Managing your award
In conjunction with the Research Council Terms & Conditions (T&Cs), this guidance provides information about our expectations of Research Organisations (ROs) and Investigators. It is the ROs responsibility that the T&Cs as set out in the Grant Offer document are adhered to and that the project team and Admin/Finance Office are aware of any grant specific conditions in addition to the Research Council T&Cs. In all cases the additional conditions override all others.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to any queries you might have.
- Post-award amendments
- Grant maintenance requests
- Submitting grant maintenance requests via Je-S
- Virement rules (transfer of costs from one fund heading to another)
A post-award amendment (PAA) is defined as a change to any key element of a grant. This includes (but is not confined to) end dates, awarded amounts, grant transfers, grant suspensions, use of funds and changes to principal investigators.
To process a PAA, submit a completed Je-S grant maintenance form to the Je-S System (for more information see Je-S System help and guidance page: Submitting grant maintenance requests via Je-S).
Requests covered by MRC’s statutory duties (for example parental or sick leave) or the terms and conditions of the grant will be handled by the Research Council Grants Team. Requests that require scientific input and/or have requested additional funds will be referred to MRC’s Research Funding Policy and Delivery (RFPD) team. We may request more detailed information than is submitted through the Je-S grant maintenance form.
Depending on the nature of the PAA, requests will be dealt with by RFPD or will be considered by a panel comprising one Head of Theme and two Programme Managers (on a rotating basis) who use their scientific knowledge to make decisions. In order to ensure that decisions are consistent the panel is overseen by RFPD.
Please note if the requested PAA is within the terms and conditions of the grant then the Research Council Grants Team may be able to process the request without referring it to the MRC. Depending on the nature of the request the MRC may refer the decision to one of our PAA panels that take place every four to six weeks.
If the PAA did not go to the PAA Panel, the RO/PI can appeal if they do not agree with the reasoning on which the decision has been based. The appeal must be received within 20 working days of notification of the original decision. If an appeal is made, it will initially be considered by RFPD who will review any revised information submitted as part of the appeal with input from appropriate head office staff as required. If the decision is still to reject the request, the revised submission will be considered by the next PAA panel.
Please note that the PAA panel decision is final and NOT open to appeal.
Requests relating to Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme awards (for example alterations to agreed deliverables or their due dates) are referred to as Requests for Change and dealt with directly by the Translational Research board team (DPFS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk). A Je-S grant maintenance form does not need to be submitted.
All grant maintenance requests must be made before the end of the grant.
Please see the Je-s information on submitting grant maintenance requests for further details.
Please note you can view full economic cost (fEC) frequently asked questions on the Research Council grant terms and conditions page.
- Staff extensions
- Exceptional extensions - non staff
- Grant suspension
- Grant holder change (not Fellowships or NIRGs)
- Grant transfers
- Additional funds
There are two types of No Cost extensions: Staff and Exceptional (Non Staff). Requests will only be considered where they are necessary to enable the objectives of the award to be completed, and should only be for the time actually required for this.
Staff extensions are given for:
- breaks or delays in the appointment of staff;
- maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental or paid sick leave;
- extended jury service; or
- changes from full-time to part-time working
Actual dates must always be given - sick leave must be requested with start and end dates.
Parental leave - actual dates must be used but can be submitted in advance, as long as the dates have been formally agreed with the ROs HR.
Parental leave extensions should only be requested if the RO has not appointed a person to work on the grant as a replacement for the requested period.
In the case of time being requested to cover recruitment or training of a new appointee replacing a post vacated unexpectedly, dates must be provided for the individual parts of the extension, and an explanation included as to why this is being requested, e.g. “Staff Member left on 01/01/17, recruitment took 2 months with the new appointee starting on 01/04/17 giving 3 months of actual vacancy. We would like to request an additional 2 months for training the new appointee, giving an overall extension request of 5 months”.
If additional time is required in order to offer a suitable duration of contract (i.e. the vacancy happens towards the end of the grant), the Grant Maintenance Request should include details of the work to be carried out during this period.
If the absence is towards the end of a grant, but the person is to return to work on the project, a Grant Maintenance Request can be submitted for an extension to cover the time taken to date, with a further request submitted for the remainder when the person returns and the date is known. This will ensure that the grant does not end before the full length of the absence is known.
Please note extension requests for Industrial CASE studentships must be supported with an attachment from the industrial partner indicating support for the requested extension.
Exceptional extensions - non staff
- Actual dates must be given with the explanation of the delaying issues.
- Multiple grant maintenance requests may be requested for ongoing issues occurring towards the end of the grant, until the final resolution date is known.
- The grant maintenance request should reflect the objectives that have been achieved to date and how any outstanding work will be completed within the new time frame.
- No contingency period should be requested; an additional grant maintenance request can be submitted should it become necessary.
- Examples of exceptional reasons for unexpected delays in programmes are (but not limited to):
- Major equipment failures
- Major laboratory/building issues
- Unforeseen problems with specimen/sample/data collection
- Unforeseen problems around acquiring ethical approvals or permits
- Unavailability of facilities intrinsic to the project i.e. ship/air time
- RCs would not expect to see extensions requested for (but not limited to):
- To use unspent funds on supplementary work, on work not specified in the original grant as awarded.
- To allow additional papers to be completed and submitted to conferences/journals.
- To bridge employment of key staff- keeping them employed until a new (unrelated) grant starts which will employ them.
- To allow invoices to be received while the grant is live (invoices for spend occurring during the grant duration can be received in the 3 month period between the end date of the grant and the Final Expenditure Statement due date).
- To allow attendance at additional conferences unless a case is made with the enhanced impact this would create.
- Linked projects finishing together.
A grant suspension should be requested when work has temporarily ceased on a grant. This could be because (but is not limited to):
- Staff have gone on parental leave and there are no other members of staff actively working on the grant.
- Major building issues, for example fire, which mean that all work has ceased on the grant and is unlikely to resume soon.
- In both instances, a suspension should be requested through a grant maintenance request.
- A request to recommence the grant, and a further request for a no cost extension for the period that work on the project had stopped, should be submitted when the dates are finalised.
While a grant is suspended no payments will be made to the RO and no expenditure should be incurred in respect to the grant during this period; therefore suspension is only possible if alternative arrangements are made for other staff funded by the grant for the duration of the suspension.
Grant holder change (not Fellowships or NIRGs)
The MRC need to be assured that the replacement meets the eligibility criteria and has the expertise and experience to lead the project to a successful conclusion, in accordance with its research objectives.
To note: When submitting a Change of Grant Holder or Co-Investigator, it is the responsibility of the RO to ensure that they have read MRC’s eligibility guide and considered any grant specific conditions. For any queries on the eligibility of a proposed grant holder, the RO should contact MRC for further guidance, prior to the request being made.
If the grant is a fellowship or New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG) the award holder cannot be changed and will be terminated.
As a consequence of any change in Principal Investigator (PI), the new PI must be based at a lead organisation. Therefore if the PI moves to another organisation either the grant goes with them or a new PI must be found for the grant.
Requests should include:
- An explanation as to why the grant needs to be transferred
- Details of when the transfer is required to take place
Requests to transfer a grant will normally be approved with the exception of the following:
- The new RO is not eligible to hold a Research Council grant. Please note transfers to European Union universities may be covered by the Money Follows Researchers Agreement.
- If it is not feasible to transfer the project to a new RO that does not have the required facilities to carry out the research.
Please note that this is not a quick process to carry out as the grant needs to be reconciled at the original RO before the remaining funds can be transferred to the new RO. Please allow at least 4 months for this process to be completed from the date of the request being made. If the request is urgent, please discuss this with your research office so they can carry out their part of the process in the least possible time.
Grant transfer requests cannot be created and submitted in Je-S when a grant has not yet started (the status of the award is ‘Announced’). In these circumstances, please contact MRC for further advice.
If a NIRG or fellow wishes to transfer to another RO they should notify MRC at RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the facilities and support the new RO will offer with the relevant Programme Manager. For early-career fellowships, assurance will be required that adequate supervision is in place.
Please note that requests for additional funds will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Where requested they should only include Directly Incurred Costs. Estates and Indirect Costs can be included in exceptional circumstances where additional researcher/investigator time is requested.
Additional funds are added to the grant at the same FEC rate that was applied to the original grant. In most cases this will be 80%.
Requests for additional funds (but no extension) should be submitted as a Grant Generic Change Request and should include explanations as to:
- The exact amount you wish to request.
- How the shortfall in funds affects the delivery of a significant portion of the science in the original application.
- The justification for the need for the science to continue and explanation of the risks relative to the original aims.
- A clear, brief explanation of the science carried out to date.
- Why the shortfall could not easily have been anticipated and any action taken, including help from the RO where appropriate.
All requests must be submitted at least one calendar month before the end date of the grant. Requests received after the end date of the grant will NOT be considered. If a problem occurs during the grant which will have an impact on any key conditions of the grant such as a delay in recruiting staff or purchasing required equipment, please contact the MRC at the time of the occurrence. Do not wait until the end date of the grant to submit a grant maintenance request.
For extensions resulting from periods of staff absence such as parental leave and gaps in recruitment, please wait until the person returns from the absence or is in post before applying for an extension. These should only be requested in advance where the grant is due to end before the person returns to work.
Requests for award amendments should be submitted through the Je-S System using the Grant Maintenance Request function ‘Maintain Grants’, available within the Grant Holders Je-S. Please login to your Je-S account and select the Documents option from the left hand menu list within your Je-S account ‘Home’ page. You will then be able to see the list of available grants to you.
Select the grant you wish to create the maintenance request for by selecting (clicking) the circle adjacent to the grant you wish to amend. Select the drop down list of available ‘Request Types’ and select the required request type followed by the selection of the ‘Create’ option.
For more guidance on submitting requests see Je-S Grant Maintenance Requests.
When adding supporting documentation as an Attachment Type there is functionality available within the Grant Maintenance Request to add more than one attachment. However we are currently unable to import more than one document therefore if there are several attachments the Research Council Grants Team and Research Councils will not be able to view them. Therefore please insert all the supporting documents into a single attachment.
Grant holders (PI on the application) and some research administrators have access to the ‘Maintain Grants’ function within the ‘Documents’ section of their Je-S account. Please contact your local research office to request the creation of a Grant Maintenance Request. If you are unsure who these people are at your research organisation, please contact the Je-S Helpdesk who will also be able to advise you who to contact.
After you have submitted the PAA request through Je-S, your submission will then go to your research office electronic pool structure. Your organisation’s research office are responsible for checking the completed Grant Maintenance Request before completing the final submission process (through Je-S) to the MRC. Please note that until your research office has submitted the request to ‘Council’, the request will not be visible to the MRC and therefore cannot be considered until the final submission has been made. Please check you Je-S account to confirm the status of your request is ‘With Council’.
Research grants and postdoctoral fellowships
Directly incurred (DI) costs are allowed to be vired between other DI fund headings. Examples of costs that are allowed to be vired between fund headings:
- Staff working 100% of their time on the grant
- Travel and Subsistence
- Equipment (any item less than £10k inc VAT) & related equipment items (not included as estate costs) eg maintenance, relocation, rental charges
- Other Directly Incurred Costs that can be vired include (but is not limited to) consumables, consultancy fees, fieldwork fees/subjects/informants, survey costs, computing costs (software licences), sub-contracting
Directly Allocated (DA) costs are not allowed to be vired between fund headings. Examples of Directly Allocated costs that are not allowed to be vired:
- Staff working less than 100% of their hours on the grant:
- Principal Investigator
- Pool Staff Costs eg costs for research, technical, administrative and other support staff, whose time is shared across several projects
- Infrastructure Technicians
- Estates costs
- Other DA Costs
Equipment: Since Wakeham, funds cannot be vired in or out of Equipment.
Equipment is considered to be anything bought or leased for the project which costs £10,000 (inc VAT) or above. Single items of equipment costing less than £10,000 (inc VAT) should be included under the other directly incurred costs heading. For more information please see ‘Section 18.104.22.168’ of MRC Guidance for Applicants.
Where the research organisation is upgrading or down-grading an item requested in the proposal, it is not necessary for them to seek permission from the MRC providing the change can be accommodated within the funds available in ‘Equipment’.
Research organisations must request permission to purchase equipment in the last 6 months of the grant (see RGC 11.4 of the Research Council research terms and conditions ). Items bought without permission will be removed from the final expenditure statement. ‘Permission’ is defined as written permission from the relevant programme manager.
Studentships & Pre Doctoral Fellowships
Funds can be vired between all the main fund headings:
- Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)
- Travel & Subsistence
- Tuition Fees
Please note that funds cannot be vired in or out of Disability Student Allowance (DSA).
Should you encounter any problems with Je-S eg creating your grant maintenance request, please contact the Je-S Helpdesk. The Helpdesk is open from 8am – 5pm (GMT/BST) Monday to Friday (excluding UK Bank Holidays).
Tel: 01793 444164
If you have any MRC policy queries regarding managing your award and the post-award amendment process, please contact the Research Funding Policy and Delivery Team.
Tel: 01793 416440