Research and Innovation Services


First steps

Key considerations when applying for a research funding opportunity.

Contact your local departmental research administrator at the earliest possible stage if you have any questions or require support with your funding application, who can liaise with our Award Services Pre-Award team as needed.

Allow plenty of time

Allow plenty of time to develop your proposal. Complex bids can take many months to prepare and require careful planning and coordination. Several major funders have policies that prohibit proposal resubmission, making it important for proposals to be as competitive as possible at submission. 

At a minimum, 2 weeks are usually required for the internal approval of standard grant applications - 5 days for departmental approval and 5 days for approval by Award Services. When proposing a start date allow plenty of time to appoint staff and gain the necessary approvals (e.g. ethical approval).

Get support from OVPRIGE

The Office of the Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement) (OVPRIGE) oversees several programmes and initiatives designed to support researchers at UCL. These include advice and guidance on finding and applying for funding, advice on research policy, supporting researchers with impact, and facilitating new partnerships and collaborations.

Check the funder criteria

Check the call details to confirm you are eligible to apply. Many grants are limited to geographical areas, types of organisation, and particular activities. If you are submitting a proposal to a new funder not listed in Worktribe seek advice from Award Services to confirm that:

Check if your project requires ethical approval

Consider whether your research project requires ethical approval. All research staff should be familiar with and meet UCL’s Research Integrity and Research Ethics requirements. You can check whether your project needs ethical approval on our Research Ethics Service website.

To satisfy funder requirements, Award Services will ask for confirmation that ethical approval, where required, is in place ahead of the project start date. Research projects that require ethical approval will only receive an account code when confirmation has been received from the relevant ethics body and is added to the corresponding Worktribe record.

In some exceptional circumstances, it may be appropriate to generate account codes before ethical approval is granted, such as projects with a defined pre-clinical phase. Exceptions can only be authorised by the Director of Award Services and require additional controls.

Your designated departmental Award Services Pre-Award contact can provide further advice. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss any queries relating to ethical approval at the earliest opportunity.

Internal peer review

Internal peer review can significantly improve the quality of funding applications, increasing the chance of success. The scope and depth of peer review should be proportionate to the scale and nature of the research proposal.

Consider drawing from the expertise of research support managers, facilitators, and academic colleagues. Different perspectives can help identify areas where clarity could be improved or arguments refined.

Create a project in Worktribe

Worktribe is UCL’s research management system. It supports the project life cycle from proposal development to post-award management. 

A Worktribe project needs to be created for each research application. This is a central record of the funding application and includes the budget proposal, risk assessment, application form, and project partner details. Your project should be created in collaboration with research administrators in your department.

Managing collaborators and subcontractors

Developing multiple partner bids is a complex process that should be initiated several months before the funder deadline. You should seek advice on how to develop your proposal from your local Research Coordination Office at the earliest opportunity.

Due diligence checks will need to be carried out for all new industry organisations (UK and overseas) and new overseas organisations based in low- and middle-income countries, unless exempt,

Additional sources of support at UCL