UKRI is committed to supporting an enhanced culture of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in the UK. We do this by ensuring that our peer review infrastructure doesn’t disadvantage such work.
We already fund a great deal of interdisciplinary research, which draws together insights and approaches from one or more research disciplines. Many areas span across the research remit of two or more research councils.
Our Cross-Council Remit Agreement (formerly known as the Cross-Council Funding Agreement) sets out our principles and processes for the assessment of ‘responsive mode’ and fellowship proposals across the seven research councils.
The Cross-Council Remit Agreement
The Cross-Council Remit Agreement governs how we manage research proposals that cross two or more council remit domains.
It helps us to:
- encourage research proposals at the interface between research disciplines
- ensure that there are no gaps between the research councils’ remit domains and that we effectively support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research
- ensure that peer review is fair and appropriate for projects that span across the research remit of two or more council research remit domains. It also avoids the ‘double jeopardy’ of parallel processes within each of the councils involved
- avoid unnecessary demands on the peer review system by eliminating separate or multiple consideration of the same proposal by different councils
- provide equal opportunities for funding – whether single or multiple discipline.
It applies to any proposal you submit for a responsive research grant or a fellowship that spans more than one research area.
There are some exceptions, including:
- some funding opportunities that use highlight notices or offer very large investments – such as centres or large collaborative grants – may use alternative measures. The relevant councils will normally agree in advance whether the agreement process should apply
- the research and innovation remit domains of Research England and Innovate UK, which do not currently fall under the agreement.
How it works
Some research areas fall within the remit of an individual council and receive funding from that council alone. For example, photonics and history of art are only funded within the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Other areas cross the remit of more than one of the research councils, such as climate change, design, neuroscience and chemical biology.
Any relevant responsive research grant or fellowship proposal that significantly extends across two or more council domains will be assessed using the Cross-Council Remit Agreement. We define a significant extension as 10% or more.
What it means for your application
There is a different process for applications that span across two or more council remit domains.
Submitting an application
You must submit your proposal through the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system to the most appropriate council only, known as the ‘lead council’. Do not make multiple applications.
To select a lead council, you should consider the overall approach and fit of your proposal against the strategic objectives and research remits of the research councils.
Get details of the councils’ remits from their websites:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Once you’ve applied
The lead council’s normal eligibility and scheme requirements will apply in considering the proposal. Assessors will consider the scope of your proposal, its imperatives and approach, and whether this significantly extends into another council’s remit.
If the lead council needs to get agreement on the percentage interest or would like to invite reviewer suggestions, they would then contact the relevant councils – known as ‘supporting councils’ .
Your proposal will be treated as cross remit if the remit percentage for the non-lead council is at least 10%. The supporting councils will agree what percentage of the grant is within their remit.
The lead council must account for at least 51% of the remit. If we decide that a supporting council would be more appropriate as the lead, you will need to resubmit your application to the relevant council before the next funding opportunity closing date.
We will either reject or withdraw your initial application and contact you with next steps.
Peer review of your proposal
Your proposal will be assessed by peer reviewers drawn from across the relevant research domains.
The lead council is responsible for selecting an appropriate mix of reviewers, considering:
- recommendations from other councils
- peer reviewers with expertise working across disciplinary boundaries.
The lead council will also provide appropriate guidance about the cross-council remit agreement to any relevant panels, boards, committees or other peer review bodies. This is to ensure that cross-remit proposals are not unduly disadvantaged or advantaged.
How we will inform you
The lead council will let you know if you are successful and will manage the funding award in line with their normal procedures.
Rules for resubmissions
Once we have accepted your proposal, you may not withdraw this for submission to another council unless we have given you express permission to do so.
Proposals that have previously been considered by one council may not be resubmitted to another without substantial changes.
In such cases you must declare the previous submission and outline the changes that you have made in an accompanying statement.
Ask a question about research remits
If you have any questions, including where you should submit your proposal, you should contact the council that is most relevant to your research area.
Please send a short summary of the proposed research to the most relevant council contact.
Email AHRC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email BBSRC: email@example.com
Contact EPSRC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email ESRC: email@example.com
Email MRC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email NERC: email@example.com
Email STFC: firstname.lastname@example.org
You should bear in mind that councils have different closing dates for their funding opportunities.