Full economic costing fund headings - STFC

STFC’s research grants are funded on the basis of full economic costing. Universities and other higher education bodies should calculate these costs in accordance with the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. Other research organisations may use an equivalent methodology.

Full economic costing helps get consistent and transparent research project costs. Using full economic costing should find the real cost of your research and inform the amount you request.

There are four ways of categorising costs in full economic costing, also known as parent fund headings.

Directly incurred costs

These are costs which are explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of a project, are charged as the cash value actually spent and are supported by an audit record.

Directly allocated costs

Costs of resources used by a project that are shared by other activities. They are charged to projects on the basis of estimates rather than actual costs and do not represent actual costs on a project-by-project basis.

Indirect costs

These include non-specific costs charged across all projects based on estimates that are not otherwise included as Directly Allocated costs. They include the costs of the research organisation’s administration such as personnel, finance, library and some departmental services.

Exception costs

These are directly incurred costs that research councils will fund in full (that is, at 100%), subject to actual expenditure incurred, or items that are outside full economic costing costs to support overseas partners can be requested under Exceptions.

Those schemes that allow this have a tick-box in the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system to flag the requirement to fund specific items as an exception.

STFC Public Engagement Nucleus Awards are funded under full economic costing but those organisations who are eligible under standard research grant conditions (for example, schools, astronomical societies and theatre groups) and have therefore not undergone the TRAC process can apply for costs under exceptions. This scheme has the tick-boxes in Je-S to flag the requirement to fund specific items as an exception.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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