Commissioning FAQs and responses

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions. We have also published our responses to other enquiries received about the commissioning process. This page is constantly updated – see the date at the bottom to check if it has changed since you last visited.

FAQs

Where can I find the terms and conditions?

You can find them here: https://crestresearch.ac.uk/commissioning/terms/. Applicants should ensure that they and their organisation are able to meet the conditions of this agreement prior to applying for funding.

What format should my application be in?

Details about submission format can be found in section 4.3 and details about content can be found in Appendix A of Version 2 of the Call Specification document https://crestresearch.ac.uk/download/1028/

When is the deadline for applications?

10:00 GMT 31st January 2017 is the deadline for applications.

What changed between Version 1 and Version 2 of the Call Specification document?

We removed the requirement for applicants to submit a hard copy version of their submission (section 4.3).

I have a question that is not covered here, who do I ask?

Please contact Nicola Ronan, Centre Manager at commissioning@crestresearch.ac.uk. The deadline for questions and queries is 23 January 2017 at 17:00 GMT. Please note questions will not be answered between the 23 December and 3 January.

Questions and responses

For transparency and to ensure a level playing field, we have listed here questions that we have received from potential bidders, and our responses to them.

We are interested in putting in a bid proposal to CREST, however we need to establish whether, being a public body, we would be eligible for funding? If it is the case that we are not eligible, and we partner with a University, would our bid then be acceptable?

We have no reason why you would not be eligible providing you are able to meet the criteria laid out in the specification and subaward then they would be eligible to receive funding. The Call is open to Higher Education Institutions, research organisations, charities, commercial companies, and individuals from the UK and overseas who can demonstrate a capability to deliver a high-quality programme of research. Interested partners without such experience should consider partnering with established research institutes. We strongly encourage applications from researchers in all disciplines of the economic and social sciences, conceived broadly. We also encourage proposals that are interdisciplinary and that involve collaborations between stakeholders and researchers. Researchers who have not traditionally worked in the security domain, but believe their expertise may provide insights or new applications to the area, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Is it possible to go as a co-I on one application to CREST but a PI on another?

Eligible applicants may submit more than one proposal.

We have a couple of collaborators for our proposal idea in mind but not all of them (including ourselves) are based at UK universities. Is it a requirement to have a UK institution involved?

No, it is not necessary to have a UK Institution involved. The Call is open to Higher Education Institutions, research organisations, charities, commercial companies, and individuals from the UK and overseas who can demonstrate a capability to deliver a high-quality programme of research.

Related to the previous question: Are CREST members allowed to co-apply for funding calls (as Co-Investigators)? Some of our collaborators would fall under that category.

Yes, CREST Researchers are allowed to apply for funding providing they are able to meet the eligibility criteria.  In particular, all applicants and named research staff must be able to meet the time commitment to the project as stated in the proposal (i.e., their joint contribution cannot exceed 100 per cent of their time [FTE]).

If possible from an administrative side, could this even be beneficial or more of an impediment since CREST members are already part of the CREST project?

Existing involvement in CREST is neither beneficial nor an impediment to the success of applications. It is not considered during the commissioning process.

After reviewing the relevant documents, we are not sure that as a private, nonprofit institution of higher education we are eligible to apply?

We have no reason why you would not be eligible providing you are able to meet the criteria laid out in the specification and subaward then they would be eligible to receive funding. The Call is open to Higher Education Institutions, research organisations, charities, commercial companies, and individuals from the UK and overseas who can demonstrate a capability to deliver a high-quality programme of research.

Are there any costs we should anticipate and include?

Projects may be invited to participate in events and conversations with CREST colleagues, other projects and stakeholders and we would anticipate costs being built into the bid.

I am considering to submit an application for this call for the theme of individual differences in adopting new technologies. The description of the theme does not relate specifically to security, but many other aspects that are required (not the actual proposal but, e.g., pathways to impact) leave the impression that proposals should be focused on security. So my question is: How is adopting new technologies related specifically to security, and if not, then should I assume that the other aspects will not have to deal specifically with security?

While some themes do not relate specifically to security, CREST is interested in them because they will provide a relevant knowledge-base for security professionals. Thus, we encourage you to develop plans for how findings will be communicated to those within the security community and to those in the public who may be made vulnerable by their habits in adopting new technology (e.g., early adopters who use technology before it is secure)

Topic 2.2.14 – Questions about ‘new technology’

We felt that we would address topic 14 with our interests, but I also noticed that you refer to ‘future technological advances’ and ‘new technology’. What type of technology do you have in mind? IoT – such as connected kettles and heating controls. Or could we argue that for a group of elderly users Twitter is still novel or online banking on their phone?
I am wondering what types of new technology CREST has in mind.  Your answer will help to inform a potential bid in response to Topic Focus 2.2.14.

We anticipate successful bids identifying new and emerging trends of technology and how they could shape security, either in terms of creating new threats and opportunities for adversaries or creating opportunities for our stakeholders to counter threats.  I encourage you to review the background section of the Call (section 1.1) along with our website for further details around the type and nature of threats the Centre focuses upon.

Are we able to name more than one principal investigators and co-investigators?

Yes you are able to name more than one principal investigator and co-investigator. However, for contracting purposes, we will only contract with one lead institution.

Can one PI or CI be based abroad if the others are in the UK?

There are no restrictions for any of the investigators to be based at a UK institution. Further details can be found in section 4.2 about eligibility.

Can you comment on the suitability of my project/research for funding?

Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on individual projects.  However, we strongly encourage applications from researchers in all disciplines of the economic and social sciences, conceived broadly. We also encourage proposals that are interdisciplinary and that involve collaborations between stakeholders and researchers.

Questions about the 12-page format

Is the 12 pages required format shown in Appendix A the same for both short and long type of projects?

Yes the format required is the same for both short and long projects.

When checking the requirements in Appendix A, it states that it should not exceed 12 pages (excluding CVs and additional references). However, when we counted the number of maximum pages mentioned in the detailed content it comes up to just 10 pages.

The maximum pages for each section must be adhered to. The additional 2 pages would allow people to add covers if they choose.

Can the requested funds be used to buy out our time and also to hire an RA, if it is within the available budget?

HEI researchers should cost their projects using the same process as they would cost an ESRC grant. We would anticipate that your research support office will be able to advise on this.

I read in the terms and conditions that all data would be made available via the UK data archive unless an exception was granted. As I work with police data and other sensitive information I would not be in a position to publish my raw data (even though I can publish findings from it). I thus wanted to ask what the procedure might be to apply for an exemption from this rule?

We would anticipate this being flagged within your proposal. Following on from this we would expect you to provide details the reason for the exemption within your ethics applications to CREST’s Security Research Ethics Committee (SREC).

There are a number of documents (attached) with this call, do they need to be approved and signed before the  deadline 31st of January by our Legal office or are these for information and submitted if awarded?

These documents are for information and would be submitted if awarded. We have provided them as they would be the contracts involved and feel it is important for transparency for them to be available.

I’m planning a proposal for the call and I was wondering whether it was within the rules to submit two variants of the same proposal, a 6 month version and a 12 month version?

There are no restrictions in the commissioning call that would prevent you from doing this.

I am putting in for 6 month funding but I want to include in that dissemination which will take place a few months after the end of the project, is that Okay or does all the work including the dissemination have to be carried out within the 6 month period if its a 6 month proposal.

Our subaward contract requires that you submit your final invoices within three months of the project completion (see section 5.3).  If the dissemination activity you wish to do occurs outside of this time (e.g., at 9 months, three months after the 6 month end of your project), then you should propose a later end date on your project and justify why this is necessary/valuable to CREST’s objectives.

I am costing for a dissemination workshop which would be hosted by CREST for 25 people, in our central London venue, which would be free but I need an estimate from you for how much I can cost, do I need to cost for administrative time for CREST to organise it e.g. Do the invitation list, perhaps organise catering etc.?

Although CREST does have centralised support for workshops, any commissioned proposal for a workshop would be expected to cost into their bid appropriate support from a local supplier. If at the time it turned out that CREST could directly deliver a better service to you, then we’d discuss this with you then.

We have recently been turned down for a 3 year ESRC grant application – can we apply to CREST for a pilot of the same study?

Yes, however, applicants should propose a programme of work that addresses one of the Requirements identified in Section 2.2 of the funding specification.

The total amount available for this Call will be up to £900,000 at 100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC), of which 80 per cent fEC (i.e., up to £720,000) will be made available to successful applicants. Please could you confirm that this is for the entire programme and how much do you expect individual projects to be?

Full details of the funding for this programme can be found in Section 3 of the call specification. In answer to your question, the value of this call £900,000 is for the 2016/2017 programme. All projects will be assessed on an individual basis against the Assessment Criteria in Section 4.5. However, the following are indicative costs for each activity:

  • Short Projects: An indicative cost for this activity is £62,500 at 100% fEC (£50,000 at 80% fEC).
  • Long Projects: An indicative cost for this activity is £125,000 at 100% fEC (£100,000 at 80% fEC).

At the concept level the project will be somewhat related to several of the topics but do not necessarily fall squarely under one topic. I will highly appreciate to hear your feedback. Especially whether any proposal should strictly be aligned with a topic focus or if there is a certain flexibility.

Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on individual projects and their suitability. However, I would draw your attention to section 2.1 ” Applicants should propose a programme of work that addresses one of the Requirements identified in Section 2.2. It is anticipated that applications which simultaneously address multiple requirements will be too broad in scope to be effective.” Hopefully this will assist you in the assessment of your project’s suitability.

How indicative is the budget amounts for the longer project? It’s just that we are currently working on our budget and we are struggling to keep below 107K (80 FEC).

As stated in the Call Specifications, the budget outlines given for projects are indicative.  As with all bids to the Call, we will consider the budget requested in light of the quality and the scope of the bid as a whole, and also in light of the overall budget for the commissioning call.  The panel will also have regard to the costs stated in the budget given and how they appear to fit with the research outlined in the bid.

Do the security agencies require privileged access to the data?  I read that they expect to be sent copies of the ‘outputs’ but, as we plan open access, all publications will be available to all anyway.  Making presentations based on these outputs to the intelligence agencies is, of course, fine but I would not want to provide specific and unique outputs to the intelligence services.  This would require us to report this to our participants and, I surmise, generate false expectations to the extent of compromising the interviews.  Do the security agencies require any access to our raw data and interview transcripts produced under the grant?  This was not clear to me from what I read.

Although part-funded by the security and intelligence agencies, CREST is an independent centre. The security agencies do not (and cannot) require the disclosure of raw data (including transcripts or participant details) from CREST researchers. Also, the CREST Security Research Ethics Committee would need to consider carefully any proposal that included sharing raw data with any person or organisation outside the research team. Guarantees of confidentiality and anonymity given to research participants must be honoured, unless there are clear and exceptional reasons to do otherwise, for example in relation to the disclosure of information about serious crimes, or risk of harm to a participant or others. In such cases, researchers would be expected to follow their institutional protocols for reporting such information to the police or other relevant statutory agencies. We do produce targeted, unique outputs for practitioners. However, we anticipate these to be based on the research, and would usually expect them to be made available on our website.  You can find some examples of these on our website.

In clause 7.4 of the subaward the Arising Intellectual Property generated by the Contractor will be owned by Lancaster, why is this?

This is included as it is a grant special condition of our award. You can find this here: https://crestresearch.ac.uk/commissioning/terms/  in clause 5.  It is worth noting at this point that commissioned partners would not be a member of the Hub, nor an Academic Partner within the meaning of the Award Letter

Would you consider an alternative subaward agreement? [edited]

Our position is that these terms and conditions are not negotiable and hence, why we ensure they are available for viewing prior to application and encourage applicants to share with the appropriate internal department.  We are not able to enter into negotiations on an individual basis.

In case of approval will a university based in a country outside of the UK be funded at 100 % or 80 % rate?

It is intended that the total amount available for this Call will be up to£900,000 at 100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC), of which 80 per cent fEC (i.e., up to £720,000) will be made available to successful applicants. All projects will be funded at the 80% rate.

Is the list of previous grantees available and which percentage of funded projects were proposed by a non-UK university/entity?

Details can be found on our website – https://crestresearch.ac.uk/news/commissioning-call-awards-announced/ However, please note that the topics commissioned in the first round of research are not the same as this round.

In Appendix A the use of San Serif font is requested – can I use a dyslexic friendly equivalent please e.g. Arial or Calibri.

San Serif is a type of letterform rather than a specific font. Both Arial and Calibri are san serif font.

Last updated: 10/1/2017