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Frequently Asked Questions


The following information attempts to address some common queries. If your query is not answered below, please contact your institutional administrator.




I have applied in a previous round. Can I apply again?

You may apply more than once to the Scheme, but please note that first-time applicants will be given priority. The Scheme aims to provide start-up funding rather than long-term support.


Are academic-related and assistant staff eligible to apply?

Any member of staff may apply whose primary role is undertaking research.


What is a reasonable sum to request?

Requests for funds should not normally exceed £10,000 in total (although exceptional cases for support up to £20,000 may be considered). The cost of consumables should not exceed £3,000.


When will I know the outcome of my application?

You will be informed of the outcome of your application approximately eight weeks after the deadline for applications.




How will I receive my award?

If your award is award is non-taxable, it will be transferred to your department shortly after your award letter. You will know that your award is non-taxable if your letter contains no reference to taxation. You should contact your Departmental Administrator to access these funds, providing relevant invoices or receipts.

If your award is taxable (i.e. this applies for some childcare-related costs), you should still provide your Departmental Administrator with invoices or receipts of purchase. However, in this case your award will then be transferred directly to you through the payroll, grossed up so that you receive the net sum you have requested.


Can my award be used for something other items than what was detailed on my application form?

As awards are made to support specific activities, it is not possible to spend your award on something different from that specified on the application form. If, however, the details of the activities for which you have applied change (for instance, a conference is extended by a day), you should email The Returning Carers team will then consider your request.


I haven’t used my award in the specified period. May I request an extension?

You may ask for an extension if you have been unable to use your award due to external influence (for instance, if your Research Assistant has been unable to start work because of unforeseen circumstances). In this instance you should email

Application Advice

How can I build a strong case for support?

Consider carefully, ahead of time, what items would make the most impact on building your research/academic profile after a period of leave that could not be funded from other sources, for example through your research grant or departmental funds.

Complete the RCS application form fully, setting out clearly the impact an award of the items you requested would make on building your research/academic profile.

Tips on maximising your case are given below:

  • Research assistance: set out what duties would be carried out by the research/technical person, how long they would be needed and what impact this support would have on your research profile (typically awards are for 4-6 months’ salary).
  • Consumables: set out clearly why you need extra consumables above what is provided to carry out your research and the sum required (awards for laptops are usually up to a maximum of £1.2K unless specialist software is needed)
  • Conferences: set out your case for attendance at each conference and the associated costs (awards made are usually for a maximum of 2 conferences, if a strong case is made; awards are more likely for indirect childcare costs rather than registration or personal accommodation requests). 
  • Collaborator visits:  weigh up the benefits of these visits compared with travelling to international meetings etc.; they might offer an easier way to accommodate childcare needs and a cost-effective way of building research (the panel may be willing to fund more visits than attendance at international meetings). 
  • Personal development: clearly set out why these needs cannot be made by internal training provision, e.g. through PPD ( )
  • Teaching buyout: clearly set out the benefits and impact on your research profile of providing funds to buyout your teaching duties.


How can I best support a case for items under the Scheme?

As the manager/PI supporting the request for funding, where possible set out your case within the context of the member of staff’s broader/longer term needs, including how you can support their research during their leave and what additional provision you/the department can make to support them in building up their research/academic profile on their return, for example by mentoring, sabbatical leave provision, reduced teaching load, resources etc.  Be clear why funding can’t be provided for the items requested from the external sponsor supporting the person’s salary or through departmental funds and what the impact of awards through the Scheme will be on the applicant’s research profile.