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Funding

Managing your award FAQs

Use of funds

Q: Can I transfer funds between fund headings eg between Directly Incurred and Directly Allocated?

Transfers of funds are only permitted within and between Directly Incurred costs and Exceptions, excluding Equipment. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of Equipment, whether under Directly Incurred or Exceptions is not permitted.

For example, if you are proposing to move costs from Directly Allocated staff costs (PI/Co-Is listed as Directly Allocated) to Directly Incurred staff costs then this is outside of the virement rules and not allowed.

More information on virement can be found here.

Q: I want to transfer funds from Exceptions to another Directly Incurred heading (or vice versa). Which FEC rate will be applied? The original 100% or 80%?

If funds are vired from the Exceptions heading to a Directly Incurred heading, the amount that MRC would have paid at 100% will then be paid at 80% FEC.

If funds are vired from a Directly Incurred heading to Exceptions, the Research Council contribution (ie the amount after 80% FEC has been applied) will be paid.

Q: I want to attend a conference that takes place after the end date of my grant – can I use my remaining funds to pay for it?

No. Even if you have sufficient funds remaining, Directly Incurred and Exceptions funds cannot be used to meet the costs of an activity that will fall beyond the actual end date of the grant, eg when travel falls after the end of the grant the costs cannot be charged to the grant even if the tickets can be purchased in advance.

Q: How do I apply for additional funds?

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MR/’ then you will need to submit a Grant Maintenance Request using JeS. Information on how to do this can be found here.

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MC_PC’ then you should contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.

Requests relating to Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DFPS) awards (eg alterations to agreed deliverables or their due dates) are dealt with directly by the Translational Research board team (DPFS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk). A Je-S Grant Maintenance Request does not need to be submitted.

Q: Due to recent currency fluctuation my research costs have increased – will MRC provide additional funding?

All MRC (and Research Council) grants are offered towards the cost of a project and are cash limited. Expenditure against the grant must not exceed the value awarded apart for reasons stated in the standard terms and conditions. Currency fluctuations are not one of these reasons. Currency values will go up and down and any such changes need to be managed within the total funds awarded. 

Q: Can I buy some equipment that wasn’t included on my original proposal?

Yes, provided you have sufficient funds to pay for it. Equipment funding is ring-fenced and transfers into or out of Equipment, whether under Directly Incurred or Exceptions is not permitted. Equipment is considered to be anything bought or leased for the project which costs £10,000 (inc VAT) or above.

Q: I need to pay for some equipment repairs – can I use my grant funds?

At the application stage we will allow applicants to include the costs of equipment repairs and major spares, the costs of external maintenance agreements and the cost of equipment relocation and installation, where required by the proposed research.
Estates costs include funds for equipment maintenance or operational costs that have not been included under other cost headings.

Q: I want to buy a new computer but I’m within the last 6 months of my grant – is this allowed? 

We acknowledge that technology moves on and new IT equipment may be needed towards the end of your award. However, such purchases should only be made where they are necessary to enable the objectives of the award to be completed and should not be for the purpose of using unspent funds.

Q: Can I use my grant funds to pay for open access costs?

Since 1st April 2013, the Research Councils, including the MRC, have been funding open access and related publication costs via a block grant allocated to research institutions. 

Block grant funding can be used provided your papers fulfil two conditions:

  1. You must select to publish in a journal that is compliant with the Research Council Open Access Policy.  Section 3.5 (i) of the Research Council Open Access Policy provides details of the criteria journals need to meet. You can check whether a particular journal complies with the policy by using SHERPAFACT (www.sherpa.ac.uk/fact/index.php).
  2. All papers published in relation to your MRC-funded research must also be deposited in Europe PMC as soon as possible and in any case within 6 months of the first online date of publication. Being available on the publisher's website is not sufficient to be compliant.  For further information please see MRC Grants Terms & Condition, AC23 - AC23 Self-Archiving of Publications (PDF, 301KB)

Should you have any further open access related enquiries, please e-mail us at openaccess@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk or read the Research Council frequently asked question on open access.

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Extensions

Q: I’ve had problems with my research project – can I have an extension?

If the problem was unforeseen eg major equipment failures or unforeseen problems with specimen/sample/data collection then MRC will consider granting an extension. 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.

Q: I need to finish some experiments – can I have an extension?

Extensions will only be granted for unexpected delays. They will not be granted to use up unspent funds.

Q: I need to finish writing a paper – can I have an extension?

Extensions will only be granted for unexpected delays. They will not be granted to allow additional papers to be completed.

Q: How do I apply for an extension?

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MR/’ then you will need to submit a Grant Maintenance Request through Je-S. Information on how to do this can be found here.

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MC_PC’ then you should contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.
Requests relating to Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DFPS) awards (eg alterations to agreed deliverables or their due dates) are dealt with directly by the Translational Research board team (DPFS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk). A Je-S Grant Maintenance Request does not need to be submitted.

Please note that grants may be extended by an overall total of up to 12 months. If you wish to extend your grant beyond this please contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.

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Change to research plans (including managing parental leave)

Q: A researcher on my grant is taking parental leave – what do I need to do? Will MRC reimburse the costs?

If the researcher is included on the grant as Directly Incurred (DI) staff and they spend 100% of their contracted time on the grant then the costs of their parental leave can be paid from the grant. Parental leave is not payable for PIs and CoIs unless they are also fellows or research assistants funded 100% of their time from the grant.

MRC will compensate you at the end of the grant to cover any additional net costs that cannot be met within the cash limit of paid parental leave. The net cost is the amount paid to the individual less the amount the Research Organisation can recover from HMRC.

Any additional research costs should be met within the announced cash limit of the award. Where funding is not available additional costs can be claimed at the end of the grant as ‘Directly Incurred Absence’ costs on the Final Expenditure Statement. For example:

  • If you cannot delay your research then a substitute appointment can be made to cover the DI staff member that is on parental leave. If the cost of this substitute appointment can’t be managed within the cash limit of the award then this additional cost can be claimed in the FES.
  • If you do not make a substitute appointment you can request an extension to enable work to be completed following the delay due to parental leave. If it’s not possible to cover the additional salary costs incurred during the extension period within the cash limit of the award then the additional costs can be claimed in the FES. Please note that grants may be extended by an overall total of up to 12 months. If you wish to extend your grant beyond this please contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.

If any other additional costs are incurred as a result of the DI staff member taking parental leave (eg additional animal maintenance costs) and these cannot be managed within the cash limit of the award please contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.

Q: Can I delay the start of my grant?

Once a grant has been issued, grant holders are required to make every effort to start on the agreed date. The start of the grant may be delayed by up to 3 months from the start date shown in the offer letter, the duration of the grant remaining unchanged. The grant may lapse if it is not started within this period. If you want to delay the start of your grant beyond 3 months please contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk.

Q: I’ve recruited a post-doc but they can’t start for 3 months – can I delay the start of my grant?

You can either delay the start or you can start the grant and request an extension for the recruitment delay.

Q: Can I change my working pattern from full-time to part-time? 

Yes. The MRC is very supportive of applicants who may wish to combine their research with personal or domestic responsibilities. To change your working pattern you will need to submit a Grant Maintenance Request. Information on how to do this can be found here.

Q: One of the Co-Investigators is leaving the project – what should I do? 

This will depend on their contribution. You should inform us if this will result in a major change in the proposed research to the project and will risk delivery of the aims and objectives. We will need assurance that the science will continue according to the aims and timeline as set out in the original application.

Q: Can I transfer my grant to another research organisation?

Yes, if the research organisation is eligible to hold an MRC award. These are generally higher education institutes or independent research organisations. More information on eligibility can be found here.

Q: Can the Principal Investigator be changed?

Yes, if they meet the eligibility criteria for a Principal Investigator. More information on eligibility can be found here. Please note this does not apply to NIRGs or Fellows. These are personal awards and cannot be held by someone other than the original award holder.

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Grant maintenance requests

Q: How do I submit a Grant Maintenance Request? 

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MR/’ then you can find information on how to submit a Grant Maintenance Request here.

If your grant reference number starts with ‘MC_PC’ then you should contact RFPD@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk for advice.

Requests relating to Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DFPS) awards (eg alterations to agreed deliverables or their due dates) are dealt with directly by the Translational Research board team (DPFS@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk). A Je-S Grant Maintenance Request does not need to be submitted.

Q: I submitted a Grant Maintenance Request several months ago but I haven’t heard anything about the outcome? 

After you have created, edited and submitted the request through Je-S, your submission will then go to your research office electronic pool structure. Your organization’s research office is 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 your Je-S account to confirm the status of your request is ‘With Council’

Where a Grant Maintenance Request is submitted through JeS, the contact on the request will often be someone within the research office. They are responsible for informing the Principal Investigator.

If the request is within the terms and conditions of the grant then the UKRI Grants Team may be able to process the request without referring it to the MRC.

Depending on the nature of the request MRC may refer the decision to one of our Post Award Amendment panels that take place every 4 to 6 weeks. The MRC will notify the Principal Investigator within one week of the panel meeting decision date.

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