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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 D: All other costs

  1. All costs should be directly attributed, or attributed via cost drivers, to activities and to academic departments.
  2. The techniques used are shown on the pyramid of costs




    Cost attribution to activity
    part of the Costing Schematic diagram
    Time allocation to activity
  3. Most research staff salaries are directly charged to Research. Academic staff costs (and those of other researchers) are attributed to activities using academic staff time. This was covered above. This Section covers:
    • the subsequent attribution of academic staff time on Support to activities;
    • the direct attribution of some non-staff costs in academic departments to activities;
    • the attribution of all other costs, mainly Support staff in academic departments, most non-staff costs in academic departments, and the costs of central service departments, to activities.
  4. Costs should be attributed to:
    • academic departments (and then grouped into discipline type)
    • activities (T, R, O, O(CS), S);

      and then

    • from O(CS) to T, R, O, S
    • from S to T, R, O
    • finally, to lower-level activities (PF, NPF, research sponsor type).
  5. This is shown in the figure: Overview of the cost attribution process.
  6. Costs are either attributed directly (where they relate specifically to one department or activity), or cost drivers such as space, or time are used.
  7. Costs should be directly attributed to activities where possible. Some costs have already been directly charged through their internal coding (e.g. directly incurred costs on research grants and contracts). Other activity-specific non-staff costs in academic departments could be coded at source to assist with this. This would include Teaching placement costs, undergraduate student fieldwork, consumables used for institution-/own-funded Research or PGRs. Whether they are coded at source, or subsequently attributed using a cost driver, these costs should be classified as a direct cost of their activity. They should not be classified as a Support cost.


    An illustration of how cost drivers can be used is given in this table.
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