Van Geest Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases Research Fund

Grant Awards Scheme - Guidance Notes

Guidance notes are provided below to explain the remit of the van Geest Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases Research Fund (‘the Fund’) and the application and selection process.  These guidance notes have been agreed jointly by the Fund’s Trustees and the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences Research Strategy Board (‘the Board’).  They will be reviewed each year at the Annual Meeting of the Trustees.

Project criteria

Proposed projects must be hypothesis driven, with clear aims, and should:

  • fit within the general remit of "cardiovascular research"
  •  fall within the 3 major Department of Cardiovascular Sciences research themes:
     i. cardiovascular genomics and proteomics
     ii. cardiovascular cell biology and cell signalling
     iii. cardiovascular physiology, pathophysiology and clinical trials
  • be focused on research that is likely to lead to significant external grant funding and/or a new direction of research.

Funding Principles

  • All projects are expected to be funded from the income generated by the investment of the Fund.  The consent of the Trustees must be obtained for any use of the capital fund.  The Trustees have indicated that such consent will be given only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Funding should be directed towards either strategic developments or to pump-priming of novel ideas likely to generate a significant grant application or publication within 12 months.  The Fund’s Trustees will expect the Board to achieve a reasonable balance between these two funding streams.
  • Funding can cover staffing costs including potentially clinical fellowships and PhD studentships, equipment, consumables, and other costs directly related to the proposed project.
  • Other proposals will be considered but must be first discussed with the Chair of the Board.
  • Funding must deliver ‘added value’ and must not be used to replace funding which might reasonably be expected to be provided from core budgets in the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology (‘the College’).

The Applications Process:

  • Applications can be made by individuals, groups of colleagues, or by the Board.
  • The Chair of the Board will be very happy to discuss any potential applications with colleagues. 
  • Applications for funding will be response-mode using the application form (attached as an appendix to this note).
  • Calls for applications will be made three times a year, with submission deadlines two weeks prior to a meeting of the Board. 
  • If, on receipt of an application, the Chair of or Secretary to the Board feels that the information provided is incomplete, the form will be returned to the applicant for revision.
  • There will also be a facility to consider ad-hoc applications for well justified and urgent funding requests at any time.

Application Form

The Selection Process:

  • All applications will be reviewed by the members of the Board with additional input from up to three co-opted members, with appropriate experience, drawn from outside the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences. The co-opted members will serve for a term of three years (renewable) and will be nominated by the Chair of the Board to the Trustees for approval. Professor John Thompson (Health Sciences), Dr John Mitcheson (Cell Physiology and Pharmacology) and Dr Don Jones (Cancer Studies) have been appointed as co-opted members until 31 July 2016.
  • All applications approved by the Board will be forwarded to the Head of College, acting as solely in his or her capacity as a Fund Trustee and with delegated authority on behalf of all of the Fund’s Trustees, for final review and confirmation that they comply with the above Funding Principles.
  • Where an application is considered by the Board or the Head of College not to meet the agreed Project Criteria and/or Funding Principles, or requires modification, the applicant will be informed in writing by the Chair of the Board. If a re-submission is to be permitted, the applicant will be advised about the aspects that require revision.
  • Applications for >£75k may be sent out by the Chair of the Board for external peer review before they are submitted to the Head of College. When a grant application exceeding this amount is not sent out for review an explanation will be provided for this decision. In such an instance, if the Head of College (who may first consult with the other Trustees) still feels that peer review is necessary, then this will be sought.


  • Successful applicants will be expected to provide annual reports to the Board on the progress of the research, including its expected outcome and impact, outputs (including publications and presentations) actual and final projected expenditure against the approved budget, and the leverage of other sources of funding to enable follow up research to proceed
  • The Board will prepare an annual report, including copies of summary reports for funded research projects, and its own comments on the progress of the projects, for presentation to the Annual Meeting of the Trustees
  • The requirement for reporting may vary (e.g. for equipment grants or for projects of less than 1 year duration) and any specific reporting requirements will be indicated to applicants at the time of the award.

Funding Allocation and Financial Monitoring

  • The Annual Meeting of the Trustees will be held in the autumn term.  At this meeting the Trustees will receive a report from the Finance Office on the performance of the Fund’s investments in the financial year just ended and the total value of commitments made to date against the Fund.  The Trustees will then confirm the extent of the funding to be made available for allocation by the Board in the current financial year.
  • The Board is responsible for ensuring that the total annual expenditure committed is within the overall limits specified by the Trustees at their Annual meeting, and that there is no overspending by individual projects against their approved budgets.  Similarly underspends on approved projects must be returned to the endowment fund to be reallocated in accordance with the objectives of the fund.

Process for release of funding to projects

The successful funding applicant should forward details of the approval, including the confirmation from the Head of College, to Mike Newton, Treasury Accountant (, with a SAP code to allow an internal transfer of funds from the endowment.

van Geest Trustees
March 2014

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