UREC Funding Opportunity for Research Ethics / Integrity Projects

The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) is offering the opportunity for staff or PGR students to apply for funding to take forward activities/initiatives that aim to promote ethical research, or good research practice/research integrity more generally. This webpage aims to provide potential applicants with key information about this opportunity.

Who can apply?

Applications can be made by any member of staff or PGR student across all Faculties (NB. applications from PGR students should have the input and endorsement of an appropriate member of academic staff such as a supervisor or departmental PGR lead/director); the application can be on behalf of the department as a whole, but you don’t need to apply formally as part of a department or other structure – you could be a small group of researchers or PGR students who want to do something that you feel will benefit the research community (and gain a number of additional transferable skills in the process).

What kinds of activities can be funded?

The UREC is keen to fund activities that promote ethical research and/or good research practices more generally. The funding is available across all disciplines, and is not limited to issues relating to the ethics of research with human participants. For example, it could be used to run a workshop to debate ethical challenges in undertaking co-produced research, to develop case studies to be used in teaching ethics to students, or to promote rigorous research practices to ensure the reproducibility of the research. The activity can focus on a topic of particular interest or relevance within your own discipline, but ideally should be able to benefit others from across the University. This year, the UREC would particularly welcome projects related to the following topics (although applications don’t have to relate to these and can focus on other areas):

  • Effectively delivering teaching on generic research ethics skills to taught students, linking teaching to research activities;
  • Managing the ethical challenges of research undertaken via the internet and/or social media;
  • Good practices in publication, and how to avoid authorship disputes;
  • Managing the challenges of meeting research governance requirements when undertaking research in an NHS or social care setting.

Projects should seek to benefit interested researchers across the University (i.e. should not be limited to a small group or team).

How much funding is available?

The UREC is willing to fund projects up to the value of approximately £1,000, and has ring-fenced funding for up to 5 projects of this value.

What can the funding be used for?

There are no fixed rules on this, but it is expected that the funding may be used to cover speakers’ expenses, catering and other costs for workshops, lectures or training events (although applicants applying for funding for in-person events should outline contingency plans in their applications in case of changes to government guidance with reference to Covid-19). Alternatively, the funding could be used to pay PGR students or postdoctoral research staff for time spent on activities that promote ethics/integrity – e.g. to organise events or develop training/guidance, or to cover printing costs for awareness-raising or guidance materials.

What should the application cover?

Proposals should be no longer than one side of A4, and should cover:

  • Brief details of the proposed activity (what, where, when, who etc.);
  • The anticipated benefits of the activity in terms of promoting research ethics/integrity;
  • The amount of funding being sought and a summary of how the money would be spent;
  • Details about how the impact of the activity would be measured or evaluated;
  • If you are applying as a PGR student, a statement of support from a supervisor/PGR lead or director should be provided with the application.

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

Friday 7 January 2022.

How do I submit a proposal?

Please send proposals by email to Anita Kenny, UREC Minute Secretary, Research Services (a.j.kenny @sheffield.ac.uk).

When would I hear the outcome if I submit a proposal?

The timetable for the process of funding projects is set out below:

7 January 2022 Deadline for applications
Mid-January 2022 UREC considers applications and agrees which projects to fund
Late-January 2022 Applicants contacted to confirm outcomes and arrange financial transfers for successful projects (unsuccessful applicants will be given feedback)
29 April 2022 Mid-year reports to be provided by successful applicants
30 June 2022 All projects to be completed
31 July 2022 All project funding to be spent and final reports submitted to UREC along with relevant shareable resources
Mid-September 2022 Final project outcomes reported to UREC

What are the UREC’s expectations in the delivery of a funded project?

  • Project leads will need to liaise with their departmental finance support to enable funds to be transferred.
  • All projects should incorporate appropriate ways of obtaining feedback from the intended audience (e.g. via feedback forms issued to attendees of events).
  • A short interim report to update the UREC on progress with the project should be provided by the end of April 2022.
  • All projects will need to be delivered by ​the end of June 2022 and the money used by the end of July 2022.
  • All projects should aim to generate shareable resources (this may include presentation slides, discussion materials, and/or a report or blog post), to be provided to the UREC by the end of July 2022 (unless the project leads feel that materials cannot be shared due to the sensitive or controversial nature of the information, in which case details of these concerns should be provided to UREC for further consideration/discussion).
  • A short report on the activity would also need to be submitted to the UREC by the end of July 2022 (e.g. outlining what took place, what the outcome was, and a summary of user/attendee feedback/evaluations). Reports will be considered by the UREC at its meeting in September 2022.

What feedback can the UREC provide on the applications that were not funded in previous years?

The main reasons for not funding projects have been:

  • Requesting very significant amounts of funding (e.g. to cover the costs of speakers attending events from overseas with significant travel costs).
  • Lack of clarity with respect to how the funding would be spent.
  • Lack of clarity with respect to the benefits of the proposed activity in terms of promoting ethical research/good research practices.
  • Insufficient benefit to University of Sheffield researchers in undertaking the proposed activity.

Examples of Previously funded Projects

UREC funded projects can be accessed by year via the downloads box on the right hand side of the page.

Who can I contact if I have any queries or would like to discuss a possible application?

Lindsay Unwin, UREC Secretary, Research Services (l.v.unwin@sheffield.ac.uk, 0114 2221443)