Key steps for submitting a grant proposal to the UK Research Councils (RCUK)

Mendeley Blog

Writing a good funding application is both a science and an art.

by Seema Sharma

In this post, we will guide you through key steps for grant submission to one of the UK Research Councils (RCUK). RCUK is made up of seven individual grant bodies that have some shared core principles, alongside differing council-specific criteria for applications that need to be followed closely. We’ll be using the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as an example.

Each year the UK Research Councils invest around £3 billion of public money in research and associated training in the UK, covering the complete range of academic disciplines. An essential function of the Research Councils is to demonstrate the economic, societal and cultural impact of the research it funds. As a result, your application needs to go beyond stating the academic advances you will make and how this translates to progress in your…

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Custom citation style for Mendeley

The Zotero Style Repository has a total of 8405 citations styles (so far!), 1444 in medicine and 659 in biology, that is a lot! It can be difficult to find just the right citation style to use for writing your thesis.

Fortunately, Mendeley provides a Visual CSL Editor to make custom citation styles. In our department we usually use a variation of the Harvard format (author-date):

Inline citations:

  • This style is designed for long manuscripts, hence the use of a (author-date) referencing style to avoid going all the way to the references section to find out which reference is which.
  • A minimum of three authors is required to generate “et al.“.
  • I used the symbol “&” instead of “and” or “et” to avoid changing styles when writing in English or in French (or any other language for that matter).
  • Authors names are separated from the year by a “,”
  • The delimiter between inline citations is “;”.


  • Single citation: (Accadia et al., 2012)
  • Merged citations: (Ahlquist & Breunig, 2009; Dunnett & Kingsbury, 2008)


  • The style  generate “et al.” if the number of authors exceeds 6.
  • The year comes right after the authors’ names instead of leaving to the end of the reference (the reason behind this is to avoid confusion when you have successive references of the same author.
  • Journal names are abbreviated and italicized.
  • Included the edition number for books as an option (Ed. X).
  • Book chapters are generated as: Author (Year). “Chapter’s title” Book title (editors names). City: Publisher.


  • Journal article: Accadia T, Acernese F, Alshourbagy M, Amico P, Antonucci F, Aoudia S, et al. (2012).Virgo: a laser interferometer to detect gravitational waves. J Instrum 7(03):P03012–P03012.
  • Book: Dunnett N & Kingsbury N (2008). Planting green roofs and living walls. Ed. 2. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
  • Book chapter: Mares I (2001). “Firms and the welfare state: When, why, and how does social policy matter to employers?” Varieties of capitalism. The institutional foundations of comparative advantage (eds.Peter A Hall, David Soskice). New York: Oxford University Press.

The style is available on Mendeley’s CSL repository and can be used with Mendeley, Zotero and other apps supporting CSL.

Nutritionist vs. Dietitian, who should be called what?

There is still an ongoing debate about who should be called a “nutritionist” and who should not, and the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian. Clearly, some countries (North America and the UK) have been struggling with the number of unqualified people giving advice about health and nutrition under the claim that they were qualified nutritionists, some organisations even make it ironically easy to pass for a nutritionist, as demonstrated by Ben Goldacre in his TED talk.Read More »

La consommation chronique des édulcorants et le risque d’obésité abdominale

Les édulcorants sont des produits d’origine naturelle ou synthétique ayant un goût sucré et qui servent de substituts au saccharose. Les édulcorants ont souvent un apport calorique largement inférieur à celui du sucre, d’où l’intérêt de leur utilisation dans la fabrication des produits dits “light” et des produits destinés aux diabétiques. D’ailleurs, l’utilisation des édulcorants à faible teneur en calories (EFTC) a longtemps été recommandée comme stratégie diététique pour réduire l’apport énergétique pour la gestion du gain pondéral et du diabète.Read More »

Le sel et les sucres dans les céréales de petit-déjeuner

Un nouveau sondage sur la composition des céréales de petit déjeuner a été mené par l’Action Mondiale sur le Sel et la Santé (WASH). Le sondage a révélé de grandes différences dans les teneurs de sodium et de sucre dans les céréales de la même marque dans le monde. Par exemple, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks avait 55,6 grammes (g) de sucre par 100 g aux États-Unis, mais le même produit contenait seulement 43 g dans plusieurs autres pays. Et Nestlé Nesquik contenait 1.47 g de sel par 100 g au Canada, alors qu’il n’en contenait que 0.5 g par 100 g dans d’autres pays.Read More »

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.

Guide to questionnaire design

No survey can achieve success without a well-designed questionnaire. Unfortunately, questionnaire design has no theoretical base to guide the marketing researcher in developing a flawless questionnaire. All the researcher has to guide him/her is a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts born out of the experience of other researchers past and present. Hence, questionnaire design […]