Application Development Service (ADS)

What is the Application Development Service (ADS)? A service run by Arts Lab, in collaboration with the College Research Office, that assists academics from an early stage in preparing and drafting grant applications.

Why should I use ADS? Given the competitive climate of research funding in the UK, the College of Arts & Humanities is looking to give our grant applications an edge. ADS gives you the chance to have successful Principal Investigators (PIs) review and provide feedback on your draft. Their experiences are invaluable in helping colleagues strengthen applications.  

How does ADS work?

Step 1: Deciding on your application

  • You will have an initial discussion of your project idea with your School Research Convenor and/or the College Research Office. The Research Office can advise you on appropriate funding schemes, and on questions of eligibility.
  • We also recommend that you attend any workshops run by Arts Lab that relate to the type of grant or the funder you're interested in.

Step 2: Getting feedback at an early stage in the grant process

  • Once you have an initial draft of the application, you should send it to For UKRI grants (that is, those offered by Research Councils such as AHRC or ESRC), submit a draft ‘Case for Support’, headed by the project title. You may wish to submit also the 'Summary' and/or the 'Aims and Objectives' texts that will be needed for the J-eS form, since these can help reviewers to understand right away what your project is about.
  • For all other research grants, a draft application, including the main text sections that are required by the funder, should be submitted.
  • It is important to emphasise that these need only be initial drafts so that we can see how you envisage the project working.

Step 3: Timeline and Process

  • If you submit a draft for a scheme with rolling deadlines, such as a UKRI award or a major project with another funder, it will be sent for written comment by two reviewers from our pool of successful PIs. Their comments will be sent to you and Arts Lab within three weeks, and you'll be asked to contact the Director or Deputy Director of Arts Lab to arrange a meeting to discuss the feedback and decide on the next steps.
  • If the application is for a smaller award (e.g. RSE), or for a call with a fixed deadline, your draft will be sent to the Director or Deputy Director of Arts Lab and to a member of the Research Office team, and they will provide feedback in writing or via a meeting.
  • Following the discussion, you'll be invited to email the ADS service, cc'ing the Director/Deputy Director, and summarising the agreed next steps.
  • Please note that applications often need to go through the ADS process more than once, and this may involve a significant amount of redrafting. This is perfectly normal, and happens with many of our applications that are ultimately successful.

Step 4: What next?

  • Once the Arts Lab directors have approved the application, you will work with your allocated member of the Research Office team on the financial and HR aspects. An overview of this process is provided in our Application Steps chart.