Research Incentive Grants enable Early Career Researchers to develop their independent research career.
The Research Incentive Grants (RIG) scheme allows an Early Career Researcher to undertake, as the Principal Investigator, a short research project, either of a stand-alone nature or in the form of an initial study leading to a more extensive project.
The principal criteria for the award of a RIG are that the planned research is of excellent quality, will enable the principal investigator to develop a new project or line of research, and will lead to high quality outputs and outcomes.
To be eligible, the applicant must:
- meet the Trust’s definition of an Early Career Researcher at the time of applying (e.g. the closing date for applications), and must be either:
- Within 7 years of successfully completing their PhD (measured from the date of submission), OR
- Within 7 years of starting their independent research career (pro-rata for part-time staff and excluding breaks such as parental leave, extended sick leave, secondments outwith academia or periods of unemployment)
- be employed by one of the following organisations:
- Scottish universities: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands & Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde or West of Scotland;
- Glasgow School of Art;
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
- be on an employment contract which includes time and access to resources to conduct independent research as part of their employment, and
- hold an employment contract which covers the entire duration of the proposed research project plus three months.
- Individuals employed full-time on another Principal Investigator’s grant must demonstrate they have time, as part of their employment, to undertake additional research activities. To this end, they must seek permission from the PI and the grant giving body that is funding their salary before applying for a Research Incentive Grant to fund their own research.
- Collaborators from anywhere in the world and any organisation can be included in the application as co-investigators but not as joint applicants.
Who can’t apply
You are not eligible to apply as Principal Investigator if, for example:
- You are not employed as a researcher or academic by one of the eligible institutions listed above at the time of application and throughout the project duration, if your application is successful.
- You hold an honorary or visiting fellowship at one of the eligible institutions but are not employed there.
- You are on secondment to one of the eligible institutions from another organisation.
- Your employment contract does not include research as part of your duties and responsibilities.
- You are on a fixed term contract that does not extend for at least three months after the end of the proposed research project.
- You are employed as a (Postdoctoral) Research Associate or similar on another academic’s grant and your time is fully committed to that project.
Note: If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact the Trust or phone: +44 (0)1383 724 990.
Projects we look to fund
- The scheme is open to research in any academic field.
- Research projects may be either of a stand-alone nature or an initial study that could be expected to lead to a more extensive research proposal to a different funding body.
- The Trust is, generally, not looking to support a proposal relating to a continuing research project. A clear case would be required to justify why an exception should be made for for such additional support to be provided.
- The proposal should enable the principal investigator to develop a new project or line of research and be likely to lead to high quality outputs and outcomes.
- The applicant must demonstrate that, without the support of the Trust, the planned research would not take place or would be significantly delayed.
The following types of activities are not suitable for this scheme:
- running and enabling networks or similar discussion groupings;
- the digitising, cataloguing or archiving of existing data;
- organising conferences, workshops, seminars, summer schools or similar symposia;
- knowledge exchange or public engagement activities; and
- projects that are directed at the confirmation and dissemination of previously acquired research results.
RIGs are awarded to help with the costs directly incurred by, or on behalf of, the principal investigator and collaborators while pursuing the planned research project.
Eligible costs include, but are not limited to:
- travel, accommodation, and subsistence;
- research support staff;
- other technical/administrative staff;
- laboratory consumables;
- costs associated with disseminating results arising from the project – through publication or presentation at specialist conferences, up to a maximum of 10% of the requested budget;
- other research costs, as deemed appropriate by the Trust.
The following costs are not eligible:
- the applicant’s (and co-investigator’s, if applicable) own salary costs or that of dependents, or buy-out of their time;
- stipends or scholarships for collaborators or students involved in the project;
- indirect overhead costs and bench/desk fees;
- insurance cover.
- There are two deadlines each year: mid-March and mid-September. Check the timeline to the right for the next closing date.
- Projects submitted by the mid-March deadline may start at any time from 1 July in the same year.
- Projects submitted at the mid-September deadline may start at any time after 1 January in the following year.
- Awards must be taken up and projects initiated within 18 months of the date of award.
- The maximum project length is 12 months.
- Funds awarded by the Trust may be applied only to activities undertaken after the Grant has been formally notified to the applicant and accepted by both the applicant and their university. Retrospective applications are not considered.
- Any dissemination activities supported by the grant must take place during the duration of the funding period. A grant cannot be extended to enable grantees to spend dissemination costs.
- The Trust will consider only one application from the same applicant at any one time.
- A researcher who holds an existing active grant from the Trust cannot make a new application within the same scheme until all end of grant requirements for the active grant have been met.
- The Trust will not accept a new application if the end report from a previous grant has not been returned by a grantholder.
- If an application is rejected, it is possible to resubmit a revised proposal to a subsequent round of the Research Incentive Grants as long as the applicant still meets the eligibility criteria.
Applications must be completed and submitted online through the Trust’s online grant portal.
To access the portal, go through the Eligibility checker on the right. If you are eligible, the link to the online application portal will appear.
The portal opens approximately 6 weeks before each deadline.
Applications must be electronically endorsed by the Head of School or Department and also by the Research Office at the Principal Investigator’s university. This approval process must be completed by the deadline for submission of applications. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient time is available for the approval process to be completed prior to the closing date.
The Trust aims to notify applicants of award decisions within 15 weeks of the closing date.
All RIG applications are peer reviewed by specialist assessors selected by the Trust, who are consulted on the merits of the application.
Applications, together with the assessors’ comments, are then submitted to a Selection Committee established by the Trust. The Committee will recommend the award of a grant, or otherwise, on the basis of the criteria set out in these Regulations, within the overall level of funding allocated to the scheme by the Trustees. Visit the Peer review section of our website to learn more.
The criteria upon which the proposals are judged, in addition to those already mentioned, include:
- the originality and significance of the proposed research;
- its feasibility, in terms of the resources being provided and the time available;
- the suitability of the applicant to undertake the project;
- the anticipated outcomes and expected outputs;
- the level of support being provided by the principal investigator’s university.
The final funding decision will be made by the Secretary of the Trust on the basis of the Committee’s recommendation. Should any special issues arise, the Secretary will also consult with individual Trustees, or the Chair of Trustees, as appropriate.
Unsuccessful applicants can request feedback on their proposals. The Trust reserves the right to disclose only information deemed appropriate.
All grants awarded will be on the basis of the Trust’s published terms and conditions of award.
Accepting and Starting a Research Incentive Grant
All grant offers must be accepted by the Applicant AND by a representative of the Research Administration and Management Services in the university in which the Grant Holder is employed.
Once an application is approved, an email is sent to the successful applicant with the Award letter and Terms & Conditions of Award attached to the email.
The email contains a link to Part 1 of the online Acceptance form, which enables the Grant Holder to confirm they are accepting the grant and provide the start and end date of the project.
Note: Projects must start within 12 months of the date of award and the maximum project length is 12 months from the start date.
Research Administration and Management Services
Following completion of Part 1 of the Acceptance form, an email is sent to the Research Administration and Management Services using the email address provided by the Grant Holder.
The email contains a link to Part 2 of the online Acceptance form. The Award letter and Terms & Conditions of Award are also attached to this email.
On the online form the Research Grant Administrator or Manager accepting the grant:
- Provides the unique grant reference used by the university to identify the grant internally;
- Confirms the name and email address of the individual accepting the grant on behalf of the academic;
- Agrees to the Terms & Conditions of Award
Both the Grant Holder and the University Administrator will receive a confirmation email once the form has been completed and submitted to the Trust.
Payment of a Research Incentive Grant
The Grant Holder’s university may invoice the Trust for the actual expenditure incurred during the life time of the grant up to the agreed award value and minus any underspend, following the submission to the Trust of a satisfactory scientific report AND statement of expenditure due within two months of the project end date.
Grants are paid to the Grant Holder’s university by electronic transfer (BACS) upon receipt of an invoice. The timing of payment is at the Trust’s discretion but every effort will be made to ensure funds are transferred in good time.
The level of grant awarded cannot be increased during the life time of the grant and is limited to the amount stated in the award letter.
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