SIF II Points of Clarification . Submission . Q. The objectives in paragraph 3.1 do not include “to
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Q. The objectives in paragraph 3.1 do not include “to
support enabling measures to prepare for the expansion and the development of postgraduate education…” as was stated in the call for funding under SIF 1. Are proposals related to graduate education eligible for funding in this round?
Q. Can you please confirm that GREPS are NOT included in the call for SIF2?
Q. Would it be acceptable if a sector bid comprised 2 or 3 projects that are not in themselves related, but which do involve all institutions in that sector?
Institutions should have regard to the fact that bids will be considered under 4 criteria, one of which is strategy. Bids that do not demonstrate a strategic approach are unlikely to do well under this criterion.
Q. Will the HEA accept proposals under the Strategic Innovation Fund Cycle II from a group comprising of all the Institutes of Technology listed in Appendix 1.
Q. Is a proposal to implement federated access services to allow students to transparently work across Universities with full access to eLearning and eContent resources eligible for funding? The proposal does not involve infrastructure.A. Yes.
Q. Where a project is generally collaborative and consists of different parts, should all constituent parts be collaborative or can some elements be exclusive to a specific institution?
A. Some elements can be exclusive, but institutions should have regard to the criteria in regard to strategy and collaboration.
Q. Can I confirm that an individual institution include a combination of institute specific and collaborative projects within the maximum funding envelope that can be applied for. If not, how will such a combination of elements affect the maximum allocation to an institute?
A. There is an upper limit of €30 million for any single proposal and for non collaborative proposals the upper limit is €5 million.
Q. How would an institutional proposal including collaboration with a Northern Ireland HEI be treated under the collaboration criterion?
A.The SIF Call directs institutions to consider collaboration with institutions named in Appendix 1. While consideration will be given to collaboration with other partners, the priority will be towards collaboration with Institutions named in Appendix 1.
Q. Is it possible to for an institution to provide matched funding after the period for which SIF funding was received? For example, if funding was received for three years, would it be possible for an institution to start providing matched funding at the end of that period?
A. Institutions will have some flexibility in the generation of matched funding over the cycle of the bid i.e. matching funding may be lower in initial years, subject to the 50% average being achieved over the full cycle.
Q.Can we get a more accurate description of discipline specific initiatives?
Q. Would jointly developed taught masters programmes, within the current discipline portfolio of collaborating institutions, fall within the remit of discipline-specific proposals?
Institutions, as part of their feedback to SIF I have noted that in some cases SIF objectives can only be achieved through certain discipline specific interventions. In this context, discipline specific proposals will be considered where institutions can demonstrate the value being added to higher level SIF proposals. Proposals that aim only at improvements in a discipline area will not be considered.
Q. 1. In SIF 1 the HEA clarified that there was no specific requirement for a 'lead institution' and that this was a matter for the HEIs to determine. In SIF II there is specific reference to the ‘lead institution' for funding purposes (appendix 3). Please clarify the intention here.
The call requires that effective procedures are put in place for the governance, leadership, management and functioning of a collaboration.
This may involve a lead, or not, as the collaborating institutions decide, and as was the case with SIF I. However, in such instances, it is even more critical that there be clarity and accountability in respect of the funding being sought and any funding allocated.
In addition, and arising out of inconsistencies arising from SIF I applications, for administrative purposes, must identify a contact institution and this institution is required to complete the financial templates as detailed in Appendix 3.
Q. Can a percentage overhead be applied, if supported by, for instance, workings for SFI? Or will a specific percentage be set for SIF? Would overheads qualify as match funding?
A. The HEA recognises that overheads may be incurred in completing a SIF project. It is important that institutions would recognise and plan for overheads that may be incurred so as not to create detrimental effects on other aspects of institutional activity. Overheads can be included in the total cost of the project up to a rate of 25%. Overhead expenditure will be subject to appropriate auditing and monitoring by the HEA.
Institution(s) applying for SIF funding must provide matching funding in respect of the amount to be drawn down. Matching funding can take the form of privately raised funding, institutional reallocation of resources, but may not take the form of borrowing.
Q. Will the HEA SIF fund refurbishment and rental of space associated with the proposed developments in the applications under cycle 2 as was allowed under Cycle 1.
A. The call provides that “The Fund will not be utilized to fund ongoing operations, the creation of physical capacity or proposals that could reasonably be expected to be funded from other public funding sources, e.g. research funding agencies.” However, minor refurbishment/reconfiguration undertaken as a necessary consequence of a proposal will be eligible for funding.