Funding both facilitates and accelerates historical research. It ensures that research objectives can be delivered whilst also serving as a catalyst to promote and support future researchers. From travel to staff costs, the remit of research funding can be broad and depend on the sponsor's conditions. These pages are designed to provide guidance for individuals who would like to apply for research funding.
What do I need?
Consider what costs you could incur whilst carrying out your proposed research. For example, will you travel, do you need additional staff or equipment? Similarly, it is important to identify when you require funding.
The document linked below provides a general outline of the funding application process through the Faculty of History. All applications are different with regard to size, scope and duration, and thus the time needed to prepare a quality application will vary. Some applications are straightforward and simple, while others are complex, collaborative and require much more time and effort to develop, process and submit.
All applications are accompanied by a detailed costing. This is done in X5, the University's costing and pricing programme. when planning for costs, you should consider the following questions (please first check eligible and ineligible costs in the sponsor guidance):
- What is the name of the funder and scheme?
- What is the duration, start date and title your your project?
- What is your role on the project (PI, Co-I, Researcher)?
- Is it a collaborative project? If yes, please provide information about the other partners involved.
- If you are the Co-I in this project, please provide information about the PI and the Lead institution or University Department.
- How many hours per week or FTE% are you planning to spend on this grant? Consider you other commitments (including teaching).
- Will you need research assistance?
- What level of research assistance will you need: a postdoctoral assistant or less qualified assistance? The status of the post has an effect on the level of salary that may be offered by the University. Contact your RGA for advice regarding research starting salaries.
- Will you require a project administrator (usually for large or EU funded grants)?
- Have you considered whether your plans for personnel recruitment are legal and/or within recruitment rules laid down by the University's Human Resources (HR) Division?
- Do you plan research expenses (travel and subsistence, conference fees, costs for organizing workshops, website design and maintenance, etc.)?
- Will you need to be replaced in your teaching duties? NB: teaching replacement is NOT offered by all sponsors (e.g. the AHRC and ESRC). In these instances, any teaching replacement must be negotiated with the HoD.
- What is your status at the University (UTO, CTO, Research Associate, Junior Research Fellow, Research Assistant, External Application)?
All members of the Department conducting research must consider the ethical implications of that research.
All researchers embarked on research involving human participants or storage of personal data to consider the ethical risks of their work and, in case of doubt, seek confirmation from the Faculty Ethics Committee. Please discuss any such research with either of the Faculty Research Directors. Data storage must conform to data protection legislation.
In most cases approval is a simple matter, but if further review of complex or high-risk cases is required it may be dealt with the Human and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HSS REC) or other bodies within the university. All review procedures am to be reasonable and proportionate.
The Research Operations Office website on Ethics in Research gives details of how ethical approval is managed within the University.
This brief checklist outlines but does not exhaust the areas that might require ethical consideration:
- Harm or burden to those involved in or affected by research must be minimised in all instances and all participants must be warned in advance about any potential risks of harm, however slight these might seem.
- Researchers are required to consider the ethical risk of any procedure within a research project which involves human participants or personal data.
In the case of Historians, such issues are most likely to arise in the case of oral histories and/or the provision of private information about individuals. In all research involving interviews it is expected that participants will be made fully aware of the purposes of research, the uses to which the information they provide may be put, and have clear means of expressing consent (or subsequently withdrawing it) for their participation.
However all historians should give consideration to the possibility of harm arising from their research, and the possibility of participants or others being exposed to risk or trauma.
A fuller list of issues for consideration is provided by the Policy Statement of the University Research Ethics Committee
Researchers should also be aware of data protection issues that arise as a result of conducting research. In particular, you should keep in mind that when using cloud-based storage, or programmes such as Evernote, data will be crossing international borders even if your research does not. This means you should be aware of any issues raised concerning not only the security of your own research data, but also the legal issues surrounding data protection of all personal data. Further information on data protection can be found at the following places:
Ethical Approval Procedure
If your research involves human participation or personal data ethical approval should be obtained. In such cases please contact the Research Director. If it appears to be low risk research, complete the Faculty's Research Ethics Review form as ethical review can be provided at the Faculty level. Cases that are particularly complex or sensitive, or those presenting a potential conflict of interest, should be referred to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. The Committee aims to deliver a decision in approximately three weeks after you complete the Committee’s application form and provide details of your research proposal and participant information.
Applications for research funding that are expected to exceed £1,000,000 fEC must be authorised by the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences before the completed application is submitted for approval by the Research Operations Office.
The School office will review submissions every Tuesday. The School recommends that six weeks is allowed for the School to properly review and communicate decisions to applicants. This must be factored in to your timetable for making an application. Both applicants and the Faculty will need to work together to complete the required submission form for the School. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.
Sponsors may request a letter of support from the Vice-Chancellor or Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research to be submitted with the application for funding. In order to allow sufficient time for the review and signing of letters under current circumstances, from 1 April 2020 requests and draft support letters must be submitted to the Research Strategy Office (email@example.com) 20 working days ahead of the sponsor's deadline.
Who should I apply to?
There is an array of sponsors who can offer research funding ( e.g fellowships, research grants or travel funds). Before applying, it necessary to check whether you satisfy the eligibility requirements.
The Grants for History Moodle Course provides a listing of current and upcoming deadlines with links to further details about schemes. Both internal and external calls are listed, including Research Grants, Early Career Schemes, Fellowship and Research Leave Schemes, Conference and Travel Funding. Please be aware that some deadlines are tentative as the funder has not yet announced the call.
If you have not yet enrolled in the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a request.
When should I apply?
Consult the Grants for History Moodle Course and funder links for forthcoming deadlines.
The University sets internal deadlines in advance of national deadlines for processing external funding applications. Depending on the funding scheme application, pre-award processing requires either 2- or 7-working days before the national deadline.
Please also note that the application processes are increasingly sponsor specific and it is advisable to email email@example.com as early as possible to obtain specific advice on administrative issues.
The pre-award team at ROO processes your completed application for external funding opportunities, and works closely with the Faculty's Research Grants Administrator. To met internal deadlines, please set a submission schedule with the Faculty's RGA.
Be in touch if you intend to put forward an application for internal and external funding opportunities.
As Research Director for Projects and Impact, Professor Gareth Austin provides academic advice on composing project proposals, and reviews all proposals prior to submission to ensure strong funding applications. The Research Director also works with the Faculty Chair to prepare letters of support.
Professor Annabel Brett is responsible for facilitating your Individual Research – this means the range of subjects which interest you as a scholar, the specific research on which you are engaged now, and the forms in which you wish to publish. At the same time, she will advise on and facilitate the adaptation of your research and publication to meet the requirements of 1) promotion and/or the enhancement of salary, and 2) the REF.
Additional help is also available from the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences for those wishing to clarify their options and obtain support in writing academic proposals. The Schools Research Facilitator will review applications and provide feedback and comment. For larger applications, the Research Facilitator can organize a blind peer-review.
An essential resource for staff about research funding, research support and research opportunities across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge).
A database is free to all university members that allows researchers to search for sources of funding eligible to UK institutions. You will be prompted to register.
For administrative and academic staff to understand the processes and requirements associated with research grants and contracts.
A Moodle Course providing deadlines and further details of funding opportunities specific to History. The course is managed by the Faculty's RGA. Please send an email request to the RGA to enrol in the course.