Step 5: Research Facilities

Some Colleges may have research facilities that a PI wishes to use for their project. These may be substantial items of highly specialized equipment supported by dedicated staff. The College may wish to make a specific charge to research projects for the estimated usage of that facility.

However, if a research facility is to be established in this way, it is imperative that the college is confident it will be able to recover the cost from the research awards. If the facility, for example, is only used for less than 50% of the time on funded research rojects (i.e. most use is by PGR, Teaching, unfunded use) then it is not financially beneficial for the University to set it up as a facility for fEC purposes.

It is good practice to do this since most funders will pay for this, and whilst Research Councils expect the level of usage required to be fully justified, they should not query the price (see peer review guidance).

Some guidance notes are available for those who are involved in costing facilities (see Facilities paper). There is also a spreadsheet template available to help you with the costing and pricing of facilities. It is important to speak to someone in your Accounting Team as they will be able to provide further assistance on this matter.

See a list of Research Facilities on campus. If you wish to include a facility on a research grant application that is not on this list, you will need to complete the template in the paragraph above and let your Accounting Team know as soon as possible. This is necessary to ensure that the facility has been costed properly and that we are not double charging research funders for the cost. 

General Technical Services

In some Colleges there a significant numbers of technicians employed who carry out duties such as health & safety, bottle-ware, administration duties etc. These duties are not directly related to projects. These costs are a general support cost. Where Colleges have identified the cost of these support technicians (known as General Technical Services) then a standard charge should be applied to all research applications made from that College.

If your College has calculated this charge then it will be on the costing information you get back from Finance. If not, but you think it ought to, then consult your Accounting Team

More information is available in the General Technical Services paper.

Other College Services

In some Colleges there are certain services that are specific to the type of research carried out at the College. Examples of these include Waste Disposal, Mechanical Workshops or Green Houses. The College may consider that these costs should also be charged directly to research projects in the same way as research facilities.

However, care needs to be taken when selecting services to charge as direct costs. This is because certain funders e.g., Research Councils will expect the PI to be able to justify the use of these resources on their projects and if the service is just a general service (e.g., College l IT support services) then it is difficult to establish the use the project makes of the service.

It should also be noted that much of the higher support costs of Laboratory Schools compared to Non-Laboratory schools is taken into account with the higher Estates cost rate of projects in Laboratory schools.

What next? Go to Step 6. Estates/Indirect Costs

See a full example of a typical costing