Frequently Asked Questions
These questions provided support for the first call. They will be updated during development of the second call. If you have specific questions not answered here or you would like to seek further clarification, please contact the UK Treescapes programme team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q1: Was it essential that research proposals span the remits of all three research councils?
All first call proposals had to be interdisciplinary and fit within the remit of more than one research council. Any proposals that only involve collaboration between researchers within the remit of a single research council are out of scope and will be rejected. The minimum requirement in the first call was to cover the remits of two councils involved in it (i.e. NERC+ESRC or NERC+AHRC or AHRC+ESRC). However, it is the funders’ expectation that in order to address questions set out in the research themes effectively, proposals should have spanned the remits of all three councils. Proposals involving only two research council remits may have been less competitive.
Q2: Was it necessary to involve Forest Research in all project proposals, either as co-investigators or sub-contractors?
It was not necessary to include Forest Research as a co-investigator or subcontractor in first call proposals. While Forest Research was not eligible to apply directly for UKRI funding under that call, it could submit joint collaborative research proposals with organisations eligible to receive UKRI funding. If a proposal involving FR is recommended for funding, Defra, Welsh Government and the Scottish Government will fund the FR component and NERC, AHRC and ESRC will fund eligible research organisations.
Q3: Did all projects need to have a UK wide focus?
Individual projects did not necessarily need to have a UK-wide focus. However, for the call as a whole, we were aiming for a portfolio of projects that covered as much of the UK as possible. This meant that projects that had a very narrow geographical focus may have been less competitive if the findings were not expected to be generalisable. The funding available was the same for all projects whatever the geographic focus.
Q4: Was it possible to allocate resources to private companies to cover any costs they may incur as project partners?
Businesses could participate in first call research applications as Project Partners. While the PI could request Minor Directly Incurred costs for Project Partners to facilitate collaboration such as travel and subsistence, Project Partners were expected to provide specific contributions (in-cash or in-kind) to the project. Businesses could also participate as a sub-contractor to carry out aspects of the proposed work e.g. if there was a lack of expertise in eligible institutions. They will be deemed to be providing a service rather than collaborating. An organisation
cannot be listed as a Project Partner and a sub-contractor. Detailed guidance on Project Partners and sub-contracting can be found in section C of the NERC research grants handbook and it was also recommended that applicants read section J on exploitation and intellectual property.
Q5: When will the next calls be announced (e.g. smaller gap-filling, and knowledge exchange project grants?
The second Treescapes Call (smaller gap-filling projects) is likely to be announced in Summer 2021 with a deadline for applications in Autumn 2021, and a third Call (knowledge exchange grants) is likely to be announced in Autumn 2022 with a closing date of Winter 2022. However, these are preliminary dates and may change.
Q6: Did Knowledge Exchange with stakeholders need to be integrated into proposals, or was that something that happened at a higher level?
Applicants should have considered how they will achieve impact outside the scientific community and included details of this in their Case for Support. Engagement with wider stakeholders and end-users of the research was a requirement of the call and therefore should have been included in all applications. In addition, successful projects will be expected to engage with stakeholder engagement activities organised by the funders and ambassadors throughout the course of the programme.
Q7: Could the computer science or engineering, or other disciplines outside the remits of NERC, ESRC and AHRC) be part a proposal?
Yes, although remember that proposals must have been interdisciplinary and addressed the remits of more than one of the funding research councils.
Q8: Did potential applicants need to have been involved in the development of the scheme at the scoping group stage in order to be in a strong position with the call?
No, applicants did not need to have been involved in the initial scoping workshop for the programme in order to develop a strong proposal. Applications will be reviewed and judged on the basis of research excellence and fit to the call.
Q9: Commissioning, artists in residence, co-designing work as a partner, leading a project. Were there alternatives that UKRI would have regarded as "acceptable" ways to integrate A&H?
Yes, these were all appropriate ways of integrating A&H in projects. However, there was a need to distinguish between arts researchers and professional ‘artists’ (e.g. artists in residence) in proposals. While it was possible to include professional artists in proposals, their role will be different to that of arts researchers (i.e. trained researchers who methods are creative/practice-based research). Proposals had to ensure that the research element of the projects spanned the remits of at least two (ideally three) of the research council’s remits.
Q10: Would there have been any concerns about an interdisciplinary bid in which all investigators came from the same institution? Was there a preference for consortia?
There was no requirement for investigators to come from different institutions, as long as the interdisciplinary requirements of the first call were met.
Q11: Will each proposal be reviewed by people from the each of the 3 research councils to ensure that they are multi-disciplinary? There is a risk that if only reviewed by reviewers from one research council they might not appreciate/understand some of the methods/approaches used by other disciplines?
Where possible, each application to the first call will be reviewed by reviewers representing the remits of the three research councils in order to ensure that all elements are properly assessed.