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Project budgets

All applications for project support submitted to the Research Council must contain a complete budget for the project specified by calendar year. The budget must include a cost plan detailing the costs expected to accrue to the project and a funding plan showing how the project will cover these costs.

Project costs
Cost plan
Cost codes
Funding plan

If a grant proposal is approved, the applicant will be asked to incorporate any revisions to the budget related to the conditions for approval, changes in fixed rates, or shifts in the progress plan. Once these changes have been approved by the Research Council, the revised budget will form part of the basis for the contract between the Research Council and the project owner (institution/company).

The Research Council provides funding to cover project costs related to the implementation of the agreed project activities. If the accrued costs are lower than the amounts budgeted, the Research Council’s support will be regulated accordingly. If a project that has received a funding pledge based on an agreed budget needs to revise that budget, the project must apply for approval of the revised calculated project costs.

Project costs

Project costs are defined as costs that are necessary for the implementation of the project. Project costs can be divided into two main categories:

  • Direct project costs are costs related to resources set aside specifically for the implementation of the project. Under normal circumstances, this will involve payroll costs for project staff and other direct costs for the performance of project activities. 
  • Indirect project costs are costs related to the use of general resources on which the project will draw. Indirect project costs include the project’s share of the cost of rental of office space, IT/telephone and other joint administrative services for personnel, accounting and financial management. Costs for the project’s share of joint services that are specific to the type of institution, for instance for research and academic studies administration in the higher education sector, will also be considered as indirect costs.   

Cost plan

The cost plan in the Research Council’s grant application form employs four cost categories. All project costs are to be specified in the comment field of the application form or in the project description.

Payroll and indirect expenses

It is common practice to present indirect costs in entities by distributing them across the number of person-years. Indirect costs are therefore grouped together with payroll costs in a single cost category in project budgets on the Research Council’s grant application form.

The Research Council has defined a set of rules for the various research-performing sectors to use when calculating payroll and indirect costs in the project budget.

Procurement of R&D services

The costs relating to procurement of R&D services to the project should be entered here. A supplier of R&D services is a research institution or a company that delivers a commissioned R&D task to the project owner or other specified project partners. Any fellowship costs included in the supplier’s task are to be calculated in the budget using the current lump-sum rates.


This category refers to operating and depreciation costs for equipment/infrastructure that was procured without using funding from the Research Council. These costs may be entered in the budget in the following ways:

  • Depreciation costs for equipment/research infrastructure that is necessary for the execution of the project 
  • The project’s share of the operating costs or “user fee” for equipment/research infrastructure that is necessary for the execution of the project (costs for “research infrastructure resources”) 
  • Procurement costs for project-specific equipment that will not be of any additional use outside the scope of the project. All smaller-scale procurements of equipment that will be of use outside the scope of the project are regarded as being covered in the calculation of indirect costs.   

See Equipment and research infrastructure

Other operating expenses

All costs for goods and services that are necessary for the execution of the project but that do not belong under the other cost categories should be entered here. The call for proposals will set the framework for which kinds of expenses can be approved as necessary project costs. These will include costs for project-related travel and accommodation as well as project-specific dissemination activities, including costs associated with providing access to research data from the project. Costs for materials that are not connected to use of equipment are also entered here.

“Other operating expenses” must be specified in the grant application and the budget for such costs will be revised if the project is granted funding.

Cost codes

This section of the budget is used to show how the project costs are distributed among the various sectors (Trade and industry, Research institute, Universities and University Colleges, Other sectors, Abroad) according to the sector to which the various organisations carrying the costs belong.

Funding plan

The funding plan is to show how much of the funding will come from the Research Council and how much will be provided from other sources, such as own financing, contributions from partners, etc. The distribution of the funding of the total project costs among the various funding sources must therefore be specified. Funding may include cash financing and in-kind resources to be made available to the project.

For projects that are linked to the economic activities of the project owner and/or one or more of the partners, the funding plan must comply with state aid rules.

For some types of costs, the contribution towards project funding from the Research Council will be based on fixed rates. In cases where the calculated costs in the budget exceed the funding available under the Research Council’s established rates, the difference must be financed by other sources, for instance by own funding from the project owner.

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