Special Research Grants: COVID-19 frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for the Special Research Grants: COVID-19.

I am currently applying or thinking of applying to the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants round which is currently open. Can I apply both to that call and to this special call at the same time?
Yes, decisions on this special call will be made in June. If successful, any application made to the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant call will then be withdrawn, but it is possible that an application might be successful in that call having not been funded through this special research grant call.

I have noted the list of possible topics that might be relevant to this special call listed on the first page of the Scheme Guidance Notes. Does my application have to be relevant to one of those stated topics to stand any chance of being successful?
No, the list is not exhaustive and is intended simply to give some ideas of areas we think applicants may wish to explore. Applicants will have the opportunity in the application form to set out a brief statement in up to 250 words in the field on the research proposal page of the form on ‘urgency’ explaining in what way they think their proposal is relevant to the aims of this call. We encourage all applicants to be as creative as possible in responding to this call.

How is this application going to be assessed? Who will be the assessors?
In order to be able to complete the assessment process quickly and with the minimum of bureaucracy, eligible applications will be submitted directly to a specially composed Panel of Fellows of the British Academy chaired by the VicePresident, Research and Higher Education Policy. All of the assessors will be Fellows of the British Academy and the assessment criteria to be used are stated in detail in the scheme guidance notes.

I do not have time to apply to this call just now because of caring responsibilities during the current crisis. What can I do as I would like to propose a relevant topic for consideration?
While time is limited for this current call, the Academy continues to offer other opportunities that are not restricted in the topics that can be proposed, principally the standard calls for BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants which will continue on the usual timetable both now (for a deadline on 3 June 2020) and in the autumn, giving further opportunities for researchers who cannot respond immediately to this call, or whose research interest does not meet the aim of the call.

Why is such a short window of application being allowed for this call?
The Academy aims to give the opportunity for Humanities and Social Sciences researchers to make a visible contribution through the research that is supported under this call while the emergency is fresh in the minds of everyone concerned. The standard calls for BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants will continue on the usual timetable both now (for a deadline on 3 June 2020) and in the autumn, giving further opportunities for researchers who cannot respond immediately to this call, or whose research interest does not meet the aim of the call.

My proposal will involve travelling which I can’t do at the present time, and which is difficult to plan in current circumstances. What allowance will the Academy make for this, and how flexible are the awards likely to be when confirmed?
These awards are offered over a period of anything up to 24 months. We understand that planning of certain aspects of the grant might need to be deferred to a later point in the grant than usual, and we will be flexible about this. Using alternative means for dissemination of findings – online, via blogs or podcasts for example – and holding virtual workshops might offer alternative possibilities in some circumstances. The Academy is flexible in supporting award-holders during the course of their award if circumstances arise in which changes to plans need to be made.

I am a researcher who is not based in the UK. Am I eligible to apply to this call?
No, not as a Principal Investigator. Eligibility to be a PI depends on being ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. International researchers are welcome as CoInvestigators on projects led by UK-based researchers. A maximum of two CoInvestigators can be named on the application

I am currently studying a post-graduate course. Are there any funds I can apply to?
Unfortunately, the Academy does not have any funds available to provide funding for students. Funding is provided for research at post-doctoral level only.

I have just completed my Ph.D. Can I apply for a grant?
The Academy welcomes applications from recent postdoctoral scholars. In order to be eligible, you must have successfully passed your viva voce examination and completed any corrections.

I do not have a Ph.D. Can I apply for a grant?
We do accept applications from those who have equivalent experience, for example an individual in an established post, and/or who has teaching experience, and/or who has a track record of publications in their relevant field is eligible to apply. The only restriction to this would be if you are currently registered as a Ph.D. student whilst in your academic post, as Ph.D. students are not eligible to apply.

I am not affiliated to a UK academic institution. Can I apply for funding?
Yes. Affiliation to a UK academic institution is not a requirement for Small Research Grants, rather these awards are open to all postdoctoral scholars ordinarily resident in the UK. You can apply as an ‘Independent Scholar’ – this means you are applying independently from an institution.

I am on a fixed-term employment contract, can I apply through my institution?
If your employment contract lasts the duration of your research project, or is likely to be extended, then you may apply via your institution if you wish to do so. If your employment contract will end before or during your research period, we would recommend contacting your Research Office to find out if your institution is happy to support your application and administer any potential award. If your institution is not able to do so, then please apply as an Independent Scholar.

I am applying as an Independent Scholar. Do I still need to press the ‘Submit for Organisational Approval’ button?
Yes. Because you apply as an Independent Scholar, your application will be checked for eligibility in the way that it would be if you were to have access to an institution research or finance office. If your application is deemed eligible, the Academy will provide the ‘organisational approval’.

I am currently a Principal or Co-Applicant on another British Academy grant. Am I eligible to apply?
Applications for this Special Research Grant call will not be accepted from Lead Applicants (PIs) who already hold a similar award from the Academy – i.e. current BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant award-holders.
Please also note the following:

  • A Newton International Fellowship co-applicant can apply to this scheme providing there is no duplication of costs.
  • Mid-Career Fellows are not eligible to apply to this scheme as the Mid-Career Fellowship Scheme includes some research expenses and buys 100% of your time to work on the project for which this was awarded.
  • BA Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible to apply to this scheme providing there is no duplication of costs and the topic proposed for research is directly relevant to advancing the purposes for which the Postdoctoral Fellowship has already been awarded.
  • BA\Leverhulme Senior Research Fellows are eligible to apply to this scheme, since the SRF provides no research expenses, provided the topic proposed for research is directly relevant to advancing the purposes for which the Senior Research Fellowship has already been awarded.
  • Holders of other grants awarded through the Academy’s international programmes are eligible to apply to this scheme, since they are not directly comparable to the Small Grant.

I was unsuccessful in applying to the Academy in a previous round of BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants. Are resubmissions accepted?
Yes, a resubmission of a previously unsuccessful application to the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants scheme may be submitted to this call provided it is directly relevant to the aims of this call.

Does my Co-Applicant(s) have to be based in the UK?
No, a ‘Co-Applicant’ can be based overseas, provided there is a UK based Principal Investigator.

I am not sure whether to list someone as a Co-Applicant or other participant. What is the difference?
A ‘Co-Applicant’ is a joint director of the project with equal responsibility for the academic management of the project. An 'other participant' can be anyone else actively associated with the project.

How many Co-Applicants can my research project have?
For this Special Research Grants call each application can have a maximum of two Co-Applicants.

My project is due to start before the decision date. Can I apply?
No. The scheme notes will specify the earliest date that research may commence for each round of competition.

What is the latest date I can apply to start my project?
Please look at the scheme notes which will specify the latest date that research must have commenced by.

Do I need to have a referee?
No, for this call no self-nominated referee is required. All assessment of applications will be undertaken by the specially appointed Assessment Panel.

Can I include a bibliography/reference list and, if so, where should I place this?
It is not a mandatory requirement that you include a reference list. If you choose to include this as part of your application, then it should be placed as part of the main text in your research proposal – you cannot upload this as an additional document.

Who can offer institutional authorisation for my application?
Institutional authorisation must be given by the registered approver in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS). This is variable at each institution and will often be the Research Grants or Contracts Office or equivalent. You should seek advice at your home institution. If you apply as an independent scholar, the Academy will provide institutional authorisation.

When I apply for funding through any of the awards offered by the British Academy, 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 Academy’s position is that publication costs are not eligible.

Does the Academy require the outputs of the research it funds to be made available in any open access format?
No, this is not currently a stipulation of any Academy award.

Is the Apprenticeship Levy an eligible cost for this scheme?
No. This is not currently an eligible cost. Please see the scheme guidance notes for a list of eligible and ineligible costs.

I have another question, who should I contact?
If you cannot find the answer to your question in the FAQs, the scheme guidance notes or on our website, please email your query to [email protected] and a member of the team will respond. 

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