Grants and Contracts for Research, Commercial and Other Activities

Section I

65.  Research Grants

The Director of Corporate Services has delegated authority for:

a.  the application and acceptance of research grants,

b.  tenders for research contracts to others and

stand-alone contracts for research.
66.  Grants and contracts greater than £5m

The Director of Finance should be notified of all grant applications, acceptances, tenders and standalone contracts above £5m.

67.  Applications

Staff are encouraged to seek and obtain grants and other awards from the various research granting bodies.

68.  Research Support Office

The Research Support Office (RSO)  is responsible for all administration regarding research grants and contracts up to and including the point of acceptance by the University. It is crucial that all proposals for work for third parties is notified to RSO to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.


RSO and researcher are responsible for identifying any regulated procurement required to complete the research grant or contract, and ensuring that the University Procurement Strategy is applied, and Procurement Office notified in order to provide appropriate advice/guidance.

69.  Costing applications

It is University policy that all externally funded research and service projects will be costed on a fEC basis, except for travel grants, equipment grants and studentships.

The University’s guidelines on the full economic costing (fEC) of research and service contracts is available on the University's fEC website.


Equipment grants should seek whole life cost recovery at list price, as procurement action may reduce the funding. Underestimates cannot easily be covered if a funding bid falls short for example if it is discounted, currency dependent.

70.  Awards

The Finance Department is responsible for the financial administration of research grant awards.

71.  Other Services (Non Research and Commercial Contracts)

Where the University provides a service to an external organisation which does not fall within the definition of a research grant or contract, it will be considered to be a 'Services Rendered' contract. These contracts are income generating activities and include:

a.  the provision of a service (routine testing, analysing samples etc.),

b.  conferences,

c.  continued Professional Development Courses and

d.  consultancies.

72.  Commercial contracts

The Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) in conjunction with the Director of Corporate Services or his sub delegate has delegated authority to sign 'Service and Consultancy' agreements.

Heads of College have delegated authority to sign Conference and Short Course agreements.

It is the responsibility of all staff members who have delegated responsibility to ensure that the University Procurement Strategy and appropriate procurement journey for competitive tendering policy is followed when proposing to enter into a commercial buying contract with an external third party for any services/goods. Advice should be sought from Procurement Office before action

73.  Commercial Activity

Commercial activities cover both trading and commercialisation. A more detailed explanation is on the Finance website link to Commercial Activity Policy.

74.  Earmarked Grants From time to time, the University is awarded grants and funding for a specific purpose or programme. Staff responsible for financial matters in the Colleges, Schools or Support Groups will discuss with the appropriate Budget Holder how best to administer the grant but normal practice will be to set the grant up as a separate project, with its own job code, within the University's financial system. Each project will have a designated Budget Holder who must ensure that the terms and conditions of the grant are adhered to. Failure to adhere to conditions may lead to the University having to reimburse a sponsor or incur a financial penalty. Any loss to the University resulting from a failure to meet conditions of the grant will be charged to the College, School or Support Group income and expenditure account. Any unspent income on an ear-marked grant will be carried over between financial years as long as this does not conflict with any conditions associated with the grant. The University Procurement Strategy applies to any proposed acquisitions to complete the project aims.
75.  Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Policies and Procedures relating to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are on the ERI website.

Generally, contracts received from research sponsors place an obligation on the researcher and the University to exploit valuable research results. It is the policy of the University to develop University research capabilities and to assess, develop and promote the transfer of Edinburgh’s technology and ideas for society's use and benefit.

Procurement standard terms and conditions must be used unless otherwise approved by University Director of Procurement consulting with the Legal Services.