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EC funding programmes: UCL’s Strategy, Challenges and Experience. Greta Borg-Carbott European Research and Development Office University College London 19 th November 2009. University College London: A brief overview . UCL – London’s Global University.

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ec funding programmes ucl s strategy challenges and experience

EC funding programmes: UCL’s Strategy, Challenges and Experience

Greta Borg-Carbott

European Research and Development Office

University College London

19th November 2009

ucl london s global university
UCL – London’s Global University
  • Employs over 4,000 academic and research staff in over 50 departments and institutes; 11 associated teaching hospitals including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital;
  • Over 22,000 students from 140 countries worldwide;
  • Ranked fourth in the world and second in the UK (the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009); Second most highly-cited European university (Thomson Scientific Citation Index);
  • 21 Nobel Prize winners among UCL community.
eu funding experience
EU funding experience
  • 468 EU-funded projects since 2005 with a total budget of approx €140 million;
  • 212 active EU-funded projects (mainly EC FP6 and 7 projects) with a total value of over €90 million (UCL's budget alone) including:
    • 141 FP6 and FP7 collaborative and other projects;
    • 46 Marie Curie fellowships;
    • 15 European Research Council Grants (9 Advanced and 6 Starting Grants).
ucl eu funding experience
UCL EU funding experience
  • Success rate for FP7 in general: Between 25 to 30%
  • 28% success rate for ERC grants
  • EU-funded projects account for 7% of UCL’s research-funding income
  • Main areas of activity: Health, ICT and Physical Sciences
ucl s research strategy
UCL’s Research Strategy
  • Increase and strengthen thematic, inter-disciplinary research: creation of faculty-crossing research hubs and centres;
  • Identification of 4 Grand Challenges with a societal focus:
    • Global Health
    • Sustainable Cities
    • Intercultural Interactions
    • Well-Being
research planning strategy
Research Planning Strategy
  • Vice Provost for Research chairs the Research Strategy Committee responsible for determining UCL’s over-arching research agenda.
  • Research priorities are determined at the Faculty level by the Dean in consultation with Heads of Divisions and Institutes, and Departments, senior principal investigators and the Vice Deans for Research.
  • All EU funding applications are evaluated by the Vice Deans for Research to ensure compliance with strategy.

UCL Research Management Structure


Vice Provost for Research

UCL Director of Research Planning

UCL Research Facilitator for Life and Medical Sciences

UCL Research Facilitator for the Built Environment, Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

UCL Research Facilitator for Arts and Humanities, Laws, Social and Historical Sciences, Slavonic and Eastern European Studies


Head of European Research and Development

European Research and Development Office

2 European Contracts Executives


3 Project Managers

(funded by projects)

  • Research and information;
  • Vetting of project costings and advice on applications;
  • Contract negotiation;
  • Consortium Agreements;
  • Liaison with the EC, programme bodies and Coordinators
  • Legal, financial, administrative support;
  • Project management and monitoring;
  • Contract negotiation;
  • Consortium Agreements;
  • Financial Reporting
european contracts executives role
European Contracts Executives Role
  • Act as a one-stop shop for the provision of specialised information on EU funding programmes
  • Liaise with EU funding bodies and information providers, as well as Coordinators
  • Ensure costs and project applications are in line with EC guidelines, legislation and UCL policy, including Intellectual Property Rights
  • Develop and distribute templates, factsheets, information material
  • Provide Legal, administrative and contractual support (pre-award)
project management service at erdo
Project management service at ERDO:
  • Self-sustaining service which ensures that a high level of project management expertise is developed and retained at UCL;
  • Provides flexible and comprehensive legal, administrative and contractual support to principal investigators, allowing them to focus more fully on their research thereby fostering excellence;
  • Tailor-made support provided to each project. Costs funded by project’s management budget (160% EC contribution under FP7 collaborative projects).
pre award procedures
Pre-award procedures

Researcher requests

Departmental and Faculty


Researcher discusses call with

European Research and

Development Office (ERDO).

Preparation of Project costing

using Project Financial Appraisal

and Costing tool

Application compiled and submitted

Costing report sent to ERDO for

vetting and feedback.

contract negotiation procedures
Contract negotiation procedures
  • UCL European Research and Development Office manages the Grant Agreement negotiation process, providing guidance, collecting, vetting and signing documents including the Consortium Agreement and project budget;
  • The Researcher is responsible for revising and negotiating the project’s description of work.
  • UCL ERDO provides ongoing support until project is set up and guidance during project implementation. Reporting is taken over by UCL Research Administration.
  • Large number of guidance notes and programme documents for reference;
  • Large volume of individual applications and costings submitted close to deadlines;
  • Applications for funding programmes with lower funding rates or different financial and audit rules;
  • Applicants who fail to follow the correct UCL internal approval procedures;
  • Transfer of grants, amendments to contracts;
  • Tight time-frames for negotiation;
successful solutions
Successful solutions…
  • Preparation and development of factsheets and summaries;
  • Flagging up projects or programmes which are not cost-effective in terms of contribution rate or administrative demands;
  • Distribution of checklists to enable researchers to ensure their costings and applications are broadly in line with EC rules and guidelines;
successful solutions17
Successful solutions…
  • Organisation of seminars and application-drafting workshops;
  • Exchange of experience between Principal Investigators and potential applicants;
  • Liaison with UK Research Office (UKRO), UK national contact points and other networks and helpdesks for additional support.