3. Costs we fund - MRC


3.3 Overseas costs

The costs for work undertaken at an international organisation are admissible and should be discussed with the programme manager before submission of the application. This excludes MRC international units who should follow the guidance in section 3.9. Similarly, applications submitted to funding opportunities inviting international researchers’ participation are not required to do this.

Investigators at international organisations are generally not eligible to receive indirect and estates costs. However, where the research is being undertaken in a developing country, MRC may contribute towards indirect and estates costs at its discretion if it will assist in developing research capacity. Applicants should seek guidance from the MRC programme manager in advance of submitting the application.

Costs attributed to international co-investigators (CoIs) from developed countries (those not on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients), India or China must not exceed 30% of the full economic cost grant value. There is no cap on eligible funds going to international CoIs from Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list countries.

More than one international CoI may be included on the proposal as long as the combined funding requested for international CoIs does not exceed the caps stated.

100% of the direct costs will be paid to the international CoI for both DAC list and developed countries. However, a greater justification for inclusion of costs for international CoIs in developed countries will be required.

Where allowed, indirect and estates costs associated with international locally employed staff should be included as exceptions. Although MRC will not question the indirect costs and estates costs rates declared by international research organisations, the full cost of the proposed research (including indirect and estates costs) will be taken into account in any assessment of value for money.

To enable UK Research and Innovation to meet reporting requirements, all international costs to be incurred by non-UK organisations (except non-UK CoI and non-UK researcher salary costs) must be entered as other directly incurred costs and marked as an exception using the following format.

In the description box you should enter organisation, country, cost category and cost description, for example:

  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, staff, 1 x PDRA
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, travel and subsistence, 4 x flights
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, other directly incurred costs, 5 x workshops including catering and accommodation.

Non-UK CoI and researcher time allocation and salary costs should be entered under the standard CoI and researcher section and marked as an exception using the cost type tick box. All other non-UK CoI or researcher-related costs (where applicable), whether fieldwork, consumables or travel and subsistence, should be entered in the other directly incurred section as outlined above and marked as an exception.

Equipment for international organisations should use the same method described above but record it under the equipment heading in the Joint Electronic Submission system.

The following table summarises which costs are admissible and at what rate MRC will pay these costs.

Description Discuss with programme manager in advance MRC FEC contribution %
Costs for international CoIs and any locally employed staff, for example % of actual salary, travel and expenses. Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
Costs charged by the international organisation and associated with the research, for example consumables, field work and more. Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
A contribution towards indirect and estates costs at the international organisation, where the research is being undertaken in a developing country, where it can be shown that it will assist in developing research capacity (calculated as 20% of the overseas organisations’ directly incurred costs). Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
The costs of any service or product procured (for use in the UK) from an international supplier (for example mouse, antibody strains, cell lines, assays and more). No 80
Travel and subsistence, including bench fees for UK-based researchers going abroad to undertake work. This does not include costs incurred directly by the international organisation when the researcher is active in that country. No 80

International costs may not include:

  • overheads (estate or indirect costs) for an international CoI or locally employed staff in India, China or developed countries.

Last updated: 16 August 2022

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