Scheme conditions and features
STFC Public Engagement Nucleus awards are governed by the grant conditions as set out in the Research Grants Handbook, unless otherwise stated. Applications are accepted and awards are made on the understanding that research organisations and Nucleus award holders agree to observe the terms and conditions and the scheme requirements set out in this document and any amendments issued.
Movement between institutions
Applicants must take up the award at the host institution identified in the application. STFC will not allow a Public Engagement Nucleus award holder to change their host institution prior to taking up an award.
Consideration will be given to requests during the course of an award to relocate the grant to a different institution for scientific or domestic reasons. The agreement of the institutions concerned will be required before seeking approval from STFC.
Reporting and liaison with STFC
Public Engagement Nucleus award holders will be required to provide reports of activities to the STFC Public Engagement team when requested. STFC reserves the right to request periodic information or to visit the Public Engagement Nucleus award holder. Nucleus award holders will be expected to meet with the STFC public engagement grants mentor a minimum of twice a year.
The Nucleus award holder may also be asked to attend meetings to exchange information and ideas with others undertaking STFC public engagement activities.
The Public Engagement Nucleus award holder must make all reasonable efforts, if so invited, to respond to requests for information or to attend events or activities organised by the research council concerning the research undertaken. Such events may be held after a grant has finished.
Public Engagement Nucleus award holders will be expected to attend an annual meeting of all STFC Public Engagement award holders. This may be a face-to-face or virtual meeting, depending upon COVID-19 restrictions.
Public Engagement Nucleus award holders are expected to regularly update the record of their grant using the research council reporting tool, Researchfish, in line with the STFC Public Engagement Evaluation framework. Comprehensive Researchfish returns are an essential part of STFC public engagement funding policy development.
There are additional questions for STFC public engagement grant holders. This enables STFC to easily extract data regarding the impact of the work of our Nucleus Award holders whenever required, and serves as a database of impacts (outputs, outcomes and reach) for an award holder’s own reference.
To assist with their Researchfish return, Public Engagement Nucleus award holders are also required, throughout their award, to collect data relevant to their activities in the STFC public engagement metrics spreadsheet and send it to the Public Engagement team once a year. Read guidance on how to fill in the public engagement questions on Researchfish and the metric spreadsheet.
Public Engagement Nucleus award holders will be required to provide reports of activities to the STFC Public Engagement team when requested. STFC reserves the right to request periodic information or to visit the Public Engagement Nucleus award holder. Nucleus award holders will be expected to meet with the STFC Public Engagement grants mentor a minimum of twice a year.
The Nucleus award holder may also be asked to attend meetings to exchange information and ideas with others undertaking STFC public engagement activities. The Public Engagement Nucleus award holder must make all reasonable efforts, if so invited, to respond to requests for information or to attend events or activities organised by the research council concerning the research undertaken. Such events may be held after a grant has finished.
Publication, resources and acknowledgement of support
Publications and other forms of media communication, including media appearances, press releases and conferences, must acknowledge the support received from STFC, quoting the grant reference number if appropriate.
Resources produced as a result of any grants should acknowledge STFC (as part of UKRI) as the funding source, using the standard format agreed by funders and publishers and detailed in the additional information accompanying this grant.
In order to ensure appropriate coordination and opportunities to increase the impact of engagement, external media activity produced as a result of this award must be signed off by the STFC Media team before the activity takes place, or is published. This includes press releases, online videos and media briefings.
Award holders are responsible for giving STFC sufficient notice in advance of activities such that STFC can advise on content or build the activities of grant holders into our own communications and engagement programmes.
It is the responsibility of the research organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the intellectual assets obtained in the course of the research, whether protected by intellectual property rights or not, are used to the benefit of society and the economy.
Outcomes and resources should be disseminated or made available to both research and more widespread audiences, for example to inform potential users and beneficiaries of the research.
Unless stated otherwise, the ownership of all intellectual assets, including intellectual property, and responsibility for their application, rests with the organisation that generates them.
STFC may, in individual cases, reserve the right to retain ownership of intellectual assets, including intellectual property (or assign it to a third party under an exploitation agreement) and to arrange for it to be exploited for the national benefit and that of the research organisation involved. This right, if exercised, will be clearly set out in an additional grant condition.
There should be suitable recognition and reward to researchers who undertake activities that deliver benefit through the application of research outcomes. The research organisation must ensure that all those associated with the research are aware of, and accept these arrangements.
It is a condition of every grant that STFC accepts no liability for the manner in which the work in connection with the grant is undertaken, and the research organisation and Nucleus award holder will be responsible in all respects for the work and the consequences of it.
Termination of awards
A grant may be terminated, or its conditions varied, at any time at the absolute discretion of STFC.
Should the Nucleus award holder leave their institution for another research organisation or an alternative type of employment, they must notify the Public Engagement team immediately. If it is not possible to transfer the grant then STFC will terminate payments from the day immediately after the Nucleus award holder leaves the host institution.
Failure to submit reports will result in termination of the award unless there are mitigating reasons.
Our expectations of our Nucleus award holders
Award holders will:
- deliver high-quality public engagement activities during the lifetime of the award
- raise the profile and standards of public engagement within their host organisation or professional community, including sharing best practice and developing new talent
- champion STFC science and technology, including the impact of science and technology on society
- regularly interact with STFC’s public engagement and communication teams, including participation in STFC networks, events and advisory structures when requested.
Terms of reference
Aims of the Public Engagement Nucleus Awards panel
The panel’s aims are:
- to assess and make recommendations to the STFC executive for the awards in public engagement
- to take account, as appropriate, of any strategic advice provided by STFC
- to take account, as appropriate, of the recommendations of external reviewers and the conclusion of specialist peer review panels
- to provide clear concise feedback to applicants
- to advise the science board and executive as required on all issues relating to research grants including monitoring the level of funding allocated to grants per round
- to liaise with other bodies as necessary
- to carry out other tasks associated with peer review that the executive might require.
The peer review conclusions may be convened by the executive to include consolidated grants, contiguous groups of research requests, or research requests which are judged (on the basis of cost or propriety) with regard to the terms of reference for the panel.
Guidelines for managing conflicts of interest in the peer review process
STFC, as a publicly funded organisation, is accountable to government and the public for its actions and for the way it conducts its business which must be undertaken in a way that is transparent and guards against conflicts of interest influencing the outcome of decisions. Further information for managing conflicts as an STFC panel member can be found here.
Equality of opportunity
The STFC is fully committed to ensuring that all applicants receive equal treatment throughout the peer review process and will provide the necessary training and support to panel members and peer reviewers.
STFC policies on inclusion and diversity
STFC will keep these policies under review to ensure that its policies and practices reflect best practice and enable full compliance under the Equality Act 2010.
STFC will distribute peer review papers through a secure extranet and all information must be considered as confidential, the contents should not be disclosed. The confidential nature is intended to ensure that the contents of the proposals and reviews are not made known more widely than is necessary for proper consideration by the peer review panels. Names of reviewers are not disclosed to applicants and neither are those of the lead introducer for the proposals.
Security and data protection
Applications, independent reviews and principal investigator responses are available to panel members via the peer review extranet (STFC’s preferred method for sharing data).
Strict controls on data security and data handling are currently in place for government departments and government-funded organisations, including the research councils.
Panel members must not save data (on to laptops, discs or hard drives) and if printed copies of any of the documents are made, these must be shredded after use.
- Bridget Holligan, Science Oxford (chair)
- Pete Edwards, Durham University
- Clare Harvey, The Ogden Trust
- Laura Wicks, Heriot-Watt University
- Victoria Pearson, The Open University.