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Chris Beynon (DRI). Research Projects – Budget Preparation Chris Beynon External Funding Officer Department of Research and Innovation. Agenda. Overview Costing Models Directly Incurred Costs Non-FEC Model & Example fEC Model Example – FEC Costing R é sum é Q & A.

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Research Projects – Budget Preparation

Chris Beynon External Funding Officer Department of Research and Innovation

  • Overview
  • Costing Models
  • Directly Incurred Costs
  • Non-FEC Model & Example
  • fEC Model
  • Example – FEC Costing
  • Résumé
  • Q & A
Research Support Office (RSO)
  • The RSO provides support, advice and guidance to all University staff
  • Each School has a designated Pre-Award and Post-Award Officer
  • Pre-Award supports activities up to the point of award (including contractual negotiation)
  • Post-Award provides support in the financial management of grants
Project cost vs price
  • Cost – cost to the University of all the resources needed to complete the project
  • Price – amount actually paid by the funder
  • Direct Costs – costs attributable to the project, which may be:
      • Directly incurred – new costs which would not be incurred if the project did not go ahead e.g. research assistant salary, equipment, consumables


      • Directly allocated - costs that can be estimated to projects e.g. Principal investigator time, general technical assistance.
  • Indirect Costs – costs which cannot be identified precisely for each research project, including items such as library, central services and departmental administration.  Without this infrastructure research could not go ahead
Overview – Costing Models
  • A research proposal will usually contain basic financial costs which may be defined under several major categories, depending on the cost model employed by the Funder
  • The common models are based on
    • Full Economic Costs (fEC) i.e. true cost to University
    • New Costs plus overheads as a % of salaries (standard pre September 2005)
Overview – Costing Models
  • Definition of fEC

“A price which, if recovered across an institution’s full programme, would recover the total cost (direct, indirect and total overhead) of the institution, including an adequate recurring investment in the institution’s infrastructure”

  • Introduced September 2005 for UK Research Council applications
  • Now in use for some schemes offered by other funders, e.g. the Department of Health, British Academy
Overview – Costing Models
  • Research Councils – will pay 80% of fEC (rest from Quality Research (QR) and institution’s own funds)
  • Government Departments – per HM Treasury “should expect to pay 100% of FEC for research commissioned from universities”
  • Charities – will continue to only pay directly incurred costs, therefore ensure any costs that can be classed as direct costs are included.
  • Industry – pricing is market-based not cost-based but introduction of fEC should exert upward pressure on pricing and cost recovery as institutions start to understand full costs
  • EU framework (FP7) – complex new model introduced with interim 60% overheads and 75% intervention rate (essential to consult DRI for budget preparation)
fEC Model - Objectives for fEC

Universities to achieve sustainability by:-

  • Establishing and recognising the fEC of activities
  • Securing better prices
  • Improving project management and cost recovery
  • Investing in the institutional infrastructure
  • Managing activity strategically - increased emphasis on management and teaching portfolios
  • Always read the Funder’s Terms and Conditions in
    • Website
    • Scheme Guidance Notes
  • Check
    • The Funder’s Priorities
    • Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility Rules
    • Allowable Costs
    • Submission Route
    • Deadline
Directly Incurred Costs (DI) – fEC & non-fEC

Directly incurred Costs are new costs specific to the project and include:

  • Salaries of Staff employed on Project
  • Equipment
  • Travel & Subsistence
  • Other Costs (e.g. consumables, recruitment, PC/laptops, sub-contractors)
Directly Incurred Costs – Staff Salaries
  • To prepare estimate of staff costs with Sirius Cost Calculator (
      • Start & End Date of Employment
      • % Full Time Employment
      • Grade/Spine Point
      • Classification e.g. Academic, APM , Technical
Directly Incurred Costs – Non Salary Costs
  • Equipment – purchase, VAT, installation and set-up, maintenance contract and insurance
  • (Quotations may be required - refer to University Finance Department’s Procurement Website and Funder’s Guidelines)
  • Travel and Subsistence – essential research project meetings, conferences directly relevant to project
  • Consumables, including laboratory reagents; software licences; essential specialist publications; recruitment costs
  • Replacement Teaching Costs; essential Staff Training & Development costs
  • Project studentship fees and stipends
Non fEC Model – Indirect costs
  • Sometimes known as overheads
  • Refers to costs of room space, heat, light, water, University and School administration, such as library and computing facilities, departmental secretarial and technical services
  • Overhead costs are NOT met by Charities
  • Typically overheads may be charged as a % of total staff costs
  • Consult Funder’s Terms and Conditions for eligibility and maximum overhead rate
fEC Model – Cost Headings

Costs are broken down according to four fund headings:





Note: Only academic and research staff draw down fEC costs

fEC Model – Directly Allocated Costs
  • NB: Use the fEC Cost Calculator on DRI website for Swansea University costs
  • Collaborative projects - partner HEIs to provide their fEC calculation
  • Investigators’ Costs (PI and Co-I)
        • Estimate of time spent on project
        • Based on 100% FTE = 1650 hours/annum (44 weeks @37.5 hours/week)
        • Principal Investigator (PI) & Co-Investigators (Co-I)
        • Use of salary bands (e.g. Professor, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer 9, Lecturer 8)
fEC Model –Directly Allocated Costs (DA)
  • NB: fEC Cost Calculator automatically calculates costs from total investigator/researcher time on the project
    • Estates charges
      • Standard costs based on predominant departmental usage (Lab/Classroom)
      • Charge will be per FTE for academic & research staff only
    • Infrastructure technician – Lab-based Schools only
    • Other DA costs are already factored into the Swansea rates, e.g. use of most major research facilities & pool staff
    • Charge out rates for two major facilities – CSAR and nanotechnology centre & one small facility
fEC Model – Indirect Costs
  • NB: fEC Cost Calculator automatically calculates this cost
  • Library services / learning resources
  • Clerical/ secretarial
  • Departmental services
  • Central & distributed computing
  • Cost of capital employed
fEC Model – Exceptions
  • Equipment - New purchases of equipment remains a directly incurred cost. The Research Councils will fund up to £50K of equipment purchased on a project at 80%, and the remainder at 100%.
  • Project Students – Student stipends and tuition fees will be funded at 100%
fEC Model – Preparing the costs
  • Two online forms are available to help with costing your proposal:
    • Sirius (DI staff salaries)
    • fEC Cost Calculator (Investigator, estates and indirect costs)

  • For UK Research Council applications, obtain a registered account (see Research Councils UK and
Résumé – Points to remember
  • Check Funder’s guidelines for eligible costs
  • Directly Incurred Costs (DI) to the Project are calculated in the same way for each model
  • For non-fEC applications, estimate overheads if allowable
  • For fEC applications, estimate PI and Co-I time on the project
  • For fEC applications, use the fEC Costing Form to calculate the Directly Allocated, Estates and Indirect Costs
  • Transfer fEC costs to Funder’s application form (e.g. Je-S)
Résumé – Notes
  • Swansea fEC rates are reviewed annually by the Finance Department & the fEC Costing Form posted on intranet in February (follow link from pre-award website)
  • Although Research Councils fund 80% of fEC, award holders receive 100% of the Directly Incurred Costs to manage the Project
  • University policy is to prepare ALL applications for external funding under the fEC model, unless the Funder specifies otherwise
  • Applications > £100K may require risk assessment BEFORE submission. Applicants must liaise with Ciaran Whyte, Planning and Strategic Projects Unit
Résumé – DRI Support
  • Consultations via One-to-One meetings or email, including advice on budget preparation
  • Plan ahead – allow time for alterations & obtaining partner fEC costs
  • AT LEAST 5 WORKING DAYS before deadline, calculate costs, forward costs to DRI for checking
  • At least 4 working days before deadline, submit final document to School approver for submission to DRI
  • 2 working days before deadline, DRI authorizer submits proposal electronically/signs document
  • Web link
r sum dri support
Résumé – DRI Support
  • This timetable is the minimum required to get the application through the submission process - please allow more time whenever possible.
  • For applications received less than 2 working days before the deadline, DRI verification may not be possible. Therefore the School must bear the impact of any inaccuracies or omissions.
Résumé – DRI Contacts
  • Ceri Jones: Deputy Head, DRI: ext 5412
  • Julie Williams: Senior External Funding Officer, DRI: ext 5824
  • Pre-Award Team
    • Chris Beynon: ext 5015,
      • School of Environment & Society; School of Business & Economics; School of Law; Medical School (Biomedical)
    • Debbie Saunders: ext 2094
      • School of Human Sciences; School of Arts & Humanities; Medical School (Health Services Research)
    • Adrian Walters: ext 3724,
      • School of Engineering; School of Physical Sciences; School of Health Science
preparing research application budgets
Preparing Research Application Budgets
  • Thank you for your time
  • Any Questions?