From Chris Granger, Director of Finance
In 2006 the University introduced full economic costing (fEC). This was a sector response to enable the full cost of undertaking research to be identified and for the cost to be actively considered in determining the price of research to sponsors.
It has now been extended to look at the cost of teaching and is likely to inform both the relative subject weights used by HEFCE in their allocations of teaching and research recurrent grants at some stage in the future.
When fEC was developed, it demonstrated to the Treasury that research was under-funded and resulted in additional streams (through the Research Councils) revenue, and capital funds (though HEFCE) being made available, totalling in excess of £1.6billion across the sector.
Birmingham’s share of this so far was over £150m.
Substantial funds like those do however come with some strings!
An underlying requirement of implementing fEC is that the University can ascertain the broad percentage split of academic time and therefore costs, across a number of headings relating to teaching, research and other activities.
This data (the Time Allocation Survey, TAS) is used in aggregate form to assist in the apportionment of other costs too e.g. support staff and some non-pay costs to enable us to build the full economic cost of a number of activities.
There are a number of ways in which we can conduct the TAS, but so far, to make it as easy as possible for staff, we have collected the data from academic staff every third year. We must now do this in the 15/16 academic year. We will ask you to complete a simple form three times during the year covering the periods
28/09/15 - 10/01/16
11/01/16 - 24/04/16
25/04/16 - 25/09/16
and return each of them to us within six weeks of the end of those periods.
It is really important that all staff who are required to complete the TAS actually participate – and respond to us within the six week timescale. Please be assured that the data is used only in aggregate; not at an individual level.
We seek only to collect percentages of time, but if you feel you wish to provide information about your hours, there is a comments box, which you can use to do this. The TAS outputs will however only reflect the proportions of time spent on activities.
This web-site provides further information on the the definitions of activities and what you will be required to do.
Our methodology is largely unchanged from previous surveys; the task is primarily web based and should not be a time-consuming one. The results are used only at an aggregated level and therefore reasonable accuracy will be sufficient for this exercise.
If you would prefer to complete a paper copy, you can download one from this web-site. All forms should be returned to Shaun Coney, Finance Office. A copy is available to download and print by following this link and any queries should be mailed to the helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would urge you to respond to the survey requests when they are sent to you.
Thank you in anticipation for your assistance.
Director of Finance