External Grants

External grants are received from sponsors, such as national, regional and international agencies, industry, individuals and philanthropic organizations, to support academic research in certain specific fields. The Deanship of Research gathers information on such donations and disseminates it to Colleges and Research Centers, for circulation to researchers. In some cases the researcher may apply directly to the sponsor. However, the Deanship’s approval has to be obtained. 

 

  • Scientific Merit 
    Contribution of the project to extending the existing knowledge and anticipated benefits of such new knowledge.
  • Methodology
    Adequacy and efficiency of proposed research methodology for achieving the given objectives, and feasibility of implementation using existing facilities.
  • Investigators’ Track Record 
    Educational background, research experience, past achievements and productivity of the principal investigator and co-investigators.
  • Roles of Investigators
    Details of the individual contributions of investigators.
  • External Collaboration/Co-investigators 
    Commitment from external organizations to collaborate and contribute resources to the project.
  • Relevance to the Sultanate of Oman 
    Anticipated impact of the proposed work on issues of strategic importance to Oman or the Omani society.
  • Teamwork 
    Inter and intra-departmental collaboration, with the detailed role of each investigator.
  • Mentoring Young Researchers (Research Assistants) 
    Involvement of junior faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students and the job description of each research assistant.
  • Implementation Plan 
    The deliverables and timeframe.
  • Budget Justification
    Efficient use of existing University equipment and facilities.
  • New Equipment 
    Importance or long term value of new resources to be acquired.
  • Multidisciplinary Nature
    The project should be multidisciplinary and preferably should involve inter-college collaboration.
  • Strategic Objectives 
    The project should make an important contribution to the socio-economic development of the Sultanate.
  • The criteria will be set by the funding agency and formalized in a contract.
  • Research Agreement 
    A contract may be formalised in a Research Agreement.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement 
    If a non-disclosure agreement is needed, it should be signed prior to the commencement of the project.
  1. Proposals shall be submitted as per the requirements of the funding agency.
  2. The PI shall obtain the approval of the HoD/Director. By so doing, the HoD/Director confirms that investigator's time, departmental/centre space, and other necessary departmental/centre facilities are available to support the proposed activity.
  3. Proposals should be reviewed by the CRC/RCAC and endorsed by the Dean (if in a college),Director (if in a centre) and the Deanship of Research before being submitted to the external funding agency.
  4. The Dean of College, HoD/Director, ADPSR and the Deanship of Research shall be informed of approved proposals.
  5. Activity codes shall be assigned by the Deanship of Research to the approved proposals.
  6. Rejected proposals will be archived in the Research Mangement System (RMS). 

Budget Estimation

The PI shall identify which of the budget items listed below is applicable to the project. Normally, no additional funds are granted once the research proposal has been approved.

Capital Equipment

The following shall be considered when requesting capital equipment:

  1. In cases where the specified equipment is available at one of the colleges/research centres, the proposal shall justify the request for purchase of additional items.
  2. Capital equipment items acquired for consultancy services and other projects shall become the property of the University.
  3. The Deanship of Research shall enter the equipment into its inventory.
  4. The equipment shall be put under the responsibility of the department or research centre that initiated the project, including the responsibility for operation and maintenance.
  5. The home department shall make equipment available for loan to other research centres or departments, but may charge service fees for usage to cover the costs of maintenance and replacement. The cost will depend on the type of equipment, consumables needed for its operation and other service charges. The costs shall be covered by the research or consultancy funds.

Use of University Facilities

This is to compensate the department or research centre in charge of existing facilities and equipment for the cost of maintenance and replacement plus any expenses related to the use of the same.

Recurrent Items

This includes all items to be purchased or consumed specifically for the project, such as consumable materials and disposable instruments.

Computing costs

This includes specialised software and hardware purchases and online subscriptions to electronic databases.

Printing, Publications & IP Protection

This includes the costs of printing study reports, scientific books, time-limited journal subscriptions, protecting any generated IP, and getting research results published.

Insurance

This covers the cost of insuring personnel, equipment and other materials used for the project.

Miscellaneous

This includes items not belonging to any of the above cost categories.

Cost of Contracted Personnel. All contracted personnel costs shall be included upfront; this shall be the responsibility of the PI. The following shall be maintained throughout the duration of the project:

  1. Contracted personnel shall cover research assistants, post-doctoral fellows and other jobs required to provide support for the project.
  2. Availability of funds in the project.
  3. A contract agreement form shall be used for contracting any personnel.
  4. If a non-Omani staff member needs to be contracted, the appropriate form shall give reasons for not hiring an Omani.
  5. SQU students will be given priority when employing research assistants.
  6. University non-academic staff and/or students may also be contracted for specific tasks on an ad hoc basis.
  7. Personnel employment shall be in one of the following categories:

a. Full time: shall work not less than seven (7) hrs/day and will be paid a monthly-fixed lump sum amount

b. Part time: shall work defined hrs/day, or days/week, but less than full time and be paid a monthly-fixed lump sum amount.

c. On-Request: shall work upon the request of the PI; unspecified hrs/day, or days /week. On-request research assistants can be contracted to do specific tasks and paid after performing the task.

  1. For expatriates, the contract shall specify clearly whether the employee shall be granted housing, medical care, children’s school expenses or any other benefits.
  2. Contracted personnel shall be granted access to University facilities as appropriate.
  3. Contracted personnel shall complete departure clearance procedures before final departure.

Student Training

Scholarships should be an important component of research grants and consultancies.

Training and Research Visits

Approval of such training and/or research visits shall be subject to the following:

  1. Investigators may apply for funds in the project budget to travel or acquire training related to their project.
  2. Travel expenses shall cover costs of transportation, registration, subsistence and per diem allowances.
  3. Conference attendance shall not be included while budgeting for internal grant projects; instead this shall be obtained from the central conference budget.

Consultants

Typically, consultants and visiting researchers are needed for scientific advice, improved implementation of research, and technology transfer. The following conditions shall be maintained in hiring a consultant for a research project:

  1. The proposal shall clearly indicate the consulting period.
  2. Description of the consultant’s task shall be outlined in the proposal.
  3. The allowable consultancy visit shall normally be one week.
  4. Consultant and/or visiting researcher’s travel expenses (airfare and per diem) shall be covered by the project.

External Co-investigators/Collaborators

It is recommended that new proposals seek external collaborators, where appropriate. When visiting SQU, such co-investigators/collaborators shall:

  1. Be entitled to 50% of the allowance paid to a consultant.
  2. Duration of stay per visit will be determined by the needs of the project execution.

Contract Work

  1. Contracted work for any company or personnel shall be signed for using appropriate forms.
  2. All contracting procedures and processes shall be in accordance with SQU rules and regulations.
  3. The Deanship of Research shall obtain legal advice for any contract terms and conditions

Research Project Construction

  1. Any construction made within the University’s vicinity for a research project shall be in accordance with the University construction specifications and standards.
  2. Approval of the Technical Affairs Department shall be obtained for any research project construction within the University.
  3. All project construction shall be the University property once the project is completed.

Budget Reallocation

The following shall be implemented for IG, EG, JG and HMTF only for reallocation applications:

  1. The PI may apply to reallocate fund distribution from one item to another within a research project.
  2. Reallocation requests are made to the Deanship of Research and, where applicable, the sponsor.

Petty Cash

  1. Research projects shall be granted a lump sum amount at the start of the financial year for use as petty cash to meet urgent research requirements.
  2. Each year the DVCPSR shall determine the amount allocated to each research project and specifies an upper limit on the cost of a single purchase.
  3. The PI shall be responsible for petty cash expenditures and may obtain cash advances with the approval of the ADPSR, providing receipts for all purchases made under the project.
  4. Periodically, the Deanship of Research shall reconcile against the petty cash expenses, by debiting the amounts spent from the respective research project accounts, and then reimbursing the same amounts to the petty cash account.
  5. At the end of the financial year any remaining petty cash shall be returned to the Deanship of Research under the project budget.

Principal investigators shall submit final reports for all funded research projects and consultancies. For multiyear projects, the release of the next year budget requires the approval of the progress report for the previous year. The procedure for the processing and approval of progress reports as well as final reports are summarized below.

Progress Report

  1. Progress reports are due annually or as specified in the contract with the funding agency.
  2. Progress reports shall be in the format outlined on the Progress Report forms set by the Deanship of Research. Other formats may be agreed on with the funding agency. In the reports, the PIs shall clearly state, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Achievements over the previous year with respect to the stated goals and milestones.

b. How the execution conforms to the proposed schedule.

c. Deviations from original objectives and execution plan.

d. Any difficulties and challenges encountered.

e. Expenditure as per the approved budget.

    Final Reports

    1. Upon completion of a project, the PI shall submit a detailed final report using the Final Report form or any other format agreed on with the funding agency.
    2. In the Final report, the PI shall state, but not be limited to, the following:

    a. Project achievements against the approved goals.

    b. Deviations from approved objectives.

    c. Problems encountered during the project execution.

    d. Publications, and /or intellectual property resulting from the project.

    e.External support and collaboration.

    f. Actual versus planned expenditure.

    1. A soft as well as a hard copy shall be submitted to the CRC/RCAC, which shall evaluate the report and submit its recommendation to the Deanship of Research.
    2. The Deanship of Research shall submit a summary of final reports to the DVCPSR to take appropriate action.
    3. The DVCPSR may devise a different procedure for the evaluation of final reports.
    4. For external grants, the Research Council grants or consultancy requests, the PI shall abide by the contract with the funding agencies and submit an appropriate copy of the final report to the Deanship of Research through the ADPSR/Director, while honouring any confidentiality agreement.
    5. Failure to submit a final report may exclude the PI research from funding opportunities in the future.