Research Design Service: East Midlands

Latest News

Changes to NIHR costing methodology from 2020/21

  Created on Tuesday, 05 Nov 2019. Posted in Costing

From April 2020, the NIHR’s online interactive Costing Tool (iCT) will be the only system available for industry costing submissions for new studies. There will be no further Excel templates produced after this time. Make sure you're ready for the big switchover and find out more about the iCT and how to get started here.
All NHS R&D Departments are encouraged to pro-actively work ahead of this deadline and register themselves with group CPMS accounts so that are able to receive new iCT requests from our commercial partners, meaning that negotiation timelines and setup are reduced to a minimum. 

New interactive costing tool for industry

  Created on Tuesday, 14 May 2019. Posted in Costing | Industry

The NIHR has launched a new web-based costing tool for industry - which will enable faster and more efficient costing and contracting between the life sciences sector and the NHS during the study set-up phase. The online iCT will complement the existing Excel-based Industry Costing Template and both will continue to be available through the NIHR CRN Study Support Service Early Contact and Engagement service.

NIHR research applications - Cost variance between stage 1 and stage 2

  Created on Tuesday, 09 Apr 2019. Posted in Costing | Funding

There has been a question about the amount by which applications may vary in cost between Stage 1 and Stage 2 and a perception that costs should not vary by more than 10%. The official position is now that “It is accepted that a variance in costs is likely to occur between Stage 1 and Stage 2, but costs at each stage should represent value for money. Advisory committees may provide project specific costing guidance/feedback following stage 1.”

NHS National Directive on commercial contract research studies

  Created on Friday, 05 Apr 2019. Posted in Costing

NHS England, the HRA and the NIHR have jointly developed a National Directive on Commercial Contract Research, which will enable a study-based approach across England to the costing and contracting elements of commercial contract research. Guidance has been published on the NIHR website, outlining what the new requirements for NHS providers in England will mean for the life sciences sector.

New processes that will simplify arrangements for both commercial and non-commercial research in the NHS will start on 1 October

  Created on Tuesday, 02 Oct 2018. Posted in Costing

There has been continued frustration about the complexity and variation in processes for commissioners and providers agreeing excess treatment costs (ETCs).To address the issues identified, the way in which excess treatment costs are met is changing and a trial period for the new arrangements will roll out from 1 October 2018, through to full implementation in April 2019.

To underpin the new arrangements, a cost attribution tool has been created in partnership with charity funders and research sponsors. This tool provides a standardised approach for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD) across England. As part of their funding applications, researchers will be required to complete this new tool, known as a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) for clinical research, which has been developed from the current HRA Schedule of Events. This tool is designed to capture the different costs associated with clinical research and attribute them accordingly. 

Download a preview of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)
Download the supporting guidance for researchers, study teams and sponsors to complete the SoECAT

The emphasis is on simplifying and improving research arrangements is ultimately intended to improve future health and care for patients. For more information and latest updates visit the NIHR website

Costing an NIHR grant

  Created on Monday, 09 Apr 2018. Posted in Costing

Working out the costings for an NIHR grant should be done with experts in the leading institution where the money will be held, but if you want an overview of what kinds of things can be costed into a bid and how accurate your costings are expected to be then take a look at the NIHR's finance document.

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
  • 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 (
    • 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

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