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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 V - TRAC fEC

Section D: Estimating other costs


  1. The costs of equipment can be directly incurred or directly allocated:
    1. equipment purchased for a project is a directly incurred cost. All costs of the purchase should be included. (The charge to a project normally assumes a write-off of the costs over the life of the project. All costs are, therefore, directly incurred.)
    2. equipment already owned by the institution – and being directly allocated to the project on the basis of usage – is a directly allocated cost. (This is charged to projects using charge-out rates. This is covered in Part IV major research facilities.)
    3. equipment already owned by the institution – but not being directly allocated to projects on the basis of usage – is directly allocated but as part of the estates charge. (This is covered in Part IV estates costs.)
  2. The costs of equipment in academic departments should not be included in the indirect cost total.
  3. It is good practice to include all of the costs related to the purchase and maintenance of a piece of equipment that is being acquired specifically for a research project, irrespective of the policy of the project sponsor towards funding different elements. Equipment purchase costs may need to be split between projects if there are multiple sponsors, or conversely a project may receive funding from more than one external source.
  4. Equipment costs include purchase, installation, set-up, testing, maintenance, technicians, spares, additional insurance, exceptional procurement costs, and buildings modification. However, these costs should only be included as a DI cost where:
    1. the same costs are not included as a directly incurred cost on any other project; and
    2. the HEI has a robust system for ensuring that these costs are charged as a directly incurred cost on a research project or equipment grant, and are not then included in estates charges (or indirect cost rates).
  5. Where institutions build equipment rather than buy it, the materials used in the manufacture or assembly process can be included as a DI cost of equipment. The labour costs cannot - they are part of staff costs, charged as a DA or DI technician cost.
  6. When the fEC is to include the costs of equipment purchased for that project, these purchase costs should be written off against the project according to the likely useful life of the equipment (which is often the same as the life of the grant).
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