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5.11 Supporting Information

All proposals made to STFC require supporting information to be submitted along with the Je-S pro forma. A Case for Support is mandatory for all proposals and for most this will also be the case for the Pathways to Impact and Data Management Plans. The following pages provide further information on how to complete these documents but individual scheme/call guidelines should also be referred to for specifics.

It should be noted that STFC do not require any CVs to be provided other than for Ernest Rutherford Fellowships and Public Engagement Fellowships.

Attachments uploaded in Je-S and categorised as “Other” or “Proposal Cover Letter” will not routinely be made available to reviewers or panel members so it is important not to provide any information that is essential to the peer review process in documents of this type.”

Impacts from Covid -19 on track record and accounting for the unknown

UKRI recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities and are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career(s) such as breaks and delays, disruptive working patterns and conditions, the loss of on-going work, and role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic.

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts of the impact that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of those individuals included in the proposal and will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing. Where disruptions have occurred applicants can highlight this within their application, if they wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

UKRI acknowledges that it is a challenge for applicants to determine the future impacts of COVID-19 while the pandemic continues to evolve. Applications should be based on the information available at the point of submission and, if applicable, the known application specific impacts of COVID-19 should be accounted for. Where known impacts have occurred, these should be highlighted in the application, including the assumptions/information at the point of submission.  There is no need to include contingency plans for the potential impacts of COVID-19. Requests for travel both domestically and internationally can be included in accordance to the relevant scheme guidelines, noting the above advice.

Reviewers will receive instructions to assume that changes that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic, post-submission, will be resolved and complications related to COVID-19 should not affect their scores.

Where an application is successful, any changes in circumstances that affect the proposal will be managed as a post-award issue.



5.11.1 Case for Support - What to include

  • The completed proposal should be accompanied by a self-contained case for support.
  • Applicants should refer to the guidelines for the scheme to which they are applying, taking particular note of the assessment criteria that will be used by the research grants panel in assessing their proposal. The scheme/call specific guidelines will also provide information on any different assessment criteria to be used.
  • Please see section 5.11.3 for information on providing information on impact in your proposal.
  • Applicants should note that, whilst there are no set rules against including web links in the case for support, reviewers are under no obligation to follow them so they should not be used as a way to provide critical information.

5.11.2 Case for Support – Justification of Resources

Justification of Resources within the Case for Support (CfS)

Part of the role of the CfS is to enable reviewers to make an informed judgement on whether the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed.

The CfS should explain why the resources requested are appropriate for the research proposed taking into account the nature and complexity of the research. . It should not  simply be a list of the resources required as this is already provided on  the Je-S form. Whether the grant is a large programme grant or a small travel grant, all items requested in the Je-S form must be justified in the CfS.

Any proposals requesting items that would ordinarily be found in a department, for example non-specialist computers, should include justification both for why they are required for the project and why they cannot be provided from the Research Organisation’s own resources (including funding from Indirect costs from grants). The CfS is a free text document. To ensure that justification is provided for all costings included in the Je-S form we recommend that costs are matched to the proposal headings below (where appropriate).

Cost to the proposal

Justification needed

Questions to consider & answer in the Case for Support

Researcher/Technician/Researcher Co-Investigator/Other staff

- need to justify why a post is needed for the proposed work and why the proposed time input is appropriate.

Is the work of appropriate scientific content or technical difficulty to warrant employing the post at the requested level.

Principal Investigator (PI)


Co-Investigator (Co-I)

- The time that the PI and Co-I spend on the grant has to be justified.

- A PI or Co-I cannot request time for supervising postgraduate research students, writing publications after the end of the project, writing grant applications or peer review.

How much time do you intend to dedicate to the project? Will you be doing all the research yourself? What work packages are the PI and Co-Is involved with and why?  Have you factored in enough time to work with project partners, visiting researchers and other collaborators? Are you only managing the staff on the project?

Travel and Subsistence

- need to give a full break down of the costs in the JeS form for example how many people are travelling and where are they going and why?

Include conference and registration fees here.

If you are planning to visit people to discuss your research, you should explain why those are the right people to talk to and how they can contribute to you meeting your objectives. If you plan to attend conferences, you should comment on the advantages of conference attendance and give an indication of the number you want to attend during the grant, who will attend these and the type you want to go to – national/ international/ general/subject specific etc.

Travel costs incurred when using facilities should be included where necessary.

Other Directly Incurred Costs

- need to give a description of what has been requested and why?

- every item requested must be justified

You must justify the need for any equipment requested – please see section 5.6 regarding the justification of equipment and utilisation of capital assets

Other Directly Allocated Costs

In some cases, such as use of internal facilities and shared staff costs, the basis of the costing doesn’t need to be justified, but the need for the resources does

You need to explain what these are and why you need to use them.

ODA Research Facilities (at Research Organisations)

- only time needs to be justified

You need to explain what you are using the facility for and why you need to use this particular facility.

ODA Pooled Technicians

- for example workshop or laboratory technicians based at the Organisation. Usually not named

You need to explain why you are using a pooled technician and justify the amount of resource requested.

ODA Infrastructure Technicians

Cost should be displayed separately to Estate and Indirect costs in the other Directly Allocated costs box. This cost does not need to be justified.


Directly Allocated Estates

- do not need to be justified


Indirect Costs

- do not need to be justified



5.11.3 Case for Support- Impact Funding

UK Research and Innovation has announced changes to requirements on ‘Pathways to Impact’.

As a result of this change, you will no longer be required to provide a ‘Pathways to Impact’ plan or complete an ‘Impact Summary’ within your grant application. These requirements will be removed for all UKRI opportunities by 01 March 2020.

The statement from UKRI highlights that since the introduction of ‘Pathways to Impact’ the research and innovation landscape has changed significantly. Impact is now to be considered as a core component of  the grant application process.

As this change is implemented, we ask that you follow the below guidance concerning Impact when preparing your application to STFC

STFC will now examine how it will consider Impact generating activities within its research funding and decide what steps to take as a funder to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes used in assessing impact.  This will include changing our guidance as part of implementing simpler, more streamlined processes for our funding calls.

Where relevant, applicants will still be required to include research specific impact generating activities but should now do this within their case for support, including how their research findings will reach key stakeholders. Impact generating activities will still be assessed by peer reviewers and grant panels.

Applicants can still request resources to deliver impact within the case for support as long as it is appropriately justified and specific to the research project.

For public engagement generated impact work, STFC offer a range of dedicated public engagement grant schemes.  The STFC PE team would be pleased to explore new future impact support mechanisms as this change becomes operational to ensure connectivity between major STFC research programmes and publics continue to be enabled.


    5.11.4 Data Management Plan

    A Data Management Plan is mandatory on most STFC schemes and should be a maximum of two sides of A4. If it is felt that a DMP is not relevant to the proposal then please upload a document stating why to pass the Je-S validation requirement. Guidance on providing the Data Management Plan.


    5.11.5 Publications Table

    Each proposal should provide a statistical summary of the scientific productivity for each individual Applicant. It is recognised that productivity may be expressed in a number of forms. As a minimum each Applicant should list the number of refereed publications over a 5 year (AGP) or 4 year (PPGP and NPGP) period, or shorter specified period if appropriate and, where appropriate, the number of these on which they are first author. These data should be derived from ‘ADS’, or ‘Web of Science’. The 4/5 years should be the most recent 4/5 calendar year period, if the Applicant has had a career break in this period it should be explained in a footnote. Please use names for Applicants that will, as far as possible, allow them to be uniquely identified in bibliographic searches.

    Example form: Period covered January 2012 - Jan2016


    Number of Refereed

    Number of first author refereed

    Number of technical reports

    Number of first author technical reports

    Number of conference proceedings (not required for AGP)













    1. Note: A.N.Other2 was on maternity for 6 months from June-Dec 2013.
    2. Technical papers are defined here as those specifically arising from instrument development or construction and not un-refereed science papers.

    Publications by Applicant/PDRAs should be presented in a similar way. Again, names for individual PDRAs should be included. PDRAs that are no longer with the group at time of submission are eligible (so long as they were supported via STFC grants during the preceding 4/5 years). The intention is to provide an indication of PDRA productivity in the context of career development, and to identify potential problems in management.

    In the final row of the summary table, groups should include the total number of unique papers over the most recent 4/5 year period (this is not the same as summing output from individual investigators), and the total number of unique papers originating from within the group (i.e. total number of papers with Applicants, PDRAs, and PhDs as 1st authors).

    In addition, if they wish to, Applicants can provide alternative measures to demonstrate their scientific productivity; for example, explaining authorship policies in explicit fields. Those engaged in hardware and software projects and other technical activities can also demonstrate past productivity, where appropriate, by listing technical reports published, and also by showing evidence of innovation and technical development, external contracts and other enabling activities.

    It should be noted that any statistics provided will be used as a starting point in establishing overall productivity rather than to make fine distinctions in determining priorities for funding.

    If there is any ambiguity on how to present publications in a particular case, Applicants should contact the Office. Note that the intention is to provide the panel with unambiguous information on activity and productivity within the group

    Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA)

    As part of our commitment to support the recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA; https://sfdora.org/read/), UKRI reviewers and panel members are advised not to use journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an investigator’s contributions, or to make funding decisions.

    The content of a paper is more important than publication metrics, or the identity of the journal, in which it was published, especially for early-stage researchers. Peer review and panel members are encouraged to consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets, software, inventions, patents, preprints, other commercial activities, etc.) in addition to research publications. We advise our peer reviewers and panel members to consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

    5.11.6 Project Partner Letter of Support Guidance

    Each Project Partner must provide a Project Partner letter of support, of no more than 2 sides of A4 or equivalent on headed paper or by email and these must be included as an attachment to the grant on submission via Je-S. The letter or email should be written when the proposal is being prepared and should be targeted specifically to the project, it must therefore be dated within 6 months of the date of submission of the proposal. To provide assurance that the Project Partner has authorised the proposed contribution or commitment the letter or email should be signed by the named contact, stating the capacity in which they are providing the sign off. Project Partner letters of support that merely indicate that an organisation is interested in the research are not permitted. The individual named as contact for the Project Partner organisation cannot also be named as staff, for example Co-Investigator on a grant proposal.

    A well written Project Partner letter of support will confirm the Organisation’s commitment to the proposed project by articulating the benefits of the collaboration, its relevance and potential impact. The Project Partner letter or email should also, identify the value, relevance and possible benefits of the proposed work to the partner, the period of support, the full nature of the collaboration/support and how the Partner will provide added value. Where relevant to the project, details should be provided of the projected market size, customers and sales and how the Organisation will commercialise the technology beyond the project. Project Partner contributions, whether in cash or in kind, should be explained in detail in the Project Partner letter of support. Detail of how this support relates to the proposal as a whole should be included in the Case for Support and in the Pathways to Impact attachment.

    The Project Partners should not submit any other ordinary letters of support unless in exceptional cases and where this has been agreed with the Research Council. The Research councils reserve the right to remove all other letters of support from the proposal. Applicants should refer to the Research Council or call guidance for additional information regarding acceptable letters of support.

    5.11.7 Letters of Support

    Letters of Support are not a requirement on most STFC schemes and a maximum of three are allowed for any proposal. Where there is a specific requirement for an attachment of this type to be provided it will be detailed within the scheme/call guidelines. Any Letter of Support provided should be no more than two sides of A4 in length and can be provided as either an email or on headed paper. The letter or email should be written when the proposal is being prepared and should be specific to the project: it must therefore be dated within 6 months of the date of submission of the proposal.

    STFC advise that providing a few, good quality Letters of Support is more beneficial to the Applicant/s than providing numerous, generic letters. A Letter of Support should have real purpose such as demonstrating agreement from an external collaboration for access to proprietary data or supporting claims of leadership within large consortia and/or data exploitation rights. Where there are multiple, generic letters there is a danger that peer review panel members and reviewers may miss those that really add something to the proposal.

    Where an Applicant chooses to upload multiple letters of support as one PDF or as “Other” attachments to bypass Je-S validation then the proposal may be returned or the panel/reviewers advised to read just three of those provided.

    You may wish to consider that it is STFC best practice to not approach someone who has provided a Letter of Support to also be a reviewer. Given that reviewer comments are likely to have more impact than a Letter of Support it is advisable to only provide those which are required as part of the call guidance or are essential to the proposal.


    5.11.8 Applicants Declarations of Interest

    The Research Councils’ Code of Conduct and Policy on the Governance of Good Research Conduct outlines the expectation that applicants for Research Council funding are expected to observe the highest standards of integrity, honesty and professionalism and to embed good practice in every aspect of their work. As part of this, any private, personal or commercial interests relating to an application for funding to the Research Councils must be declared in a covering letter included as an application attachment. Guidance on providing declarations of interest can be found on the UK Research and Innovation website section on research integrity.

    Last updated: 23 November 2020


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