These are standard costing guidelines, please check the funding opportunity text on the funding finder for any opportunity specific guidelines.
All research grants and fellowship applications are costed on the basis of full economic costs (fEC). If a grant is awarded, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) provides funding based on 80% of fEC. The organisation must agree to fund the balance of fEC for the project from other resources.
Universities and other eligible research organisations will use the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology to calculate full economic costs. This methodology has been validated by a quality assurance programme and is subject to ongoing review through arrangements put in place by UKRI. Other research organisations can apply for full economic costs provided that the methodology they adopt has been validated by UKRI as appropriate and robust. A questionnaire has been designed to determine this. Research council institutes eligible to apply to Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for research grants and fellowships will use a fEC methodology validated by their parent research council.
Organisations can opt to use a default rate for indirect costs, as an alternative to applying a comprehensive fEC methodology. Special dispensation estates and indirect costs can be used where an institution’s research volumes are low. Universities and other research organisations need to obtain dispensation from full operation of TRAC to use this approach. Other research organisations must indicate a wish to adopt default rates when they next seek to submit a research application. Default rates are published periodically by Research England, a part of UKRI, and are based on averages of actual rates in use in the university sector. Non-universities must decide for themselves whether these default rates are applicable to their circumstances.
All costs that contribute to the full economic costs of a project may be included in fEC. There are, however, some costs that do not form part of the fEC of a project or are required to be charged in a specific way. These include:
- redundancy costs for research staff. Provision for redundancy costs should be made in the gross Cost of Capital Employed (COCE), which is a charge within indirect costs
- the costs of parental and sick leave for investigators, together with other employment-related costs. These are not chargeable to UKRI (except where the investigator is also a research fellow or a research assistant funded from the grant)
- depreciation on UKRI-funded equipment. This must not be included in estates costs or charge out rates for use of equipment or facilities. TRAC provides guidance on how to deal with this
- academic time preparing research proposals and time spent on dissemination after a grant has ended. These should be charged to ‘research support’ – an item within indirect costs
- publication costs associated with peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers. These should not be included in grants as they are funded by UKRI article processing charge (APC) publication funding
- applications. These should be made at current (year one) prices, inclusive of VAT and other taxes, where applicable, with no allowance for inflation. Grants that are awarded will include a sum to take account of inflation and future pay awards over the duration of the grant
- carbon offsets. These are not considered to be a direct research cost and will not therefore be funded on grants
- general career development training costs. These are not considered to be a cost arising as a direct result of the grant activity, and are therefore not eligible to be charged as directly incurred to a grant. UKRI will however permit costs for specific training requirements that arise directly from the needs of the grant, such as specialist training. General training such as project management would not be an eligible cost to charge as directly incurred, however these costs can be covered using indirect funds.
Last updated: 26 September 2022