Transition to the Funding Service
UKRI has begun the transition from the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system to the new Funding Service.
This means that - for opportunities across all Research Councils - all applicants, grant holders, research support staff, reviewers and panel members must start using the new Funding Service. The Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme is currently working with all Councils to carry out this transition and roll out opportunities on the new service.
What this means for you
The overall processes and principles of responsive mode opportunities remain the same - although your interactions with assessors and UKRI, through the Funding Service, will be different.
If you have not used the Funding Service before, you can create your own account on TFS by clicking on a funding call and pressing the start application button. All current UKRI calls can be found on the Funding finder.
An overview of three major changes
New role types have been introduced in funding applications across all Research Councils
This includes the introduction of new Project Lead and Co-Lead roles, which replace the previous Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator titles.
There are also changes to non-academic roles. Technicians will now be classified as Specialist or Technician depending on the nature of the role. Additionally, roles currently classed as Other Staff are now under the new Grant manager and Professional enabling staff titles.
The application form core sections
These sections are used as the main core for all responsive mode applications in the Funding Service.
- Applicant and team capability to deliver - Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI)
- Resources and cost justification
- Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)
In each section, you will be asked a question and then given the criteria that the assessors will be looking for in your response.
Some opportunities will have additional mandatory sections that you will complete, providing supporting information - such as the makeup of your team, summaries and references.
Each Council’s transition plans and the associated changes to their responsive mode funding opportunities can be found on the UKRI website.
Finding funding opportunities
You can sort and filter funding opportunities from across UKRI, Research Councils and Innovate UK. Each opportunity is tagged to one or more Councils.
- Eligibility criteria
- Application guidance
- How your application will be assessed
- A timeline for the opportunity
When you are ready to apply, the Start application button will take you to the online application form.
Your questions answered
Who can edit my application on the new Funding Service?
When the Funding Service initially launched, only the Project Lead / PI who created the application could edit and add information into the system. However, editing has now also been enabled for the Research and Innovation Office at the lead institution.
UKRI hope to enable additional (CoI) editors based at the same institution soon. It may take longer to enable CoIs at other institutions to directly edit applications within the new system.
Can I get help from the RIO?
Early submission of the Request for Support form is recommended. This allows the teams involved to organise appropriate support wherever possible. It will also kickstart processes within your School.
Members of the Research and Innovation Support Teams can now directly edit online applications, including adding costs.
The Research Development Team will continue to develop guidance - and training will be available soon.
If you need specific advice on the new application format, please contact your school RDM.
My project doesn’t need a costing - do I still need to submit a support request form?
Some UKRI outline applications no longer require costs to be submitted. However, we may still require local costs and an RX2 to get approval from your School to submit.
Funding Service applications still go via the RIO for submission. It is important that the RIO and your school are aware of any applications you intend to submit - and have sufficient time to conduct process and quality checks.
UKRI has limited post-submission capacity since the rollout of this new service, and have advised that the threshold for outright rejection of bids will be lower - for example, if an attachment uses the wrong font style or size.
Therefore, it is important to follow all of the guidelines and check that your application fully complies with them.
I want to do a responsive mode / standard grant bid. Does this have a fixed deadline now and does it matter when I apply?
It is important to note that responsive mode opportunities now have regular deadlines.
Only begin the online application if you are confident that you can make the deadline as you cannot roll applications over. We recommend that you prepare the text in Word or similar before pasting into the text boxes – so that others can edit and comment.
Don’t leave submitting to the last minute or rush to meet a deadline for a responsive mode application before you are ready. Most of these opportunities will start a new call as soon as the current call closes.
The forms and guidance may be adjusted between rounds so do look out for changes
There are still variations across funders as to whether they will look at applications before the deadline. For example, EPSRC have said they will wait until after the deadline to batch applications – so there is no advantage in submitting to EPSRC early.
How do Host Organisation Statements work now?
Many opportunities - including Fellowships - still require a Host Organisation Statement. However, the text may now need to be directly embedded in a dedicated section on the bid webform rather than as a separate signed attachment.
At present, only the Project Lead can complete this section.
It is vital that the Project Lead receives written confirmation of this support from the appropriate person – further internal guidance will follow on this soon.
Will there be further changes to the Funding Service and application process?
The UKRI Funding Service Team will continue to roll out new functionality and guidance, tweaking the system over time. They are prioritising multi-user editing.
There have been some changes to existing live opportunities - for example, available word count for a particular section – so be prepared for this.