European Research Funding

The Research Support Office has a team dedicated to helping you find, apply for and manage European Commission research funding. We are happy to help guide you through the whole process of applying for EU funding.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact the Research Support Office EU Team at

Finding funding for your project

There are many online resources that will alert you to EU funding opportunities and we strongly recommend that you register for these. More information on these resources can be found on our 'How to find EU Research Funding' Page. If you have a specific project idea which you'd like to explore possible sources of EU funding for, or if you have a strategic objective that you would like to meet, (such as funding staff exchanges or funding Masters and PhD students) then we would be happy to discuss your needs and help you find a suitable source of funding.

Planning your project

Many (though not all) EU funding opportunities will require some sort of collaboration with partners in other EU countries. Often, finding these potential collaborators is the first hurdle which needs to be cleared in order to access funding. If this is an issue for you, please let us know as we may be able to assist you in finding partners.

Different calls and topics will have different priorities and eligibility criteria. These will be described in the call documents. We experience navigating these documents and may provide you with help and support in maximising your application's chance of success.

Visit our 'Planning Your European Application' page for further advice on planning your project and information on some of the help and support available to you.

Costing EU projects

All projects need to be costed through using the University's costing package, Lucre. The Research Support Office checks all costings to ensure that they meet funder and University rules, and the EU Team is able to provide you with support when costing an EU project.  Further information on costing and audit for your EU project can be found on our 'Costing Your European Project' page.

The application

Most EU projects will require use an online application system. The most common of these is the Participant Portal, which is mandatory for Horizon 2020 applications. We can provide tailored support on the application process and also practical assistance with the application itself, particularly the legal and administrative forms which will have to be completed. Visit our 'Apply for European Funding page' for further information on the application process.

You will normally have at least three months from the call publication to the deadline.

Evaluation and influencing the European Commission

A common misconception is you have to lobby for a proposal to give it any chance of success.  In fact, the evaluation is done remotely by independent peer review so lobbying for a proposal at the European Commission level will have little positive impact.

There are however times when it might be valuable to contact the EC for example; for advice on interpretation of topics, to lobby for the inclusion of a topic in their work programmes or to make them aware of our high-class research capabilities of European or worldwide importance.

As a guide, evaluation may take three to five months, on average, from the call deadline.

Contract/Grant Agreement negotiation

Contract or grant agreement negotiation can be quite a lengthy process and usually involves completing Grant Preparation Forms in NEF (the online software for negotiation). We are happy to complete these and manage the process on your behalf if you would prefer. There are many things that need to be considered at this stage because this is when the work plan is finalised. See our page 'Application Success to the Start of your European Project' for information on negotiation and the steps necessary before your project account is activated.

Negotiation will take around three months for Horizon 2020 projects.

Employing staff

Staff appointments to EU projects are made using the same procedures as detailed on our 'Employing Staff on Projects' page. There are a few additional points, specific to staff appointments on EU projects, which are explained on our 'Employing People on European Projects' page.

Post-award project management

Post-award financial reporting is coordinated by Research Finance with some input required from the PI and/or their departmental finance officers.  Technical and management reporting (justification of costs) is normally the responsibility of the PI. Futher information on reporting for EU projects can be found on our 'Managing your European Project' page.

Account winding down and closure

EU projects are more complicated to manage than other projects, as budgets are displayed in Pounds Sterling (£) in SAP, calculated at a fixed University exchange rate which differs from the rate which is reported to the European Commission (because the rate is not known until the end of the reporting period). This means that, particularly towards the end of the project, it is important to make sure that you are working to an updated Pound Sterling budget which can be provided to you by the Research Finance Officer allocated to your project who will be identified to you in the Project Detail Notification.

Our page 'Closing a European Project' provides further information on account closure.

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Research Support Services Contact details

Tel - (0116) 252 2437 or (0116) 229 7763

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