Managing grant budgets
From 1 December 2015, we no longer award budgets under the 'ringfenced' cost heading. Instead, grantholders will be able to move funds between their awarded budget categories. This will give grantholders the flexibility to spend their funds in the best interests of their research.
Affected grant schemes
The change applies to most of our fellowships and studentships. It doesn’t apply to those grants that:
- are based on milestone payments
- require specific approval by Trust monitors
- have exceptional arrangements set out in the award letter.
Grants awarded before 1 December 2015
Budgets that have been awarded under the 'ring-fenced' cost heading – including those for fellows salaries, studentship stipends and fees, and overseas allowances – will no longer be ring-fenced, and funds can be moved into and out of these budgets.
Transferring costs between budget headings
Small-scale transfers between cost headings don’t need our approval. But any significant transfer of funds between cost headings should be discussed with us.
Examples of significant funds transfers are:
- fellows and students being employed for less time (eg six months or longer) than awarded and the resulting salary (and fee) budget underspends being used for other purposes
- staff spending less time working overseas than anticipated and no longer needing the awarded overseas allowances
- funding for research management support costs being spent on other activities
- funding for public engagement activities being spent on other activities
- major changes to research staffing levels
- major changes in animal usage and equipment purchases.
We expect grantholders to use their judgement about what constitutes a significant transfer of funds. For example, if a post is unfilled on a grant that is funding multiple staff, approval wouldn’t be needed. But if the unfilled post is on a grant that is funding only one staff member, we would consider this to be significant.
We may not pay for costs that we haven’t approved and that are significantly different to those originally awarded.
We may also, in exceptional circumstances, specify in the award letter that certain costs may not be used for any other purpose. Examples of costs where this may happen include:
- the International Recruitment Supplement
- funding for indirect costs, which we may provide when the award is made in partnership with other funders (eg the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship scheme).
From 1 December 2015, our 10 per cent retention sum will be based on the full value of the award. For grants that were awarded 'ring fenced' costs, the retention sum will be recalculated, but any payments already made won’t need to be returned.
Supplements to existing grant budgets
From 1 October 2016 onwards, we’ll no longer supplement budgets for fellows' salaries, overseas allowances and studentship fees at the end of the grant for actual costs incurred, unless the increased costs are due to promotion, career breaks or regrading (eg when a clinician completes their clinical training and is given an Honorary Consultant Contract).
Grants awarded from 1 December 2015 onwards will include an inflationary allowance to cover these costs.
For grants awarded before 1 December 2015, we’ll consider requests for supplements to cover the actual cost of fellows' salaries, overseas allowances and studentship fees, as long as these requests are submitted before October 2016 to the Grants Adviser handling your grant.
Please contact our Grants Information Desk for advice.