Costs you can apply for - EPSRC


Directly incurred costs


The payroll costs of all staff, full or part-time, who work on the project, and whose time can be supported by a full audit trail may be included.

When a person is contracted to work 100% of their time on a single project (whether they are working full-time or part-time) timesheets are not necessary. In all other cases, timesheets or project records are required. The need for such staff should be justified in the case for support.

Where an application includes provision for named fellow, research, technical and support staff, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will normally expect to award funds at the level requested.

Research assistants, whether named or unnamed, should be requested at a salary level commensurate with the skills, responsibilities, expertise and experience necessary to carry out the proposed research activity.

It will be for those submitting the proposal to determine the extent to which market conditions make it difficult to recruit staff of appropriate quality in areas of high market demand at the normal entry level for the research organisation

Provided the level requested has been fully justified within the case for support, EPSRC will make the award at that level. EPSRC reserves the right to provide support at a different level if it is considered appropriate.

Salary increments over the period of the project should be taken into account but should not anticipate future pay awards.

The research organisation is responsible, as the employer, for the contracts of employment of the staff concerned and, consequently, for any redundancy or other compensatory payments that may be required. Work permits, if required, are a matter for direct negotiation between the research organisation and the relevant government departments.

Visiting researchers

Support may be requested for visits by scientists and engineers of acknowledged standing from within the UK or abroad to the investigator’s organisation but only as part of a larger research proposal.

Funding is limited to 12 months per individual. The research organisation should include estate costs and indirect costs for any visiting researcher regardless of whether the support being requested includes a salary contribution or is only travel and subsistence.

Travel and subsistence

A grant may provide travel and subsistence funds for investigators and staff assigned to and funded by the project where these are required by the nature of the work.

Travel costs should be based on the most suitable and economical form of travel. Subsistence costs should reflect the normal rates applying in the host research organisation.

Relocation costs may be included for staff who are named in the proposal form. Relocation costs for un-named staff should be found from the indirect cost element of the grant.

Costs for attendance at conferences may be included, where such attendance will be of direct benefit to the research. Conferences should, as far as possible, be individually identified in the proposal and attendance justified.

Costs associated with conferences that fall outside the period of the grant cannot be charged to the grant even if it is possible to pay attendance or registration fees or any other associated costs before the end date of the grant.


The heading provides for equipment dedicated to the project costing from £10,000 (including VAT) up to £400,000 (including VAT).

From 1 April 2021, EPSRC will contribute up to 80% of the final purchase price and will expect the research organisation or industrial partner to contribute the remainder from non-EPSRC funding.

Contributions of the order of 20% of the full cost of the equipment will be expected.

This includes computers, laboratory or workshop equipment, major equipment spares and software, installation costs and costs of major essential modifications necessary to house equipment (for example, clean rooms or extension of air conditioning).

Three quotations for the cost of any equipment costing more than £25,000 should accompany the proposal. For equipment in the range £25,000 to £138,000 quotations obtained verbally are acceptable and should be detailed in the proposal.

Three written quotations are required for single items of equipment costing more than £138,000 and must accompany the proposal. Quotes should include VAT, delivery charges and incorporate any standard academic discounts. Fewer quotes are acceptable if justification is provided in the Justification of Resources. For any items or combined assets with a value above £138,000 a two-page Equipment Business Case must also be included in the proposal documentation.

VAT and import duty, where appropriate, should be identified separately. Universities may buy scientific or medical equipment free of VAT where it is to be solely for medical research, diagnosis or treatment.

Some imported equipment is exempt from import duty. The applicant should clarify the position on tax and duty with the relevant authority before submitting the proposal.

For all equipment and services costing more than £25,000 (excluding VAT), professionally qualified procurement staff must be consulted at the beginning of the procurement process and must approve the order before it is placed with the supplier.

Find out more about EPSRC’s approach to equipment funding.

Other costs

Costs sought should be specified as far as possible in the proposal and justified in terms of requirement for the research proposed.

This heading may include:

  • consumables
  • specialist publications (not expected in institutional libraries)
  • consultancy fees
  • fieldwork fees, subjects and informants
  • computing – including recurrent costs of computing dedicated to each project only, such as software licences
  • equipment – items costing less than £10,000 (including VAT)
  • equipment-related items for items of equipment funded on the grant – for example, maintenance (external contracts and agreements), relocation, rental and access charges (specify equipment or service being used and basis of charging)
  • glass house consumables
  • recruitment and advertising costs for staff directly employed on the project
  • purchase, hire and running costs of vehicles if necessary for the project
  • casual labour – resource required to undertake short term tasks to support the proposed research
  • subcontracting – research organisations must ensure that expenditure on sub-contracts are subject to robust controls to ensure value for money and propriety. All costs should be fully documented/invoiced and available to EPSRC if required.

Under the ‘UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Research Council Norway (RCN) money follows cooperation agreement’ justified directly incurred costs for the Norway-based co-lead can be requested at 100%. The total costs claimed for the Norway-based co-lead contribution to the project must not exceed 30% of the total overall cost of the project, calculated at 100% full economic cost. Equipment costs for the Norway-based co-lead are not eligible.

When inputting costs associated with the Norway-based co-lead you must follow the standard method described below for inputting overseas costs on the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Full details of how to input the Norway-based co-lead costs are available on the funding opportunity page, collaborate with researchers in Norway.

UKRI is implementing a standard method for inputting overseas costs on the Je-S system from 1 July 2021. This will enhance UKRI’s ability to report on overseas funding to DSIT, the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), HMG and other government departments.

It includes all costs incurred by non-UK organisations, including staff salaries, travel and subsistence, other directly incurred costs, equipment and overheads.

Information must be entered into Je-S under the Other Directly Incurred cost heading, using this exact format in the description box: Organisation; Country; Cost Category; Cost Description’.

For example: ‘University of Nairobi; Kenya; Other Directly Incurred Costs; Subcontracting of the production of samples’

EPSRC will not fund maintenance costs for equipment that was already the property of the research organisation when the application was submitted. Under TRAC guidance, this should be included in the estates costs of the research organisation.

Public communication training

EPSRC encourages the development of skills in public communication and will provide funding to support the training of members of the research team.

Provision for training in public communication should be included as other costs under the directly incurred heading.

Research data management

Support may be requested for any costs related to research data management which will be incurred during the project and not be covered by directly allocated or indirect costs.

Last updated: 15 August 2023

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