Research Application Process

The following is a rough guide to applying for funding from Cardiff University. This guide follows through from your very first idea to your research funding being awarded. If you have any questions about this process or what you need to do, please do not hesitate to contact you Research Administrator or Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services directly.

Develop an idea:

  • Jot down your ideas; anything you think you might need/want
  • Be realistic about your goals and what you will need to achieve them
  • Create a rough time line for your project
  • Think about the nature of your outputs
  • Think about any possible collaborators; your school/Cardiff University/elsewhere
  • Will you need Research Assistants, admin, PhD students? Can you create capacity?
  • What will the risks be and how will you combat them?
  • Identify a funder
  • Identify any potential Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Think about any specific legal support you may need; contracts, IP protection etc.

Be aware that the application process of European Union funded projects generally takes much longer, making early planning essential.

Get some advice:

  • Speak to you research office/Research, Innovation & Enterprise Services and colleagues to see if they have any tips or ideas
  • Check your school’s internal submission procedures
  • Confirm that the Head of School and/or Director of Research will support your application
  • Ensure your application is peer reviewed by a colleague (they can be from any school) in good time and comments are taken on board
  • Contact your research office/Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services to access the Grants Library and similar successful applications
  • Explore ay legal/commercial implications of your research project with your research office/Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services.

Costing and Pricing:

Appropriate costing and pricing of research or services is very important to any application. If a project is incorrectly costed, this could result in a financial shortfall which may result in your school bearing the cost. You will need to complete a Costing and Pricing form (CAP) and this will need to be signed by your Head of School. It is good practice to also approach a request approval from the home school of any of your co-investigators. Ask your research office/Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services for a CAP form. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Proposed start date
  • Duration of the project
  • Name of funding body
  • Host school
  • Name of principal investigator and amount of time to be spent on the project
  • Co-investigators’ names and amount of time to be spent on the project
  • Details of any staff to be employed on the project (name or grade, amount of time, start/end date etc.)

This form will be the basis of the accounting system when the grant is awarded and MUST be signed by your school BEFORE your application can be submitted.

For European Union funding, the CAP form is prepared by the European Grants Section in RACDV. Please be aware that European funding models vary significantly between schemes and project types and need to be checked before costings can be prepared. Before requesting a CAP form for EU funding, please contact the European Office within Research, Innovation & Enterprise Services with details of your proposal

Writing Your Application:

  • Take into account all the advice you have received, including any online guidance notes from the funder’s website and example applications
  • Double check the requirements and attachments needed for your particular call (i.e. Letters of Support, CV, Technical appendix etc.)
  • Pay particular attention to the questions in each box
  • Remember that every question is an opportunity to sell you project. Do not repeat information, rather build on what went before
  • Input all the financial information. Salary details etc. will be generated on your CAP form, but you will need to generate any other costs (travel, subsistence, equipment). This is your project so you know best what you will need
  • Be realistic about what you need and how much it will cost
  • Do not write the whole proposal then bolt the budget on at the end. An application is more compelling if the two are developed in tandem and the budget information is reflected in your research plan

Internal Peer Review:

  • Ensure you follow you School’s internal Peer Review process. Failure to do so may result in refusal of submission
  • If no official process exists, then ask a colleague with experience of applications/reviewing to look at your completed proposal and give comments
  • If you cannot identify a suitable person, contact your research office/Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services for assistance
  • Allow good time for this as the reviewer will need warning and time to read the application and comment constructively; you will need time to make any changes
  • Takes comments on board and do not take criticism as personal

Submission Process:

  • Do a final check of you application and make sure you have all the correct attachments and information
  • Check that all questions have been answered correctly
  • Proof read for spelling/grammar errors etc.
  • Take the application and CAP form to you school research office/Head of School for official sign off.
  • Your school ‘approver’ will then send the completed forms to Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services, preferably electronically to
  • Forms should be submitted at least 5 working days before the external deadline to allow for rectification of errors and proper submission
  • Remember, there is a process to go through that requires real people and time. If you submit a proposal minutes before the external deadline it may not be processed in time!

The majority of proposals for European Union funding are submitted trough the EC Participant Portal (ECAS) where personal registration is required. You will need to request standard administrative information from Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services’ European Office to support you proposal and to grant access to your proposal account. Email for more information

PI Response

  • Some funders will ask for Principal Investigator responses to reviewers comments before making a decision
  • These have a tight turn around so be prepared to set aside time to write a response
  • These can be a positive opportunity to clarify your ideas, respond to criticisms and strengthen you application
  • The reviewers can be harsh, so do not take comments personally and address them all in a calm and professional fashion
  • Ask your Peer Reviewer to check over your responses before submission if possible