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Sociology Research


The notes below provide a guide to the research applications process via the Department of Sociology.

If you have any specific queries about these steps, or if there is anything else in the course of an application which you are uncertain about, please contact the Research Grant Administrator by email to discuss.

1. Finding a Scheme

Information about different academic funding options is available from a number of sources. The Research Grant Administrator will routinely circulate information regarding new funding opportunities. A good general overview can be found on the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) research website, which includes a calendar of annually recurring grants. Research Professional is an external source of funding news and opportunities that can be configured to send you alerts for schemes meeting defined criteria. Please contact the Research Grant Administrator to discuss any schemes you find here to ensure that they can be supported by the Department.  

Please note that applicants who are not permanent members of staff must identify a permanent member of staff who will act as their sponsor throughout the application process. This person should also contact the Research Grant Administrator to confirm their sponsorship.  

2. Eligibility

Once you have identified a scheme you wish to apply for, check the funder's scheme notes to confirm that you and the project you wish to carry out are both eligible. Common eligibility criteria for candidates include: nationality/residency, employment status, and years of postdoctoral experience, but other criteria may apply. Project eligibility criteria may entail restrictions on the types of expenses that can be claimed for and the type of activities that can be carried out. If you require your salary costs to be included in the budget, you should ensure that these can be adequately covered through the award. If you need help interpreting eligibility requirements or checking estimated project costs then please contact the department Research Grant Administrator.

3. Approval

All research funding proposals must obtain approval in principal as well as full approval from the Head of Department and Director of Research before being submitted to the Research Operations Office and funder. This applies as much to projects where Sociology is a collaborator as to where Sociology is the lead.  

  • After you have identified a sponsor within the Department who agrees to work with you on your proposal, you can then contact the Research Grants Administrator to determine the feasibility of your project. 
  •  If the project is feasible, you will then need to obtain approval in principle [form link] to apply for the award from the Head of Department and Director of Research in the Department of Sociology. You should provide a preliminary title, brief abstract, name of funding scheme, submission timeline and start date, resource requirements and award amount on the approval in principle form. This form should be submitted as early as possible in the grant application process, and well in advance of the funding deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that there is sufficient time for the necessary departmental approvals to be given. 
  •  If approval in principle is granted, you may then further develop your application with your sponsor and the Research Grants Administrator, who will also coordinate the application with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Research Operations Office by advising on their submission processes and deadlines.  
  • Any application with a combined Full Economic Costing of over £1 million (including partner contributions) will need to be cleared at School-level through the Million+ process. Submissions for this process must be made at least 4 weeks prior to the final deadline. Please be aware that the Full Economic Costing of applications may not be apparent until after the Research Grant Administrator has provided a calculation of estates and indirect costs. 
  • Please note that participation in collaborations will require due-diligence background checks to be carried out on the project partners in order to ensure that there is no risk of financial or reputational harm to the Department or the University. 
  • If you require a letter of support for your application, you should submit your request to the Research Grants Administrator at least 10 days prior to the deadline if you require a letter from the Head of Department. If you require a letter from the School or Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, then you should submit your request for a supporting letter at least 4 weeks in advance of the deadline. Different schemes will have different requirements, so it is strongly advised that you contact us as soon as possible to ensure that we have enough time to produce the required documents. 
  • Once you have a complete budget and draft of your proposal, you should attach these to the completed approval request form along with all other checklist documents and send these to the Research Grant Administrator two weeks prior to the funding deadline. The Head of Department and Director of Research will review your full proposal to determine the suitability of the research to the Department, as well as resource implications in relation to staffing, support and infrastructure costs.

4. Submission

If you obtain Departmental approval (and School approval where necessary), then you will need to submit your application to the Research Operations Office for checking via both the funder's online portal and the X5 costing system. This must be done at least 2-7 working days before the final submission deadline (depending on project size + contents) in order to allow time to address any errors or issues that are found. Please see the Research Operations Office webpage here for more details. Be aware that extended deadlines are currently in effect in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Please note that on most funder portals, clicking 'Submit' will not submit an application directly to the funder for assessment. Instead, it will first be sent to the Research Operations Office for Institutional Approval. The Research Operations Office will then complete the submission after checking the application content against the X5 costing. If the portal submission is late, the Research Operations Office will not submit it. Where funders receive applications directly, a copy of all application documents required should be sent to the Research Grant Administrator so that they can be sent to the ROO for checking along with the X5 costing. 

The Research Grant Administrator handles all X5 submissions, and can provide support with the production of budgets and the costing of items. If necessary, this process can be started before departmental approval is obtained, on the condition that the application may be rejected by the Research Operations Office if approval is not confirmed in time for the final deadline. 

Once a submission has been completed, the Research Operations Office will issue a "G" identification number that should be included in any further correspondence regarding the application. If an application is successful, you will be notified by the funder and provided with an award letter.