When you're applying
In a good application process, it is important to clarify who is to do what before the application is submitted. You will get the best help from administrative research support if you involve them at an early stage of the process. Create a progress plan up to the application deadline.
Approval by management
If you have not already done so, the project must be approved now.
- As principal investigator, you are responsible for obtaining approval for the project in your unit.
- This is typically done by head of department or head of section.
- Approval from the manager should be documented, by e-mail or other means.
Some units have clear deadlines for approval. Contact local research support for information on deadlines in your unit.
Why should you obtain approval?
There are both academic and financial reasons why it is important to obtain support from the management.
Remember that, almost without exception, external projects involve costs for the unit/department in addition to your research time.
Early approval makes it easier to obtain good administrative support.
Elements that should be discussed:
- whether to apply - and by this deadline
- collaborating partners
- research-ethical issues
- need for research administration support
There is a special procedure for medical and health research internal project presentation (pdf) - see section 4.2.
Notify research support functions that you are going to apply
Contact local research support as early as possible to notify them that you are going to apply.
Please note that UiO requires that a budget be prepared in collaboration with the project controller.
Startup meeting of the application team
Once you have decided to apply, and are about to start the application process itself, all relevant contributors to the application process should be called together for a startup meeting. The local research adviser calls in to such a meeting if necessary.
The principal investigator and the research adviser are obvious participants. The following may also be involved:
- the unit’s research management
- administrative management
- project controller/finance personnel
- possibly representatives from communications, HR and IT
In the startup meeting, you need to review what tasks to perform, internal milestones, and who should do what. It is important to set internal deadlines for the different steps in the application process.
Important elements to be addressed in the startup meeting:
- requirements to budget approval by the department management
- other agencies that must be contacted - for example with issues related to ethics, personal privacy, IPR and commercialisation
- assess the need to obtain required approvals
- local procedures and rules that must be followed
For a more specific overview of project planning, see the section below on project planning.
Before you begin writing your application you need to:
- Have an overview of the amount of activity the project can include. This is usually limited by money and duration, which are established by the funding agency.
- Find out how many employees the project can pay and buy out.
Most larger projects are divided into work packages or subprojects. PERT and Gantt charts are examples of tools used for planning project activities.
PERT and Gantt visualise:
- what has to be done
- who is going to do it
- when it is going to be done
This includes an overview of what the project requires of:
- resources (such as work months, other costs),
- prerequisites (e.g., approvals, results achieved)
- expertise (what skills are needed for the various work tasks)
PERT examples (in Norwegian)
Gannt examples (in Norwegian)
A total budget must be prepared for all externally funded projects in line with Ministry of Education and Research’s regulations for collaborative- and contract-based projects (in Norwegian).
This means that all costs associated with the activity must be shown in the budget, regardless of who is to cover the cost. Such costs might include:
- salary for permanent scientific staff
- salary for temporary staff
- operation (including research infrastructure)
- indirect costs. The indirect cost rate changes from year to year and is integrated into the budget templates.
Different budgeting templates have been developed for different types of application. Read more about budgeting (in Norwegian).
All application budgets are to be prepared in conjunction with the finance department, and should be quality-assured before the application is submitted.
Contact the finance department in your unit (in Norwegian)
Writing an application is a comprehensive task. A good application presumes a clear focus and a clear project idea.
- Establish a writing schedule with milestones to be reached so as to complete the work before the deadline.
- If it is a collaborative project, it is an advantage if the consortium is in place by the time you start writing so that you can delegate portions of the work.
- Familiarise yourself with the criteria and templates.
- Carefully check the guidelines and background documents for the relevant announcement. Different funding agencies have different requirements on how to write the application. The same concept can mean different things in a new context. It is therefore important to clarify the funding agency’s expectations.
- Use the appropriate application template.
Write for the reader
- He/she is probably not an expert in your field.
- Make it easy for the evaluator to understand what is important.
- Highlight important points using graphic styles such as a bold font or text box.
- Avoid overly technical language.
- Feel free to use illustrations and diagrams.
Write the main points first
- Give the reader a quick impression of what the project is about. Most evaluators have limited time to spend on each application.
- The abstract and the first page are the most important parts of the application.
- Read up on how to write a good abstract
- Start with one or two sentences, which explain in simple terms the issues addressed in your project, and why the project is important.
How many people should write the application?
- Involve the project team, but have one editor.
- In the case of larger-scale applications, it is common to distribute the writing between several of the partners in the project. It is important the everyone in the project has the opportunity to contribute to the text at all stages.
- Send clear messages when requesting input for the text.
- In order to avoid imprecise language and varying styles, it is important that one person takes on the role of editor. The editor will ensure that the text is consistent, legible and appears credible and thoroughly prepared.
- It is usually natural that the principal investigator takes on the role of editor.
See suggested reading related to different topics, different funding agencies and application writing (some in English and some in Norwegian)
Internal approval of application
Since a project will affect your department in respect to hiring of new employees and buy-outs, it is important that the department management is informed about the effect a project will have on the department’s budget and teaching resources.
Therefore, the application budget must be approved and signed by the management before the application is submitted.
Some funding agencies require that dissemination and communication plans should be included in the project descriptions.
Create a communication strategy
Communication should support presentation of the project’s impact objectives. It is wise to think about this already in the application phase to show that objectives, measures and resources are carefully considered and realistic.
Before creating a communication strategy it is wise to undertake an audience analysis – who do you want to reach and why? (in Norwegian)
Channels for the dissemination of research projects
Different channels are available to help communicate the research project results, such as web pages, events, newsletters, social media and traditional media.
Archiving your application
- Application, project description and total budget should be stored in Ephorte. Send a copy of your application to local researcher support.
- Dialogue with funding agency (e.g. approval or rejection) should also be stored.
- For medical and health research, see procedure 2 for Project Manager, point 4.12 archiving of project documentation.
Unit pages about externally funded projects
All the faculties, some departments and our museums have local pages about externally funded projects:
- Faculty of Humanitites (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Law (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Dentistry (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Social Sciences (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Theology (in Norwegian)
- Faculty of Educational Sciences (in Norwegian)
- Museum of Cultural History (in Norwegian)
- Natural History Museum (in Norwegian)