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  4. FAQ on including costs of Research Data Management in UKRI grant applications

FAQ on including costs of Research Data Management in UKRI grant applications

It is appropriate to use public funds to support the management and sharing of publicly-funded research data. To maximise the research benefit which can be gained from limited budgets, the mechanisms for these activities should be both efficient and cost-effective in the use of public funds.”  UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy

Which elements of research data management are allowable costs that may be included in grant proposals? 

 As long as you provide adequate justification with the grant application, any element of research data management may be included as a direct cost. This may include: 

  • Cost of collecting data
  • Cost of analysing data 
  • Cost of curating data 
  • Cost of preservation and sharing of data 

 Note: 

  • All expenditure on direct costs must take place before the actual end date of the project and must be fully auditable.  
  • No expenditure can be ‘double funded’ (a service that is centrally supported by the indirect costs paid on all research grants cannot then also be included as a direct cost on a grant) 

For more information, consult the Terms and Conditions of Research Council fEC (Full Economic Costing) grants.

Can the cost of depositing data in a repository be included as a direct cost? 

Yes, you can include anticipated costs of depositing research data arising from a project – whether to an internal or an external repository –as direct costs in a grant application.  However, where data arising from a research grant is destined for a subject-specific data repository directly supported by one or more research councils, the allowable expenditure on the research grant would be limited to the cost of preparing the data for deposit and ingestion by that repository. In all cases, adequate justification should be provided within the grant application and the expenditure must take place before the actual end data of the project and be fully auditable. 

Can research grant money be used to fund human resources, or is it confined to expenditure on equipment and facilities? 

Yes, research grant funding can be used to fund ‘support staff’. If they are applied for as Direct Costs on a research grant they must be fully justified in the case for support. Examples of support staff for managing research data might include: 

  • Technical staff 
  • Administrative support 
  • Research assistant 
  • Transcriber

Is there a rule of thumb on the proportion of funding awarded (e.g. 10% of a grant) that is acceptable to be spent to fund RDM? 

No, the cost of managing research data will vary from project to project and therefore it is impossible to calculate a flat rate. You must ensure that all research data management costs are considered and justified. Furthermore, research data management services are an essential component of the modern research environment which institutions are responsible for making available for to their researchers. The fEC funding model is based on the principle that Research Organisations identify the full costs of undertaking proposed research projects (including provision of a high quality research environment) and research councils expect grant applications to state the full direct and indirect costs. 

What is the funder view on POSF (pay once, store forever) price models? 

With regard to longer term storage the research councils are open to a range of options. It is permissible to apply for POSF costs and to charge them to a grant before the actual end date of the project.  However, keep in mind that while POSF price models have obvious economic benefits, it is important to ensure the quality of the service with regards to long term security, accessibility and integrity of the data.  

 Will my grant application be rejected if I don’t include research data management costs? 

While scientific/research excellence is the primary criterion the requested resources are also addressed as part of the peer review process; if they are considered either inadequate or unreasonable this may influence the outcome of the application. Researchers/research organisations should therefore justify all requested resources included in a grant application by explaining their contribution to the delivery of the research and demonstrating their value for money.  

Where can I get help with calculating the costs of research data management? 

Useful resources 

 

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