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.
The use of this cost category is limited. It is therefore important that you check whether the relevant call opens for the purchase of R&D services.
Here you are to enter the costs of renting (costs for use and operation) and depreciation of the institution’s own investments and equipment/research infrastructure necessary for the execution of the project. Normally, such equipment costs are calculated through research infrastructure resources or the entity in the organisation that operates the equipment/infrastructure. Separate guidelines for costs related to research infrastructure resources are in place for the university and university college sector (in Norwegian only) (opens in separate window).
The Research Council’s starting point is that equipment/research infrastructure can normally be used by several projects and users. The costs charged to a project must therefore correspond to the project’s respective share of the equipment/infrastructure’s capacity or total operating costs. When entering depreciation in the budget, you must take the following into consideration (the list is not exhaustive):
- The extent to which the equipment/research infrastructure can also be used for purposes other than the purpose of the project.
- You must calculate the proportion of the equipment/research infrastructure’s capacity that the project expects to use. If the project will utilise x per cent of the equipment/research infrastructure’s capacity, x per cent of the depreciation costs may be entered as project costs.
- Whether the equipment/research infrastructure’s depreciation period deviates from the project period.
- The project should not be charged for depreciation that extends beyond the period in which the project will use the equipment/research infrastructure. If the expected useful life (depreciation period) is set to 5 years and the project will only use the equipment/research infrastructure for 3 years, only depreciation for these 3 years may be entered in the budget.
- The depreciation period must be based on the depreciation period that the owner of the infrastructure (Project Owner or partner) has used in their ordinary accounts or in the funding plan for the infrastructure.
- For the university and university college sector, institute sector and health trusts: If the equipment/research infrastructure is defined as separate 'research infrastructure resources', the cost (price of use) is calculated on the basis of the overall research infrastructure resources costs charged to the project.
The following costs should not be entered under 'Equipment':
- Smaller-scale procurements (less than NOK 100,000 in acquisition costs) that are necessary for the execution of the project should be entered under 'Other operating expenses'. Please note that costs cannot be included here that are a natural part of the institution's indirect costs, such as office equipment, PCs, etc.
- Depreciation for research infrastructure procured with funding from the Research Council's Infrastructure initiative (INFRASTRUKTUR). For research infrastructure co-funded by the Research Council and the institution itself, only the institution's contribution can be used as the basis for calculating depreciation costs.
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 that 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.
- scientific events and seminars, user-oriented dissemination 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;
- data collection, which may include room and board, local transport, interpreter services/field assistance, car rental, visa, vaccination, etc. If room and board is covered by the employer or others, you my budget with a fixed administrative fee.
- 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.
- Trade and industry
- 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.
Messages at time of print 20 January 2022, 00:22 CET