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Managing Your Research Project

Managing Your Research Project

The lead Principal Investigator (PI)  must follow the 5-steps listed below to enable the project to be formally set up as a TU Dublin funded project:

Step 1 - Update the Research Information Management System (PURE).

Step 2 - Accept the Research Grant and include approved agreements and contracts as required.

Step 3 - Work through the Research and Integrity the online self-assessment process to determine whether full ethical approval is required at this stage or later.

Step 4 – Recruit a researcher - Work with HR (if recruiting a research assistant, postdoctoral or research fellow) or the Graduate Research School (if recruiting a PhD or Masters student) and follow their recruitment policies and procedures.

Step 5 – Ensure that the budget has been set up with Research Finance.

 

The Post Award Office provide support to Principal Investigators who have been awarded funding to lead a research project or programme of research to set up their project. Find out more at Post Award Supports & Services

An internal kick-off meeting can take place as soon as a grant award has been offered and the contract has been signed. The main aim is to support the PI and team to navigate TU Dublin processes and procedures during project set-up. The meeting is arranged by the Post Award Office and includes case managers from Research Finance, Post Award, HR and TU Dublin Innovation to help the PI through this period.

Topics for consideration at kick-off meetings include:

  • Meeting funder requirements
  • Budget management
  • Financial reporting
  • Recruitment

To arrange a project kick-off meeting, email postaward@tudublin.ie 

Good research data management practices ensure research integrity and instil confidence in the outputs of a research project. It ensures research data and records are accurate, complete, authentic, and reliable. Where steps are put in place at the start of a project to collect, collate and store data in a planned way, it means that researchers can access better at a later stage when they seek to  disseminate their findings, enhance data security processes, and minimise the risk of data loss.

TU Dublin Library Services resources and the Open Research Support Unit have a wealth of resources and best practice guidance for researchers related to research data management. 

TU Dublin Library Services Research Data Management Dublin resources include guidelines on:

  • making data more FindableAccessibleInteroperableand Reusable
  • storage of data stored in spreadsheets and databases (Tidy Data)
  • incorporating EDI principles into research data management, to avoid biases, and generate more robust and inclusive research outcomes that better reflect the needs and perspectives of diverse communities
  • locating and using existing datasets which can expedite research processes, reduce costs, and enable researchers to focus on analysis and interpretation rather than data collection.

The Open Research Services Unit within the Research Support Services ORSU Research Support Services provides support and resources on

  • Open data
  • Data management planning with associated templates
  • How to create metadata

This is all part of the university’s commitment to prepare its researchers to make their findings and data publicly and feely available, as set out in the TU Dublin Open Access Policy https://arrow.tudublin.ie/open_access_policy.pdf

There is a delicate balance between operating in an Open Research Environment on the one hand and our responsibilities with respect to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The privacy rights of participants who contribute to a research study is crucial for maintaining ethical standards in an open research framework. 

TU Dublin Library Services provides researchers with the most up to date advice and guidance on adopting and developing a robust data de-identification strategy to safeguard the privacy of individuals involved in a research study.

TU Dublin is committed to principles of open research as indicated in its Open Access Policy here whilst also recognising that restrictions are necessary for commercial research findings. It seeks to make its research outputs, data, protocols, laboratory notes and other research processes freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.

Open Research Methods are those which are made available to other researchers, usually from the start of a project. Methods can take many forms depending on the field and approach, including study designs, protocols, code, materials and reagents, databases, and more.

Detailing these methodologies facilitates research integrity and reuse and provides a contextualised understanding of the work. Open-source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development. Open methodologies have the potential for adaptation and reuse in different contexts and for that reason articles on methodologies tend to attract more readers and citations for a longer period.

View more from the ORSU: Open Research Support Unit.

Day to day project management of budgets and deliverables are the responsibility of the lead Principal Investigator. This includes the management of the project within the terms and conditions of funding, adherence to reporting requirements and timely communication of significant project changes. Expenditure should be charged directly to the project for which purchase is intended and must be in line with the awarded budget, must be in accordance with the funder’s terms and conditions and should only be incurred between the actual start and end date of the project.

The good news is that the Post-Award Office  is there to help. You will already have completed a RIS registration at the time of application so some of the details about your proposal will already be there. Your successful research project will be set up with its own code on the finance software platform and you will be shown how to navigate the procurement and ordering systems of the university, and the policies and procedures around conference registration and travel to present research findings where such activity is covered by the terms and conditions of the funding award.

During the project you will need to submit regular technical and financial reports according to the funder's terms and conditions. Research Finance will provide the information about your expenditure on request. Only verified expenditure can be claimed so if you do not spend all the grant by the end of the project you will not be able to claim it.

Please contact postaward@tudublin.ie for specific details that apply to your funded project and for the contact details for the relevant Research Finance team member.

You can also access information on the Research Portal for staff TU Dublin Intranet.

For information about fee payment processes for research degree programmes, whether they are covered by a funding scholarship or not, go to the Graduate Research School section of the website or email the Graduate Research School team at phd@tudublin.ie

Ongoing monitoring and review of ALL research degree student projects is required to ensure that research students are making satisfactory progress and are receiving appropriate levels of supervision, training, and support.

Having good monitoring procedures in place has a direct positive influence on student submission rates. These are set out clearly in the Graduate Research Regulations  and more information is available from Graduate Research School  

Many funding agencies require annual, periodic, and final technical/scholarly and financial reports on the activity of a funded project. Reporting frequency is usually defined in the Letter of Award or Grant Agreement which is signed prior to the project start date. On-going reporting to the funding agency is used to monitor the progress of the award against the research programme. This includes work packages, milestones and deliverables, and the overall objectives of the funding call under which the award was made. The funding agency usually provides templates for their periodic reports. Interim financial reports/statements to the funding agency are used to monitor the project spend against the project budget.

The Principal Investigator should work with Research Support Services   to report, where required, to the funding agencies on progress and how the funds have been used as required. It is a good practice to review reporting requirements ahead of applying for a funding opportunity and make sure all necessary resources are in place for financial and scientific reporting before the project starts. 

Reporting requirements vary in frequency, format. Principal Investigators (PIs) should take responsibility for understanding the reporting requirements of their particular funder and seek the assistance of Research Support Services to ensure they are clear on when and how monitoring and reporting on funded projects is required.

During a research project significant amounts and types of data are collected which will require storage for a period following project completion, to support either follow-on projects or for use as supplementary data for publication. Secure storage of data is important, and data should be stored in accordance with the university policies and procedures.

Data archiving involves the systematic and secure storage of research data for long-term preservation. It is generally done at the end of the project and involves a transfer of all data and related materials to a suitable archiving facility. 

At present TU Dublin does not offer a data archiving service, but the Open Research Support Unit | TU Dublin can provide advice on suitable archives on request. 

Research projects have a defined term. For research degree projects the end of a project requires the submission of a thesis for examination. Details about thesis submission and examinations are set out in the Graduate Research Regulations available from the Graduate Research School

When a funded research award finishes, several steps need to be taken to close the budget, and note the project completion on the research records and management systems. Funders usually provide details of the information they require and where to submit a final report in their documents on the websites. The Post-Award Office Team are there to and provide information on processes to follow, along with Research finance, once the project has concluded. They will contact the lead research PI as the project is nearing its end date to check the final finances and ensure all documentation is correct.

The project end date marks the termination of access to research funds and the eligibility for incurring expenses. It is crucial for researchers to ensure that all transactions have been posted to the project code before the end date to facilitate timely processing within the funding period.

Many funders require a final report to be submitted at the end of a project, detailing the outputs, progress, and outcomes of the research. PIs may also be required to submit a final expenditure report.

Some funders organise an external audit to be carried out on your project, others will send their own team into TU Dublin to carry out the audit. Research Finance will provide the lead research PI with information about this procedure where an audit is required.

When your project ends, you might be looking for new opportunities to further your research and secure new funding. Please reach out to Pre-Award Team in Research Support  to discuss any options or ideas you have for new funding opportunities and future projects.