Changes to ESRC Final Reporting

ESRC have recently written to us to let us know about changes to their final reporting requirements which affect any holders of ESRC grants. Here’s the email in full:

From 1st November 2009, the Council’s current requirement for a 5000 word End of Award Report three months after the end date of its award will be replaced. The new arrangements are designed to capture more evidence of scientific and practical (I.e. economic, social or policy) impacts while also being more economical in terms of its demand on award-holders’ time. The evidence collected by the new system will be used both to evaluate ESRC research and to support the funding case for social science by demonstrating even more clearly the academic and, where appropriate, practical impact of the work that the Council supports.

There are two steps to the new system. First, award-holders submit a much shorter End of Award Report three months after the end date of the project to provide the administrative details required by the ESRC for financial sign-off. Then, twelve months after the end of the project award-holders submit an Impact Report to provide concise details of outputs and impacts (both scientific and practical) to date. The new End of Award Report report, as with the current version, requires an electronic signature from your institution’s Finance Officer or equivalent representative. The Impact Report does not require an institutional validation.

It is important to emphasise that the ESRC does not expect all of the projects it funds to achieve practical impacts. Award-holders who report only scientific contributions will not be disadvantaged in any way in the Council’s evaluation process. It will be possible to achieve the highest evaluation grades for scientific and/or practical impacts.

The extended reporting period will allow more time for outputs and impacts to emerge before the Council’s evaluation. The evaluation will now start twelve months after the end date of awards rather than three months as at present. There is also a facility for award-holders to update their project record with details of impacts that emerge beyond the time of the evaluation, and this extra information will be available to ESRC Committees when assessing future funding applications.

All ESRC award-holders who are affected by these changes will be contacted directly by the Council. The new report templates can be downloaded either from award-holders’ grant pages on the ESRC Society Today web site or from: