Research and Innovation Services


Application costing FAQ’s

Frequently asked questions about application costing.

What is the difference between Directly Incurred (DI) and Directly Allocated (DA) costs?

Directly Incurred (DI) costs are project-specific and are identifiable as arising from the conduct of the research. Directly Incurred staff are charged directly to the project via payments and must be auditable at the project level.

Directly Allocated (DA) costs are not project-specific, are shared, and are estimated. These include Estate Costs and Infrastructure Technicians. This will also usually include the time commitment of Principal-Investigators and Co-Investigators, where they are not being directly paid from the research grant.

Why do I need to include costs for the time of the PI/Co-I, when we cannot charge this cost to the funder?

The UK Government require all universities to estimate the full cost of conducting research (FEC), regardless of whether the funder will pay these costs. The time commitments of our academic staff forms a significant part of these costs.

It is also vital as an organisation that we understand and manage the time commitment of our academic staff.

When do I need to provide a quote for costs?

This will depend on the individual funder’s rules, so always refer to the submission guide they have provided.

Why am I required to provide quotations for animal costs, and facility access charges?

When applying for research funding, the funder will expect UCL to provide evidence of how we have calculated internal charges (e.g., biological services, ISD services) and be able to justify these in accordance with their terms and conditions. Quotes for equipment will always be required. Please review the funder’s terms and conditions for full information. 

Can I include costs for general departmental items in my application?

No. Costs that form part of the general running costs of your department should be paid for from the relevant departmental accounts. A contribution to your departmental account is made from the Directly Allocated and Indirect Costs received from research grants.

How can I enter a custom cost in a budget line (staff or non-staff)?

The ‘Cost to Funder’ is set by the funder template, which calculates the cost we can request based on the funder's terms and conditions.

Only Advanced Budgeters can amend the ‘Cost to Funder’. If you are an academic, please contact your local research administrator to adjust the ‘Cost to Funder’ to a custom cost. As a rule, all staff costs should be based on UCL salary scales as listed in the system.

What is a suitable starting salary for an unnamed UCL staff post I would like to include in my application?

There is no fixed starting salary for UCL staff. The application should include salaries reflective of the skill set and experience you require to carry out the research. Speak to colleagues in your department and visit the UCL Human Resources website to get a better understanding of staff costings.

The research facility I wish to use does not appear in Worktribe. How can I include costs in my research application?

Only TRAC-listed facilities are included in Worktribe. These facilities are reviewed annually as part of the annual TRAC return (by UCL’s FEC Steering Group) to assess levels of recovery.

Non-TRAC facilities can only be included if the facility is not already included in UCL’s estates and indirect calculations. More information on this can be found on the Research Facilities webpage.

My research partner is not appearing Worktribe. How can I add them?

If a partner or funder is unavailable for selection, please complete the Organisation Request form.

Open Access costs have been removed from my costing on Worktribe. How can I access funding to pay these charges?

For UKRI and Wellcome-funded projects, UCL receives block funding towards Open Access charges. Please contact Library Services to access these funds.

What data storage options are available for my research project?

Research IT Services have produced a detailed breakdown of Data Storage Options at UCL that should be taken into consideration when applying for research funding.

Why do I have to use the UCL exchange rate?

UCL’s exchange rate attempts to allow for currency fluctuations by adding a buffer to protect your project from a shortfall in funding.