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AHRC Technical Plan Checklist
A Technical Plan is required by AHRC for all grant applications where digital outputs or digital
technologies are an essential part of the planned research outcomes. This Checklist will help you:
Decide if you need to complete a Technical Plan;
Understand what is required by AHRC and what information you will need to provide in your
Identify who you will need to deliver and provide input into your Plan.
The Checklist should be used at an early stage in proposal development as a basis for discussion with
your Research Development Manager and/or the Research Data Manager, who can help you identify
your technical requirements and develop a full Technical Plan if this is required.
If you are experienced in preparing Technical Plans for AHRC applications, you can skip this Checklist
and begin drafting the full plan.
References and contact
Technical Plans must be completed with reference to the AHRC Technical Plan guidance:
For those drafting a full Technical Plan, an AHRC Technical Plan Guidance document is available for
download from
Examples of completed Technical Plans and guidance from an AHRC technical reviewer can be found at
Contact: Robert Darby, Research Data Manager: [email protected] / 6161
1. Will digital outputs or digital technologies be an essential part of the planned
research outcomes?
Yes: A Technical Plan is required.
No: a Technical Plan is not required.
‘A digital output or digital technology is defined as an activity which involves the creation, gathering,
collecting and/or processing of digital information. […] digital technologies do not include conventional
software such as word processing packages and ICT activities such as email’ (AHRC guidance).
You will need to submit a Technical Plan if your research involves the systematic digital collection,
processing or transformation of information. This might involve:
Collecting or generating primary data by experimentation, observation, modelling, interview,
audio/video recording or other methods, or by the processing of existing data sources;
Converting materials into new media or formats, e.g. digitising a collection of texts or artefacts
for online publication;
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Processing digital materials to enable their representation, analysis, interrogation or use, e.g.
encoding texts in XML as part of an online collection; or creating a relational database to
organise a collection of data.
You do NOT need to submit a Technical Plan if:
Your only project outputs will be formally-published items: articles, monographs, policy
documents, etc.;
Your only proposed digital output or technology will consist of web pages containing
information about the project (as opposed to data produced by the project).
2. What digital outputs or digital technologies will the project produce?
Identify each output briefly. Where possible add any information about its purpose/functionality,
content, key technical characteristics, and size/quantity, for example:
Interviews with key stakeholders. To provide working material for research outputs and to
support project engagement through website. Video recordings, excerpts to be made available
via project website, and text transcriptions to be archived. 20-30 interviews lasting 10-15
minutes each.
Interactive digital reconstruction of Glastonbury Abbey. To be made available as an on-site
digital visitor resource and component files to be archived. Video, photographic images and 3D
software visualisations. Expected total size based on a comparator project 10 GB approx.
Some approximate idea of data volume will be useful if you expect to generate or require storage for a
significant amount of data, e.g. more than 5 GB.
3. Will you need any hardware or software which is additional or exceptional to
conventional desk-based research and institutional provision?
Identify all special hardware and software you will need and indicate if you are aware of any costs that
will be incurred for their procurement or use by the project.
4. Who will be responsible for delivery of your outputs?
For each of your outputs, identify named individuals and organisations if possible who will be
responsible for their delivery. For identified individuals/contractors, give an assessment of their
relevant experience/qualification to deliver the output, especially if it is technically complex or
If individuals have not yet been appointed, or if you have yet to source contractors who will deliver
parts of your project, make a note of this.
Indicate where costs will be incurred by the project to procure or use technical expertise/services, and
give an estimation of likely costs if possible.
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5. How will you ensure continued access and use of your digital outputs?
If outputs will be made available via a project or organisation website, have you considered
maintenance of continued access beyond the end of the project? Will there be any costs involved for
this? AHRC normally expects access to digital outputs to be maintained for a minimum of three years
after the end of the project. If continued access has been discussed or planned, please indicate this.
6. How will you preserve your outputs in the long term?
AHRC expects digital outputs to be preserved for a minimum of three years after the end of the
project. As distinct from maintaining access and use of outputs, preservation is concerned with longterm viability of materials. For example, access to and use of a digital collection may be provided
through a website, whereas preservation of the digital materials will be provided through an archive
service, which will store all files and documentation and enable reconstruction of the online resource
should the original website become unavailable.
Primary materials should be preserved using a data service or repository. There are various data
services/repositories available, which may more or less suitable depending on the subject area of the
research and the nature of the materials to be preserved. Use of some services may incur costs.
University members also have the option of using the University of Reading Research Data Archive
(information here:, which will preserve and enable
access to data in the long-term (10 years minimum). Up to 1 TB can be deposited in the Archive at no
cost to a project.
For more information about options for preservation of digital materials see
7. Are there any other resources you will need to deliver your digital outputs?
Include anything that has not been mentioned above, and any indication of likely cost requirements.
8. Will producing your digital outputs give rise to any copyright, intellectual property
and ethical issues?
If so, what steps have you take/will you take to address these?
For example:
If you are planning to produce and distribute digital copies of copyright materials, have you
sought agreement in principle to do this from the copyright-holder(s) and have you obtained a
realistic estimate of the costs you will incur to secure the necessary permissions/licences?
If you are planning to collect data from participants, e.g. through interviews or a survey: have
you planned to manage the data in compliance with the Data Protection Act? will you use
appropriate information and consent procedures to ensure you have permission to share
resulting data? and are you confident that data can be effectively anonymised to protect
participant confidentiality?
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