Updated Guidance on RCUK Efficiency Measures

Back in May I blogged about Research Councils UK’s response to the Wakeham Review, Efficiency: Ensuring Excellence with Impact. This report detailed reductions to indirect costs, indexation and equipment funding which have been introduced this year in various stages. Full details of how these changes are being implemented are now available on the RCUK website, and I have updated the blog post with links to relevant guidance documents and clarifications about the implementation of the indirect cost reduction in particular.

In summary, for both indexation and indirect costs RCUK will apply the calculated reduction using a “top slice” mechanism across an institution’s portfolio of RCUK-funded grants. The research organisation will not be required to adjust indirect cost rates prior to submission, which means research offices around the land can breathe a sigh of relief (notwithstanding the fact that universities are of course going to lose income from these changes). However, it isn’t quite that simple…

The top slice will be invoiced annually to universities which will detail amounts to be paid back for indexation and indirect costs, but crucially:

At present it is not possible to confirm that the full details will be broken down by individual grant.  The aim is to provide all Research Organisations with grant by grant information, however it will be dependent on the data available.

If this data is not available it will of course fall to the institution concerned to determine where the reductions are to be made. And this may be particularly tricky for collaborative grants involving multiple institutions. In these cases RCUK will tell the lead organisation and then it will be up to the consortium to divide the savings between participants in an equitable way.