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5.4 Staff (including Investigators)

There are several types of staff post that can be requested on a grant proposal including Investigators, Researchers, Technicians and Associated Students. These posts may be requested as Directly Incurred, Directly Allocated or, in some cases, Exceptions (see section 5.2). The following sections provide information on requesting staff posts.

 

5.4.1 Investigator Posts

  • It is a requirement of fEC costing methodology that for any one Investigator, the amount of time that Research Councils will fund across all the projects they support is a maximum of 1650 hours a year (equivalent to 37.5 hours a week, 44 weeks a year).
     
  • The total salary costs for any individual on all Research Council grants and fellowships must not exceed 100% FTE across all grants.
     
  • If an Investigator already has all or part of their salary met through other externally sponsored projects supported from public funding, the proposal should not seek to duplicate this funding. Relevant forms of external funding include research grants and fellowships funded by the research councils, government departments or publicly funded learned societies such as the Royal Society. In such cases, the level of involvement in the proposed grant should be indicated, but with zero hours charged to the grant. If the Investigator is unpaid, or receives salary wholly funded through non-fEC sources, their time can still be charged to the grant for the purpose of determining estates, infrastructure technicians and indirect costs. In this case, the relevant amount of time to be charged to the grant should be shown, but with a zero salary.
     
  • Research grants or fellowships will not be funded on the basis of replacement teaching costs.
     
  • All Investigators for whom funding is sought must be named in the proposal. STFC will not provide funds in respect of unnamed Investigators, for example where an appointment is expected but the identity of the appointee is unknown at the time of application.
     
  • Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators whose time is not fully funded on other Research Council grants, but who are not paid a salary by the Research Organisation (e.g. Emeritus or honorary staff) should indicate the number of hours attributed to the project, but with zero salary cost request.
     
  • Salary increments over the period of the project should be taken into account, but possible future pay awards should not be anticipated.
     
  • Where it is expected that individuals will be promoted during the lifetime of the grant, provision may be made in the grant proposal.
     
  • If a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator is retired, the expectation is that their level of involvement in a project would be covered by a contract with the Research Organisation. The cost of their time attributed to the project is thus likely to be a Directly Incurred cost.
     
  • Co-Investigators named in a successful proposal might not be named by STFC in the ensuing grant if no funding has been provided for them.
     
  • Where an individual will be working on the grant-funded project away from the Research Organisation on long term secondment for a period in excess of six months (in total) during the lifetime of the project, estates costs should not be charged for the period of secondment.
     

Directly Allocated or Directly Incurred?

  • It is anticipated that the majority of Investigators will be requested under the Directly Allocated: Investigators fund heading as costs are likely to be based on estimates.
     
  • However, if a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator is retired, the expectation is that their level of involvement in a project would be covered by a contract with the Research Organisation. The cost of their time attributed to the project is thus likely to be a Directly Incurred cost.
     
  • Other Investigators may also be requested as Directly Incurred where the requirement to provide an audit trail for their time spent on a grant can be met. Costs for such posts will be made under the Directly Incurred: Staff fund heading though details of the posts should still be provided within the Investigator sections of Je-S.
 

5.4.2 Researcher Posts

Directly Allocated or Directly Incurred?

  • Research staff, full or part-time, who will work on the project and whose time can be supported by a full audit trail during the life of the project should be requested under the Directly Incurred: Staff fund heading, including where the post is currently unnamed. For staff dedicated to one project, the payroll system provides a full audit trail. Staff whose time is dedicated to more than one project should use other time recording systems. e.g.timesheets.
     
  • Where researcher time cannot be audited the post will need to be requested as Directly Allocated, including named posts. You must include the post details and costs in the “Staff” section of Je-S rather than included in the pooled staff costs. This will ensure that their FTE is included in the total driving the Estates and Indirect charges being requested. Costs for these posts will map to the Directly Allocated: ODA fund heading and the posts will not have the benefits of Directly Incurred Staff in terms of being able to claim maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or sick leave costs. Provision for expected promotions will also not be applicable. However, there is not a requirement to provide an audit trail for their work on the grant.
     
  • The total salary costs for any individual on all Research Councils grants and fellowships must not exceed 100%.
     
  • Salaries and allowances, including employer's liability for national insurance and superannuation, should be at the current rates.
     
  • Salary increments over the period of the project should be taken into account, but possible future pay awards should not be anticipated.
     

5.4.2.1 Named Research Staff

  • Funds for named research staff will normally be awarded at the level requested, although STFC reserves the right to offer support at an alternative level or to reduce the hours requested.
     
  • STFC may replace funding requested for named research staff with funding for unnamed staff at a lower salary banding, if either:
    •  the post is a new named staff post and the reason is scientifically justified
       or
    • if the programme of work has changed and requires a different set of skills and experience.
       
  • Proposals for funding for named research staff, funded as Directly Incurred posts, may seek provision for expected promotions during the lifetime of the research grant where the possibility is foreseen by the employing Research Organisation. The grounds have to be justified in the proposal and the promotion must be made in accordance with the policies and procedures of the employing Research Organisation. (see The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).
     

5.4.2.2 Unnamed Research Staff

  • Funds for unnamed research staff will normally be awarded at the relevant salary banding normally awarded by the Research Organisation for a newly qualified Post Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA).
     
  • Provision may, however, be made for an appointment at higher banding where the proposal so requests it and has made explicit, to STFC's satisfaction, that the research responsibilities would justify such an appointment and that the project would offer the opportunity for the future career development of a more experienced individual (see The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.)
     
 

5.4.3 Other Staff

  • Funds for named or unnamed technical and computing staff, who will undertake work directly related to the proposed project and whose time can be fully supported by a full audit trail during the life of the project may be sought as a Directly Incurred cost. For staff dedicated to one project, the payroll system provides a full audit trail. Staff whose time is dedicated to more than one project should use other time recording systems. e.g. timesheets. Where the post is not fully auditable, but does not fit the pooled staff or infrastructure technicians definition (see below) the costs can be requested as Directly Allocated. These posts should be requested within the staff section of Je-S though costs will map to other directly allocated. 
     
  • Other non-research staff who will work on the project and whose time can be fully supported by a full audit trail during the life of the project e.g. secretarial and administrative staff may be requested as a Directly Incurred cost. For staff dedicated to one project, the payroll system provides a full audit trail. Staff whose time is dedicated to more than one project should use other time recording systems. e.g. timesheets. Where the post is not fully auditable, but does not fit the pooled staff definition (see below) the costs can be requested as Directly Allocated. These posts should be requested within the staff section of Je-S though costs will map to other directly allocated.
     
  • Technicians, secretarial and computing staff who are part of a staff pool supporting a range of facilities and projects whose costs cannot be separately identified may be included in Estates costs.
     
  • Staff providing general non-project-specific support for the research infrastructure, charged on the basis of a per-research FTE rate, may be requested under the Other Directly Allocated fund heading option of Infrastructure Technicians.
     
 

5.4.4 Studentships on grants

  • STFC may fund PhD studentship projects as part of the broader programme of work supported by the grant. These are known as Associated Studentships (project students when completing Je-S)..
     
  • To be in receipt of a STFC-funded Associated Student the department in which the research grant will be held must have received STFC accreditation of their training provision. Where this isn’t the case, the department must successfully apply for accreditation in advance of the student starting, or have been through an equivalent process administered by another council. For information on the accreditation process and those departments that have passed please see the STFC website.
     
  • The intention of these Associated Studentships is to help research groups to capitalise on any excellent student-training opportunities within the proposed grant supported research programme.
     
  • Applicants must be able to clearly show that the studentship project is closely associated with the programme of work to be undertaken as part of the grant proposal. The Case for Support should explain how the project will be integrated into the broader aims of the grant and how this integration will be of benefit to the training of the research student.
     
  • Studentship projects that do not have such a close and direct relationship with a grant funded research project may be more appropriate for an STFC Doctoral Training Partnership.
     
  • A studentship project must provide the student with the training in the methods of research associated with the work to be undertaken on the research grant.
  • The student must have the opportunity to undertake broader skills training during the course of the PhD.
  • A studentship should be for a minimum of three years. 
     
  • Student maintenance and tuition fees will be funded at 100% under the Exceptions: Other and Exceptions:Staff headings and are set at the level agreed for Research Council studentships each year. If Research Organisations set a higher fee than that paid by STFC (for example, to include Oxbridge college fees), the funds to cover this would have to be vired from the Directly Incurred costs awarded in accordance with the rules for virement. Funds may only be transferred into studentship stipend or fees to supplement an existing studentship post on the grant. They may not be transferred to create new posts without prior approval from the Council.
     
  • The funds requested for the student should be for the total period of each studentship using the current rates for maintenance and tuition fees.
     
  • Other resources for the student such as travel (UK and overseas fieldwork or Long Term Attachment costs), consumables and equipment should be estimated and listed under the appropriate fund heading in the proposal and will be funded at 80% of full economic cost (fEC).
     
  • Student supervision time should not be included in the costs of Investigator time requested on the proposal.
     
  • There are no constraints on the nationality or residency of Associated Students.
     
  • If the Associated Studentship will need to continue after the grant has finished, the Research Organisation will be responsible for funding or finding funding to ensure the training programme is completed. If funds have been vired to fund the student to cover the whole of the training programme, the Research Organisation must ensure that the requirements for the Associated Studentships still apply, and if so, may request a no-cost extension to complete the programme.
     
  • Permission must be sought from the relevant secretariat to delay the start of an Associated Student on a consolidated or project grant award.
     
 

5.4.5 Visiting Researchers

  • Support may be requested within a grant proposal to provide funding for senior scientists from the UK or overseas who are of acknowledged standing to visit and work in the Principal Investigator's institution for a period of up to twelve months.
     
  • Support may be requested for specified individual visitors and general support for unspecified (usually short-term) visitors. The support requested should be justified in the Case for Support.
     
  • STFC will only pay the salary of a Visiting Researcher for the time that they will be directly working on the project and requests should exclude any contributions from other sources. Visiting Researchers should receive the same salary and conditions as other staff of an equivalent status within the Research Organisation. Costs should be requested as Directly Incurred.
     
  • Estates, Infrastructure technician and Indirect costs may only be requested for individual visits in excess of six months, regardless of whether the support being requested includes a salary contribution or is only travel and subsistence. Estates, Infrastructure technician and Indirect costs should only be requested for the time the Visiting Researcher will be directly working on the project and should not be requested if they are already funded (for example by another Research Grant to the Visiting Researcher’s home institution).
     
  • For Visiting Researchers reasonable expenses will be paid for travel to and from the UK by the Senior Visiting Scientist, but not for their families. Subsistence expenses should be related to the individual circumstances of each case and the rates appropriate for visiting workers within the host Research Organisation. The amount requested for the visit should be reduced if a contribution has been received from other sources, e.g. where the visit will be partly funded by the Visiting Researcher's own institution and/or is part of a longer stay.

Last updated: 17 January 2019

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