Commissioning FAQs and responses

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

General Enquiries

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 the Call Specification document.

When is the deadline for applications?
10:00 GMT on 23rd January 2019 is the deadline for applications.

I have a question that is not covered here, who do I ask?
Please contact Nicola Ronan, CREST Centre Manager at commissioning@crestresearch.ac.uk.  The deadline for questions and queries is 16th January 2019 at 17:00 GMT.  Please note questions will not be answered between the 20th December and 2nd January.

 

Questions from Previous Calls

The following questions have been adapted from enquiries from previous commissioning calls.

Collaborators

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.

 Are we able to name more than one principal investigators and co-investigators?   If yes to the question above, can one PI or CI be based abroad if the others are in the UK?
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.  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.

Whether there is a preference for named researchers to be targeted for hiring in the proposal?
There is no preference.

I note the call specification stipulates this: “We also encourage proposals that are interdisciplinary and that involve collaborations between stakeholders and researchers.”  Our question is whether these can be collaborations between stakeholders and researchers across different institutions and whether there is a preference.
There is no preference for the type of collaboration.

 

Eligibility

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.

After reviewing the relevant documents, we are not sure that as a private, non-profit 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 you 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.

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.

 

Format of submissions

Is the 10 page 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.

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.

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 fonts.

Appendix A, Capabilities and Relevant Expertise (1 page maximum) – If there is one PI and several CI’s can we provide 1 page per PI and CI or does the 1 page maximum have to include all PI’s and CI’s ?
No, it is a 1 page maximum for all PIs and CIs.

Under Section 4.3 Submission – “Applicants must submit both an electronic copy of their proposal. An electronic copy must be emailed to submission@crestresearch.ac.uk by 10:00GMT on 23 January 2019. The electronic submission must be in a single document of PDF format”. This seems to imply the submission is required in another format, but this is not specified. Do we submit a hard copy as well?
No, we only require an electronic submission, this is a typo. A single PDF submission via electronic means is all that is required.

 

Suitability

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.

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.

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, we 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.

 

Terms and Conditions

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 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 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 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 it’s 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 at the time.

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 special condition of our grant 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?
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.

 

Finance

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.

The total amount available for this Call will be up to £1.2m at 100% full Economic Cost (fEC), of which 80% fEC (i.e., up to £900,000) 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? (Nb – Question updated with 2019 Call amounts).
Full details of the funding for this programme can be found in Section 3 of the call specification. 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).

How indicative are the budget amounts for the longer project? We are currently working on our budget and are struggling to keep below £100K (80% FEC). (Nb – Question updated with 2019 Call amounts).
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.

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 £1.2m at 100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC), of which 80 per cent fEC (i.e., up to £900,000) will be made available to successful applicants.  All projects will be funded at the 80% rate. (Nb – Answer updated with 2019 Call amounts).

The Call states that “All other applicants must recognise that an application to CREST’s commissioning programme requires a commitment to provide the remaining 20% of full Economic Cost from their own resources” Which kind of resources may be used to provide the remaining 20% besides cash money?
Most research council grants, including CREST, are funded at 80% of the full costs of the grant (including overheads and directly incurred costs such as salary and travel) the remaining 20% of the costs are covered by the applicants institution. When it comes to claiming the funds the applicants institution incurs the full costs and then invoices us for 80% of those costs. The remaining 20% has to be covered by a cash contribution from the applicants institution.

Could you please confirm me if the sentence “…the remaining 20% has to be covered by a cash contribution from the applicants institution” means that the remaining 20% cannot be covered by working hours of internal staff?
80% of the total costs of the project will be covered, the remaining 20% is covered by the applicant’s organisation, meaning that the applicant cannot claim for 100% of the costs and offset that against working hours of internal staff.

Is there a set allocation of money for a 6 month or 12 month project or does the grant application have to state the money that the proposed research project will require, which will vary depending on the project?
The application must state the money that the proposed research project will require.

How would we do the costing for the company’s side? Could we include the construction of a paid research internship at the company or a joint RA position between company and university? Or would it be advisable to do standard FTE costing using the company’s salary structure?
We encourage cross-sector collaborations so yes, it is possible for you to include a joint RA position or internship. How you cost that is a matter for discussion between you and the company. From CREST’s perspective it will be acceptable for you to have the company as a sub-contractor who receives funding to support their FTE rates (bearing in mind they will receive 80% of whatever rate is quoted). Or, equally, it would be acceptable for the RA to be seconded to the company and costs associated with that included in your bid (i.e., so the salary continues to be paid by the university). Many universities have a research services department who would be able to help with the development of these costings. From the point of view of your bid you should do what makes most sense and, if necessary, include a short justification.

We understand your funding only covers 80% of the full economic cost. Are we required to fund the remaining 20% ourselves, or can we seek additional funding elsewhere?
We would normally anticipate organisations funding the remaining 20% themselves. With regard to specific additional funding we would not be able to comment on this as it would depend on individual terms and conditions of that funding. However, we would highlight the importance of ensuring clarity in relation to deliverables and outputs and that the funding complies with the terms and conditions of the main CREST contract that the applicants organisation will be signing.

 

Miscellaneous

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 each round of research are not the same as this round.

 

Theme Specific Questions

2.2.6 Individual differences in the adoption and use of new technology

What does the term /new technology/ mean and/or cover? Is, for instance, Fintech (i.e. online banking, mobile banking, etc.) considered a new technology? Is /online retailing/ a new technology? I would be grateful if you can provide any information to define and limit the category new technology.
Our interest is in understanding how different individuals adopt technology that was new to them at the time. So a historical analysis might take a technology that we no longer consider new, but review what occurred during the period where it was new. Other researchers may take on very new technology or technologies. The panel will consider any application where a good case is made for the technology or technologies studied.

 

Last updated: 31/10/2018