The Society’s research framework provides a robust process for procuring research. In all cases, this involves receipt of an application or proposal, appraisal of the application by the Research Committee, recommendation by the Committee to the Society’s Board of Trustee/Directors, approval/refusal of the application by the Board, payment of funds, and progress and final reporting.
The components of the research framework should be considered when applying for research funding. They are as follows:
Application form – All applications for research funding, whether for a grant must be made on the Society’s application form. Applications made on anything other than the application form will not be considered.
Applications will be favoured that clearly specify the research question/hypothesis, convince the committee that the methods and approach will achieve this, and lead to results that can be disseminated to academic, policy and practitioner audiences.
Research Committee – The Committee is the primary vehicle through which all advice on research funding will be made available. The Committee comprises three Trustee Directors, and the Honorary Scientific Advisor, supported by the Honorary Veterinary Advisor and a group of independent peer reviewers, all of whom are researchers with established reputations in their own field of specialism.
Peer-review and Decision process – Applications must be submitted to the General Manager at BDS Fordingbridge Office who will forward them to the Research Committee. Trustee Directors on the Committee will appraise proposals against Society priorities and objectives. The Scientific Advisor, supported by selected reviewers, will appraise proposals for scientific quality and novelty. The Scientific Advisor will then make a recommendation to the Board, underpinned by these reviews, which will be to a) accept proposal as is, b) accept proposal subject to minor changes, c) reconsider following major changes, or d) decline to fund. Comments made during the review process will be made available to the applicants to support further development of the proposal if required. The Board will make its decision and Fordingbridge Office will communicate this to the applicant.
If a proposal is rejected after the initial appraisal, the applicant will have a single opportunity to appeal this decision within one month. The applicant should submit a revised proposal along with a letter describing how the comments of the Committee or reviewers have been addressed and/or, if appropriate, outline why they believe any comments to be incorrect, and state their case as to why the application should be supported.
Revised proposals and letters will be sent via the General Manager to the Research Committee for final appraisal or a second round of peer review before a final recommendation is made to the Board. Any decision taken by the Board will be final. In the event of a decision not to make an award, no further opportunity of appeal will be offered.
Award of contract and payment - Following a decision to make an award, the Society will write to the successful applicant stating the terms and conditions and describing of the award value and the schedule of payment. This, and the accepted proposal, will form the contract for commissioned research and grants, and hence must be signed by the Society and the applicant.
The applicant should invoice the Society for the agreed amount at least 31 days before the payment date stated in the payment schedule. Payment will normally be made once per year unless agreed otherwise in writing.
Monitoring progress – Projects supported by BDS should be monitored so that any issues or changes in conditions can be communicated and, if necessary, remedies negotiated. Grant holders should submit a written interim report to the Fordingbridge Office for dissemination to the Research Committee and publication in the BDS Annual Review half-way through the research for small grants, and at 12-month intervals for support grants and student support grants. Progress will be assessed by the Research Committee against the aims, objectives and milestones stated in the research proposal. The Research Committee will send the interim report to the Board accompanied by a brief statement as to whether they believe the report demonstrates satisfactory progress or not. Where progress is judged unsatisfactory, the grant holder will be required to explain why and to propose a way forward. Negotiation will be between the grant holder and the Research Committee in the first instance, with a final decision made by the Society’s Chairman. Where agreement cannot be reached, funding will cease immediately, and unspent funds must be returned to the Society.
Outputs and conditions of awards – Since the main objective of the research strategy is to focus the Society’s support on scientifically robust research, the primary vehicles for dissemination of results are publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presentation at reputable conferences. The Society requests sight of papers in advance of submission to a journal, so that the Board can appraise any potential consequences of publication in advance and, if necessary, seek resolution with the author. However, it would not seek to veto them without extremely good reason.
Applicants are required to submit a summary of their results, written in layman’s terms, for publication in the Society’s journal DEER, within one month of publication online by the appropriate scientific journal. The author is responsible for ensuring that copyright is not infringed. If submission for publication in a scientific journal is not anticipated, the applicant must state their reasons to the Research Committee, to their satisfaction, and submit at least one summary article for publication in DEER within one year of the end of the research.
Presentation of results to the BDS and local BDS Branch is also encouraged.