There can be considerable variances between funders and between calls in relation to the format of budget templates, which costs are eligible and the rates of overheads that apply. For any particular call, it is always important to check the relevant call guidelines in relation to preparation and submission of budgets. However, there are certain common budget elements which apply to many calls, and some general guidance on proposal costing is included below. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries on preparation of research proposal budgets.
Depending on the funding call, staff costs may include additional permanent staff time, or newly recruited staff.
Where additional staff are being included this must be line with the FTWA. Your local HR Partner will be able to confirm the status of the individual in mind
When costing salary please refer to the following:
Individuals are typically "incremented" on the scale on the anniversary of their appointment date.
Annual inflation may also be allowed. Please refer to individual funding agencies programme call details.
Employer contributions should be included where appropriate
Where scholarships are included on a proposal, fees should be in accordance with the current student fee policy available from Graduate Studies Office . Stipends should be costed according to the funding agency guidelines.
When costing proposals, indirect costs, also known as overheads, should be included.
The UCD guideline is to seek an overhead contribution of at least 30% for lab-based and 25% for desk-based research. For "Consultancy" agreements however, this is raised to 35%. The UCD Overhead policy is available at this link
|Award Type||Details||Overhead rate|
|H2020 Awards||Overheads are allowed at 25% of direct costs excluding subcontracting. Awards are funded at 100% for Higher Education Institutions.||25%|
|Marie Curie||There are a number of variants of Marie Curie awards, with varying overhead contributions awarded (please see individual calls for further details).||Various|
|State Bodies||State bodies (i.e. SFI, HRB, Enterprise Ireland) typically provide a 30% overhead contribution on awards.||30%|
Items of equipment amd computers with an individual value equal to or greater than €5,000 are capitalised and captured on our Equipment Register.
Equipment is depreciated over 5 years (20% p.a.). Computers are depreciated over 3 years (33.33% p.a.)
Cost of equipment is reimbursed based on the depreciation of the asset. The actual time the equipment is used on the project is used to calculate depreciation.
A = C x D/U x T
Where A is the amount to be reimbursed
C is the cost of the equipment not including VAT
D is the length of time in months that the equipment was used on the project
U is the useful life of the equipment in months
T is the percentage of time the equipment was in use for the project
Some awards require that the university also provides a contribution towards the project. This may take the form of permanent staff time, use of equipment, etc.
Some funding bodies will, in addition to a cash contribution, also provide an in-kind contribution towards a project e.g. staff time, equipment, materials, etc. The value of any in-kind contributions must also be recorded on a separate grant registration form. VAT will also apply and a VAT invoice(s) will have to be issued to the sponsor.
The potential for VAT must be considered at the outset when costing a proposal. Failure to do so may result in delays in setting up the account. Guidelines on what makes an account liable to VAT are outlined below.
Whilst the Revenue Commissioners do not set out in detail those factors that make an award liable to VAT, there are however three main principles that govern most contracts.
History has shown that Revenue look deeper into the transaction and the following can be viewed as triggers that result in VAT liability arising on contracts;
|INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)||Will the sponsor obtain any element of the IP arising out of the research? Ownership of IP, even partial ownership can make the award subject to VAT. If IP remains solely with UCD then there should be no VAT liability, subject to no other issues making it VATable.|
|PUBLICATION OF RESULTS||If the sponsor has:
|CONSULTANCY||Is the contract provided on a consultancy basis, i.e. is there exclusive advice provided to the sponsor. If there is, then the award is "vatable".|
|CONTROL||Does the sponsor have any control or veto over the research findings? If YES, then a VAT liability arises.|
|OPTIONS||If the sponsor has any priority, option or exclusivity regarding the research results, a VAT liability arises.|
|REWARD||Does the sponsor receive any goods or services in return for payment, either monetary or in kind? If YES, then Vat would apply.|
If a contract is liable to VAT, UCD must invoice the sponsor for the relevant amount of VAT. If an account is deemed liable to VAT, the sponsor is required to pay the VAT to UCD on foot of invoice. The sponsor can reclaim the VAT in their bi-monthly returns. If VAT is subsequently paid on any costs incurred on a "vatable" project (e.g. consumables), UCD can reclaim this from Revenue. The monies are then re-allocated back to the project account. If an account is not liable to VAT, any VAT incurred on project expenditure cannot be reclaimed.
Contracts that are liable to VAT:
Identify and calculate the direct costs exclusive of VAT. The costs that typically attract VAT are equipment and consumables. Once all the direct costs are calculated, then calculate the indirect costs. This will be different for different awards and contracts. The relevant rate of VAT is then applied to the total of the direct and indirect costs.
Note: The rate of indirect costs & VAT will be assessed for each individual contract.
|Scholarships and Fees||24,000|
|Equipment (exclusive of VAT)||10,000|
|Consumables and materials (exclusive of VAT)||5,000|
|Total Direct Costs||179,750|
|Indirect Costs at appropriate (30% in example)||53,925|
|Total Direct & Indirect Costs||233,675|
|VAT at appropriate rate (23% in example)||53,745|
Contracts not liable to VAT:
Where the contract is not liable to VAT then the full cost, inclusive of VAT should be used for equipment, materials, consumables and external assistance. This is then added to the other direct costs (Salaries, Stipend, etc.).
|VAT Rate||Applicable to:|
|0%||EU businesses (Self Assess), Business/Persons outside the EU|
|Exempt||Various, e.g. SFI, EI, etc. Non taxable research.|
Note: Where a contract is subject to at 0%, VAT is not paid by the sponsor, however UCD can still reclaim the VAT from Revenue. The budget is received from the sponsor (exclusive of any VAT amounts – i.e. 0%) and posted to the project account. Materials, consumables etc are paid to suppliers, inclusive of VAT at 23%. The value of the VAT at 23% is reclaimed by UCD from Revenue and remitted back to the project account. In May 2017, Revenue published an updated version of their tax guide “VAT – Research Services carried out by Third Level Educational Bodies”, which contains some useful information. Available at this link
Please ensure when costing your proposal that, where applicable, all relevant costs are INCLUSIVE of VAT at the appropriate rate. The following costing models can be used to assist in the calculation of your budget for your H2020 proposals. The model should be downloaded and completed locally (see instructions sheet in model). The completed model can then be forwarded to the pre-award research accountant for review.
This costing tool is to be used for budget preparation for all Horizon 2020 Collaborative Projects.
No expert knowledge of Excel is required. The instruction tab in each workbook provides guidelines.
|H2020 Proposals||H2020 Budget Calculator|
|Salary Scales||IUA Salary Scales (Revised January 2018)|
|Permanent Staff-time Calculator||Permanent Staff-Time Calculator|