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Costing a Project

News

We will soon be moving to a new costing tool called ACP. The implementation of ACP is ongoing and a working group has been convened. The terms of reference for this group and other documents are included here for information:-

  • ACP Summary
  • ACP Implementation Working Group
  • ACPIWG Minutes July 2014
  • Workflow ACP v pFACT
  • ACIPWG meeting agenda and papers Sept 14
  • ACIPWG meeting draft minutes Sept 14
  • Project Costing: forecasting and accounting for full economic costs at project level.

    • Project Costing: the forecasting and accounting for full economic costs

      All externally funded projects must use pFACT (Lancaster’s costing tool) to calculating the full economic cost (fEC) of the project on a reliable and comprehensive basis. This cost is then used to set the price for grants made by Research Councils and Government Departments and informs the price of projects to other funders.

      Identifying the fEC of a project with help Lancaster University avoid inadvertently subsidising work that should at least be at ‘full economic cost’, for example, funding for commercial work for industry. If the funding is less than 100% of fEC, we need to be aware, as an institution, of our own financial contribution and to ensure that there is sufficient public funding to subsidise ‘scientific public good ‘ research; or that the research project is of sufficient strategic interest to justify subsidy through any other funds that we have available.

      Calculation of the full economic cost

      The fEC of a project is made up of directly incurred costs, directly allocated costs and indirect costs. The classification determines how they are recorded and validated.

      Directly incurred (DI)
      These included researcher costs, consumables, travel, equipment etc. and are recorded on the basis of actual expenditure. The DI costs need to be recorded and accounted for in an auditable manner. Virement may be allowed bebetween categories of directly incurred cost s depending on the funder.

      Directly allocated (DA)
      These include academic costs, some technician costs, some facility charges and estates costs. DA costs are chargedto projects on the basis of standard costs established at the time of project approval and do not change throughout the project (unless there is a significant change to the programme of work). Virement of directly allocated costs is not allowed. There is no need to formally account for the actual time spent on projects by academic staff – other evidence of time spent such as records of meetings, laboratory notebooks etc., that are as standard part of project management, are all that are needed. Similarly, there is no need to monitor actual use of estates and other directly allocated costs.

      Indirect costs
      Indirect costs are charged to projects on the basis of standard costs established at the time of project approval and do not change throughout the project (unless there is a significant change to the programme of work). Virement of indirect costs is not allowed.

      Indirect costs are charged to projects on the basis of standard costs established at the time of project approval and do not change throughout the project (unless there is a significant change to the programme of work). Virement of indirect costs is not allowed.

      Both indirect and estates costs are calculated on the basis of an institutional rate x full time equivalent (fte) of the researcher and academic per project per year.

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      pFACT http://pfact.lancs.ac.uk/pfact

      pFACT Helpline- 1524 592068

      If you are compiling a bid or project, please contact the Research Support Office (in the first instance via email or if necessary the Helpline on 92068) for a user id and logon for pFACT. Help and assistance will be available from the Research Support Office.

      Additional fields - these are mandatory and the pFACT status cannot be changed until the proposal and ethics questions have been completed.

      For background reading on the principles of fEC, click here.

      If you encounter any errors or bugs in the software report to RSO Submissions.

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      Last updated: 22.12.2011

    Lancaster University
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    LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
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