NERC introduces demand management measures for standard grants

3 February 2015

NERC is implementing new measures designed to raise discovery science standard grant success rates.

This is to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC's discovery science standard grant scheme, and ensure research excellence, efficiency and value for money for the taxpayer.

Following an update on demand management measures in November 2014, NERC consulted with advisory boards and research organisations to determine the detailed mechanisms it will apply to reduce demand for discovery science standard grants.

From the July 2015 standard grants scheme, there will be a reduction in the maximum standard grant award size, from the current £1·2 million to £800,000 (100% full economic costing (FEC), £640,000 at 80% FEC).

At the same time, demand management measures in the form of a new institutional-level submission policy will take effect. This will be based on historic application and award data and will limit the number of applications an individual research organisation can make, where that organisation fails to meet a 20% success rate quality threshold.

The calculation for the 20% success rate quality threshold will be based on data from six standard-grant rounds only: the first set of data will use the grant rounds with the closing dates July 2011 to January 2014 inclusive.

Research organisations that fail to meet the 20% success rate threshold will have the number of applications the organisation can make in each standard grant round restricted, until the organisation meets the threshold. The data will be re-calculated annually using the most recent six grant rounds.

Restrictions will be calculated on a sliding scale, with the most limiting restriction that will be applied to any research organisation being one application per grant round.

NERC is currently writing to individual research organisations to confirm their data over the six-grant rounds - July 2011 to Jan 2014 inclusive - and to outline the quotas for research organisations that fail to meet the 20% success rate threshold.

Research organisations have until the end of February 2015 to challenge the data.

A full list of the quotas that will apply to the July 2015 and January 2016 standard grant closing dates will be published in March 2015.

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