Inclusion of UK business, third sector or government body co-investigators on ESRC proposals

  1. Background
  2. Who is eligible to be listed as a business, third sector or government body co-investigator?
  3. How do business, third sector or government body co-investigators register with the ESRC?
  4. What costs can be associated with a business, third sector or government body co-investigator?
  5. Can business, third sector and government partners be included under the heading of consultants rather than co-investigators?
  6. How will funds associated with a business, third sector or government co-investigator be disbursed?
  7. Can a business, third sector and government collaborator be listed as a co-investigator if they have secured their own source of funding?
  8. Can co-investigators be included in cross-Council applications?

1. Background

Business, third sector or government body co-investigators (Co-I's) based in the UK can be included in the majority of ESRC research schemes. Some specific schemes may from time to time specify that these co-investigators may not be included.

Please see the Research Funding Guide, for further information.

2. Who is eligible to be listed as a business, third sector or government body co-investigator?

Any researcher from an established business, third sector or government body will be eligible. On receipt of the application, eligibility of business, third sector or government body will not normally need to be checked if it is reasonably clear that they are appropriate to conduct the work. Where there is doubt checks will be carried out.

Back to top

3. How do business, third sector or government body co-investigators register with the ESRC?

It is recommended that potential UK co-investigators from business, third sector or government bodies should contact the Je-S Helpdesk (jeshelp@rcuk.ac.uk) if their organisation is not selectable, as part of the Je-S person account registration process. These organisations will then be added to the Je-S database which will allow relevant selection as part of the required person account registration process, that co-investigators are obliged to initiate (again via the login page).

In order for a Principle Investigator to add an UK Co-I's from business, third sector or government body to an application, the Co-I must be registered with Je-S. To do this, the Co-I will need to go to the Je-S website and select ‘Create Account’; they will then need to complete their details until they reach the ‘Research Organisation’ screen.

If their organisation is not listed they will then need to contact Je-S Helpdesk either by email (jeshelp@rcuk.ac.uk) or telephone (+44 (0) 1793 444164). Je-S Helpdesk is available 9.00-17.00 Monday to Friday.

Once in contact with Je-S the Co-I will need to provide details of the project they wish to be associated with (title, reference number). Je-S will normally register him or her. Eligibility of business, third sector or government body will not normally need to be checked if it is reasonably clear that they are appropriate to conduct the work. Where there is doubt checks will be carried out should a positive funding decision be taken.

Back to top

4. What costs can be associated with a business, third sector or government body co-investigator?

All costs must be specifically justified, and applicants must explain why such costs are required to achieve the aims of the research project. If costs associated with a business, third sector or government body co-investigator are substantial, applicants are encouraged to append an additional annex in order to have sufficient space to fully justify these costs.

Applicants must:

  • Include all costs associated with the business, third sector or government body co-investigator in the Je-S form.
  • Costs associated with a business, third sector or government body co-investigator's contribution to a project must never exceed 30 per cent, of the overall cost of the grant at 100 per cent of fEC, and would normally be lower than this.
  • Businesses or government bodies cannot claim overheads and other indirect costs on any element of the grant.
  • Salary costs will only be covered up to the equivalent of 1 year FTE for business and third sector organisations, no salary costs will be covered for co-investigators from government bodies.
  • Travel and subsistence costs will be allowable if appropriately justified for business, third sector or government body co-investigators.
  • Administrative support and fieldwork costs may be permissible for business (exceptionally) and third sector co-investigators.
  • Virement from the co-investigator's costs to other costs requires prior permission.

Further information on costs incurred and completing the Je-S application form.

Back to top

5. Can business, third sector and government partners be included under the heading of consultants rather than co-investigators?

In principle, the answer is yes. However inclusion of consultants would be expected to be subject to competitive purchasing requirements.

Back to top

6. How will funds associated with a business, third sector and government co-investigator be disbursed?

It is the principal investigator's UK research organisation which makes the application, and it is for the PI and their research organisation to make the commitment to work with, and pass on funding to, a national or international partner where this is the most appropriate partner for their particular research. The ESRC will disburse funding to the research organisation of the PI, which will then be responsible for disbursing funds to the business, third sector or government body. Particular attention should be paid in the case for support to the management and communication protocols in place to enable this to happen smoothly.

Back to top

7. Can a business, third sector or government collaborator be listed as a co-investigator if they have secured their own source of funding?

Yes, they can be included as a co-investigator. They should also be included in the Project Partners section of the application, where details of their funding source should be provided.

Back to top

8. Can co-investigators be included in cross-Council applications?

In the case of cross-Council schemes, each participating Council will be consulted over the inclusion or exclusion of business, third sector or government body co-investigators. Please refer to the call for further information.

Back to top