Collection of the full economic cost for running the service is crucial for future investment and sustainability.
Full Economic Costing (fEC)
Full Economic Costing is a government-required method of accounting for all direct and indirect costs of a project or activity.
A vital part of the research proposal is to ensure that a robust budget is developed for the work to be undertaken. The UK Government require all universities to estimate the full cost of the project (Full Economic Costing) using the TRAC methodology irrespective of whether or not the funder will pay the fEC.
fEC provides a method to calculate the full costs of research projects leading to improved cost recovery and servicing/maintaining/replacing of equipment used within the unit in order to improve the sustainability of research.
fEC equipment charge is currently 13.2% of the cage costs and is included in all new grant costing applications which have been provided by the BVS Senior Scientific Research Manager.
Transparent Approach to Costing
Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) is the result of a government initiative to promote better understanding of costs across the higher education sector.
The University is required to submit a TRAC return to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council every year, and this process is the responsibility of the Management Accounting section.
Within Edinburgh University the Management Accounting section is responsible for Full Economic Costing projects. Further information is available on the Full Economic Costing website.
Further information regarding the University policy on fEC can be found here.
Major Research Facilities
What is a major research facility?
TRAC guidance requires research facilities which meet the following conditions to be directly allocated:
- A single piece of major equipment
- A collective suite of equipment
- A research service
Additionally MRFs are significant in size and complexity and include the costs of depreciation and space charges and have a replacement value exceeding £300k.
The costs for these facilities have been removed from the indirect and estates rates and must therefore be included in all research grant applications where use is required for the project.
This change to the costing of research grants means that facilities will receive income to cover not just their direct costs, but to fund the replacement of equipment, thus enabling them to operate on a more sustainable basis in the long term. Over the coming years, other facilities will adopt this basis of charging for recovering costs on research grants.