Internal approval for research proposals

Your institution will have an internal approval process for submitting proposals for research funding, which will almost certainly be a formal process. You should make yourself aware of your local policy before contacting any potential external funder.

Most processes have a multi-stage sign-off procedure, which could be as little as one person needing to approve a submission to more than five different signatures, for example:

  1. you, the principal investigator (most institutions require a statement from you - implicit or explicit - that you have followed appropriate procedures, etc.)
  2. head of school/department
  3. dean of faculty
  4. research office
  5. finance office
  6. deputy/pro-vice-chancellor.

If the process at your institution requires a large number of signatures then you should allow PLENTY OF TIME for the documents to circulate. This needs to be built in to your proposal development schedule and not left to the last minute as often these sign-offs include specific undertakings, for example, a confirmation that the proposal has been internally peer reviewed. Internal peer review is consistently reported as being the best way of improving chances of success.