3. Costs we fund - MRC


3.8 Costing of applications involving MRC institutes

MRC institutes – MRC Harwell, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology – may apply as lead applicants for MRC grants relating to their mission, applications to the research boards can only be made exceptionally with prior agreement between the institute director and MRC head of theme.

All MRC institute costs must be calculated using FEC methodology. Applicants must agree the costs of the proposed research with their senior finance manager at an early stage before submission. Only directly incurred costs for the institute are eligible and only these should be included in the proposal form. 100% of the institute’s directly incurred costs will be paid.

To allow the application to be assessed objectively and compared to others, existing support provided by MRC core funding to the institute – for example directly allocated (including salaries for MRC staff), estates and indirect costs – should not be entered on the proposal form but must be declared in the justification of resources.

The following variations from standard guidance apply to MRC institutes when applying for an MRC grant:

Directly incurred costs:

  • only directly incurred costs are awarded to MRC institutes, as lead or co-investigator
  • directly incurred costs should only be requested if additional to the MRC institutes core funding and supporting work directly related to the research proposed
  • 100% of directly incurred costs for institutes will be paid; these should be included on the proposal form as an exception.

Directly allocated costs:

  • are not awarded to MRC institutes
  • MRC investigators and staff can be named and effort on the project indicated on the proposal form
  • salary costs for all MRC investigators and other staff involved, for example shared or pool staff supporting a range of facilities and projects, should be entered as zero on the proposal form
  • salary costs of all MRC staff should be included in the justification of resources.

Estates and indirect costs:

  • are not awarded to MRC institutes and should not be included on the proposal form
  • estimates of MRC estates and indirect costs should be included in the justification of resources in line with FEC methodology.

3.8.1 Collaborative applications lead by an MRC institute involving other research organisations

Applications may be collaborative and involve costs for one or more ROs that are not MRC institutes, their costs should be calculated and entered on the proposal form in the usual way and will be paid at the standard FEC rate for the call (normally 80% FEC).

Non-MRC ROs may be paid directly by MRC head office. If there are multiple non-MRC ROs involved, one of these must be willing to receive the funds and be responsible for distributing funds to other non-MRC ROs. This would typically be the RO receiving the largest proportion of the grant.

If this is the case the PI must be provided with financial reports from the other ROs, as required by the grant conditions, allowing the collaborative research project to be managed in its entirety.

If the funding requested by non-MRC ROs is substantial it may be more appropriate for a non-MRC RO to lead the application.

3.8.2 MRC institute is a co-applicant

MRC institutes may be co-applicants for MRC grants, where another eligible RO is acting as the lead applicant.

Costs allowable for MRC institutes and guidance on how the lead RO should complete MRC institutes information in the proposal form and justification of resources is as explained in section 2.2.4 justification of resources.

If successful, the lead and any other non-MRC ROs will be funded at the standard FEC rate for the call (normally 80% FEC), and the MRC institute will be funded based on directly incurred costs at 100%. All payments will be made to the lead RO that will transfer the relevant directly incurred costs in full to the MRC institute.

3.8.3 MRC institute applying for other research council grants

MRC institutes may apply to opportunities operated by other Research Councils as a lead or a co-applicant. The application must be costed using FEC methodology and only additional costs not covered by MRC core support should be requested. If successful, the MRC institute will be funded at the standard FEC rate for the call (normally 80% FEC). Directly incurred, directly allocated, estates, indirect costs may all be awarded.

MRC institutes should contact MRC head office before applying for any grants over £1 million from other funders.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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