Research and Innovation Services


Quickguide for Worktribe approvers

A quick guide to the internal approval process in Worktribe.

How is internal approval supported in Worktribe?

The standard route for internal approval is:

  1. Principal Investigator or delegate submits Worktribe
  2. Departmental/Divisional/Institute Manager approval
  3. Head of Department or Division/Institute Director approval
  4. Faculty approval (if logic triggered)
  5. Research and Innovation Services (Institutional authorisation).

Graphic of the faculty approval process

Some Departments/Divisions/Institutes may have opted to include an additional internal approval step. 

Faculty approval forms part of the internal approval process and will be automatically requested if the ‘FEC Recovery’ (price as a proportion of cost) or the ‘Contribution to Overheads’ is below minimum levels for the Funder (see table below).

Proposals above-defined values (default £3m) will also escalate to Faculties.

Faculty escalation logic

Faculty escalation logic by funder type
Funder Type

FEC Recovery

Overhead Contribution

Industry, Commerce and Public CorporationsEscalated if recovery <100%Escalated if contribution <30%
Research Councils, UK Government Bodies / Local Health & Hospital AuthoritiesEscalated if recovery <70%Escalated if contribution <30%
Non EU Other and Other SourcesEscalated if recovery <100%Escalated if contribution <15%
EU Government Bodies and EU OtherNo escalation logicEscalated if contribution <15%
Charities (Open competitive process)No escalation logicNo escalation logic
Charities (Other)Always escalateNo escalation logic

Faculty approval will also be sought for proposals where the Principal Investigator is the Head of Department or the Division/Institute Director. This process is not currently automatic in Worktribe, so is managed by Award Services.

All relevant approvers (including delegates) will receive system email notifications of projects awaiting approval. Alternatively, approvers may view projects assigned to them within Worktribe, under status ‘Projects Assigned to Me’, or by clicking on notifications.

Where to look in Worktribe?

Internal approval is confirmation from the Head of Department(s) or Division/Institute Director(s) (or their delegates) of the viability and acceptability of a research proposal in terms of capacity and infrastructure, financial recovery, strategic fit, and ethical and regulatory requirements. As such, approvers may wish to review some or all of the following sections within the project record:

  • Summary: can be selected to show ‘All’ or individual Departments/Divisions/Institutes. The summary includes information on the FEC recovery (project Surplus/Deficit) and the contribution to overheads. It may also include a red or amber  alert, recommending a review of the risk assessment
  • Details: high-level project details including project description/abstract
  • Budget: detailed budget breakdown
  • Partners: details of any collaborators, sub-awardees, partners and other relationships
  • Documents: any project-related documents e.g. case for support, application, supporting statements
  • Proposal risk assessment: summary of responses, initially approvers may find it helpful to refer to the template questionnaire below
  • Comments: record of actions and decisions.

Definition of key terms

Definition of key terms
Cost to HEIFull Economic Cost (FEC)
Cost to Funderthe FEC adjusted for Funder inflation rules 
Price to Funderthe amount the funder will pay, if successful
FEC Recovery Surplus/Deficit= Cost to HEI  - Price to Funder
FEC Recovery %= (Price to Funder / Cost to HEI)*100
Contribution to Overheads= Price to Funder – Directly Incurred Costs
Contribution to Overheads %= [(Price to Funder – Directly Incurred Costs) / Directly Incurred Costs]*100
Collaboratorco-applicant organisations applying directly to Funder
Subawardeeco-applicant organisations applying through UCL
Partnerorganisations not in receipt of funding, but contributing in-kind, cash, or other

What is the Worktribe risk assessment?

This is a mandatory questionnaire held within Worktribe which consists of 12 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions designed to flag risk and capture key information to help support and inform Departmental/Divisional/Institute approval. A positive response to certain questions will flag a warning (red or amber) on the project summary page to alert Departmental/Divisional/Institute approvers, and subsequently Award Services.

Red alert questions

  • Infrastructure Needs: Does the project require the acquisition of new space, modifications to existing space, installation of equipment, creation of new buildings, or other capital investment?
  • Institutional Commitment: Does the project require any type of Institutional Commitment to be funded by UCL in addition to any standard FEC under-recovery? Examples could include matched funding for equipment, UCL-funded studentships etc.
  • Risk to Environment or Reputation: Is there any aspect of the project that could be perceived to breach social or cultural expectations of university research, or be considered otherwise environmentally or reputationally sensitive (including third-party or funding relationships)?
  • Human Participants, Tissue or Data: Does the project involve human participants, their tissue and/or their data (including data provided by third parties such as HSCIC)?

Amber alert questions

  • Conflict of Interest: Does the project involve people who could be perceived as having a conflict of interest (e.g., an Investigator in receipt of an associated consultancy)?
  • Material Transfer: Will the project require materials to be exchanged between project partners or collaborators, and/or imported from third parties?
  • Intellectual Property: Will the project need access to non-UCL intellectual property, involve students, or generate new intellectual property?

No alert questions

  • Overseas Research: Will any UCL-led research activity take place outside of the UK?
  • Research Computing and Data Storage: Will the project necessitate access to high-performance computing and/or is it likely to generate data greater than 1TB?
  • Translational Research: Does the project include any element of translational research?
  • Internal Peer Review: Has this proposal been through internal peer review or in the process of doing so?
  • Other comments: Are there any additional issues, risks, or requirements that you wish to flag at this stage?

Full risk assessment document