Costs guidance for grants

Our grants typically only fund direct research costs. This guidance is intended to help you understand which costs can and can't be changed to our grants.

This document provides general guidance, and in some instances the acceptability of costs may vary. When you are applying for funding, additional costs guidance may be provided in the application guidelines for the specific funding scheme you are applying to. If you are successful in your application, you will receive a Grant Award Letter (GAL) which sets out allowable costs.

If you require any further guidance on the acceptability of costs, please contact grants.helpline@cancer.org.uk or tel. 0203 469 5452.

 

Download a printable version of this document (PDF 1.1 MB)

 

Acceptable costs

Transaction

Examples

Salaries for grant staff

Researchers on fixed term contracts to work specifically on the funded project. This may include fellows, research assistants, data managers, students (except overseas student fees), technicians and nurses. Salary costs may be used to fund salary, the employer’s national insurance contribution, and an employer’s pension contribution which will not be higher than the rate used by the University Superannuation Scheme (USS) or NHS pension scheme.

Salary costs for Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators are generally ineligible costs except as provided in our Policy on Funding Investigator Salaries.

Research nurse costs are not eligible for inclusion in grant applications. In exceptional cases, where a study is not eligible for research nurse support through local infrastructure such as NIHR, CRUK Centre, ECMC funding or equivalent, then these costs can be included for consideration by the funding committee.

Laboratory expenses

Laboratory chemicals and materials (e.g. reagents, isotopes, peptides, enzymes, antibodies, gases, proteins, cell/tissue/bacterial culture, plastic ware and glassware), as well as any associated charges for shipping, delivery and freight. Please note that ‘bench fees’ will only be covered if they are for named researchers on the grant, and only if the Host Institution confirms that they do not include charges for unacceptable costs.

Protective clothing

Gloves, lab coats (if CRUK branded), goggles, protective shoes

Equipment purchase costs

Costs may include purchase, delivery, and installation of scientific equipment where that equipment is specific to the grant.

Equipment maintenance costs

For equipment that has been purchased on a CRUK grant, where the warranty has expired.

Equipment access costs

Access fees charged by usage or size of grant where the equipment has not been purchased on a CRUK grant.

Personal computing costs

Where justified, personal computing costs for named individuals engaged to work specifically on the grant (capped at £1,000 per person over the duration of the grant). Standard per-unit IT charges are not acceptable.

Animal research costs

Animal purchase and transportation costs, maintenance (including food), Home Office Project Licences and experimentation costs. (Animal handling training costs and facility licence costs are not covered).

Cell line authentication costs

Costs to support the authentication of cell lines, for example, screening for contamination by mycoplasma, STR profiling for human cell lines, or DNA fingerprinting for non-human cells. We will also cover purchase of cell lines from cell banks such as ATCC.

Data sharing costs

Archiving, repository fees, data storage costs and data management services. Data management and sharing costs must be reasonable and proportionate in the context of the overall grant. Data sharing costs do not include open access publication fees.

Publication costs

Page charges, costs of colour printing, reprints are not eligible to be included in application budgets but may be paid from grant underspend.

Open access costs (article processing charges or APCs)

APC costs should not be included in application budgets, because we fund these costs separately through contributions to university block grants from the Charities Open Access Fund (COAF). CRUK-funded researchers at any of the COAF eligible institutions should recover APC costs from their institution’s block COAF grant. If the Host Institution is not a COAF eligible institution, or if the Host Institution’s annual COAF allocation has been exhausted, grant underspend may be used to fund APCs where they are incurred during the course of a grant.

PhD student expenses in the UK

Stipends, running expenses and fees.

Patient involvement costs

For patient involvement representatives sitting on steering groups or advisory boards specifically relating to the funded research, reasonable travel and subsistence costs, as well as fees or honoraria where applicable.

Fees or honoraria should be no greater than:

  • £80 per day (where more than 4 hours is contributed)
  • £50 per half day (where between 2-4 hours is contributed)
  • £30 for up to 2 hours, or
  • where the patient involvement representative is sitting on a committee which includes other professional experts who are offered an honorarium, an amount equal to the honorarium offered to those other professional experts.

Subject and volunteer expenses

Recruitment (excluding participation fees), reasonable travel and refreshment costs for subjects and volunteers in population studies. Incentives (such as cash or gift vouchers) for participation are not eligible costs unless specifically set out in the Application Guidelines for the particular scheme.

Fees for professional or technical services

Consultancy costs for a specific piece of work where appropriately justified. This may include paying an individual who is not a co-investigator or ongoing contributor to perform technical services such as processing samples, data handling. Where appropriately justified these costs may be paid to individuals based outside the UK.

Global Talent Visa Application Costs

Global Talent Visa application fees for CRUK fellowship holders or grant staff whose salaries are funded by CRUK. (Other types of visa application costs for CRUK grantholders or CRUK-funded posts are not eligible costs – see ‘HR Costs’ in the ‘Unacceptable Costs’ table below).

 

Conditionally acceptable costs

Transaction

Examples

Acceptable

Unacceptable

Recruitment

Post advertising, relocation costs, interviewee expenses

If relating to recruiting patients/participants on a clinical trial or other study involving human participants.

Lead Applicants on CRUK fellowships can ask for up to £1,000 personal removal costs if moving to start the fellowship at a new institution if justified in the application and the HI does not pay relocation costs.

If relating to recruitment of posts to a grant

Travel, Subsistence and Childcare, Conferences, Meetings

 

Not eligible costs on grant applications unless the application guidelines for the scheme specifically state otherwise.

However, grant underspend may be used to cover reasonable travel, subsistence, childcare and conference costs if the person travelling is funded by the grant and the purpose of travel relates to the grant.

Confirmation that the above criteria have been met must be obtained from the office before underspend is used in this way.

First class travel

Meetings organised/hosted by CRUK where attendee costs are reimbursed directly by CRUK (these costs should not be charged to grants)

Catering / Hospitality

 

Not eligible on grant applications, but may come from grant underspend if for collaborative meetings relating to the grant and not excessive in cost

If for QQRs or reasons unrelated to research (e.g. staff parties)

Training

 

If related to the science of the award eg. scientific equipment

If not science specific or general to HR eg. IT skills, personal development etc.

Postage / Courier costs

 

If posting scientific materials (including, if relevant, research survey responses), delivery costs

General postage costs

Software in excess of ‘personal computing costs’ (see acceptable costs)

 

If specialised software specific to the funded research (eg. specialised bioinformatics software)

Generic office software

Website design, development and hosting

 

If appropriately justified and relevant to the success of the grant activities.

 

Telephone conference call costs

 

If in lieu of travel expenses for attending a meeting. Also acceptable if incurred in the course of gathering data as part of the grant activities (e.g. telephone interview costs for subjects in behavioural studies). (Infrastructure costs remain the responsibility of host institution).

All other cases

 

Acceptability dependent on grant type

Transaction

Examples

Acceptable for these grant types

All other grant types

Regulatory licences/fees

Human Tissues Act

 

Only acceptable if outlined on the GAL.

Article retrieval costs

 

Grants supporting systematic reviews

 

Printing / Photocopying

 

All trials and Centres

Grants supporting studies with human participants where surveys and similar materials are required

Only acceptable if outlined on the GAL.

Stationery

Paper, pens, toner, office postage

All trials and Centres

Only acceptable if outlined on the GAL.

Mobile phone costs

 

Research Nurse mobile costs on trials, staff undertaking field work or telephone interviews of human subjects in population studies

Not acceptable

Promotional Material

Pens, mugs, calendars, nurse uniforms, business cards.

CTUs, Centres, ECMCs

Only acceptable if outlined on the GAL.

 

Unacceptable costs

Transaction

Examples

General estate costs

Key cutting, electrical point installations, waste disposal, cleaning services, removal costs etc

Furniture

Chairs, desks, lab furniture, telephone handsets and conference call hubs

Health and Safety

First aid kit, hazard signs

Utilities costs

Electricity, gas, water costs

Standard telephone and internet costs

Broadband, mobile line rental and calls

Standard IT charges

Standard per unit IT costs

Phone / computer accessories

Drives, cases, chargers, batteries over and above the ‘Personal Computing Costs’ cap set out under ‘Acceptable costs’

Fees to professional organisations

Journal subscriptions, professional membership

Misc

Paper wipes, laundry, reference books

Departmental support staff

Secretarial support, librarians, general lab support staff

HR Costs and taxes

Eye tests, CRB checks, redundancy, apprenticeship levies, visa application costs other than Global Talent Visa application costs set out under 'Acceptable costs'

Shared catering

Coffee, milk, water, vending machines and maintenance

Printing / Photocopying

Rental of copiers

Insurance

Laptop, travel etc

Gifts

Gift vouchers for trial participants

Insufficiently evidenced costs

No copy of invoice or receipt available

 

Rates for PhD expenses

For Grant Award Letters sent on or after 1 April 2020

 

 

 

Indexation

Total (4 years)

Stipend

Outside London

£19,000

0%

£76,000

 

Inside London

£21,000

0%

£84,000

Running expenses*

Years 1-3

£13,500

1.75%

£48,323.50

Year 4

£6,750

1.75%

Fees

Years 1-4

£4,195

1.75%

£17,225.64

Overall 4-year total

Outside London

£141,549.13

Inside London

£149,549.13

*Under ‘Running expenses’, up to £2,000 from the overall budget is ringfenced for researcher development activities to attend conferences, external training courses or workshops (registration, travel, etc) over the 4 year studentship. For students already part way through their studentship, the available researcher development activities budget is on a pro-rata of time remaining on the studentship (funding permitting).

For Grant Award Letters sent between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2020 (inclusive)

 

 

 

Indexation

Total (4 years)

Stipend

Outside London

£19,000

0%

£76,000

 

Inside London

£21,000

0%

£84,000

Running expenses*

Years 1-3

£13,500

2%

£48,478.55

Year 4

£6,750

2%

Fees

Years 1-4

£4,195

2%

£17,290.15

Overall 4-year total

Outside London

£141,768.70

Inside London

£149,768.70

 

*Under ‘running expenses’, up to £2,000 from the overall budget is ringfenced for researcher development activities to attend conferences, external training courses or workshops (registration, travel, etc) over the 4 year studentship. For students already part way through their studentship, the available researcher development activities budget is on a pro-rata of time remaining on the studentship (funding permitting).

 

For Grant Award Letters sent between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 (inclusive)

 

 

 

Indexation

Total (4 years)

Stipend

Outside London

£19,000

0%

£76,000

Inside London

£21,000

0%

£84,000

Running expenses

Years 1–3

£13,500

1.75%

£48,323.50

Year 4

£6,750

1.75%

Fees

Years 1–4

£4,195

1.75%

£17,225.64

Overall 4-year total

Outside London

£141,549.13

Inside London

£149,549.13

For Grant Award Letters sent before 1 April 2017

 

 

 

Indexation

Total (4 years)

Stipend

Outside London

£19,000

0%

£76,000

Inside London

£21,000

0%

£84,000

Running expenses

Years 1-3

£13,500

2%

£48,478.55

Year 4

£6,750

2%

Fees

Years 1-4

£3,900

2%

£16,074.27

Overall 4-year total

Outside London

£140,552.82

Inside London

£148,552.82