Prior to submission, Departments should undertake a full and robust risk assessment of all applications for research funding.
An application for research funding can carry a number of reputational and financial risks, to both the University and Department.
For sponsors that have standard terms, such as RCUK or ERC, the risk is generally localised to issues that can affect the effective management of the project, if successful.
It is essential that Institutions have in place a robust system to give due consideration to all facets of an application. In so doing, issues can be either eliminated or reduced to a level deemed acceptable.
Two typical examples:
Space - is this readily available, or must it be applied for? If the latter, what contingencies can be put in place in the event an application is unsuccessful?
Teaching Replacement - does the sponsor pay this, and if so, how is an appropriate level calculated? If not, this is a cost to the Institution and so cannot be assumed to be available; the level of provision must be agreed between PI and HoD.
The Research Operations Office have produced a Risk Assessment Guidance, which acts as a very effective starting point when considering issues that could affect the Department.
This should be completed alongside an X5. The link to the latest Risk Assessment can be found here.