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4 Types of STFC Research Funding

4.1 Types of Research Funding

Research funding is currently provided through the following types of research awards:



4.1.1 Consolidated awards

  • Consolidated grants are awarded for a maximum of four years and only one application per department per research area is permitted. A three year application cycle is in place for each programme area (for astronomy a third of the community applies each year and for Particle Physics Experiment, Particle Physics Theory and Nuclear Physics only one call is held every three years). In between these times departments are locked out from applying. Further information can be found on the Astronomy and Particle Physics web pages.

4.1.2 Consortium grants

  • Consortium grants are intended to support a programme of work carried out by more than one University department or institution, with a common research programme. (Essentially it is a joint Consolidated grant in that it allows support for a research area across multiple institutions.)

4.1.3 New Applicant awards

  • Newly appointed academic members of staff who have joined a department between Consolidated/Consortium grant submissions may exceptionally apply separately for support. The purpose of this is to provide new staff members with the opportunity to obtain research funding in advance of the next grant submission. If grant funding is agreed, funding is likely to be awarded as a separate grant in addition to the department’s existing Consolidated or Consortium grant.
  • Normal eligibility rules apply to New Applicant requests but with the following exceptions:
    • To be eligible for new applicant funding, applicants should have no existing funding for research in the core STFC science areas of particle physics, astronomy and nuclear physics. Consequently, staff members who have transferred relevant existing STFC funding from another institution; or who hold a relevant personal fellowship, such as an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship or Royal Society University Research Fellowship; or who bring with them or otherwise obtain other relevant funding (such as a European Research Council grant) would not therefore be eligible if that funding was still active at the time the New Applicant grant is due to start. However, holders of STFC or other funding outside the core areas of particle physics, astronomy and nuclear physics are eligible eg Innovation Partnership Scheme, Public Engagement, Global Challenge Research Fund.
    • Applicants must be employed as a full or part-time academic member of staff at the grant holding university by the start date of the new applicant grant.

4.1.4 Standard awards

  • Standard grants are awards that do not fit the criteria for Consolidated, Consortium or New Applicants awards. They are normally awarded for a period of up to three years although support for a specific project may be awarded for a longer period. There is no option to apply for a standard grant for exploitation funding in core astronomy, particle and nuclear physics programmes.
  • STFC will not consider standard grant proposals from Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators in research areas already funded through an existing grant at their institution or included as part of a consolidated grant proposal or award.

4.1.5 Joint grants

  • Joint grant awards are standard awards but are designed to fund research at more than one research organisation. Either each institution applies for its own grant with one of them being the lead organisation which takes overall responsibility for the application, including responding to reviewer comments; or the lead organisation applies for a single grant to support all of the partners involved. STFC encourages the multiple grant route. If applying through a lead organisation, applicants should be aware of the HMRC guidance on the treatment of VAT in collaborative research (HMRC VAT information sheet 11/30).

Last updated: 28 January 2021


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