Copywriting Portfolio: Editing an Accountancy Handbook for the DTI


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK Government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences.

EPSRC invests around £500 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering. The organisation aims to meet the needs of industry and society by working in partnership with universities to invest in people and scientific discovery and innovation. The knowledge and expertise gained maintains a technological leading edge, builds a strong economy and improves people's quality of life.

The organisation's work is complementary to various research investors including other research councils, government agencies, industry and the European Union.

A key factor in the success of ESPRC is the organisation's ability to access and distribute Government funds to appropriate research projects. Being a Goverment body the EPSRC has to abide by the DTI's complex accountancy procedures.

The DTI and EPSRC needed experienced help to edit a new Accountancy Handbook that lays down the procedural guidelines for EPSRC to determine how to allocate funds and make sure the finances are fully accountable. The DTI made an initial, lengthy draft of the guidelines and the task was to make it more concise and easier to read for people new to the recently updated procedures.

The copyediting job required the content to be reduced by a third and in a hurry. With a large number of Goverment officials required to vet the text, revisions were inevitable so it was important to be accurate, fast and aware that changes in one section of the handbook could have profound implications for text revisions elsewhere.

In total the project took about a month to complete during the Xmas period and was a testament to the abilities of email because at no point did we meet any of the DTI or ESPRC personnel face to face.

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