Finance / Budget
A. Staff/Student Costs
Information on costing Research Contract Staff (Research Fellows, Postdoctoral Researchers, Research Assistants) is available here. In line with current proposals being considered by the Department of Finance (May 2011) provision needs to be made in respect of employer pension costs at 20% in proposals to both state funded research bodies and non exchequer funded sources (e.g. industry and international). If eligible, don’t forget to include incremental increases.
Stipends for PhD/Masters research students are usually defined by the Funding Agency. Typical rate is €16,000 per annum.
When costing research students in your proposal, don’t forget to include postgraduate degree fees. Information on the current UCC fees for postgraduate students is available here.
Bear in mind that some Funding Agencies make a set contribution per annum for student fees (for example, Science Foundation Ireland).
B. Travel And Subsistence Costs
An allowance for inflation over the expected life of the project should be included. For non-pay costs, an annual inflation rate of 2% should be considered.
Vatable Projects: One of the key criteria that determine if a research project is vatable is ownership of the intellectual property (IP)/research outputs generated by the project. If the sponsor owns the IP or has control over the results, then the project is usually deemed vatable (currently 23%).
When preparing the budget for vatable research project, directs costs (equipment/consumables) should be included net of VAT. VAT is then added to the budget at 23% of the direct and indirect costs total.
For a sponsor located outside of Ireland, the same considerations apply when determining whether a project is vatable. However, if the overseas sponsor is VAT-registered (ie. has a VAT number) and the project is vatable, then VAT is charged at 0%. If the sponsor does not have a VAT number, then the budget needs to include VAT.
Projects vatable at 0% (eg. EU-FP7 funded projects, overseas sponsor that is VAT-registered): Consumable and equipment costs should be included in the budget net of VAT. At the post-award stage, when charging these costs to the project, the VAT element of the invoice is charged to a general VAT account, not the project account.
Non-vatable Projects: When preparing the budget for non-vatable projects, directs costs (eg. equipment, consumables) should be included inclusive of VAT. No VAT is added to the budget total.
For guidance on VAT issues, please contact Research Support Services.
D. Overheads/Indirect Costs
Overheads (indirect costs) at the correct rate should always be included in your research funding proposal budget.
Recently, UCC introduced a new overhead rates policy, which confers the following advantages:
- A flexible and transparent suite of licensing options is available to funding sponsors. As the terms become more generous, a higher rate of overhead becomes applicable. Furthermore, a corresponding suite of template contracts is being developed for each licensing option and corresponding overhead rate — this development will significant reduce contract negotiation timelines.
- The process for seeking support in the identification and approval of the correct overhead rate for a project has been clarified.
- To reduce requests for derogation from the correct overhead rate (and subsequent delays), a listing has been generated of approved non-enterprise funding sponsors with overhead rates that are not compliant with policy.
- The policy recognizes the cost variances associated with laboratory-based research versus desk-based and library research.
- The policy also recognizes that different types of funding sponsor — public agency, SME, multi-national company — have different capacities to absorb overhead charges.
The new policy was approved by UMTO in December 2012 and by the University Finance Commitee in February 2013.
When preparing/finalising the budget for your research funding proposal, please go to the Contact Us page of this website to identify the Research Support Administrator who liaises with your funding sponsor.
The overhead rates policy provides information on:
- The correct overhead rate to be included in your project budget.
- The correct application of the overhead rate.
The approved list of funding sponsors with overhead rates not compliant with the overhead rates policy.
- The process to follow if seeking a derogation from the applicable rate of overhead.
The new overhead rates policy is available Overhead Rates Policy. If you have any questions regarding the policy or its application, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the relevant Research Support Administrator for your sponsor.
E. Post-Award Financial Procedures
Guidance on the procedures to follow when a Research Contract has been awarded can be found in the section of the website.
Issues To Consider
When preparing the budget for your proposal, the first point of contact is the Research Office — please go to the ‘Contact us’ page to identify the Research Support Administrator who liaises with your Funding Agency.
PLEASE CONTACT RESEARCH SUPPORT SERVICES AT LEAST 5 WORKING DAYS BEFORE THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR YOUR PROPOSAL.
We will work with you to develop and revise your proposal budget. Projects should be fully costed with a view to the recovery of all costs relevant to the project. For all EU/FP7 funding proposals, we strongly recommend that you contact the Research Office (Fiona O’Shea) before starting the budget.
If detailed financial input/review is required, we will contact the Finance Office (Office of Research Grants & Contracts) and liaise with them on your behalf.
An online Proposal Review Form must be completed for all new research applications/proposals. This form summarises the financial, budgetary and general information relating to the proposal and must be approved by the relevant Head of Department.