APEX Awards: frequently asked questions

For the purposes of this scheme interdisciplinary research is defined as:

"Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice."

“Successful IDR plans and supports research practices and outputs greater than the sum of their constituent disciplinary parts”

1. The Applicant:

1.1.   I am an engineer who does research. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as you are based in either a UK University or not-for-profit research organisation for at least the duration of the project and you hold an established academic position, then you are eligible to apply.

If you are an engineer with specific questions regarding your eligibility or the remit of the scheme you can contact the Royal Academy of Engineering as well as the dedicated enquiries inbox.

1.2.   I work in the humanities and/or social sciences. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as you are based in either a UK University or not-for-profit research organisation for at least the duration of the project and you hold an established academic position, then you are eligible to apply.

If you work in the humanities and/or social sciences and have specific questions regarding your eligibility or the remit of the scheme you can contact the British Academy as well as the dedicated enquiries inbox.

1.3.   I see that the APEX Awards are for researchers who want to pursue genuine interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research and that applicants must collaborate with relevant researchers from other disciplines. I am a social scientist and I want to collaborate with someone from humanities, would this be eligible?

No, applications should be within the remit of more than one of the Academies. As social science and humanities fall within the remit of the British Academy this would not be eligible.

1.4.   I am an established researcher, but I don’t have a PhD. Am I eligible to apply for an APEX Award?

Yes. If you are able to make a case that your career experience is equivalent to that of holding a PhD (i.e. publication record etc.), and if you are in an established academic post at a UK institution, then you would be eligible to apply. You should make reference to this under the ‘Personal Statement’ part of the application form.

1.5.   Do I have to have a minimum number of years of research experience to be eligible to apply?

No, the scheme is open to established researchers, but there is no minimum or maximum number of years’ experience an applicant must have.

1.6.   I am on a part-time contract. Can I apply, or is this scheme only open to researchers on a full-time contract?

Applications are accepted from researchers currently employed on both full and part-time contracts (i.e. anything less than 1.0 FTE). As the grant covers the cost of providing a teaching replacement, you can apply to cover the time that is specified on your contract.

1.7.   I am employed by my institution on an hourly contract. Would I be eligible to apply?

If you are employed on an hourly contract you can still apply. You can apply for costs to provide a teaching replacement for the time you are employed to spend on teaching and administrative duties.

1.8.   I am on a fixed-term contract. Would I be eligible to apply?

Yes. However, it is essential that the length of your contract covers the whole proposed period of the grant. The purpose of the scheme is to allow the successful applicant to obtain time freed from their normal teaching and administrative commitments. If your current contract ends during the proposed grant period, or before it starts, but there is a commitment from the University to renew the contract, then yes, you would be eligible to apply.

1.9.   I am on a full-time contract but currently have other commitments (i.e. I am a Co-I on another project) outside of my time allocated to my own research. Am I able, for example, to apply for an 18-month grant and pro-rata this part-time over 36 months?

It would not be a high priority to support someone whose time was not being largely devoted to this grant. The aim of the scheme is to allow the successful applicant to be free to focus on their research by relieving them of their teaching and administrative duties. You would need to fully explain in your application those duties and commitments from which you cannot be released.

2. The Co-applicant:

2.1.   What is the difference between a co-applicant and a collaborator?

The co-applicant is an individual who is making a significant contribution to the research project and is essential for delivering the proposed work. They may or may not request teaching relief and/or research expenses. Collaborators are individuals whose contribution is important to the proposed research but do not play a major role in the project.

2.2.   I would like to write a proposal with a researcher who is based overseas, can they act as co-applicant?

No, both the applicant and co-applicant must be based at a UK University (or UK University overseas campus) or not-for-profit research organisation. There is no restriction on the location of collaborators, as they play a smaller role in the project.

3. Resubmissions and other applications:

3.1.   My previous application was unsuccessful, can I reapply?

Yes, resubmissions are eligible and will be treated separately. The outcome of applications from previous rounds will not be considered in the assessment process.

3.2.   I see from the scheme guidance notes that applicants may only submit one application per round even though this award is to enable collaborative research. Could I apply in this round and my colleague with whom I am currently engaged with on an on-going project also apply in this round – and can we name each other as a co-applicant?

No. We would only expect to receive one application for an individual project.

3.3.   I am currently a PI on another grant that won’t finish for at least another year. Is it possible to apply to this scheme if one already holds research funding for another project?

Yes, you may apply to the scheme if you currently hold research funding for another project. Please bear in mind the panel will be assessing the feasibility of the proposed project and therefore will consider the amount of time you can devote to the project. Please explain and justify the amount of time you will dedicate to the award as part of the application. Applicants are expected to devote at least 100% of the time which they have requested to be bought out, to the project.

3.4.   I am interested in applying for one of these grants but am also submitting an application to another funding body. If I was successful in both applications, would I be able to hold both awards providing there is no duplication of costs?

Yes, it is possible to hold both awards provided there are no duplication of purpose for which funds were granted. Applications made to another funding body must be declared on the application form.

4. The Host Institution:

4.1.   I am not attached to an institution. Would I be eligible to apply?

No, all applicants must be attached to an eligible institution.

4.2.   I am based at a UK University overseas campus (e.g. University of Nottingham’s overseas campus in Malaysia, University of London Institute in Paris). Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. We can accept applications from members of staff who are contracted by a UK university and seconded to work at an overseas campus. We would accept them as eligible regardless of the length of the secondment. This would also apply to any member of staff in any UK-based research institution who is “employed” in the UK (i.e. ordinarily resident here) but seconded to work overseas (temporarily).

4.3.   I am about to move to another institution. If I am successful in my application to this scheme, are these grants transferrable?

Yes. If you were awarded one of these grants and were to move to another institution the grant can be taken with you subject to the changes being approved by the Academies.

5. The proposed research and costings:

5.1.   The scheme notes state that you are looking for applicants to develop a new direction for their research. I am already working on an idea and currently have an existing partnership. Am I eligible to apply or are you looking for a completely new idea?

Priority will be given to new thinking.

5.2.   I would like to apply for costs to support public engagement activities. Should I cost these into my proposal?

No. Successful applicants will be invited to apply for additional funds of up to £10,000 to support public engagement activities linked to their APEX awards. However, this will form part of a separate application process and the proposal, as well as costings, will be assessed independently by a Public Engagement Panel. You will be able to indicate whether you intend to apply for public engagement funds in the application form, however please do not integrate these into your proposal or costings.

5.3.   Can costs be requested to cover the teaching replacement for the co-applicant as well as the applicant?

Yes, applicants can apply for costs to provide a teaching replacement for either themselves and/or the co-applicant. It is between the applicant’s university and the co-applicant’s to decide how the award will be divided up between them (to cover their respective teaching replacements). This should be clearly stated in the need for teaching relief field within the proposal tab of the application. Additionally, a supporting statement from the head of department of the co-applicant will need to be uploaded in the event that this is requested. If successful, it is recommended that the organisations involved have a collaboration agreement in place.

5.4.   My institution feels that it would be more appropriate to appoint more than one part-time lecturer to cover my position if my application was successful. Are there any restrictions on this?

It would be hoped that a full-time appointment would be made, thus giving a better opportunity to a younger researcher and avoiding the need to ask the award-holder to fill in any gaps in the teaching arrangements. However, if your institution felt that was the more feasible option then that would be fine.

5.5.   I do not have any teaching and administrative duties that I can be bought out of, can I still apply for an APEX Award to buy in my own time to work on the project or pay for a post doc?

No, if you do not have teaching and administrative duties then you are not eligible to apply for this scheme.

5.6.   When I apply for funding for one of these awards, can I include in the application the cost of APCs (Article Processing Charges) to enable any articles that may arise from the research to be published in learned journals that offer a ‘Gold’ open access option?

No. Currently the position is that costs of publication are not eligible costs.

5.7.   Do these grants require the outputs of the research funded to be made available in any Open Access format?

Recipients of APEX awards are encouraged to publish in open access journals. Find out more information about our publication policy.

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