IT costs in grant applications

Guidance for Principal Investigators

  1. Research IT and the finance team aim to help with the Specialist IT costs within your application. Below we outline IT services and facilities provided as a University service and those where your grant application may need to explicitly request funds.
  2. This is for guidance only. It is intended to prompt consideration of the IT needed to support your grant bid.
  3. Funding rules vary between Funding Councils, Industry and other bodies. You are advised to check with your funders if there is any doubt on what might be permissible.
  4. If in any doubt please talk to your Finance Account manager and request support from the Research IT Team in the first instance.
    Your local IT specialists, Research Data Service or RED can also be called on as required.

The rest of this page is divided into two sections:

Specialist IT resource that you will normally need to bid for:

Listed below are services that might need grant funding – whether these are ultimately provided by your team, the University, external agencies or a mix of these. Please talk to us as we will try to ensure the least cost is included in your application and only those items needed to achieve planned outcomes.

Please tick the 'Specialist IT Resource' checkbox in the FEC costing tool when costing your application if you need any of the following items for your research project.

Project-specific Hardware and Storage

  • Computers whose primary purpose is data logging or control of equipment
  • Custom-specified Windows, Apple or Linux computers (including replacement costs over the lifetime of a project)
  • Research Data Storage of over 5TB in the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF). Details of costings for both BlueCrystal and the RDSF are included on the Edit Project Checklist page of the University’s FEC costing tool
  • Priority access to the BlueCrystal High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities
  • Server or network hardware and/or related facilities (power, air-conditioning) in some specialist rooms

Project-specific Software

  • Specialist Software licences and any related training, maintenance and support costs, including provision for possible upgrade costs over the lifetime of your project. Please check to see if any licences already in existence allow your research team free use.

Project-specific software development and specialist IT staff time

Software development services can be provided by Research IT, but please contact the Research IT team to discuss costings for your individual bids before including any Research IT costs in your proposal.

Other specialist services you should bid for include:

  • Development of databases and database interfaces (including any associated web interfaces)
  • Content production e.g. digitisation, database record input, web page text, web design
  • Information management and curation. The University's Research Data Service has online guidance and specialist advisors to help strengthen these mandatory aspects of your proposal
  • IT staff time to profile and tune code to improve computational performance
  • IT staff time required in specialist configuration of complex software/hardware
  • Programming, web and mobile development expertise, including for public engagement or CPD impact activities such as podcasts, webinars, videos and social media
  • Packaging up, releasing, licensing, selling, supporting and maintaining software produced through your research or impact activities
  • Specialist network configurations within or outside the University
  • Specialist operating system builds that differ from the University's standard configurations
  • Development of research clusters to allow experimentation if, for whatever reason, you are unable to use any existing facilities, or for example you require access to a developmental system before using BlueCrystal

Standard IT resource that you do not normally need to bid for:

Hardware and Storage

  • Our range of standard computers intended to act as the primary desktop or laptop computer for you or your team members
  • Standard infrastructure such as the wired and wireless network or printers
  • Connections to the University network for most equipment
  • Infrastructure and facilities relating to a server room
  • Research data storage of up to 5 TB total allocation per Data Steward in the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF). This includes back-up and recovery
  • Personal data storage on University facilities (includes back-up and recovery)
  • Cloud storage and collaboration space on Google Drive (or other packages in certain circumstances)
  • Large-scale file sharing and collaboration space facility within the RDSF
  • Deposit and publication of research data from the RDSF to the data.bris Research Data Repository in compliance with RCUK requirements
  • Basic free-at-point-of-use High Performance Computing (HPC) using BlueCrystal, the University’s supercomputer, managed by the Advanced Computing Research Centre (ACRC)
  • Secure, local software version control (secure local Subversion or Git repositories)


  • A wide range of software for which the University already has licences. See the software information pages for lists of packages and levels (Tiers) of support available
  • Email and calendar software
  • Provision of centrally maintained database facilities (Oracle or SQLServer)
  • Project intranets, with access control and sharing to non-Bristol collaborators, via the Confluence wiki
  • Research related blogs, including those requiring non-Bristol contributors
  • Informational websites (e.g. about the project, contact details, timetable, lists of deliverables, news), including sites requiring non-Bristol contributors
  • Online surveys, including via mobiles devices, using Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) which is both secure and funder-compliant


  • Advice covering:
    • how to access High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities here and elsewhere
    • linking computers and experimentation equipment
    • database design
    • improving computational performance
    • free training and advice services provided by external organisations
  • Software installation for most commercial ‘shrink wrapped’ applications where your grant pays for the licence
  • Training for staff and postgraduates offered in the list of standard IT courses (e.g. Excel, SPSS, web publishing, digital images) and ACRC courses, primarily intended for users and potential users of BlueCrystal