This page contains answers to frequently asked questions, including our responses to enquiries about previous commissioning calls. This page is regularly updated – check the date above to see if it has changed since you last visited.

General enquiries

Where can I find the terms and conditions?

You can find the terms and conditions in the Subaward. 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 and B of the Call Specification.

When is the deadline for applications?

16:00 GMT on 5 May 2021 is the deadline for applications.

What changes have been made to the Call Specification in the new version?

On 18 February 2021, we made a small addition to Section 3 of the Call Specification regarding indicative costs and a subsequent update of the table of contents. No further alterations have been made to document.

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

Please email Nicola Ronan, Centre Manager, at commissioning@crestresearch.ac.uk. The deadline for questions and queries is 16:00 GMT on 28 April 2021. Questions will be closed for the Easter break between 25 March and 7 April. All queries received during this time will be responded to after 7 April.

Questions from previous calls

The following section headings contain questions and answers adapted from enquiries from previous commissioning calls.

Collaborators

Multiple bids

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.

Are we able to name more than one principal investigators and co-investigators? If yes to the question above, can one PI or Co-I 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 of the Call Specification.

Collaborator eligibility

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.

Principal investigators

Are there specific requirements for the eligibility of Principle Investigators? Would they need to be current PIs or could it be someone at the post-doctoral level?

There are no specific requirements for Principal Investigators.

I am member of a CREST programme. Am I eligible to be PI on a CREST Commissioning call?

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% of their time [FTE]).

Reviewers

Is it possible to name someone already funded by CREST one of the reviewers?

Yes, you are able to nominate reviewers currently funded by CREST.

Who should these reviewers be?

Your reviewer should be a researcher or user with a strong understanding of the topic area and no conflicts of interest (e.g. not a regular co-author, departmental colleague, etc). Reviewers will be asked to consider the application against the assessment criteria outlined in Section 4.5 of the Call Specification. Applicants should ensure they seek the reviewer's permission before nominating them.

Dissemination

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.

How many CREST-organised events with stakeholders (in particular law enforcement) have already been planned or are likely to be planned that we could use to disseminate the findings of our proposed project, if funded?

We anticipate projects costing for the dissemination of their project findings within the bid. CREST would work with you to ensure that the most appropriate audience are aware of your event. If we identified synergy with another event or project we would discuss this with you during the course of your project.

Follow on question: Does CREST expect that we include CREST’s costs for supporting/working with our project team on dissemination events into the bid? Or does CREST expect that we only include our own costs?

In terms of the support, identified above for us publicising your event and potentially having CREST representatives attend, we would not anticipate you needing to included CRESTs costs only your own. You may wish to include costs to attend CREST events (such as BASS22, etc).

If we produce CREST guides as one of our deliverables, are there existing CREST templates that we can use for this or will we be expected to fund the production of these?

CREST guides are produced in conjunction with the CREST Communications team who would discuss the headings and template with you. The only cost we would anticipate is if you required a specific number of guides printed into hard copy for an event or if you had a specific element that would take a considerable amount of design work.

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?

Public bodies are eligible to apply 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.

Finance

General finance questions

Are there any costs we should anticipate and include?

You should anticipate engaging with stakeholders for start-up meetings and development of the final deliverable(s). This may involve undertaking meetings in London or similar. Projects may also 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.

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.

Foreign exchange fluctuation. We are an overseas based organisation. If there is a significant fluctuation in the exchange rate, this would affect the scope of the project and what could be achieved – we would either have to reduce the output, or seek additional funding from CREST to cover the fluctuation. Is there any advice/requirements around FX for call specifications? Should we be including a line item in our grant costing that allows for a 10% FX movement?

Unfortunately, as an ESRC centre, our awards are for a fixed price and we are unable to adjust deliverables or provide additional funding to compensate for exchange rate fluctuations. We recommend using an exchange rate in calculating your GBP costings that manages the risk effectively. Outside of this formal practice, informally CREST will work closely and in good faith with PIs if there is a large-scale shift in exchange rate that puts project progress at risk.   

Is it enough to send a final invoice including a table with budget vs actual? Or do we have to send more documents?

We will require a breakdown of costs per budget heading including the 100% actual cost and the 80% claimed for. You will also be required to submit information regarding the deliverables of the project as outlined in Section 5.3 of the Call Specification.

Are there any indicative costs available for projects?

Yes, for short projects/research synthesis, an indicative cost for this activity is £62,500 at 100% fEC (£50,000 at 80% fEC). For long projects/original research, an indicative cost for this activity is £125,000 at 100% fEC (£100,000 at 80% fEC). We have produced an updated Call Specification (version 1.1) to include these.

Full economic costing questions

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 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 applicant’s institution. When it comes to claiming the funds the applicant’s 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 applicant’s institution.

Could you please confirm to 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.

Partner organisations questions

Will a university based in a country outside of the UK be funded at 100% or 80% rate?

All projects will be funded at the 80% rate.

Format of submissions

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.

Appendix A, Capabilities and Relevant Expertise (1 page maximum) – If there is one PI and several Co-Is, can we provide 1 page per PI and Co-I or does the 1 page maximum have to include all PIs and Co-Is ?

No, it is a 1 page maximum for all PIs and Co-Is.

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 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.

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 in the Head Contract 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.

The guidance on your website for the above commissioned research states that applicants should ensure that they and their organisation are able to meet the conditions of the sub-agreement prior to applying for funding. The sub-agreement refers to a requirement that applicant’s institutions comply with the ESRC Head Contract. Please can you provide a copy of the latter so that we can confirm we can comply?

This document is on our website marked Head Contract.

Miscellaneous

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

Details of previously funded projects can be found on our website. However, please note that the topics commissioned in each round of research are not the same as this round.

Do we have to fill in timesheets?

There is no requirement to complete timesheets.

 

Contact us

If you have a question about CREST which isn't answered below, please email Nicola Ronan, Centre Manager, at commissioning@crestresearch.ac.uk

The deadline for questions and queries is 16:00 GMT on 28 April 2021. 

Questions will be closed for the Easter break between 25 March and 7 April. All queries received during this time will be responded to after 7 April.

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