Decision-making process for Fell Fund applications
- Each term, the Divisional Fell Panel receives and processes all the Social Sciences Fell Fund applications. Once the applications have been assessed (see below), the proposals are ranked in priority order by the Panel and a number of them are recommended for funding (for an accumulated total of £250K-£300K for main awards, and £70K- £75K for small awards) to the University John Fell Fund Committee.
- All main award applications are assessed by the 14 Heads of Department in the division according to the following criteria: a) excellence and intrinsic merit of research; b) potential for long-term sustainability and academic impact of the project; c) relevance to the departmental and divisional research strategy; d) justification of resources (is the Fell Fund the right funder? Does the project offer good value for money? Are the funds requested fully and clearly justified?).
- The scores and comments provided by the Heads of Department for the main award applications are collated, and a ranking is produced, at the Divisional Office. The Divisional Fell Panel, whose members read the applications as well, lists the proposals in priority order largely according to the average rankings given by the Heads of Department.
- With a view to funding as many proposals as possible, the Divisional Fell Panel will normally contact those PIs whose applications are being considered for recommendation for funding, and for which the budgets are over £45K-£55K, in order to ask whether, with a smaller budget, the proposed research could still be conducted and delivered at a high standard. Usually, PIs manage to reduce the budgets without sacrificing the quality of the research produced (the Panel may also contact PIs, before recommending their proposals for funding, requesting further details about the proposed research).
- Once the new budgets are ready and/or all further details have been provided, the Divisional Fell Panel submits its main award recommendations for funding to the University John Fell Fund Committee (depending on the nature of the proposed research and/or the contractual situation of the PI, the Panel will suggest to the Fell Committee that the release of funds for certain awards is subject to particular conditions such as, for instance, the PI attaining ethics clearance for the project before the latter’s starting date).
- The divisional main award recommendations are considered alongside applications from all divisions at the termly University John Fell Committee meetings.
- The small award applications are received, processed, assessed and ranked (in priority order) by the Divisional Fell Panel, according to the same criteria as for main award proposals (see above).
- The Divisional Fell Panel submits its small award recommendations for funding to the Fell Fund Committee (depending on the nature of the proposed research and/or the contractual situation of the PI, the Panel will suggest to the Fell Committee that the release of funds for certain awards is subject to particular conditions such as, for instance, the PI attaining ethics clearance for the project before the latter’s starting date).
- Small award applications are dealt with by the Chair of the University John Fell Committee by Chair’s action.
- The central Fell Fund administration provide letters to each applicant on the outcome of their application and deal with the administration of awards. See the University Fell Fund website for more information.
The Divisional Fell Panel is able to offer some feedback to applicants based on the review of applications at divisional level. Please contact the SSD Fell Fund Coordinator.