Monday, 15 November 2010

STFC: Changes to its Grant Schemes

After its consultation earlier this year, the Science and Technology Funding Council (STFC) has decided to implement changes to its grants schemes. The existing system of standard and rolling grant mechanisms will be replaced by a single consolidated grant scheme containing core and non-core staff post funding. Core staff posts would be those key posts identified by the grants panel as being crucial for long term support of research activities.

What does that mean? Well, time will tell. But it looks like they're mixing and matching elements of Wellcome's funding of the big stars of the reserarch firmament, and EPSRC's 'demand management'.

The main features will be:
  • One consolidated proposal per department (or equivalent) per subject area submitted every 3 years;
  • Core staff posts could be funded up to 4 years, non core staff posts up to 3 years (but with flexibility to spend over 4 years using the existing rules for applying for a grant extension);
  • An individual academic can only be supported for exploitation on a maximum of one consolidated grant.
To be honest, I haven't entirely got my head around this. However, STFC say that doing things this way will reduce the number of grant applications submitted over 3 years from ~600 to ~110. So you can see where they're coming from. But we'll have to wait for the dust to settle a little before decided on the effect this will have.

Details on the key features of a consolidated scheme and the other Panel recommendations can be found in the full report (PDF - link opens in a new window).

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