Funding Awards - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How much can we apply for? 

The total funding for the U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards in 2020 is US$30,000. Several awards will be funded each year and if your application is for more than US$5,000 you may only receive part of the funding for which you asked.

Can we apply for more than one award? 

An institution may make multiple applications in any annual award round, but no person can participate in more than one U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award project in any annual round. Further applications for follow-on or new projects may be made in subsequent years by those named on an application, provided the doctoral candidates named are still active in the doctoral programme.

What is meant by a ‘U21 member’? 

A U21 member is a university that is a member of the U21 network. The U21 website has details on all current U21 member universities. To meet the three U21 member requirements for these awards, at least one doctoral candidate from each of the three (or more) institutions named in the award, must participate in the research project.

Why does each project have to involve at least three U21 members from at least two countries? 

The aim of these awards is to facilitate collaboration within the U21 network, rather than just support traditional bi-lateral research relationships. Working with doctoral candidates from other countries, regions and cultures can bring new dimensions and questions to your research. For this reason the selection committee may give preference to applications that involve doctoral candidates in different regions, rather than just in two or more countries. These awards are designed to support collaborative team based projects that draw on complementary strengths in the participating universities, not just mobility or exchange projects (many of the U21 member universities have internal funds available for mobility activities).

What is meant by ‘doctoral candidates’? 

Doctoral candidates include all those in a U21 institution who are undertaking a PhD or a named doctorate, including a professional doctorate. At the time of the award all doctoral candidates named in the application must be active in a doctoral programme. Doctoral candidates whose theses/dissertations are under examination are not eligible to apply for, or be named in, a U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award.

What sort of research projects will be funded? 

U21 institutions are comprehensive universities, offering doctorates in many different subject areas. For this reason we have not specified the type of research projects that will be funded. Some doctoral candidates may wish to pursue subject-specific projects, enriching their doctoral research by working with colleagues around the network. Others may wish to enhance their research by engaging in an inter- or multi-disciplinary project, with doctoral candidates from each institution bringing specific skills and approaches to the topic. The selection committee will judge each project on its own merits. 

What can the funding be used for? 

These awards can be used to fund operational expenses associated with a particular research project. Operational expenses may include the costs of virtual meetings, laboratory consumables, field costs, travel and accommodation or IT services etc. A U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award may not be used to buy equipment, pay for fractional staff salaries or cover overheads/research office administration fees. Each application must include a budget outlining how the requested sum will be spent. If the application is for partial funding of a project, the budget must indicate how the U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award component of the funding will be spent and the application should provide evidence that other sources of funding have already been secured or are likely or forthcoming.

What happens if we don’t spend our entire award within 12 months?  

Each award is administered by the lead institution’s Graduate School. At the end of the 12 month period a report will be required covering both research outputs and budget spend. If all funds have not been used at this point, U21 will consult with the lead institution’s Graduate School to determine if remaining funding can be accessed after the 12 month deadline or should be returned.

What currency do I use in the budget? 

Please ensure that you use US$ for your budget, as that is the currency that funds for successful projects will be transferred in.

What sort of training is expected?  

The training component of a U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award will vary, depending on the project. It may include, but is not limited to: dealing with cross-cultural research practices; enhanced teamwork; participating in an on-line seminar series; developing skills in public engagement; peer-to-peer learning; collaborative project management; or using the internet and social media to showcase research. For examples of training take a look at the previously funded projects outlined on the U21 website.

What outputs are expected?  

Given the varied nature of the projects, the outputs from any single award may include: single or coauthored peer-reviewed publication(s); a product; a public performance; a virtual or physical exhibition; software; a start-up; or a website. All outputs funded in total or in part by a U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award should acknowledge the support of U21. For examples of outputs take a look at the previously funded projects outlined on the U21 website.

Can I include colleagues from a non-U21 university or a non-university partner on the application?  

No. U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards can only include university colleagues from within the U21 network.

As a doctoral candidate, how can I contact doctoral candidates in other U21 institutions?  

All doctoral candidates who intend to apply for a U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award are encouraged to discuss their intentions with their supervisors/advisors. It may be that your supervisors/advisors already have research collaborators or know supervisors/advisors in other U21 institutions, and can facilitate contact with doctoral candidates at these universities. We would also encourage doctoral candidates to network at international conferences they attend. Take a look at where the U21 members are based before you attend any conferences; you could end up sitting next to a future graduate collaborator.

Are there any special requirements I need to be aware of before submitting my application? 

Applicants should be aware that their national research regulations may not apply in other countries and as such this may affect their ability to undertake certain types of research within a U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Award – e.g. where ethical approval is required. If you have any concerns, we recommend that you discuss internally with your supervisors/advisors and/or research office before applying. Projects which may generate novel IP are advised to have arrangements in place covering IP ownership prior to application; again, we recommend discussing internally with your research office if you have any queries.

Will I need a visa to take part in a U21 Graduate Research Collaboration Award?  

If your proposed project includes mobility between U21 members, the doctoral candidates in your project team who will be undertaking the mobility may require a visa. The International Offices in your home and host institutions will be able to provide information on what types of visa may be required and details on how to apply.

When will we know if our application is successful? 

The lead applicant will be informed of the outcome by 15 September 2018.

Who decides which projects get funded?  

A sub-committee of U21 Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies will consider all eligible applications and determine how the funding will be allocated. Their decision is final.

What are the judging criteria for these awards?  

When reviewing the applications, the judges will be looking for evidence of the following: the project is truly international; the project is driven by the doctoral candidates; the project is realistic in terms of management and ambition; there are clear project outcomes and outputs; there is a professional development / training opportunity for the doctoral candidates involved; and that the budget is realistic.

If we are funded, how can we access our award?  

The Graduate School at the lead academic’s institution will administer the funding for your award. When you are informed of your success, you will be told when the funds will be available and who to contact.

If we are funded, what are our reporting requirements?  

All successful applicants are required to write a one-page report within 12 months of receiving their award, outlining the work undertaken and any outputs to date. Project teams are also encouraged to prepare a short video report to showcase their project outputs. This may be posted on the U21 website. All outputs, including publications, presentations, or performances resulting from a U21-supported project should acknowledge support from the U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards. All outputs produced or published after the award has expired should also be reported to U21.