Research and Innovation Services


Key tasks: setting up a project

This section contains details of some of the key tasks you will need to undertake to support the setting up of a research project at UCL.

1. Secure ethical review and approval

When applying for funding and setting up a research project at UCL it is important to consider whether the project requires ethical approval. 

In order to satisfy the requirements of UCL’s funders, Award Services will request confirmation that ethical approval, where required, is in place ahead of the project start date.   

Research projects requiring ethical approval will only be provided with 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 an account code in advance of ethical approval being granted (e.g. projects with a defined pre-clinical phase). Such exceptions can only be authorised by the Director of Award Services and will require additional controls.

Click on the link below to read about Research Ethics at UCL including the types of research that require ethical approval. These webpages also contain details of the UCL Research Ethics Committee (REC) application process, a range of documents and links to further guidance on research involving human participants, and some FAQs.

Any questions? 

Funding applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss any queries relating to ethical approval at the earliest opportunity.

Your Research Support Officer can provide further advice and signposting.  Alternatively, you can contact the Research Ethics Service.

The Research Ethics Service manages UCL’s internal ethical review and approval processes for research and can provide advice and guidance on ethical review requirements for research projects. 

If you have any questions the Research Ethics Service are happy to help. You can contact the team by emailing ethics@ucl.ac.uk.

2. Initiate Due Diligence process 

UCL is required to carry out appropriate due diligence checks on third parties based in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) who undertake activities funded by a grant. 

Find out what due diligence means and learn about the UCL due diligence process on our Due Diligence page.

Any questions?

Our Compliance and Assurance team can provide further guidance and information regarding the due diligence process.

You can also contact them with any questions regarding due diligence on partners in LMICs. You can contact the team by emailing ris.duediligence@ucl.ac.uk.

3. Accept an award and activate a project

When you receive formal confirmation of an award from a funder there are some important steps that need to be taken in order for UCL to accept the award and prepare an account for the funds.

The links below provide further information on what you need to do when you are notified of a successful application and how to activate a project once it has been set up at UCL.

Any questions?

Your Research Support Officer can guide you through the process of accepting an award and preparing an account for the funds and will be able to provide any further advice required.

4. Arrange Research Collaboration Agreements and other Research Contracts (including how to submit a Worktribe contract request)

It may be necessary for UCL to enter into one or more contracts with external parties in connection with a sponsored research project. A contract will be required between UCL and any third parties:

  • With whom UCL will collaborate or otherwise work with in connection with a research project
  • That will carry out part of the research to be undertaken pursuant to the award/funding agreement.

The type of contract required (e.g. Collaboration Agreement, Sub-Contract, etc.) will depend on the nature of the work to be undertaken by UCL and the external parties concerned.  

It is important to note that a contract is typically required in the above scenarios even in cases where there will be no exchange of funds between the parties.

In some cases, a contract may also be needed with the funder. While for standard, non-commercial grant schemes (e.g., UKRI research council funding awards), and some charity funding awards, the funder will typically issue a standard Award letter that is checked and signed by Award Services, in other cases including where the funder is a commercial entity, a contract will need to be negotiated with the funder.  

In all instances where a contract (or any other form of contractual documentation, e.g. a Contract Amendment) is required between UCL and external parties in connection with a research project, a corresponding contract request will need to be submitted in Worktribe in order for the Contract Services team to arrange the necessary contractual paperwork.  

For new projects, the contract request should be submitted as early as possible to allow sufficient time for the Contract Services team to review the request and arrange the necessary agreements ahead of the project start date.  

Find further information on how to submit a Worktribe contract request below:

Any questions?

Please contact the Contract Services Helpdesk for your School  if you require guidance or advice with regard to the contracting requirements for a particular research project:

Our Contract Services pages offer further information regarding the team and its processes.

If you are unable to find a funder, external partner or UCL member of staff in Worktribe, or for any other help using the Worktribe Research Management System to submit a contract request, please contact the Worktribe Support Team.

5. Appoint staff to a research project

Following UCL’s acceptance of a funding award or the signing of a contract with a funder or external lead party, it may be necessary to recruit one or more staff members to work on the research project.

Find out how to advertise and request an appointment to a research project-funded post and how to manage staff appointments below.

Any questions?

Please contact your Research Finance Administrator for further guidance and advice regarding the appointment of staff to a research project.

6. Procure equipment, consumables or services for a project

Following UCL’s acceptance of a funding award or the signing of a contract with a funder or external lead party, it may be necessary to procure equipment, consumables and/or services for a research project.

Learn about the procurement process, including when written quotations or tender bids should be sought, and information regarding UKRI-funded equipment and services using the link below.

UCL has a Research Equipment Catalogue, which is a web-based database containing information on all of UCL’s major research equipment and facilities.  This catalogue is designed to encourage equipment-sharing and collaboration by making visible UCL’s research technologies/capabilities across all Faculties at UCL. It allows users to browse and search for items and to contact the relevant custodian(s).  

This software can also be used by Departments to manage their research equipment. Find out more about UCL’s Research Equipment Catalogue and access the catalogue User Guide and FAQs below.

Any questions?

You can contact Procurement Services for further guidance and advice regarding the procurement process and with any project-specific procurement queries.

If you have any questions regarding UCL’s Research Equipment Catalogue you can contact the Research Equipment team.

Proceed to Section 3: Key tasks: Managing a project