Directly allocated costs - BBSRC

The costs of resources including services used by a project that are shared by other activities. The project’s use of the resource or service will be estimated and not based on direct usage.


This heading provides for the costs of all principal and co-investigators working directly on a project, if their time charged to the grant will be based on estimates rather than actual costs. Where costs are actual, auditable and verifiable (through hourly time recording) they should be included under the directly incurred heading. Investigator time, not cost, must be justified in the justification of resources attachment.

It is a requirement of the full economic cost (FEC) costing methodology that, for any one investigator, the maximum amount of time that UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) will fund across all the projects they support is 1650 hours a year (equivalent to 37.5 hours a week, 44 weeks a year).

Principal investigators and co-investigators whose time is not fully funded on other research council grants, and who are not paid a salary by the research organisation (for example Emeritus, honorary staff or certain fellowship holders) should show their hours attributed to the project, but with a zero salary cost request.

Salary increments over the period of the project should be taken into account, but possible future pay awards should not be anticipated. Where it is expected that individuals will be promoted during the lifetime of the grant provision may be made in the grant proposal.

If a principal investigator or co-investigator is retired, the expectation is that their involvement in a project would be covered by a contract with the research organisation. Any associated costs should be classified as directly incurred.


These costs may include building and premises costs, basic services and utilities, and any clerical staff and equipment maintenance or operational costs that have not been included under other cost headings. They will be calculated by the research organisation and a single figure will be required at time of application.

Where an individual will be working away from the research organisation on long-term secondment for a period in excess of six months during the project, estates costs should not be charged for the period of secondment. No reduction should be made for shorter term absence.

Other directly allocated costs

These comprise all other direct costs calculated on the basis of estimates of use when the project is running. Items that can be included within this heading are:

  • research and technical staff whose time is shared across several projects (such as pooled technicians) and is not supported by an audit record
  • charge out costs for major facilities
  • charge out costs for use of existing equipment
  • animal costs
  • charge out costs for departmental technical services.

With the exception of charge out costs for departmental technical and administrative services, the need for the resources (but not the costing basis), should be justified in the justification of resources attachment.


These costs may be shown as either directly incurred costs or directly allocated based on how the costs are recorded. Applications must include a breakdown of animal costs, including weekly maintenance charges in the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system application. For detailed guidance, please read our information about animal use in research.

Indirect costs

These are non-specific costs charged across all projects, based on estimates that are not otherwise included as directly allocated costs. They may include:

  • support time of academics
  • central service departments
  • library and learning resources
  • gross Cost of Capital Employed (COCE).

These should include the costs of administration, such as personnel, finance, library and some departmental services together with a charge for the gross cost of capital employed (COCE).

Like estates costs, indirect costs will be calculated by research organisations and a single figure will be required at time of application. Information about the derivation or justification of indirect costs and estates costs will not be required.

As with estates costs, where the level of research staff effort to be awarded is different from that requested, an organisation will be required to re-calculate within 10 working days the estates and indirect costs, using the same costing basis applied to the original application. If an organisation is unable to recalculate the costs on this timescale, they will be adjusted by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in proportion to the change in staff resource.


Directly incurred costs that are funded at 100% of FEC, subject to actual expenditure incurred, or items that are outside FEC.

In certain instances, resources for DNA sequencing may be supported at 100%. More information is available on the support for sequencing page.

Cash limits

Research grants have an amount added at the time of announcement to take account of expected pay awards and inflation over their lifetime. The value awarded is the total financial commitment entered into by BBSRC and is known as the cash limit of the grant.

Last updated: 20 February 2023

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