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Joint Research Management Office

Flexible Research Funds (FRFs)

What are Flexible Research Funds?

Managed by the Faculty Finance Partners, Flexible Research Funds (FRFs) are designed to provide flexible funding to research leaders, enabling them to support the running of their research group and to meet costs which cannot be met from ongoing grants (e.g. travelling to collaborators, purchasing new items of equipment, undertaking speculative research).

The scheme recognises and rewards researchers who bring overhead-bearing research funding to the institution. When an overhead-bearing grant is secured, an allocation equal to 20% of the overhead earned is returned to the FRF account(s) of the investigators on the grant. FRF allocations will be based on the forecast research overhead spend for the financial year (1 August – 31 July).

What can I spend my FRF on?

FRFs can be spent on any activity permitted by the university regulations (e.g. studentships, conferences, equipment, books, contributions to leverage bids for internal support. It is not permitted to use FRF on buyout.

Can I use my FRF to contribute matched funding towards grant applications or applications for funds?

Yes, please do! If you are using your FRF to support a grant application, we recommend that this is referred to as “a cash contribution to be used flexibly as the project develops.”

If you are applying for an internal allocation of Research Capital Infrastructure Funding (RCIF) you will need to contribute a minimum of £10k from your FRF towards the bid.

How is FRF split between investigators?

The FRF allocation is split between investigators following the split of income recorded on Worktribe.

Can I have multiple FRF codes?

Yes, you will receive one FRF code per overhead-bearing grant.

What triggers the creation of a FRF account?

FRF set-up is triggered by the first spend on a grant. This also supports our aim to increase the pace of spend on our grant income.

When can I expect to receive updates on my FRF codes?

The Finance team will send you a report on your FRF code(s) each month.

When do I need to spend my FRF income?

FRF income must be spent within the same financial year (by 31 July) and nothing can be rolled over. If you receive an FRF allocation for a grant after 31 April in a financial year, you can choose to delay the start of that FRF code until the next financial year to give you sufficient time to spend the money. This should be discussed with your finance partner (see below).

Can I pool my FRF with other researchers, e.g. if we want to buy a large piece of equipment?

There is no formal mechanism to pool FRFs, but you may choose to agree with your colleagues to put your funds together to support larger items. Researchers have discretion on how to spend their FRFs.

Which team manages FRFs?

FRF codes and reports are generated by Faculty finance team. Please contact your Faculty Finance Partner with any questions:

FMD – Richard Stenning (

S&E – Michael Tutt (

HSS – Hannah Drinkwater (

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