Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

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Costing a research project

  Created on Tuesday, 31 Oct 2017. Posted in Design Tips | Costing

You need to be thinking about costing from the earliest stages of your project design. You should aim to contact the relevant Research Support Office(s), and Trust R&D offices, several weeks before the deadline and to have familiarised yourself with the current research costing guidance.

Consider the questions:

  • Are the costs realistic?
  • Is your research project value for money?
  • Are you paying patients or public involved in your project?
  • Will you need to pay for any other assistance or do you have enough staff within your research project?
  • Do members of the research team need training and does this have cost implications?
  • Have you considered costs for equipment procurement, software licences, travel expenses, office supplies (printing, photocopying, postage, stationery, advertising), literature reviews, access to available publications, dissemination costs etc? 
  • Do you have CTU involvement in your project - as this will need to be costed?
  • Have you taken into account the three main types of cost - Research costs, NHS support costs, and treatment costs in line with AcoRD?
  • Have you allowed sufficient time for the costings to be verified by the host institution finance office and the finance office of any collaborating partners?

Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD)
The AcoRD guidance categorises the costs associated with research based on the nature of the activity and whether activities contribute to NHS patient care. Activities are divided into three categories, to which all research and development activities can be attributed:

  • NHS Treatment Costs: are patient care costs, which would continue to be incurred if the patient care service in question continued to be provided after the R&D study had stopped. These costs might be higher or lower than the cost of providing the current standard treatment in the NHS. Where the costs are higher, these are known as Excess Treatment Costs. These are met through the normal commissioning process.
  • NHS Service Support Costs: are additional patient care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D study in question had stopped, even if the patient care involved continued to be provided. Examples of such costs are processing patient records to identify NHS patients eligible to participate in the study and obtaining informed consent from participants. These costs are met from the R&D budget of the Department of Health and are provided through the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) with the activities carried out by CRN funded staff. To ensure your study can be delivered successfully contact the CRN by emailing supportmystudyeastmidlands@nihr.ac.uk
  • Research Costs: are costs of the R&D itself that end when the research ends. They relate to activities that are being undertaken to answer the research questions. Research costs are split into two parts; Part A must always be met by the funder, and Part B which will be met by the DH where the funder is an Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) member and NIHR Non-commercial partner (www.nihr.ac.uk/research-and-impact/documents/NIHR-CRN-Portfolio/NIHR%20Partner%20List.pdf).
    • Part B:
      • Local study trial co-ordination and management
      • Data collection needed to answer the questions that the research study is addressing
      • Regulatory preparation and compliance including obtaining ethical approval and complying with the Medicine for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004
      • The time taken by chief and principal investigators (CI and PI to explain the study to professional colleagues, and to understand, the research elements of a study.

A list of common research activities attributed using AcoRD are found in Annex A https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351185/AcoRD_Annex_A_-__List_of_Common_research_Activities_March_2013_for_publication.pdf


Costings Flowchart


Economic evaluation of mental health interventions: an introduction to cost-utility analysis

  Created on Monday, 25 Apr 2016. Posted in Literature | Costing

An very good introduction to cost-utility analysis for those wanting to gain a better understanding of one of the most widely-used form of economic evaluation in healthcare. Full article


Payment and recognition for public involvement

  Created on Monday, 01 Feb 2016. Posted in Public Involvement | Costing

There are a number of ways to recognise the contributions of members of the public who are actively involved in research. This INVOLVE resource links to guides and practical advice on payment and non-monetary methods for recognising the time, skills and expertise provided by members of the public.


Guidance on excess treatment costs

  Created on Monday, 23 Nov 2015. Posted in Costing | Toolkit/Database

The value of Excess Treatment Costs is not a large sum in the context of overall NHS funding but anecdotal evidence suggests that the (non) payment of Excess Treatment Costs has become a point of friction between providers and commissioners.

Excess Treatment Costs are the difference between the total treatment costs and the cost of standard treatment.
Excess Treatment Costs are part of treatment costs and therefore normal commissioning arrangements apply.

This new guidance on meeting Excess Treatment Costs relates specifically to non-commercial research (i.e. research funded by the NIHR, other areas of central Government including Research Councils, NIHR noncommercial Partners and also Investigator-initiated, commercial-collaborative studies (Industry-funded, non-industry sponsored studies).

It covers the following topics:

  • Meeting the costs of research
  • Excess Treatment Costs
  • Excess Treatment Savings
  • The responsibilities of commissioners, providers and researchers in the funding of Excess Treatment Costs

Need to calculate a budget for patient involvement in research?

  Created on Monday, 10 Aug 2015. Posted in Public Involvement | Costing

The national NIHR patient and public advisory group INVOLVE have developed a new resource to help with budgeting for the costs of public involvement in research. The involvement cost calculator can be used for everything from putting together an involvement budget for an entire study to working out how much it will cost to run a one-off consultation event.


Industry Costing Templates released 2015/16

  Created on Monday, 22 Jun 2015. Posted in Industry | Costing | Toolkit/Database

Revised Industry Costing Templates to reflect the new financial year have been released on the CRN website, Commercial Costing pages. The changes to the template this year are minimal with all revisions detailed in the 'summary of annual revisions' document. All supporting information such as the user guide and step-by-step completion guides have been updated to reflect the revised version. Please use the latest version of the Industry Costing Template to cost any new studies.


Benefits Advice Service for involvement in research

  Created on Thursday, 29 Jan 2015. Posted in Public Involvement | Costing

New confidential service launched today 29 January 2015

  • a new service offering personal advice and support on how payment of fees and expenses for public involvement might affect people in receipt of state benefits
  • NIHR in partnership with others is offering a service that covers advice on payment of fees and expenses for public involvement in health or social care research, service design or service delivery
  • the service will be provided by Bedford Citizens Advice Bureau, initially as a pilot for one year.

Who is the Benefits Advice service for?

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is offering this confidential service to:

  • members of the public involved with NIHR organisations or NIHR funded research projects. Find out more
  • staff within NIHR organisations who are supporting members of the public to get involved. Find out more

INVOLVE is funding this service on behalf of, and for the NIHR. Other partners who are also part of the service are:

  • NHS England
  • Health Research Authority(HRA)
  • Involving People (Wales)
  • Social Care Institute for Excellence and Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP)

Association of Research Managers and Administrators: Supporting Research Proposals Videos

  Created on Thursday, 29 Jan 2015. Posted in Costing | Toolkit/Database

Supporting Research Proposals is the latest in the Online Training and Development Resources from ARMA. This video is a set of 4, which can be purchased a a complete pack.

  • Video 1: The Role of the Administrator
  • Video 2: Dealing with Costs
  • Video 3: Other costs (with a case study)
  • Video 4: Approval, Submissions and Peer Review

Video 2 and 3 deal with project costings and cover the following areas:

  • Full Economic Costing
  • Staff costs
  • Indirect Costs
  • Estates
  • Costing/pricing tools
  • How different funders pay for costs
  • Travel
  • Equipment
  • Consumables
  • Other costs

To find out more watch this trailer or email Louise Machin.


Ring-fenced funds for public engagement within Wellcome Trust research grants

  Created on Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014. Posted in Public Involvement | Costing

The Wellcome Trust expects all of their major research groups to engage with the public about their work. To support this, they are providing ring-fenced funds for public engagement within the research grants. Researchers are invited to plan how to inform, consult and collaborate with the non-academic public over the lifetime of your research project and cost for this appropriately at the time of application or post-award.

Activities can take any form, such as blogs, exhibitions, games, drama, collaborations with schools or artists, and creating opportunities for the public to inform research. For more information, please read the guidance information.