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New TRAC guidance that applies from 2014-15 has now been published. This is hosted on the HEFCE web site on behalf of all funders. The current TRAC requirements continue to apply for TRAC reporting for the year ending 31 July 2014, but once the 2013-14 TRAC reporting is complete, the HEFCE web site will become the sole resource for TRAC as well as financial sustainability materials.

Part III - Annual TRAC

Section C: Staff costs

  1. All staff costs should be attributed to activities – for academic and research staff; other staff in academic departments; staff in central departments.
  2. Staff costs should be directly attributed to activities where possible. These would include any staff costs incurred by the institution for Research Assistants, Research Fellows, laboratory technicians and other support staff who are dedicated to one research project, and visiting lecturers.
  3. Costs of academic staff should be attributed on the basis of time allocation records.
  4. This is part of the pyramid of costs

    Cost attribution to activity

    Cost attribution to activity diagram
    Time allocation to activity
  5. An informed view from the head of department or appropriate manager should inform the attribution of the costs of other staff in academic departments.
  6. The costs of staff in central departments should be attributed to Support. They should then be attributed with other costs in their respective departments to academic departments and to activities, according to cost drivers.
  7. The allocation of academic staff time, and costs is of particular importance in TRAC:
    • there is little history or culture of time recording;
    • academic staff costs make up a significant proportion of the costs of institutions;
    • data on staff FTEs (in particular on staff working in research) are a significant part of the calculation of the indirect and (often) the estates charges on Research;
    • the percentages of time spent on each activity provide cost drivers used to attribute some of the other costs in institutions (although this should be minimised);
    • academic staff costs recorded by research sponsor type (for example, the Research Councils) is used to check that charges made to projects for each sponsor are fair and reasonable, in aggregate – see reconciliation.
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