When preparing a budget for research (either for a grant or contract research) it is important to include both the direct and indirect costs (overheads) of the proposed research project.

Direct costs

Direct costs are those costs that are directly related to the research work being undertaken. These costs usually include salaries (including Chief Investigator salaries where allowable), salary on-costs, consumables, travel, and purchase of equipment and/or maintenance.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs, while not required in order to directly fund the research project, are real costs incurred by the University, through the delivery of infrastructure and services in support of research. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • establishment of facilities
  • maintenance of laboratory space and the associated utilities (water, electricity, gas etc.)
  • financial and administrative support
  • access to library facilities (including journals).

Where these indirect costs or overheads are not able to be recovered through the funding provided by the granting body, the program of research is then being subsidised by the University.

Other considerations

Research budgets should be prepared following careful consideration of both the University policy (including compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act) and the funding body's requirements.  Budgets for research projects should be calculated at the grant application stage, or for contract research, during the early discussions with the funding body.

Your Grants team can help you plan out your budget and has tools to help you calculate staff and travel costs etc.

If budgets are not calculated correctly prior to submission of grant applications or contract negotiations, and the indirect costs have not been included appropriately, the University will need to consider the viability of the research project. In some circumstances, the University may not be willing to subsidise the research project and funds may need to be relinquished.