Advanced Research Computing


Mentoring and supervision 

A key ARC aim is to train UCL researchers in the use of digital tools, practices, and systems in their work.

While as a department, we are happy to develop solutions with or for you, one of our favourite modes of engagement on grants is to mentor your postdocs and PhD students in their work. We act as co-investigators providing Research Technology Professional expertise to projects. 

Purely supervisory arrangements typically involve costing a named member of ARC staff at 10-20% FTE for the duration of a project. As with all collaborations, the first step is to meet (in person or virtually) to discuss your ideas and how we can best contribute. Contact us to arrange a discussion. Time spent in these initial engagements or developing new project proposals is not charged for. 

Technical supervision can take various forms depending on the needs of the project. Often it will involve help in setting up version control systems and project management tooling to enable the team to follow best practices, and providing coaching in using agile development approaches to their full effect. (See our ways of working for more on this topic, which we ask all our collaborators to agree to.) We will contribute our expertise to shaping the project direction, giving input on technical design and architecture, providing code review and bespoke training for research staff, and helping with publication and dissemination of the research outputs. Note that these are not exhaustive – if you are not sure whether we can help you, do get in touch to ask at ARC.Collaborations@ucl.ac.uk

Prioritisation criteria 

The ARC Collaborations team will always aim to take on paid-for projects that lie within our remit. However demand for our time always exceeds the number of staff we have available, and so we are sadly unable to work directly with all groups that contact us. In such circumstances, we will prioritise projects where we can provide the most benefit, relative to other potential solutions. See our prioritisation criteria for more explanation of what this principle entails. We will still endeavour to provide advice and pointers towards alternative avenues when we cannot take on a project ourselves. 

Paying for ARC staff time 

ARC collaborates on grants in the same way as any academic department. Our research technology professional staff can included on grants as directly allocated or directly incurred costs, and we will prepare a section in Worktribe for this as part of the grant submission process. We can provide fractional or full time effort as needed, throughout the project or at critical intervals, and we manage resourcing and recruiting issues to ensure the team is capable of servicing such obligations. Deciding on the most appropriate mode of engagement will form part of our initial discussions 

For research groups who already hold appropriate grant funds there are two routes which satisfy funder audit requirements. Where the total budget is £5000 or more, following advice from Research and Innovation Services we will require a separate project sub-account to be set up against which will charge our costs, calculated based on a retrospective costing using UCL's standard grant costing tools. For projects with a budget of less than £5000 we will request lump sum transfers via IDT instead. For these smaller projects, depending on the source of funds, we can on occasion use a day rate of £440/day (updated February 2022). Note that the prevailing day rate is subject to twice-yearly review; contact us for the currently prevailing day rate.