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Overview (pre-award)


Once you have identified a funding opportunity and intend to develop a research bid for external funding, please contact your faculty Research Support Team in the first instance who will be able to advise you of the support available within your faculty.

Support is also available centrally from the Research and Enterprise (R&E) team. The R&E team provides pre-award bidding support, advice and guidance relating to impact and knowledge exchange and assistance with routes to commercialising research. 

Learn about the support services we provide centrally.

Bid development

Creating an AMS project

All applications for external funding are managed through the University's Awards Management System (AMS). The system  provides a workflow that supports costing of proposals and institutional approval.

Follow the AMS guidance (internal only) to create a ‘project’ in AMS.

Costing a project

Your faculty research support team can assist you with costing your project in the appropriate format for the funder. Further guidance on pricing and costing for research projects can be found on the finance intranet pages:

Data Management

The Library Services research support team can help you with all aspects of research data management throughout the research lifecycle. The Library team provide training for doctoral students and research staff and offer the following services

  • Bespoke training sessions for individual researchers or research teams
  • Review of data management plans as part of the bidding process
  • An enquiries service about all aspects of research data management
  • Administration of the OU's institutional data repository, Open Research Data Online (ORDO)
  • General information on copyright (internal only)

To use any of these services, please contact the Library Research Support team.


The Open University research ethics covers research involving the collection of data and/or biological samples from human participants and research with non-human animals. Follow the links to internal and external advice and full details of the respective Open University human research ethics review and Home Office licenced and non-licenced animal research review processes.

Export Control

Export control may apply to the export of goods, materials, technology, information, software, data or know-how outside the UK or EU for your activity/project. Also, some controls exist for transfers within the UK, especially where US restrictions apply. Such controls may impact the design and delivery of your proposed research and therefore should be considered at the project design stage – refer to the Export Control section for information and guidance.

Intellectual Property

The University has a duty to protect and exploit the Intellectual Property generated by its research activities. This is often a legal requirement from funding bodies, such as Research Councils, Charities and other organisations, which seek not only to widely disseminate research findings, but also to optimise the commercial benefits for industry, the university and society as a whole.

The framework that governs Intellectual Property at The Open University is the Research and Enterprise Intellectual Property Policy (internal only).

The RES Enterprise Team is responsible for ensuring the university's research Intellectual Property is adequately protected and exploited. We can advise you on all aspects of Intellectual Property:

  • keeping information confidential
  • management of Intellectual Property in proposals and projects
  • protection of your idea
  • development of Intellectual Property strategies
  • exploitation of Intellectual Property
  • compliance with terms and conditions in funding and research agreements

Pathways to Impact

A pathways to impact and/or impact statement is an essential component of a research proposal and often a condition for external funding. Impact can occur in many ways – through knowledge exchange, new products and processes, new companies and job creation, skills development, increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy, enhancing quality of life and health and international development.

Our impact team can assist with identifying the different impact types in your research project and assist you with the development and review of your pathways to impact.

Peer Review

Peer review of all external applications for funding is strongly encouraged. This is managed within the faculty, with the exception of restricted calls.

Restricted Calls

RES will organise internal peer review and selection of bids when a funder imposes a restriction on the number of applications an organisation can submit. Advanced notification of Restricted calls are advertised via the weekly R&E Newsletter and R&E Restricted call spreadsheet (internal only).

Review of Funder T&Cs

The Commercial Legal Services team (CLS) (internal only) are required to review all terms and conditions (T&Cs) where the funder makes them available at submission stage. The exception to this is the UKRI Research Councils’ agreed core terms and conditions and standard T&Cs from the following regular charitable funders: British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society and Wellcome Trust.

In instances where a funding call from the above funders has non-standard or supplementary terms and conditions a review by CLS requested prior to bid submission.

For more information regarding CLS and review of funder T&Cs please refer to the AMS guidance (internal only).

Useful resources

Exemplars and templates

Within the R&E SharePoint (internal only) there are examples of successful applications (internal only) to some of the major UK funding bodies including Research Councils, Charitable funders, EU, Government and Industry.

Other resources include standard text (internal only) for non-research sections such as Open Access, Data Protection and Ethics for use in applications and template letters of support.



For more information regarding the support available contact the Research Enterprise team.