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Research funding team

Research Funding Team

Oliver Moss, Research Funding Manager (SSSHL, MIMA)

Oliver has held positions as a senior research fellow at Northumbria and Newcastle universities, and was a senior research, training and development manager at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) where he oversaw the operations of numerous large funding programmes, including the Rural Economy and Land Use programme, the Sustainable Technologies Programme, the Science in Society programme, and the landmark DfID-ESRC Joint Scheme. An experienced mixed methods researcher (PhD Human Geography) and evaluator, Oliver has attracted numerous funding awards in his own right, including from the ESRC and British Academy. He is currently leading a British Academy-funded research project on the research funding ecosystem and researches and writes in diverse areas, from architectural history to renewable energy siting. more...

Imtiyaz Ahmed Ansari, Research Funding Manager (SCEDT)

With a background in Materials Science, Imtiyaz has a BSc in Chemistry, MSc in Textile Chemistry and PhD in Textile and Polymer Science from the University of Leeds. He has held several research positions at Russell Group Universities and at the North Carolina State University, USA. He moved into research management and has held positions at University of Bedfordshire, Kingston University London and lately Coventry University managing EU and RCUK (UKRI) portfolio. He has been supporting researchers secure research funding from the Research Councils (UKRI), Innovate UK including KTPs, EU and Charity funders under various flagship schemes such as Newton, GCRF, ISCF and MSCA. more...

What we do: we're here to help you

We provide tailored support in all aspects of research funding, including:

  • planning your funding strategy in conjunction with your Research Centre lead(s)
  • finding the right opportunity
  • preparing the application
  • calculating the costs of the research
  • submitting your application
  • accepting and managing your award.

We help you to maximise your research funding, particularly with respect to the UK Research Councils but also other funders such as the Royal Society, Medical Charities, and The Leverhulme Trust. We work with funders, schools, institutes, research centres and individuals:

  • funding opportunities (targeted where possible)
  • funder visits
  • funding data
  • 1-1 funding and application advice
  • faculty peer review and lay review
  • managed funding calls
  • funding training
  • link to Director of RIS and PVC Research

How funding works

The UK Dual Support System has two streams of research funding:

1. QR funding from Research England.
Research England awards quality related (QR) block grants to universities to support the development of their research environment. QR funding is allocated based on the outcomes of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), a periodic UK-wide assessment of the quality of research in universities.

2. Research project funding from all other funders.
Funding for specific research projects can come from numerous funders, ranging from the Research Councils and other government bodies to charities and industry. Research project funding must be applied for through research proposals in a competitive process. Research assistant/associate salaries are awarded as part of a specific project requested from a funder.

Examples of where you might look for funding for your research idea:

  • UK research councils
  • European Union
    • Horizon Europe, European Research Council (ERC), Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions
  • Government departments
  • Charities
    • Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, British Heart Foundation
  • Business/industry
    • Large companies, SMEs
    • Innovate UK

Finding funding

There are a wide variety of funders that might be willing to fund your research idea. Teesside subscribes to Research Professional, which is a large database that covers all research disciplines and funders from the UK and abroad. You can set up tailored funding searches and opt into the email alerts that summarise main opportunities.

RIS has also developed a funding calendar, which summarises calls that run routinely every year.

Research Professional can be accessed here, but get in touch with RIS if you have any questions. Speak with your research funding manager and research director about your plans before you start writing for assurance that you are on the right track and for early support.

Before looking at funding opportunities, it is important to think about your research career and what you want to achieve with your research. Ask yourself:

  • who are your partners?
  • do you work with academic colleagues from other universities, either in the UK or abroad?
  • are there organisations in industry or the third sector who are interested in your research or could benefit from it?
  • are you looking to bring together a team of people to tackle a problem?
  • is your project more suited to working in a solo capacity?
  • are you considered to be an early career researcher?
  • what is your track record of securing funding?
  • what is your publication track record?

At different stages of your career, you will probably answer these questions differently. It is important to keep in mind that there are different types of funding to accommodate your needs. Apply to calls that fit what you want to do and that fit in with where you are in your research career. Be realistic with your plan - start with smaller grants to build a track record and ability to demonstrate success in delivering projects.

Early career opportunities

Most funders ringfence funding for early career researchers. It is important that you take advantage of your early career status and these schemes. You compete against other academics in the same career stage, whereas you would be competing against professors and more established academics in the standard routes.

Each funder defines early career slightly differently, so check the funders that are relevant to your discipline. It might be, for example, that you have eight years from receiving your PhD to submit a fellowship proposal. This could give you time to build your research profile, establish a track record of publications, and establish a network of partners. All these factors will help you submit a strong and competitive application.

Responsive or directed mode

Responsive: These are open ended calls, or calls with routine deadlines, where the funder has a broad remit and invites quality proposals in their area. The topic and approach are largely down to you to determine, as long as they fit within the funders broad remit.

Directed: These calls have a more defined remit, more specific objectives set by the funder and a fixed deadline. You must make sure that your project fits the call guidance. If it does not fit the call guidance, the funder will likely reject the proposal outright, regardless of the quality.

Main points to consider if the route is appropriate:

  1. Does the call criteria and expectations of the funder fit with what you want to accomplish? You need to have an idea of what you want to achieve with your project. How much would you have to change so it fits the criteria? Would you feel compromised?
  2. Can I mobilise partners in time for the deadline? If you're rushing to meet a deadline, will you be submitting your best work? Will it fit the criteria set by the funder?

Types of grants

When planning or considering an application for research funding, we encourage you to contact your research centre director and local research funding manager. Your research centre director will be happy to advise you on everything from relevant opportunities to how to pitch your application in the most effective way. They will also be able to identify - and potentially confirm - various forms of support, such as institutional studentships in the case of high-profile fellowship applications or financial contributions in the case of equipment purchases.

Your research funding manager will also be happy to advise you on relevant opportunities. But in addition, they will be able to guide you through the submission process, provide feedback and comments on drafts, and, in some cases, assist you in the preparation of content. Meanwhile, RIS's team of research funding officers (pre-award) will be happy to assist you in the design, preparation and fine-tuning of your budget. Members of this team will also be able to assist you in the negotiation of any online system or portal through which your application must pass. Often, you will be unable to submit your application without the express assistance of these individuals.

The timelines for this work often vary. For large collaborative research grant applications involving multiple academic partners and other stakeholders, the timelines may (and arguably should) stretch for many months - sometimes even up to a year. Small research grant applications on the other hand can often be dealt with more quickly. However, the financial value of an application is not always the best indicator of the timeline. Sometimes, for example, a funding application of only modest value will entail compliance with a set of terms and conditions that are non-standard or complex.

In all cases contact your research centre director and/or research funding manager at the first possible opportunity.

Preparing a bid submission

Fellowship: the main purpose is to buy the researcher out of other duties so they can focus on delivering a research project, largely on their own, for a period of time (often at least 12 months). Many fellowship schemes encourage reflection on and the further analysis and interpretation of past research.

Project grant: brings together a team of academic researchers, often across disciplines and institutions, to tackle a problem. Often post-doctoral researchers are employed directly from the grant and investigators dedicate a proportion of time to the project.

Small grants, travel/workshop grants: brings together a team of academic researchers, often across disciplines and institutions, to tackle a problem. Often post-doctoral researchers are employed directly from the grant and investigators dedicate a proportion of time to the project.

Research policy

When preparing your application for research funding you may be required to demonstrate your awareness of, or the University's approach to, specific policy issues; for instance, equality, diversity and inclusion; early-career researcher development; research governance and ethics; data protection and management; and intellectual property rights.

Your research funding manager will guide you in these matters, drawing upon the University's own resources and the following sources of information.

UKRI Good research resource hub
Good research resource hub - UKRI

University and collaboration agreements
University and business collaboration agreements: Lambert Toolkit - GOV.UK (

Trusted Research Guidance for Academia
Trusted Research Guidance for Academia | CPNI

Trusted Research Guidance for Industry
Trusted Research Guidance for Industry | CPNI

UK PACT Guidance on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Mainstreaming gender and inclusion into climate action (

Managing awards

Congratulations, you have heard from the funder that your proposal has been successful! Notify the research funding officer (post-award) in RIS and your Head of Department immediately so that they can help you set up the project.

Every project will have terms and conditions that the University will have to accept as part of the award. The research funding officer (post-award) will liaise with Legal and Governance Services (LGS) to review these terms.

You, with support from RIS and LGS should make yourself aware of any reporting requirements, publication restrictions (if any), or any other terms that may affect the delivery of the project. The contract for the project will be signed by the legal signatory after receiving appropriate advice from LGS.

If there are partners involved with the project, RIS and LGS will put a collaboration agreement in place with them to facilitate payments, reporting requirements, and agree arrangements regarding intellectual property. This agreement has to be in place before the project starts.

With support from RIS, identify any other areas that will need attention before the project starts:

  1. Ethics: ethical approval must be in place before the project starts.
  2. Workload issues: can the project be delivered within your existing workload, or will funding be provided to buy out your time? Discuss this with your head of department as soon as possible.
  3. Research staff: if you need to recruit research staff, you will need to work with your School and RIS to initiate the recruitment process. Be sure to leave enough time for this, as it can take several months to recruit a researcher.
  4. Equipment and other costs: are there large items of equipment included in your project, or other costs such as consultants? You may have to go through the procurement process, working with your School and RIS.
  5. Consider other elements of project delivery from the start. The University's impact resources can help you to reflect on the benefits of engaging with external organisations and audiences. The Research Data Management LibGuide contains information on managing and sharing your research data. The Research Portal can provide a project web page and must be used to share your outputs.

The research funding officer (post-award) can assist with any queries you may have about setting up your project, and any issues you may encounter whilst delivering the work.


Most funders will require you to submit reports on the progress and outcomes of your project, including future plans to develop your work. There will be fixed deadlines associated with this. Please familiarise yourself with reporting requirements and timescales at the outset of your project, and consult your head of department, School manager or the research funding officer (post-award) If you have any queries or concerns.

Some funders, including the research councils, require ongoing reporting so that outcomes can be captured for several years after an award ends. You will be notified by your funder if you are required to provide reporting of this kind.

Contact details

Contact us for further information

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