Post Award Support
How to operationalise your research funding.
You should now begin setting up your new project to ensure you have everything in place for your project start date. This guide will help you through that process.
After receiving notification that your research grant application has been successful, and before receiving the official offer letter or having a fully signed contract, you should begin to discuss your project requirements with the following departments within the University as required.
Are you working with external collaborators? You may require a collaboration agreement or subcontract to confirm partner obligations, distribute funding, protect IP and maintain confidentiality. The Research and Knowledge Exchange team can also advise on the funder’s rules for starting a grant. Link to RKE Team Page
Working with any partner involves risk, which could be reputational, financial or operational. All colleagues are responsible for ensuring that relationships with external partners are properly considered and (where appropriate) authorised. This is in line with the approach taken by most public sector and charitable funders of research require universities to undertake due diligence checks on all collaborators or sub-contractors to whom we pass on grant funding. For more information and guidance, please visit our due diligence pages.
Research involving human participants, tissue or data will require approval by your College Research Ethics Committee. The Aston Research Ethics and Integrity webpages provide comprehensive guidance in this area. If in doubt, check with the RKE Ethics and Integrity Team, who are happy to assist with the process.
Once a grant offer letter is received or a contract fully signed, the Research Finance team will open a specific Job Code for your project; you can speak to the Research Finance team about any specific financial requirements of your project. Link to Research Finance Team
The HR webpages provide comprehensive guidance on Aston's staff recruitment processes and procedures, with specific guidance for recruitment of Permanent, Fixed-Term, and Casual (less than 12 weeks) colleagues. There is guidance on writing job adverts and templates to help you with drafting job descriptions including for Research Associate, Research Fellows etc. If you need further advice in respect of employment and hiring staff, please contact the Recruitment team or your HR Business Partner. HR Contact List.
Are you buying equipment and supplies or paying for services? The Procurement webpages provide guidance and information on how to do this. The Procurement and Insurance Team can assist with specific queries.
Aston operates a List of Approved Suppliers for a wide range of goods and services, as well as a No Purchase Order, No Pay policy. It is crucial to check the supplier list before engaging with any external companies.
Please note: the Digital Services Helpdesk manages the procurement of ICT Equipment.
Most projects will require a computer or laptop. The Digital Services Helpdesk can assist in sourcing a suitable machine(s) for your needs.
For further information on digital equipment or to order a desktop, laptop or tablet, please visit www.aston.ac.uk/de
Aston is committed to producing high-quality Open Research. The Library's Open Research webpages can assist you in understanding Open Access requirements of your Funder and provide guidance on appropriate data management procedures.
Your College Research Office can assist with several tasks, such as recruiting to PhD Studentships, organising desk space and booking international and domestic travel.
The terminology surrounding Research Projects can be confusing to those unfamiliar with it. The below Glossary of Terms provides a helpful guide to some commonly misunderstood terms.
Account Code: A four-digit code which describes the goods, services or expenses being paid for, e.g. '7000 - Laboratory Equipment' (distinct from a Job-Code - see below)
Agresso: Aston's purchasing system is used to raise Purchase Orders and Receipt Goods.
Agresso Research Costing and Pricing (ARCP): an online tool used by Aston University to generate research grant costings, manage institutional approvals, and provide financial and activity reports
Casual appointment: A staff member employed on a short-term contract not greater than 12 weeks in duration.
Contribution rate: ‘Contribution’ relates to the amount that a grant contributes to the running costs of a research project through the recovery of overheads and investigator salaries.
Contribution = price – directly incurred costs.
Contribution rate (%) = (Contribution/price) X 100.
Research Council grants typically have a contribution rate of around 40%, whereas charity grants usually have a 0% contribution rate because they only fund directly incurred costs.
Directly allocated costs: The cost of resources that are funded by the University regardless of whether the research project goes ahead and are shared by other activities/projects. This includes investigator time and estate costs.
Directly incurred costs: new costs specific to the proposed research project that are essential for its delivery, such as lab consumables, travel, researcher time, and equipment. These costs would not be incurred if the proposal is not funded.
Eligible costs: Costs that a funder is willing to support. This varies according to the individual funder and scheme and is specified in the funder’s guidelines.
Estates costs: Costs related to the University’s buildings and premises, including capital (depreciation), maintenance, utility costs, cleaning, security and safety. Each institution has its own rate, and costs are charged based on the FTE staff time on the project.
Fixed Term Appointment: A staff member employed for a duration greater than 12 weeks but for a limited period tied to the funding package.
Full Economic Cost (FEC): the full cost to the University of undertaking the proposed research. This includes all direct and indirect costs such as depreciation, space, central services, and a contribution to the University's infrastructure investment.
Full-time Equivalent (FTE): an individual’s time commitment on a research project, calculated as a proportion of their total working hours (typically 37.5 hours per week). For example, a time commitment of 3.75 hours per week is 10% FTE.
Indirect costs: costs of the University’s management and administrative services, including Finance, Human Resources, IT Services, Library. Each institution has its own rate, and costs are charged based on the FTE staff time on the project.
In-kind contribution: a contribution made by not charging the funder for something eg. providing academic time free-of-charge.
Job-Code: A numeric identifier unique to your funded research project, usually five digits for externally funded projects, e.g. '12345', but with a two-digit suffix for internal funding awards (Impact Fund/RKE Pump Priming Fund), e.g. '12345-01'. These are distinct from Account Codes (see above).
Match funding: a tangible budget commitment made by the host institution to support a grant application, such as the provision of a PhD studentship or funding for an item of equipment.
Price: the amount that can be charged to undertake the research activity ie. the amount of money awarded by the funder
Purchase Order (PO): A purchase order is a legal document that is created by a buyer and sent to a seller to confirm their intention to purchase products and/or services. Aston operates a 'No Purchase Order, No Pay' policy.
TRansparent Approach to Costings (TRAC): TRAC is an activity-based costing system designed for use by Higher Education institutions in the UK; it determines the rates that an institution can charge to recover the overheads (estates and indirect costs) associated with research activity. An additional overhead charge is applied to contribute towards technical support (infrastructure technician).