Updates for Guidelines/FAQs

Updated 25/11/14

How do I handle award extensions?

Sometimes funders grant additional funding to an established award, to extend the duration or provide specific funding for additional resources. In these cases the title/abstract for both original (parent) and extension (child) awards will be the same/very similar. The awards may also be linked in some fashion within a funder’s database.

The optimal method for reporting this is to combine the additional funding to the original award, and apply HRCS coding only once to the combined award. If the further funding changes the lifetime of the award, make sure this is incorporated into your StartDate, EndDate, Duration and TotalAward/AnnuallAward values.

If this combined award is too difficult to edit within your portfolio / spreadsheet submission, our main requirement is that both parent and child awards MUST BE coded identically, and note made in the CoderComment column to indicate that the two awards are linked.

There are two exceptions to these rules:

· If the additional funding falls into the category of IndirectAward (e.g. if the extra funding is for administrative support, not research) – see the guidance on this for more details.

· If the additional funding is for a new area of research that would have to be coded differently.

In both these situations the title/abstract should make this clear, and will in all likelihood be different to the original. In these cases, the extension is handled as its own separate award and therefore you should follow your normal procedures for coding. It would still be useful to indicate the link between the two awards in the CoderComment column, but this is not mandatory.

Updated 01/12/14

My database does not have abstracts available for all awards, but the original coder saw the original paper copy. What happens if the award gets picked for QC coding?

In an ideal world, and if it was not too arduous for the analysts to do so, we would want all abstracts in the dataset you provide. The more information we have available in the final combined database, the more use it will be for further analysis.

In practice this may be difficult if not impossible for funders to provide within the timescale of the project. Therefore if an award has an abstract missing but has been has been successfully first pass coded from an original document, we will exclude abstract-less awards from the QC process. However we will ask any such awards have the phrase “paper abstract only” added to the CoderComment data field.

Updated 04/12/14

Why are you requesting TotalAward or AnnualAward instead of spend?

The HRCS report is intended as a snapshot of health research funding in the UK. As such, getting a value for research spending is critical and a precise figure of ‘spend’ has merits as a better metric to use for this than an estimation.

However the practicalities of achieving this make acquisition of this ‘spend’ difficult. Many funders/awardees do not report regularly, and if they do it is at specific times within a year, most commonly the end of the financial year.

As a result, most funders will not be able to provide an accurate value to amount spent on any particular award. However all funders should have the total award value (i.e. how much funding has been allocated) or, less commonly, how much they assign to a particular award annually.

Furthermore, most research funding is ‘front loaded’ meaning the majority of actual spend occurs earlier in the lifetime of the award, which if used as a metric would give greater weighting to new awards over those reaching the end of the award period.

Therefore, in the interests of simplifying the process for all funders, and to reduce the impact of front loading in awards, we are requesting TotalAward (or AnnualAward if your funder uses this system). From either of these values we can generate an estimate of award value for the 2014 calendar year.

My award has start and end dates, but no duration in our database. How do I calculate this value?

If your award StartDate and EndDate are in DD/MM/YYYY format, you can use the following excel formula to generate a value for duration in months (rounded up):


The wording in this section on page 4 doesn’t make it clear who is responsible for completing the Duration column, and even implies this is something done centrally than by funders themselves.

In reality this is generally something we do ask funders themselves to provide. This is because if there are any errors (e.g. start and end dates mixed up) it is easier for funders to identify them themselves and fix them before submitting, rather the project management team identify a problem which can result in a lot of back-and-forth of spreadsheets!

I have newly awarded grants in 2014, but we do not have a confirmed start date or whether there is any spend. What do I do?

In the sections above StartDate was not specifically defined, so this may be why there’s been a few queries on it. Generally we would suggest using ‘actual’ start date (i.e. date at which first spend is incurred) if it’s available but in many cases this is not. As a result, we would suggest using a predicted start date, i.e. from the original application.

If neither of these are available, then we can’t include the award in the 2014 data. However remember these guidelines are for the current ‘WIP’ collection period. We plan to initial a second, final data collection period to top up our dataset with any outstanding awards. Thus if you have newly awarded grants and are currently unsure if they will meet our inclusion criteria, save them for potential inclusion in the final data collection in February 2015.

I have awards where there are co-applicants, which may include co-applicants from different institutions. Which PI details / Institution do I use?

If there is some indication of which PI has main responsibility for the award, then use that person’s details and institution. For example, if designated as the primary point of contact (PoC), corresponding author etc..

If this information is not available, I’m afraid the best we can suggest is pick one. In both cases this is an imperfect solution, but will be simplest for funders to provide in the limited timescale of the project. It is one area we hope to review in the future.

My organisation has provided funding / is co-funding an award with another organisation. How do we collectively report this?

This will be very dependent on how the collaboration works between your organisations, and how each reports the award in their database.

Ideally, each organisation will report only the amount they have spent, and will record the award with the same details for PI, Title and Abstract. This should ensure both are coded identically.

If the collaboration involves the funders providing different areas of support, then the title/abstract should reflect this and allow coders to provide coders relevant to the areas supported. For example if one funder provides the funding for the research itself, and the other provides funding for equipment of admin, the former would be coded as normal and the latter would fall under the IndirectAward category of ‘Infrastructure’.

The problem will be if one funder provides a TotalAward value including the funding from the other, leading to duplication and double counting of award funding.

For this reason, we’d prefer funders to indicate the award is a collaboration in the CoderComment column, and (if possible) provide their co-funder’s name/acronym and grant number in this section so we can pair up the awards correctly. This is difficult to do, but it would be of huge benefit if achieved.