit a group of research staff instead of an individual- how will this positively impact on more people?

Additional Criteria:

  1. Transferable skills development - what skills will you and others learn?
  2. Leadership skills development - what will you learn about your ability to lead?
  3. Improve morale/motivation of research staff- how will it benefit research staff?
  4. Improve departmental practices for research staff - how might it impact in a school/department?
  5. Improve communication- how will you communicate in different ways?
  6. Inter-departmental collaboration - who else might be interested and how can you work together?

NB: The panel does not necessarily expect bids to cover all of these aspects but they do need to cover the essential criteria.

How do I apply?

To apply please download and complete the development fund application form (Office document, 30kB). In addition, we ask applicants to score themselves against the same criteria the panel use the score sheet (Office document, 36kB) and submit it along with their application form. Completed applications and self scored sheets should be sent to:

When do I need to get my application in?

Deadline for Applications: Friday 21 September 2018  

Decision Panel Meet: Tuesday 9 October 2018

Announcements made by: Tuesday 16 October 2018

How will I know if my application has been successful?

Applications are considered and evaluated by the Research Staff Working Party against a score sheet.  All applicants are informed about the outcomes and given feedback on their proposals. Awards are made with consideration to the budget available, other sources of support possible in the University and/or department and the training and development support on offer within the University. Some successful projects might receive no funding if the support or aim of the work can be achieved within the present resources of the University.

What else will I need to do if I have been successful?

Progress report

Successful applicants will be required to provide a written update of progress (no less than one side of A4) within one month of its completion.

The report must include:

• a breakdown of how the money was spent
• how the project met its aims and those of the fund
• what follow up activity may occur

If you are a researcher who is a research staff rep, you will be asked to give an update at the RS Reps' meeting.

*Please note that at the end of the project period, unspent monies must be credited to Academic Staff Development and not kept by the department.*