The PI is responsible for ensuring that research does not start before due diligence, contract negotiations and ethical considerations are all approved.
Following formal notification of award, approved details are entered against the ACP proposal record as an ‘awarded’ costing type. If any details of the proposal have changed significantly since the original proposal this is re-sent for approval using the same authorisation levels.
Research Services makes an assessment on whether any due diligence needs to be completed based on the type or organisation, its location and the university's experience with the partner. If this is the case, at award (or occasionally before) a due diligence questionnaire is sent to some third parties to complete including a request for three years of financial accounts and evidence of policy documents. The responses are reviewed internally by a university assurance panel to consider the potential risks identified and any mitigating actions that have been agreed. An assessment on whether any preliminary due diligence needs to be completed at pre-award stage is taken by Research Services based on the type of organisation, its location and the university’s experience with the partner.
If due diligence is required, a research project cannot start until it has been signed off.
Research contracts are first reviewed by the research development team for financial considerations before being forwarded to the contracts team or delegated departmental contact for review and negotiation. Grants are only started before a signed contract is received in exceptional circumstances as approved by the Head of Research Services after assessing the risk level.
The PI is responsible to ensure ethical approvals, if required, are in place before research commences; including for research being undertaken by third parties and students. Proposals needing ethical review are being identified on ACP by the PI which is checked by the Head of Department and Research Services. Following award notification, if appropriate the PI must apply for ethical approval via the appropriate Faculty Research Ethics Committee. This approval can also be gained pre-award if required and has been known to increase success rates.
The ethics committee reviews the application and any participant documentation giving feedback, comments and approval. The applicant may be required to discuss the application at a committee meeting and can be referred to the presiding University Research Ethics Committee if concerns remain.
Once a formal award letter has been received by Research Services the grant is allocated an internal project number on the university's financial system (Agresso). Research Services is responsible for returning any start certificates and acceptance documents to the funder. The PI and relevant Departmental Officer(s) are informed of the project set-up with a link to relevant web guidance and useful information, including the online report of Agresso budget and expenditure. The procurement team is informed of any awarded grants with equipment budgets greater than £25k.