Administration of Grants
The objective of The EMF Biological Research Trust (the Trust) is to promote research on the biological effects of extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) and related matters. The focus is on whether or not these fields as encountered in daily life exert biological effects and on the relevance, if any, of such effects to human health. The current emphasis of the research supported by the Trust is on cell-based studies and on the possible mechanisms by which EMFs may exert biological effects.
The Trustees are responsible for controlling the management and administration of the Trust; they are guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee ('the Committee').
Grants may be awarded to projects which:
- aim to delineate physico-chemical mechanisms by which a biological effect may be mediated
- aim to replicate or explore apparently robust biological effects already reported in the literature
- embrace novel cell-based studies
In special circumstances, grants may be awarded to established research teams whose programmes can readily incorporate studies to explore the effects of EMFs. To qualify for one of these special programme grants, the existing programme must be of very high scientific stature and there must be an explicit and significant commitment to incorporate EMF studies. Expert advice can be provided on the generation and application of fields.
Grants are available for UK-based research only. Project grants may be for up to three years and programme grants for up to five years. Grants will be awarded in the name of one or more Principal Investigators, who are expected to be personally and actively engaged in the research. They may start at any time during the year and may cover staff costs as well as equipment, consumables and essential travel; they do not cover overheads and do not cover salaries of Principal Investigators. The Trust reserves the right to withdraw a grant if it has not been taken up within one year following the date of the award.
The Institution and the Trust may announce the award of a grant as they wish. Such announcements shall acknowledge the Trust's support.
The Committee is willing to consider an outline application in the first instance. If this is considered promising, submission of a full proposal will be invited for thorough assessment at the earliest opportunity. The Committee normally meets two or three times a year.
Applications should be sent to:
The Administrator, The EMF Biological Research Trust, PO Box 23, South Croydon, CR2 7ZL or "admin -AT- emfbrt.org".
The application should contain sufficient information about the proposed project for its scientific merit to be properly assessed. Details should also be given of the proposed staffing (including grading) and approximate funding required for equipment, consumables and travel, as well as the duration of the project. No allowance for inflation should be included in the costing. Applications require the approval of the appropriate head of department. An indication of any other EMF-related research being carried out in the same department should be given. If the application, or a similar one, has been or is being submitted to another funding agency, then this should be stated. All communications regarding grant applications should be addressed to the Administrator, or, in special circumstances, to the Chairman of the Trust's Scientific Advisory Committee.
The Committee carries out a stringent review of all applications before making its recommendations to the Trustees. Additional assessments are normally obtained from two or more independent expert referees. Comments by the Committee and independent reviewers are fed back to applicants, as appropriate.
No member of the Scientific Advisory Committee shall be in receipt of a current grant. If an application is received from a member of the Committee, that member is required to immediately resign, although reappointment is possible if the application is declined, or after any resulting grant has expired. If an application is received from elsewhere in a Committee member's institution or university department, that member takes no part in reviewing the application.
The Institution, not the Trust, shall be the employer of any staff supported by a grant from the Trust. No such staff shall be offered a contract in connection with the grant work that extends beyond the agreed termination date of the grant. The Trust accepts no responsibility for claims under any employment legislation nor will it indemnify the Institution for any claim for which the Institution may be liable as an employer.
Any advertisement for staff to work on a project supported by the Trust shall include an appropriate acknowledgement to The EMF Biological Research Trust.
The Trust's approval is required before making an appointment at a level different from that authorized in the award letter. However, the Trust permits immediate implementation of nationally agreed pay awards (before and during the tenure of a grant); the total staff element of the grant will then be increased accordingly.
A 'profiled-payments' scheme is used. Before the start of a grant, the profile of expected expenditure will be estimated by the Trust. The grant will be activated on receipt by the Trust's Administrator of the starting certificate, endorsed by the Institution's Finance or Administrative Officer, giving the actual starting date for the grant - generally the date on which recurrent expenditure, such as staff costs, is first committed. After activation, quarterly payments will be made automatically (by bank transfer) according to the profile, subject to receipt of annual continuation certificates (by mid-May). These payments will be made within 30 days either side of the middle of March, June, September and December. For a project starting in the second half of a quarter, the first payment will be near the end of the first complete quarter.
The profile will be reviewed annually and adjustments made if significant discrepancies have arisen or seem likely to arise. Also, if the grant value or duration is changed significantly, a revised profile will be issued. The last payment on a grant will be withheld until a reconciliation of actual and estimated expenditure is agreed and a final report on the research obtained. Payment for items of equipment costing £1 000 or more will normally be made with the next convenient quarterly payment on receipt of a copy of the invoice and notification that the equipment has been delivered to the Institution.
Funds allocated specifically under the headings of staff, consumables, equipment and travel costs may not be interchanged without reference to the Trust.
The Trust accepts no responsibility for expenditure or liabilities arising out of the work other than those specifically covered by the grant.
Equipment purchased under a grant is provided for the research covered by that grant. Such equipment will normally become the property of the Institution. However, the Trust reserves the right to transfer items of equipment which cost £1000 or more if the Principal Investigator moves to continue the same or closely related Trust-funded research elsewhere or, when the grant comes to an end, if the equipment would be of benefit to other Trust-funded research. The Trust should be consulted about any intended use during the grant of major Trust-funded facilities or equipment by another department or institution. The Institution is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of the equipment purchased under a grant, though the grant application may include provision for necessary maintenance costs.
VAT and Import Duty
The Institution is expected to obtain, whenever possible, relief from payment of VAT on equipment and substances purchased under the grant, on the basis that the project is concerned with medical research. Relief from any duty otherwise payable on imported scientific instruments and apparatus should also be sought whenever appropriate.
Travel and Subsistence
The grant application should request sufficient funds for essential travel to conferences and other laboratories in the UK and for the research members of the project to attend a one-day annual Workshop. This Workshop is organized by the Trust and is normally held in January in London.
Applications for travel anywhere other than in the UK will be judged on their merits. Such an application should be submitted, with a justification statement and in sufficient time before the intended travel, to the Administrator.
The attention of the Trust must be drawn, in good time before either presentation or publication, to any results which appear to be suitable for commercial exploitation, whether patentable or not. The Trust reserves the right to pursue the commercial exploitation of Trust-funded research findings in association with the Institution. Principal Investigators would be expected to cooperate in this endeavour. In particular, no obligations to other bodies should be entered into on conditions incompatible or inconsistent with these requirements.
Publication of Results
In addition to a final report, which may take the form of one or more papers prepared for submission to a journal, the Principal Investigator is required to provide a written progress report for and arrange a presentation at each annual Workshop.
The Trust requires the Institution to use its best efforts to ensure that the results of research carried out under a Trust grant are disseminated through appropriate scientific channels. The prime responsibility for this rests with the Principal Investigator. The Trust should be sent copies of conference abstracts and papers intended for publication at the time of their submission to the organizers or journals. Such abstracts and papers shall acknowledge the support of the Trust.
If, in the course of research supported by the Trust, scientific fraud is suspected or alleged, it is the responsibility of the Institution to carry out an appropriate investigation. The Trust should be notified and kept informed of the progress of the investigation. At the outset, the Trust would not normally suspend the grant, but if adequate steps are not taken in the investigation, the Trust will suspend the grant. If fraud is proven, the Trust will terminate the grant immediately.
The award of a grant by the Trust is conditional on the Institution having a procedure for dealing with scientific fraud.
The Trust reserves the right for the Trustees or their representatives to visit an Institution receiving a grant from the Trust in order to discuss the administration and accounting of the grant.
The Institution shall hold the Trust and all its servants and agents indemnified against any loss, damage, costs and expense of any nature, whether direct or consequential, arising out of the research project.
If for any reason the objectives of the work are not, in the opinion of the Trustees, being achieved or in the event of a breach by the Institution of the conditions contained herein, the Trust shall have the right, with due notice, to terminate a grant on giving the Institution one full academic term's notice in writing. In such a case, the Trust will reimburse any expenditure properly and necessarily incurred under the grant up to the termination date.
In the event of a dispute between the Trust and an Institution which cannot be resolved by the two parties, the Trust would seek to appoint an Arbitrator acceptable to both parties.
The normal contact for liaison between the Trust and the Institution shall be between the Trust's Administrator and the Principal Investigator of the project.
Admin March 2011