This section provides an overview of the UCL Professional Services teams that provide support for research.
Award Services work in partnership with academic and professional services colleagues across UCL, within collaborating organisations, and with Funders, to support UCL’s externally funded research portfolio.
- Service Improvement
The Service Improvement team is responsible for developing and implementing UCL’s research management policies, processes, and systems including:
- Continued development and support of Worktribe Research Management
- Provision and development of research management information/research reporting
- Continued improvement of research management processes, guidance, and training.
- Research Support and Development (Pre-Award) Team
The Pre-Award team, within UCL Award Services, provides support and advice to departments applying for research grants through:
- Providing advice on the costing and pricing of research proposals (in line with FEC and TRAC methodologies)
- Providing advice on scheme application and eligibility criteria
- Reviewing scheme terms and conditions of funding
- Reviewing the financial integrity of all research applications (apart from European proposals, which are reviewed by the European Research and Innovation Office) before submission to Funders to ensure adherence to UCL’s and Funder’s requirements
- Assessing the compatibility of research proposals and scheme terms and conditions of funding with the criteria for sponsored research
- Having institutional authority to submit grant applications in accordance with UCL’s Financial Regulations, formally accept awards, and subsequently set them up on MyFinance
- Research Finance and Assurance (Post-Award) Team
The Post-Award team, within UCL Award Services, is responsible for the financial administration of UCL’s externally funded research portfolio. They work with researchers, local professional services colleagues, and funders to provide specialist knowledge and guidance on all aspects of post-award project management and reporting. The team’s primary services and responsibilities are as follows:
- Provide support, guidance, and best practice advice on all post-award financial administration and reporting matters relating to research awards.
- Support UCL’s compliance with accounting principles, UCL’s Financial Regulations, and funder Terms and Conditions.
- Financial costing and approval of research-funded staff appointments and studentships, to ensure sufficient budget and project duration are available and complies with the funder’s Terms and Conditions.
- Monitoring budgets to ensure that the project operates in accordance with its budget and, if required, assisting the PI to prepare budget adjustments.
- Reconciliation of income and expenditure throughout the lifecycle of research awards to analyse financial activity and verify expenditure is eligible.
- Responsible for the preparation and submission of financial claims, invoices, financial statements, and reports to funders, in line with the funder’s Terms and Conditions, claim formats, schedules, and deadlines.
- Maintain financial records on projects, and process changes in project data – extensions, suspensions, supplements, virements, and terminations.
- Perform quality assurance activities for compliance with audit requirements.
- Arrange and manage research project audits, liaise with internal and external auditors, and ensure clear audit trails with supporting data.
- Investigate and resolve queries and provide information for PIs, local research support, and funders.
- European Research and Innovation Office (ERIO)
ERIO, which is part of the Award Services Research Support and Development Team, provides comprehensive support to all UCL staff members seeking to participate in or lead initiatives under EU research and innovation funding programmes. ERIO’s core services include:
- Information and advice on the Horizon 2020 programme
- A specialist contract management service for all UCL PIs who have been awarded a Horizon 2020 project
- A comprehensive project management service, which is currently managing 31 collaborative Horizon 2020 grants led by UCL
- Guidance and support to IoE colleagues seeking research and innovation funding from the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and Horizon 2020 proposal management and writing service (available on a consultancy basis).
- UKRI Training Grants / Studentships Team
The Studentships team supports UCL’s Research Council Training Grant portfolio through:
- Provision of pre-award support for Research Council Training Grant studentship proposals
- Budget management advice and financial reporting; Audit of the RCUK Je-S records for Research Council Training Grant studentships
- Authorisation of stipend payments to Research Council Training Grant studentships and Preparation of Final Expenditure Statements.
- Award Services Business Partners
Award Services Business Partners work between faculties, academic units, and professional services teams involved in supporting research across UCL to:
- Identify and work with those teams involved with complex projects at any stage of preparation or operation
- Develop/deliver or highlight training on areas relating to research support services
- Liaise with Award Services delivery teams and other professional services teams supporting research to ensure that processes are effective and transparent, and needs are being met
- Disseminate information and communicate within their Schools, including with Business Partners from other professional services teams.
- Innovation Service
The RIS Innovation Service supports projects and contracts that fall within UCL's charitable mission that are not classed as sponsored research.
To be supported by the Innovation Services, projects must:
- Have the right to publish results within a reasonable timeframe
- Use results for further research and teaching purposes
- Demonstrate public benefit.
Other dedicated research support teams
The following teams provide dedicated research support services in key areas.
- Joint Research Office (JRO)
The UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office (JRO) provides regulatory, contractual, legal, and set-up support to researchers undertaking clinical research at UCL and UCLH.
Most research studies occurring in the NHS or social care require a research sponsor and approval from regulatory agencies such as the MHRA, NHS Ethics Committees, CAG, or the Health Research Agency (HRA). The JRO advises and approves studies sponsored by UCL or UCLH and authorises the submission of studies to regulatory agencies.
The Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) at UCL also provide this support for large multi-site studies.
Support also includes advice on patient and public involvement, training for researchers, statistics, methodology, patient safety, drug and device supply, and use, and legal and financial matters.
Researchers at UCL or UCLH who are looking to initiate a clinical research study (including student studies) within the NHS and social care, should view the JRO webpages for support and guidance.
- Open Access/Open Science & Scholarship
UCL's Open Access team, within UCL Library Services, provides support for Research Excellence Framework (REF) compliance, Research Publications Service (RPS; UCL's publications management system), and Gold open access, and with any other enquiries relating to Open Access publication.
- Contract Services
The Contract Services team provides a specialised and comprehensive research contracting service. They are responsible for processing all non-clinical research agreements for and on behalf of UCL, in order to facilitate research activity. The main responsibilities of the team include:
- Advising on appropriate form and content of contractual documentation for proposed research activities and transactions
- Reviewing contractual terms in order to ensure that they reflect the transaction to be governed by the agreement and are consistent with UCL policy
- Drafting bespoke contractual documentation, including amendments/extensions, Non-Disclosure Agreements, collaboration agreements, subcontracts and many other types of contract
- Negotiating the terms of research agreements with external organisations where necessary, in order to ensure fit-for-purpose terms are agreed
- Approval and authorisation (signature) of agreed contractual terms in accordance with UCL policy.
Current exceptions to their remit include Clinical Trial Agreements, and EU grants and contracts.
- Research Data Management Team
The Research Data Management Team, part of UCL Library Services, provides training for research staff and students, guidance and resources on different types of data management across disciplines, tools to navigate funder requirements, and specific input on drafting Data Management Plans.
Research Data Management covers the decisions made during the research data lifecycle to handle the outputs of research projects from the planning stage through to preserving and sharing those outputs. These decisions include how researchers organise, store, describe, share, preserve and re-use data.
The UCL Research Data Policy states that “data are facts, observations or experiences on which an argument or theory is constructed or tested.” They include for instance lab notebooks, databases, blood samples, questionnaires, audiotapes, photographs, manuscripts, etc.
- Research Coordination – BEAMS
The BEAMS Research Coordination Office (RCO) provides support to researchers within the Faculties of The Bartlett, Engineering Sciences, and Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) community to identify and share research funding opportunities and develop strong research proposals. This includes working with researchers 1:1 to advise on individual or group funding strategy or review proposals and organising mock panels for applicants who have been invited to interview. They also coordinate large-scale strategic bids, and coordinate processes on behalf of the Vice-Provost (Research) to limit the number of applications to external calls where there is a cap imposed by the funder.
- Research Coordination – LMS
The Research Coordination Office (RCO) for Life and Medical Sciences (LMS) supports and promote cross-disciplinary research communities and collaborations, increase the success of research funding applications, and develop UCL’s health-related research strategies.
The RCO for LMS research, publish and disseminate information about funding and fellowship opportunities. They work with researchers to hone applications and navigate any pre-award processes, including preparing for interviews.
This includes working with researchers 1:1 to advise on individual or group funding strategy or review proposals and organising mock panels for applicants who have been invited to interview.
The team can also act as coordinators when a large, ambitious bid is being considered and to limit the number of applications to external calls where there is a cap imposed by the funder.
They also host and support a variety of symposia, conferences, seminars and workshops.
- Research Facilitation and Coordination – SLASH/IOE
The SLASH/IOE Research Facilitation and Coordination Team supports researchers from across the UCL Faculties of Laws, Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SLASH) and the IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society to identify potential funding sources for their research and develop strong applications with the best possible chances of success.
They also coordinate large-scale strategic bids, the institutional response to some external funding calls, and the Collaborative Social Science Domain (CSSD).
- Research Integrity and Ethics
All research proposals involving living human participants and the collection and/or study of data derived from living human participants undertaken by UCL students or staff (to include honorary staff, affiliate academics and visiting researchers) on UCL premises and/or by UCL staff or students elsewhere requires ethical approval to ensure that the research conforms with general ethical principles and standards.
- Research IT Services (RITS)
The Research IT Services (RITS) department develops, delivers and operates services to assist UCL researchers in meeting their objectives at each stage of the research lifecycle. The department’s services include:
- Research Software Development- helping researchers to produce high-quality research software, from the simplest scripts to complex simulations running on state-of-the-art supercomputers.
- Research Data Services- services, including storage for current projects and a long-term repository, to support effective data management from planning to re-use.
- Research Computing Platforms- offer a range of advanced platforms for computationally intensive research. These services are free for UCL researchers to use on a fair share basis.
- Practical, hands-on training for a variety of IT skills related to research including high-performance computing, research software engineering and programming.
- Research IT Applications- provide applications to support projects throughout the research lifecycle: from innovation and funding through to publication and finding real-world applications for research outcomes.
- Translational Research Office (TRO)
The UCL Translational Research Office (TRO) provides end-to-end translational support, to progress the development of early-stage research from across UCL and its partner BRCs, into projects attractive for translational funding or further development in partnership with industry for the benefit of patients.
The TRO is formed of three groups:
- Translational Research Group establishes and sustains a large portfolio of funded UCL translational projects.
- The Drug Discovery Group provides medicinal chemistry and drug discovery support to novel UCL targets. View the pipeline here.
- The Business & Innovation Group matches UCL's translational strengths to external market opportunities for strategic academic-led collaborations.
The TRO also look after the UCL Therapeutic Innovation Networks (TINs). These are multidisciplinary networks that bring together researchers and industry experts involved with a therapeutic modality, in order to tackle common obstacles, remove barriers and mobilise around strategic opportunities to accelerate translation. The 6 recognised TIN modalities are: Biologics, Cell & Gene Therapy, Devices & Diagnostics, Regenerative Medicine, Repurposing and Small Molecules.
Wider Professional Services Teams providing support for research
There are a number of wider professional services teams at UCL that provide knowledge, expertise and support to researchers in their respective specialised areas.