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Module 5: Financial, Resource and Risk Management

Topic 2: Costing research proposals

Costing your research takes practice and it needs time to identify key sources that have to be accessed. This topic will offer you some insights into the processes you might employ in costing your research.  

The first step in effective financial management is to ensure your project is accurately scoped and fully costed to support the work to be undertaken. This is a stage where many researchers come undone. They may underestimate the resources required or fail to include some of the hidden costs.  Your ability to accurately cost research projects is a vital skill that will ensure you can actually do the research you have proposed.  

In this topic we will look at some examples to illustrate the concepts.

Learning outcomes

After completing this topic you should be able to more accurately cost your research proposals through:

  • Recognising the importance of accurate costing;
  • Incorporating direct and indirect costs; and
  • Calculating the full costs of employing staff.

Topic content:

Read the following notes:

2.1         Reviewing your project budget needs and priorities
2.2         Estimating direct costs 
2.3         Identifying what will not be funded
2.4         Estimating indirect costs
2.5         Estimating salary on-costs
2.6         Estimating total on-costs
2.7         Other issues


Activity 2.1 What do you cost?

Review the ARC salary scales ( Calculate what your position would receive in funding from an ARC grant.

Now do the same calculation using your current university salary schedules and on-costs.

What is the difference?  How would you address this gap in your next project?

Optional Activity 2.2  Research case study

Review the Sample Case Study and identify the costs that would need to be covered in an ARC project for the salaries of Dr Allison, Dr Black, Dr Stuart, and Mr Van Driver and for teaching relief for Dr Beard.

When you have calculated these, review the Salary Costing Example to compare your answers.

Please also see Answers and Budget Template.

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