Friday, 28 January 2011

Inside the Belly of the Beast: How the Peer Review Panel Works in Practice


A Grants Factory Event
Thursday 3 February 2.00-3.00
Cornwallis Seminar Room 5

The next Grants Factory Masterclass will take place on Thursday 3 February. Prof. Mick Tuite (Biosciences) will talk about the role of the Funding Panel. Mick is an experienced panellist with both research councils (BBSRC) and charities (Wellcome). He is also a highly successful applicant and grant holder. In recent years he has been involved in large scale funded projects from the BBSRC, MRC, Wellcome and European Commission.

Whilst he’s a bioscientist, the way funding panels work is common across all disciplines, and you get the same types of people sitting on them, such as:
  • Dr ‘Know it all’: has opinions on all the grants, but actually knows very little;
  • Dr ‘Methodical’: knows all the fine detail, but unable to make an informed decision;
  • Dr ‘Disorganised’: still reading the applications during the meeting;
as well as a host of others. Mick will talk about these, and about how panels work in practice. Understanding how panels work, and what makes the panellists tick, is crucial for getting your project funded, so Mick’s talk will be invaluable to those planning or drafting a proposal.

All are welcome, but do let me know if you intend to come along.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Time, Gentlemen, Please...Last Orders at the BAr

As mentioned in a previous post, the British Academy is phasing out Small Grants and Conference Funding. To this end they've just announced the final calls to these schemes, as follows:

Overseas Conference Grants
Grants are available for the travel expenses of a scholar delivering a paper at a conference abroad.
Deadline for submission of applications: 2 March 2011
Results expected: end May 2011
Earliest Start Date for Conference: 1 July 2011
Latest Start Date for Conference: 31 December 2011

Conference Support Grants
Grants normally not exceeding £7,500 (but in exceptional circumstances up to £20,000) to promote the dissemination of advanced research. Conference convenors may apply for financial assistance, e.g. to bring key speakers to the conference, or for a wider range of expenses.
Deadline for submission of applications: 16 March 2011
Results expected: end June 2011
Earliest Start Date for Conference: 1 September 2011
Latest Start Date for Conference: 31 August 2012

Small Research Grants
Grants are offered of up to £7,500 for collaborative or individual projects to facilitate initial project planning and development, to support the direct costs of research, and to enable the advancement of research through workshops or by visits by or to partner scholars.
Deadline for submission of applications: 23 March 2011
Results expected: end June 2011
Earliest Start Date for Research: 1 August 2011
Latest Start Date for Research: 1 April 2012

ESRC Seeks Committee and Panel Members

The ESRC is seeking candidates to sit on its Committees and Panels. It is currently looking for 12 new members. Further details, including vacancy specifications and application forms can be obtained here. The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on 23 February 2011.If you want further informtion contact:
  • Committees: Marie Root at the ESRC on 01793 413132 or by email (Marie.Root@esrc.ac.uk)
  • Panels: Gavin Salisbury at ESRC on 01793 413136 or by email (Gavin.Salisbury@esrc.ac.uk)
I would encourage you to consider applying: being involved with the ESRC is extremely useful when it comes to preparing your own applications and to advising others on theirs, as well as raising your profile within your community.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Enough Said

I've been preparing a talk on writing grants for new academics as part of the PGCHE course. One of the points I want to make is giving yourself plenty of time in preparing a proposal. I think this says it all...

Monday, 24 January 2011

BBSRC Hints at Demand Management

Prof Douglas Kell, CEO of the BBSRC, has sent out a letter detailing changes in light of its Delivery Plan and its move to the Shared Services Centre. Whilst not explicitly introducing demand management systems (as the ESRC has stated it will), it is moving to limit neuroscience applications and has hinted that there may be some form of 'triage' in the futre.

SSC: Delays, and Future Deadlines
There will be some delays to grant applications submitted on 11 Jan, as a result of the BBSRC's move to the SSC. In addition, the next two deadlines will be later: 25 May 2011, and 25 Oct 2011.

Changes to Committee Structure
The new quadripartite 'clover leaf' system of grant committees will remain, although Committee C will expand, from 25 May, to take over responsibility for genetics and development.

Changes to Grading of Proposals
From 11 Jan the BBSRC will move to grading proposals on a 1-6 scale, in line with the other Research Councils. It notes, ominously: 'Enabling referees to score grants means that, if necessary, it will be possible in future to operate a triage of grant proposals based on referee scores, in order to eliminate lower-scoring applications before the committee meeting and reduce the burden at meetings.' Whilst I understand that having a grading system would allow triage to happen, should we read anything in to the fact that the BBSRC will sharing the same grading system as that used by the other Councils? Does this hint at the Research Councils introducing a kind of 'Shared Triage Centre'?

In addition they will be grading the 'Pathways to Impact' section, and this will have an effect on the overall grading.

Limiting Allowance for Errors
It will also limit the allowance it makes for errors in applications that have been rushed to be submitted. Apparently there are too many of these. If errors are picked up the BBSRC won't allow applicants to amend and resubmit to the same deadline, but will have to wait until the next.

Use of JeS for Referees
It sounds like they're getting strict on referees, too. 'Individuals with a poor track record of responding to such requests [to referee proposals] are unlikely to be invited to join Committees and other bodies involved in developing and delivering BBSRC science,' it states. In addition, they will be corresponding with all potential referees through the JeS system. So make sure your profile is up to date.

Friday, 21 January 2011

PVC's Lunchtime Seminars: 'Medical Research & Raising Money from Non-standard Sources'

The next PVC’s Lunchtime Seminar is due to take place on Wednesday 2 February at 12: 30pm.

Medical Research at the University
and Raising Money from 'Non-Standard’ Sources

Lab-based medical research is expensive. Typically, funding must be found for the salary and stipends of the investigators and researchers, plus consumable costs, equipment and overheads. As it is becoming increasingly difficult to access Research Council funding, attention is turning to "non-standard" means such as charities and philanthropists. While some charities (such as the Wellcome Trust or Cancer Research UK) act in similar ways to the Research Councils (i.e. a grant application for a post-doc, consumables and equipment), other organisations and individuals may provide funding for specific projects in focussed areas for smaller sums. Cooperating with charities may also offer a potential avenue for social and economic ‘impact’. These collaborations can make all the difference to the research profile of an academic.

Professor Bill Gullick will chair a session in which Professor Darren Griffin will give a brief overview of the lab-based medical research going on in the University, an idea of some of the charities that give money to the University and some examples of how small pots of money can make big differences. Mary Buchanan of the Kent Cancer Trust will talk about the activities of the charity and some of its successes, and Alison Coles, the Director of the Development Office, will say a few words about the prospects for philanthropic giving at the University. The session will finish with Professor Gullick leading a discussion about the issues raised in the presentation.

All are welcome; the seminar will have relevance to all Sciences, but to many other disciplines beyond. The event will take place in the Senate Building. Lunch will be available at 12:30, and the talks and discussion will be between 1 – 2pm. Do let me know if you would like to come so that I can arrange catering.

STFC Moves to Shared Services Centre

Like the EPSRC, NERC and AHRC before it, STFC is moving to use the Shared Services Centre (SSC). It's warning of some disruption, though not to the submission of applications. Between January and February the Council will not be able to undertake admin related to current grants, such as grant transfers, final reconciliations, extensions and changes in investigators. They'll also be unable to deal with requests to extend the due dates of deliverables (such asstarting certificates, final expenditure statements, final reports etc), so will extend the due date for these automatically and across the board until after the move to SSC.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

New BA Fellowship Scheme

After all the cuts, something (quite) positive: a new scheme from the BA. The Mid Career Fellowship Scheme looks, on first view, a bit like the old BARDA: £160k fully economically costed, but with a cap of £80k on salaries. It looks like they’re rushing this out slightly, as the first deadline is 9 March 2011.

There's nothing on their website yet, but here's the information that was included in their email today:
Proposals are invited for a new scheme of British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships. The Academy intends, through this scheme, both to support outstanding individual researchers with excellent research proposals, and to support outstanding communicators who will promote public understanding and engagement with humanities and social sciences. The scheme contributes to the Academy’s strategic commitments both to the support of ideas, individuals and intellectual resources and to public engagement and dovetails with the Academy’s new Languages and Quantitative Skills programme.

Aim of the award
The aim of the scheme is to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from normal teaching and administrative commitments. The time bought by the scheme should be devoted to the completion of a major piece of research and/or to the promotion of a programme of public engagement and communication. Awards will be judged both on the excellence of the research proposed and on the capacity of the applicant to communicate with a broad audience.

Scope of the award
Applicants for the Mid Career Fellowships should be intending to pursue – or, in the case of those applying to support a programme of communication, have pursued – original, independent research in any field of study within the humanities or social sciences. In respect of some of the awards, the Academy will take into account the aim of providing particular support for certain important fields, including modern languages and quantitative and other formal skills. A small proportion of the total number of awards will be offered specifically to contribute to the Academy’s new Languages and Quantitative Skills Programme. All applicants are invited to state how they see their particular programme, whether directly meeting current challenges or not, contributing to the identification of future priorities and challenges.

Eligibility
These Fellowships are awards to individuals, and the Academy is looking particularly to support mid-career scholars. The Academy takes no account of an applicant’s physical age or current status in determining eligibility, but will look to provide opportunities for scholars who have established a significant track record of publication or as an excellent communicator and ‘champion’ in their field, and who are normally within no more than 15 years from the award of their doctorate. In considering eligibility, the Academy will make due allowance for applicants who have had career breaks, and for established scholars who do not have doctorates.

Level of Grant
These Fellowships are covered under the Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime, but the Academy’s contribution to the salary of the Mid-Career Fellow will be capped at £80,000. It is not expected that the total value of an award will exceed £160,000. Awards can be held over a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months, beginning in the autumn of 2011.

Closing Date
The closing date for applications is 9 March 2011. Decisions will be announced in late May.
Applications must be submitted via eGap, the Academy's electronic grant application system.

Notes from 'European Funding: Is It for Me?'

A packed room listened to Prof Simon Thompson, Jenny Billings and Andy Smith give their personal thoughts on European funding yesterday. All have had considerable experience in dealing with the European Commission: Simon has had funding via the Framework Programme, Jenny from a number of other streams, and Andy works for UKRO, the UK Research Office in Brussels, which provides advice and insight on European funding for the UK research community.

Pros and Cons

Andy started by giving an overview of the pros and cons of applying for European funding. He started with the ‘cons’, which recognised the fact that it’s complicated, bureaucratic, acronym-riddled, and inconsistent, with low success rates for some schemes and a ‘top down’ structure which leaves some disciplines out in the cold. However, these are balanced with considerable ‘pros’: the Framework programme handles a huge (€52bn) pot of funding, which is ring-fenced and increasing over the next three years. It allows you to think internationally, to be flexible in whom you work with, and offers good career development opportunities. It’s prestigious, offers great opportunities for exploiting and developing your work, and the success rates for UK institutions bucks the average across Europe with a respectable 23%.

Applying for Funding

Simon followed this by describing his experience of applying to the Framework Programme. He explained the process he went through to turn a single good idea into a complicated 80 page proposal. This might seem like a nightmare for many, but but there are some similarities with domestic funding. Roughly the same amount of detail is needed, but, because there are more partners and a bigger budget, the quantity of information is greater. However, the EC does gives equal weighting to the assessment of the 'science', the project management and the impact. This differs from Research Councils, which focus mainly on the scientific quality. In addition, unlike the Research Councils, the EC mainly issues 'calls for proposals', so you will have to respond to what it considers important. Finally, you have to work as a group, and manage conflicting demands from the participants.

If you’re interested in developing a proposal, how do you build a consortium? Simon suggested starting with a one page outline. This gives potential participants an idea of what you intend to do. Each participant must justify their inclusion, and regular discussions are crucial. Face to face meetings are best (and could be added to a conference trip), but Skype offers great – and free – opportunities for conference calls. The drafting of the proposal should not be left with one individual, and should ideally be shared between two or three, with people pairing up to write. Don’t email each other amended versions of the proposal: this leads to confusion. Instead, use a web-based repository, such as Dropbox (www.dropbox.com), to hold a ‘master copy’ of the proposal.

A good starting point when preparing a proposal is to look at previously successful applications for clues about wording, ideas, and approaches that have worked before. You can even use some of the ‘boilerplate’ text for your own proposal. As you work up the proposal, get feedback from colleagues, UKRO, and Research Services. You might be too close to it to be able to judge it objectively. Read the Guide for Applicants, the Work Programme and the Guide for Reviewers to get a better idea of what the EC is expecting.

Reviewing and Managing Projects

Jenny took over to talk about how proposal are reviewed. The application will be judged on three criteria, and you must make sure you meet all of these.

  • Scientific Excellence: this is the ‘meat’ of the proposal, and you should describe your objectives (in line with the call), what the state of the art is, and how your proposal will advance this;
  • Quality and Efficiency (Management): are the consortium members both excellent and appropriate, and do they have the necessary experience?
  • Impact: explain the impact of your previous research, and think of ways of explaining how the impact of this project will be effectively felt – eg concentric circles, Venn diagrams, etc. Don’t neglect academic impact, and think about potential impact in other disciplines.

Each of these need to achieve a score of 3/5, with a total of at least 10/15. However, if your proposal scrapes through with 10 or 11, the chances are that it won’t get funded, even though it’s got through to the second stage of the assessment. Make sure that your proposal ‘grabs’ the reviewers: they should have a clear idea of what your plans are by the end of the first page. Part of the review process involves them getting together in Brussels for a meeting that can take days, to reach a consensus on a prioritisation list. Give them enough detail and evidence to back up their opinions and bear in mind that the majority might not have English as their first language.

You should also consider what happens ‘after the birth’. There’s a lot of support prior to submission, but you might feel slightly abandoned once the award is made and you have to manage the grant. Managing the partnership effectively is crucial, and consortia have recently been given more powers to expel members who are not performing effectively and doing the work specified. Make contact and develop good relationships with the accounts team in Research Services, who will help with the financial management of your grant, including the completion of timesheets and making claims. There will be annual project reviews, and you need to make sure you are well prepared for these.

In addition, you should recognise the European stereotypes, and be happy to work with them!

The slides from this event are available. Drop me a line if you'd like a copy.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Where to Find FP7 Calls

UKRO, the UK Research Office in Brussels, is reporting that FP7 calls are now going to be published on the EC's 'Research Participant Portal'.

Previously, you went to the Cordis site for this. However, this will no longer be updated. Unfortunately, the Cordis site is not redirecting users to the Participant Portal. Great. However, you do still have to go to the Cordis site for the legal documents and guidance. So it looks like the EC's made it ever so slightly more complicated and labyrinthine to apply to the Framework Programme.

However, I'm sure this is a minor glitch, and that they'll iron this out. I mean, this is the European Commission, actioned with coordinating the workings of 27 member states in 23 different official languages. What could possibly go wrong?

So update your bookmarks and keep an eye on the Calls as they come up. If you're interested in European funding, but not sure where to begin, make sure you come along to the 'Eurovision: Is European Funding for Me?' event tomorrow at 12:30 in Keynes Seminar Room 14.

Friday, 14 January 2011

AHRC Cuts 'Speculative' Research Grants

The AHRC is to cut the 'speculative' route within its Grants scheme. This is, perhaps, unsurprising: most people I spoke to didn't really understand this route. Surely all research, by its very nature, is speculative. The intention of the route, however, had been to target the riskier fringes of research, 'where the speculative, experimental or exploratory nature of the work means that results or outcomes are uncertain or cannot be guaranteed, or where a significant degree of risk is involved.'

It was a matter of degree, I guess, and the majority never felt that their research was sufficiently 'speculative, experimental or exploratory' to warrant a separate application to this route. You do have a final window of opportunity to apply to it, though: the deadline for applications is 4pm on 28 January 2011. After that you risk takers out there can still apply to the AHRC's standard grants scheme.

FP8 Green Paper

UKRO have got an early draft copy of the EC's Green Paper on FP8. This is a discussion paper, intended to generate debate on their proposals for FP8. It suggest five improvements to the Framework Programme, namely:
  • Clarifying objectives and how they are translated into the supported activities, while maintaining flexibility to respond to emerging policy needs.
  • Simplifying participation, in order to lower administrative burdens, to address the low success rates in some parts of the programme, and to reduce the time to grant.
  • Reducing complexity in the EU funding landscape. The Commission accepts that the research and innovation programmes have expanded organically over time, so that there is now a confusion of schemes and objectives. There needs to be more coordination.
  • Broadening participation in EU programmes - particularly amongst industry and SMEs, female researchers, and newer member states.
  • Increasing the impact of EU supported research - eg by better uptake of results by companies and investors. So there should be better communication of results.
The Green Paper asks 24 questions, including:
  • How should the 'instruments' (i.e. funding schemes) be streamlined?
  • What should be the balance between big and small projects?
  • How can industry involvement be strengthened?
The consultation will open at the beginning of February, and the deadline for responses is 20 May 2011. You can see the full draft Green Paper on the UKRO website, but you need to subscribe to their Information Services. This is free to members of staff at Kent.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

'The Current System Discourages People from Undertaking Inexpensive Research'

A refreshing counterblast from Prof Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology and a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford.

She appreciates the need for the ESRC to stem the flow of applications, but thinks that they are looking for solutions in the wrong place. The ESRC needs 'to change the basic structure of university funding so that institutions and individuals are no longer assessed on amount of research funding, but rather on an output/input function, i.e. how much bang do you get for your buck,' she argues.

'Currently, a person who secures a £500K grant which leads to two publications in lower-ranking journals will be given more credit than one who generates five high-ranking publications over the same period with a £50K grant. Clearly, some sorts of research are much more expensive than others; the problem is that the current system discourages people from undertaking inexpensive research.'

And this is only going to get worse, with the ESRC's emphasis on longer and larger grants, and its (and the BA's) cutting of Small Grants. Academics who, in the past would have got value for money from relatively small amounts of money, are now going to try and artificially inflate their projects so that they flop over the £200k threshold.

Instead of backing any of the ESRC's proposals, Bishop is instead suggesting a different approach: allocate, review and reward those who demonstrate thrifty and cost effective use of funds.

Radical.

Wot No Big Society?

An interesting viewpoint from Sue Richards of the Institute for Government on the ESRC's plans for the next four years. She makes three points: that the ESRC missed a trick by not making their case in the context of Cameron's 'big society'; that it seems to be wanting to push for more concentration; and that the need for further investment in the ESRC's longitudinal studies is not necessarily justified.

All valid points. We're currently having discussions internally about the ESRC's proposals for demand management, and I agree with Richards on this. It does look like an effect of the plans will be to limit funding to the favoured few. Kent does reasonably well out of the ESRC, and might benefit from such a system. However, I think there's a danger here of doing a disservice to social sciences more broadly. Unlike many of the hard sciences, it does not rely on large infrastructure, and a lot of good work is done in small 'pockets of excellence' in institutions that are not research intensive. These could be adversely affected by the ESRC's move to concentration.

I also agree with Richards on the Big Society slip. Whether the ESRC agrees politically with Cameron's drive or not, it should have used it as a tool to bolster its position and lever a better settlement. It looks like an opportunity missed.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Finally! Some Good News

It took me a while, but amidst the debris that littered the landscape following the nuclear explosion of the CSR, I've found a little good news. In the Research Design Service South East Newsletter, the Department of Health (through the NIHR and the DH Policy Research Programme) has pledged to increase spending on health research in real-terms over the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Finally! Some good news. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Director General for R&D at the Department of Health, welcomed the news. "This is a great settlement. The Government has again confirmed its support for health research in the strongest way possible.' She went on:‘This is an explicit recognition of the key role played by health research in driving improvements in the health of the population and in the economic growth of our country. It is also a ringing endorsement of the place that NIHR now occupies in the landscape of the UK.’

Good news. Not so good for non-health research admittedly ('you want funding to study medieval manuscripts? Isn't there a 'medival manuscripts for patient benefit' angle that you can exploit?'), but in today's world, you take your solace where you can.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

BARDA Gets Shot Down

Along with the Small Grants and Conference funding, the BA will axe their Research Development Awards (BARDAs). I guess I shouldn't be surprised. These were relatively expensive - being fully economically costed - and may in their short life time have been too heavy a burden for a small funder such as the BA.
There's been a holding statement on their website for some time stating that 'this scheme is now suspended until the outcome of the government's spending review has been decided,' but I have heard that it will not now be resuscitated. Instead the BA will introduce a 'Mid-career Fellowship'. Details should be available on its website in due course.
This is in line with the recently issued Joint Statement on Early & Mid Career Support. However, I still don't get it. There's a strange leap of logic for a small funder to withdraw the relatively small amounts that early career researchers need, and instead take over responsibility from a bigger funder for the more expensive mid career researchers.
I'm sure it's just me. I'm sure I'm missing something. I'm sure it will all become clear.

AHRC Submission Blackout in February

What is it with the AHRC and submission blackouts? Last year, with their move to Swindon, they didn't accept applications for three months. Now, as they shift their operations over to the ill-fated Shared Services Centre, they will not be accepting applications between 4 pm on 28 Jan - 1 March. In addition they'll be running slowly when they reopen after 1 March.
It's strange that none of the other Research Councils have suffered similar disruption - for instance the EPSRC are talking about slight delays in processing, but pretty much business as normal.
One would think that these changes could have been planned for. It reminds me of Harry Enfield's Double Take Brothers, who always seemed to be taken by surprise by the obvious. I shudder to think what the AHRC would do if something really unexpected happened. Implode?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

BA Cuts Small Grants and Conferences

Sigh. Another day, another bad news story. This time it's the British Academy, which is going to drop its popular Small Grants scheme and funding for conferences. This info leaked out as an afterthought in the 'Joint AHRC, BA and ESRC Statement on early and mid career support' . Whilst the three funders struggled to demonstrate their 'joined up thinking on cuts', they succeeded in doing nothing so much as highlighting how little support there'll be for anyone in the future.
The BA cuts are a particular blow to early career researchers. Whilst not huge (you could apply for up to £7.5k), the success rate was phenomenal (up to 75% at one stage), and they provided really useful 'enabling' money. Better still, it was a very simple application form, with the BA not asking for much more than a side of A4 on what you planned to do. You could do a pilot project, or undertake a visit, or set up a collaboration. It was often the first step on the ladder, the stepping stone to greater things.
Many in the Humanities and Social Sciences don't necessarily need large grants or prestigious programmes, and, as has been stated elsewhere on this blog, some great research comes out of this small acorn funding.
The cut doesn't make sense. Given the size of the grants, the BA isn't going to save itself much money. Instead, it will be discouraging those seeking their first grants, stymying those who are just setting out, and snuffing out plenty of good - albeit small - projects.
There'll be more info on the BA website in due course, I'm told, so keep checking there for a better rationale for the move. In the meantime the next round of Small Grants is likely to be their last, so get your skates on if you've been planning to submit.

ESRC Consults on 'Demand Management'

Following the ESRC's response to the Government's budget allocation for 2011-15, its Chief Executive, Prof Paul Boyle, has stated explictly that it will be introducing some form of 'demand management'. This means that he intends to limit the number of applications individuals or institutions can submit.

According to Boyle, recent increases in the volume of applications have resulted in 'considerable redundant effort across the social science community in the preparation and peer review of applications. It is also creating administrative inefficiencies both at HEIs and the ESRC itself in the processing of such applications at a time when we are all being asked to reduce our administrative costs.'

Thus, reasons Boyle, 'the ESRC is particularly keen to reduce the number of applications which fail to reach minimum quality thresholds and concentrate everyone's effort on preparing and assessing those applications which are fundable.'

However, he wants to involve the academy in the decision making process. In a discussion paper (available via the link here), he lays out five options:

Researcher Sanctions: This involves limiting the number of proposals from individual researchers who consistently fail to submit applications that reach an agreed quality threshold;
Institutional Sanctions: This involves introducing sanctions for HEIs whose applications fail to meet a certain success rate and/or quality threshold;
Institutional Quotas for ‘managed mode’ schemes. This involves the introduction of institutional quotas for certain schemes (e.g. early career researcher schemes, Large Grants/Centres, Professorial Fellowships).;
Institutional quotas for all schemes: This involves responsive as well as managed mode schemes;
Charging for applications. Levying an agreed fee for institutions submitting applications, with the option that this levy is redeemable if the application is successful.

As well as these, Boyle suggests that the ESRC could introduce other measures, such as tougher sifting, resbumissions by invitation only, and spreading good practice.

The consultation will ask the following broad questions:

• which, if any of options, should not be considered for further development and why?
• overall, which of the options offers the best opportunities to effectively manage demand whilst ensuring the flow of high quality research applications
• how might these options be further developed and refined?
• what other possible options should be considered that are not covered here?
• which of the other additional options might be taken forward as complementary to a main demand management strategy?
• how might any of these complementary options be further refined?

The deadline for responses is 18 Jan. Do get in touch with them with your thoughts. Responses should be sent to Jeremy Neathey.