Research and Innovation Services


Key tasks: applying for funding

This section contains details of some of the key tasks and principles you will need to undertake and understand to support the funding application process.

1. Find out about funding opportunities

Funders usually advertise funding opportunities via their websites. There is also a range of resources and support available to UCL staff to help identify funding opportunities, including through your Faculty Research Coordination Office. You can also find sources of funding and support via the links below:

Any questions? 

Your Faculty Research Coordination Office can provide support and advice if you have any questions or would like to find out more about funding opportunities

2. Prepare a funding proposal


It is important in the first instance to check the funding call details (including the funder guidance and, where available, any terms and conditions) to confirm eligibility to apply to the funder and for the specific call.

Many grants are limited to geographical areas, types of organisation, and particular activities, and the funder guidance often stipulates who is eligible to apply with reference to career stage, experience, the holding of a tenured post, or otherwise. 

In reviewing the funding call details and any related terms and conditions, you should also note the particular costs that may be claimed via the scheme and the Full Economic Cost (FEC) recovery rate (further information about FEC recovery is included in Task 5 of this section).

New funders

If you are submitting a proposal to a new funder (i.e., a funder not listed in Worktribe), seek advice from your Faculty Award Services Business Partner to confirm that:

Multiple partner bids

The development of multiple partner bids is a complex process and should be initiated several months before the funder deadline. Advice on how to develop the proposal should be sought initially from your departmental administrative team and from your Faculty Research Coordination Office 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 commensurate with the scale and nature of the research proposal.  

Researchers should consider drawing from the expertise of research support/development, managers/facilitators as well as academic colleagues, as a different perspective can help identify areas where clarity could be improved or arguments refined.

Any questions? 

The Award Services Research Support and Development Team can provide advice, support, and guidance in connection with the preparation of funding proposals.   

Your Faculty Research Coordination Office can also provide advice, support, and guidance in connection with the preparation of large-scale funding calls where numbers are limited, and organise events and training through the UCL Research Domains.

The European Research and Innovation Office (ERIO), which is part of the Award Services, can provide proposal support services in connection with Horizon 2020 collaborative proposals, including proposal advice, coordination, and review.

3. Sponsored Research criteria – what and why?

Award Services is responsible for ensuring UCL complies with the relevant requirements and regulations for sponsored research (the six criteria). Award Services is the Institutional Authority for external funding that is classified as Sponsored Research, as defined by Research England and the Charity Commission.

All proposals for sponsored research projects should be costed and approved in Worktribe, and authorised by Award Services, ahead of submission to the Funder. 

UCL’s accounting of external income is governed by a number of regulatory frameworks and Award Services is responsible for ensuring that UCL correctly accounts for, administers, and reports its research income, and that UCL’s obligations to its regulators in this regard are met.

It is important to understand the criteria by which Sponsored Research is defined and the income Award Services is authorised to administer, and more about why this matters. 

Any questions? 

Contact Award Services or your Faculty Award Services Business Partner if you have any questions regarding the definition of Sponsored Research or the income Award Services is authorised to administer.

4. Create a Worktribe Project 

Worktribe is UCL’s research management system that supports the lifecycle of a project from proposal development to post-award management. 

Each sponsored research application requires a Worktribe Project.  This is a central record of a funding application that includes the budget proposal, application form, project risk assessment and project partner details.

Click on the link below to learn how to create a Worktribe Project record:

Any questions? 

Contact your Department’s Research Support (Pre-Award) Officer if you have any questions regarding the information to be added to a Worktribe Project record.

If you require support with the system functionality please contact the Worktribe support team.

5. Understand costing principles including FEC methodology, TRAC and Overheads 

All externally funded research applications at UCL must be costed in line with certain principles and methodologies.  

You will need to have an understanding of these in order to prepare and submit a research project costing for approval.

Find further information on costing below:

Any questions? 

Contact your Department's Research Support (Pre-Award) Officer directly with any questions relating to Full Economic Costing (FEC).

6. Cost a Research Project 

A costing must be prepared for all externally funded research applications at UCL in line with the principles and methodologies set forth in Task 5 of this section.  

The Worktribe budget tool, which is part of a Worktribe Project record, enables you to cost a proposal using FEC methodology.

Find out more about how to prepare a costing in Worktribe below:

Further information to support your preparation of a research application costing can be found by clicking on the links below:

Any questions? 

Contact your Department’s Research Support (Pre-Award) Officer if you require further support or advice regarding the preparation of a research application costing.

7. Complete a project risk assessment

A risk assessment questionnaire must be completed prior to submission of any research application.  

This will alert staff who are considering the research application for approval to any risks associated with the proposed research project and enable them to make an informed decision with regard to any such risks.

Read more about the project risk assessment and how to complete this using the links below:

Any questions? 

If you are unsure of the answer to any question in the Project Risk Assessment you should consult the PI for the project or another member of the project team.

If you require general advice regarding completion of the Project Risk Assessment, contact your Department’s Research Support (Pre-Award) Officer or your Faculty Award Services Business Partner.

8. Submit an application/project for approval

Once a Worktribe Project record has been created and all relevant sections are complete this will need to be submitted for internal approval and institutional authorisation well in advance of the funder’s deadline in order to allow sufficient time for internal finance and compliance checks.  

Depending on the source of funding, you may need to submit the application using the funder’s online submission system.

Learn more about these processes using the links below:

Any questions? 

Contact your Department’s Research Support (Pre-Award) Officer if you require further advice or guidance regarding the submission of an application/project for approval.

Proceed to section 2: Key tasks: Setting up a project