Step by step guide to applying for funding

Before you apply, please refer to our deadline requirements and other essential information.

Step 1 - Identify a potential funder and scheme

Please see our Major Sponsors (including our separate Oxford Gateway to Europe site, especially the Applying for Horizon 2020 page) and our Find Funding section for information and advice, including details of Research Professional, a searchable, online research funding opportunities database and information service.

Issues to consider when selecting a funder are:

  1. Programme of work - is the area of research within the funder's area of interest/funding remit and/or does it meet a particular scheme's requirements?
  2. Eligibility - are you personally eligible to apply? Is the University eligible to hold the award?

Step 2 - Once you have identified the funder and scheme:

  1. Read the guidelines.
  2. Note any deadline for submission. Do you have enough time to prepare the application and meet departmental and Research Services deadlines?
  3. Application route. Is the application electronic or paper? If electronic, do you need to create a user account?
  4. Internal ranking/selection. Where funders limit the number of bids by an institution for a particular call, or require that the University ranks its proposals, internal selection/ranking procedures will apply and are posted on the Co-ordinated Bids section of this website.
  5. Preliminary/Outline applications should be routed through your department and Research Services in the same way as for full applications.

Step 3 - Plan the resources required

The staff (including your time and that of any co-applicants) and equipment/materials/expenses resources for a particular project should be driven by the research requirements. You are normally required to justify why you are requesting them.

Are any other Oxford departments or external organisations collaborating on the programme? Please provide confirmation from them that they support the application.

Consider how you will look after your data at the pre-application stage.  Your chosen funder may require that research data produced as part of the funded project be made publicly available and/or require you to prepare a data management plan or a data sharing plan as part of the application. See the Funder policy section of the Research Data website for an overview of the major funders’ requirements around data management.

Step 4 - Consider whether any ethical review and approvals will be necessary

This includes, for example, research involving human participants or animals. For further information, please see the ethical review and approvals page, the Central University Ethics Committee (CUREC) website and our Clinical Trials and Research Governance (CTRG) pages.

Will you be utilising or likely to create valuable intellectual property in the project? It can be important to speak with Research Services or Oxford University Innovation prior to completing the proposal as some funders' terms may restrict the use of intellectual property.

Step 5 - Prepare the X5 costing with your finance officer/departmental administrator

X5 is the research costing, pricing and approval system which provides the necessary FEC costing and generates the price charged for the research. Your finance officer should be able to assist you with interpreting the figures and completing the financial sections of the application form.

Key information to supply to your department contact includes: who the funder is, estimated start date and duration of the project, staff details, equipment and other resources required.

If not approving the costing in X5, please sign the X5 Grant oversheet.

Step 6 - Writing the application

Local support from your Research Office/ Research Facilitator and your Research Services Divisional team is available.

Step 7 - Research Services reviews and authorises the application on behalf of the University

Forward your application via your department to Research Services for review and authorisation on behalf of the University at least five working days before the funder's deadline or the date you require the application to be approved/ returned to you.

Research Services will be introducing changes in the support model for research grant applications from 1 January, 2016, please follow this link for further details about these changes. 

Research Services will liaise with you and your department about any agreed changes/ modifications to be made prior to University approval.

Once the application has been approved. Research Services will confirm this and submit to the funder if applicable.

Please note that grants under £20K with no associated staff costs do not need to come through Research Services at application stage.