EC Maintains 60 per cent Flat Rate for Overheads in FP7

The European Commission has decided to continue to allow Higher Education Institutions to claim 60 per cent of eligible direct costs as overheads on FP7 projects. The Special Transitional Flat Rate (“transitional” in the sense that it was supposed to be a temporary arrangement until universities and the EC could agree on a method of calculating real indirect costs) will stay in effect until the end of Framework Programme 7 in 2013.

The move has been welcomed by most stakeholders, including the European Universities Association which has argued that any reduction could threaten sustainability of universities and thus participation in FP7.

So what does this mean for you? If you are a researcher interested in applying for FP7 funding or getting involved in a funded project it means that it will remain financially viable to take part.

A quick illustration: Let’s say your project has £100K of direct costs – this can include things like investigator time, RA, travel, consumables, and equipment. You’ll automatically be able to add £60K of indirect costs on top = £160K. Now, the EC will only actually fund 75% of most types of costs in FP7 (the exception being management costs, which they’ll fund at 100%), so the EC’s contribution will be £120K. This means the direct costs (of £100K) are covered with a contribution to university overheads of 16.67% of total costs, or £20K – which is very reasonable as far as European funding goes.

If, as had been mooted earlier this year, the EC had decided to drop the flat rate to 40% or even lower, the contribution to overheads on the above example would have been £5K, or 4.8% of total costs. If it had dropped lower, the university may have been forced to make a contribution to the direct costs in order to run the project at all: a situation that would have been difficult to sustain, particularly in the current economic climate.

New University Faculty on the Repository

Paul Stainthorp has just blogged about the addition of the newest faculty to the University of Lincoln’s online repository:

FAFAS are on the Institutional Repository

The faculty of Agriculture, Food and Animal Sciences amalgamates expertise at both the Riseholme and Holbeach campuses and is being officially launched today at this year’s Lincolnshire Show. As Paul mentions, a presence on the Institutional Repository is highly beneficial for both research and teaching:

Work deposited in the repository is made publicly accessible (by default), and becomes almost immediately ‘findable’ by academic search services such as Google Scholar. People searching for scholarly work in your field will be much more likely to discover your own work if it is properly described and catalogued. This ‘findability’ benefits you because analysis has shown that citation rates increase by between 25% – 250% when a paper is deposited in an open-access Institutional Repository.

We’ll be saying lots more about the repository in the coming months, including offering hands on sessions for staff on depositing items and copyright/IP issues. One of the reasons for making work accessible via the repository is that citation metrics will be a factor in judging research quality in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF), the next RAE.

NERC Release Success Rates for 2008/09

The Natural Environment Research Council has released its success rates for 2008/09 by institution and department:

NERC Success Rates 08/09

The average success rate across the sector for NERC grants is 24%, but there are significant differences between institutions as you’d expect. Lincoln, for example, only submitted 1 proposal which was unsuccessful. Even some of the larger research-intensive organisations, however, scored lower than average: Newcastle achieved 19%, Nottingham 15%, Kings College London 10% and St. Andrews 14%.

E-journals Revolution: how the use of scholarly journals is shaping research

Title: The e-journals revolution: how the use of scholarly journals is shaping research

Date: 1st July 2009, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Location: Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

More Details: Click here


This free RIN event will look at the findings of the ‘E-journals: their use, value and impact’ report, which takes an in-depth look at how researchers in the UK use electronic journals, the value they bring to universities and research institutions and the contribution they make to research productivity, quality and outcomes.

It’s clear that e-journals have given researchers an unprecedented level and convenience of access to knowledge in scholarly articles, but what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information? Do they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits for universities and research institutions? The event aims to spark a debate on these issues and to inform phase 2 of this RIN study.

Aimed at scholarly publishers, university librarians, higher education policy makers and researchers, this event will offer fresh insights on the use and value of e-journals and provide a networking opportunity for delegates from diverse arenas.

Key speakers include:

  • Chris Banks, University Librarian, University of Aberdeen
  • Richard Gedye, Research Manager at Oxford University Press
  • Michael Jubb, Director of the RIN
  • Dr Emily Lyons, Scientific Manager, Imperial College London
  • Professor David Nicholas and Dr Ian Rowlands of the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) at University College London

To book your place, go to

For more information or other enquiries email

Successful Bids On The Portal

URO is currently compiling a repository of successful grant applications in collaboration with academic staff. The bids will be made available for all internal staff on the Portal over the coming weeks:

Successful bids on the Portal

We hope this will give researchers a quick and convenient way to find examples of well written bids which can be used to inform future proposals and, hopefully, increase success.

Please note that these are only for internal use and circulation. If you have any questions, or if you have a successful bid that you would like to make available to others in the institution, please contact us by email: or leave a comment below.