*New* Full Economic Cost thresholds for research and knowledge exchange (RKE) activity

A review of BU’s research and knowledge exchange activity demonstrated that over the past three years BU’s RKE income met c. 80% of the full economic costs (fEC) of the projects. The review also looked at the fEC thresholds and found they were out of date and unrealistic, for example, a number of the thresholds did not match the funding models provided by funders.

The Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC) have therefore approved changes to the fEC thresholds for RKE activities at BU. The new thresholds have been chosen to make it easier to work with organisations on RKE projects that will benefit society. Moreover, the new thresholds set realistic expectations for working with a range of funders so that research activity is sustainable at BU.

In addition to the thresholds, the RPMC has confirmed an expectation that all new costs to the project (Directly Incurred costs) must be covered by the income to be received from the funder. Ideally the income will be sufficient to also provide a contribution to the other costs to the project (i.e. existing staff time and overheads). This will enable BU to ensure RKE activities are financially viable and sustainable.

The new thresholds set a minimum fEC recovery rate by funder/activity type (see Table 1). They should be discussed with your Funding Development Officer at the start of the bidding process and before any conversations take place with external organisations/partners. All Principal Investigators will be asked to design their projects around meeting or exceeding these minimum thresholds and making sure the Directly Incurred costs will be covered. This may not be possible for all funding schemes. Where there is a strategic reason for applying to such a scheme and there is no alternative funder (such as some prestigious fellowship schemes) then this should be discussed with your Funding Development Officer who will advise on options.

If you have any queries about what this will mean for your research, please contact Ehren Milner (emilner@bournemouth.ac.uk).