What to enter in the project budget
All applications for project support from the Research Council must contain a complete budget. The budget includes a cost plan detailing all the expected project costs and a funding plan showing how these costs will be covered under the project. The budget is to be specified by calendar year.
The call for proposals will specify the kinds of costs that can be funded.
The cost plan shows how costs will be distributed across different categories over the project period. The cost plan in the Research Council’s grant application form consists of the following four cost categories:
- Payroll and indirect expenses
- Procurement of R&D services
- Other operating expenses
The Project Owner obtains information about costs from each project partner. These costs are to be entered into the cost plan under the relevant category. If the partners do not come from the same sector as the Project Owner, then the costs are to be calculated according to the budget rules for the sector to which the partner belongs. For more information, see under how to enter costs for project partners who are R&D suppliers to the project.
Direct and indirect project costs
Project costs are defined as costs that are necessary for the execution of the project. Project costs are divided into two main categories:
- Direct project costs are payroll costs for project staff and other costs of resources set aside specifically for the implementation of the project.
- Indirect project costs encompass use of general resources within the entity that the project benefits from. Indirect project costs include the project’s share of the office space rental cost, IT/telephone and other joint administrative services at the entity where project activities are carried out.
It is common practice to present indirect costs in entities by distributing them across the number of person-years. You are therefore to group indirect costs together with payroll costs in project budgets in the grant application form.
Depending on the sector that the Project Owner and any partners come from, payroll and indirect expenses are to be entered into their budgets as follows:
- Universities and university colleges
- Research institutes
- Companies, the public sector (and other partners that do not belong to the university/university college or institute sector)
Here you are to enter costs relating to procurement of R&D services for the project. You must link R&D services to an R&D supplier that delivers contracted R&D tasks to the Project Owner or other project partners. R&D suppliers are to be registered as partners in the grant application form.
If research fellowships are included in the R&D services (the task contracted from an R&D supplier) you are to calculate the costs for this using the current lump-sum rates.
Here you are to enter the costs for use of equipment and research infrastructure that is necessary for the execution of the project. These costs may be calculated as follows:
- The project’s share of the depreciation costs for equipment and research infrastructure that is necessary for the execution of the project, if this equipment or infrastructure has not been procured using funding from the Research Council or other public project funding.
- The project’s share of the operating costs or "user fee" for equipment and research infrastructure that is necessary for the execution of the project.
- Procurement costs for equipment that can only be used for this project.
Smaller-scale procurements (less than NOK 100 000 in purchase costs) of equipment that can also be used outside the scope of the project are included in the indirect expenses, and should not be entered under “Equipment”.
Determining whether equipment is “research infrastructure resources”
The general rule is that equipment and research infrastructure are owned by the research organisation or another project partner, and not by the project. Costs for procurement and operation of equipment and research infrastructure are therefore to be entered in the accounts of the organisation that owns the equipment. The utilisation of equipment and research infrastructure in the project then appears as part of the organisation’s depreciation and operating costs for equipment and research infrastructure that the project makes use of.
Equipment defined as "research infrastructure resources"
Equipment and research infrastructures are defined as “research infrastructure resources” when the organisation that owns the equipment or research infrastructure keeps overall accounts for it, and when the costs are distributed proportionally among projects and activities that use these resources.
Costs for “research infrastructure resources” encompass operation, including consumables and costs associated with infrastructure administrative or technical support personnel, in addition depreciation costs for equipment. “Research infrastructure resources” normally have an entry or hourly rate that is charged to users of the resources.
You are to enter the project costs for use of “research infrastructure resources” under “Equipment”.
If the equipment or research infrastructure has been or will be procured using funding from the Research Council, the depreciation costs are not to be included in the costs for "research infrastructure resources".
Equipment that is not defined as "research infrastructure resources"
If the equipment the project is to use is not defined as “research infrastructure resources”, then a portion of the depreciation costs for the equipment and the research infrastructure may be entered under costs for equipment in the budget, according to the following principles:
- The equipment has not been procured using funding from the Research Council or other public project funding.
- The depreciation schedule must be based on the time frame that the owner of the equipment (Project Owner or partner) has stipulated for equipment depreciation in its ordinary accounting procedures or financial planning. If the institution does not have any established guidelines, a five-year period of depreciation is to be applied.
- The project costs relating to depreciation of equipment are limited to the percentage of the equipment capacity to be used in the project. If the project will be using x per cent of the equipment capacity, then x per cent of the depreciation costs may be entered as a project cost. Depreciation costs may only be included in the project budget within the period of depreciation established for the equipment.
- Good accounting practices and any existing guidelines for accounting-based write-offs are to be employed.
Here you are to enter all costs that are necessary for the execution of the project and that do not belong under the other cost categories. The call for proposals will set guidelines for the kinds of expenses can be approved as necessary project costs. This may include costs for:
- travel and accommodation, including research stays abroad and research visits to Norway for researchers from other countries. Read more under research stays abroad and research visits to Norway.
- dissemination activities related to events, seminars, user-oriented activities, etc.;
- costs related to the publication of Open Access scientific books (monographs/anthologies);
- activities to make research data from the project accessible in accordance with a potential data management plan;
- other materials that are not covered under "Equipment".
The budget for all types of operating expenses may be subject to revision if the project is granted funding.
Costs of Open Access article fees are not covered in individual projects. Research organisations can apply to have publication fees covered through the Stimulation Scheme for Open Access Publication (STIM-OA).
Only the Project Owner and partners may have costs (and may be the recipients of support) in a project. In this section of the budget you are to indicate the sectors that the Project Owner and partners come from, and thus the cost code to which their respective costs belong.
- Research institutes
- Universities and university colleges
- Other sectors
- Abroad (combined category)
The funding plan is to show how you intend to cover the project costs. The plan must clearly indicate how much of the funding will come from the Research Council and how much will be provided from other sources.
The call for proposals will state which types of project costs are eligible for full or partial funding from the Research Council. The Research Council operates with ceiling rates for maximum funding for certain project costs:.
- For the university and university college sector, the Research Council funds payroll costs for academic personnel and fellowship-holders based on a lump-sum rate, see the rates for researcher time in the university and university college sector.
- For research fellowship positions in projects, the following rates apply.
- For funding to finance research visits to Norway for researchers from other countries (visiting research grants), the following rates apply.
- For funding to finance research stays abroad for researchers from Norway (overseas research grants), the following rates apply.
For projects that are associated with the economic activity of the Project Owner and/or one or more of the partners, the funding from the Research Council will be granted in compliance with the state aid rules.
Requirements for own financing and other restrictions relating to the Research Council’s funding will also be set out in the call for proposals.
If the budgeted project costs exceed the amount that you can apply for from the Research Council, you must indicate how the difference will be covered in the funding plan. Differences may be covered through own financing from the Project Owner and partners, other types of contributions or grants from other sources. Own financing may comprise both cash financing and in-kind resources to cover project costs.