3. Costs we fund - MRC

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3.3 Overseas costs

The costs for work undertaken at an overseas organisation are admissible and should be discussed with the programme manager before submission of the application. This excludes MRC overseas units who should follow the guidance in section 3.9. Similarly, applications submitted to any of the international calls or jointly funded global initiatives are not required to do this.

Investigators at overseas organisations are generally not eligible to receive indirect and estates costs. However, where the research is being undertaken in a developing country, MRC may contribute towards indirect and estates costs at its discretion if it will assist in developing research capacity. Applicants should seek guidance from the MRC programme manager in advance of submitting the application.

Costs attributed to international co-investigators (Co-Is) from developed countries not on the OECD DAC list (PDF, 18KB), India or China must not exceed 30% of the FEC grant value. There is no cap on eligible funds going to international Co-Is from DAC list countries.

More than one International Co-I may be included on the proposal as long as the combined funding requested for international Co-Is does not exceed the caps stated.

100% of the direct costs will be paid to the international co-investigator for both DAC list and developed countries. However, a greater justification for inclusion of costs for international Co-Is in developed countries will be required.

Where allowed, indirect and estates costs associated with overseas locally employed staff should be included as exceptions. Although MRC will not question the indirect costs and estates costs rates declared by overseas ROs, the full cost of the proposed research, including indirect and estates costs, will be taken into account in any assessment of value for money.

To enable UKRI to meet reporting requirements, all overseas costs to be incurred by non-UK organisations – except non-UK co-investigator and non-UK researcher salary costs – must be entered as other directly incurred costs and marked as an exception using the following format.

In the description box you should enter organisation, country, cost category cost description, for example:

  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, staff, 1 x PDRA
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, travel and subsistence, 4 x flights
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya, other directly incurred costs, 5 x workshops including catering and accommodation.

Non-UK co-investigator and researcher time allocation and salary costs should be entered under the standard Co-I and researcher section and marked as an exception using the cost type tick box. All other non-UK co-investigator or researcher-related costs (where applicable), whether fieldwork, equipment or travel and subsistence, should be entered in the other directly incurred section as outlined above and marked as an exception.

Equipment for overseas organisations should use the same method described above but record it under the equipment heading in the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

The following table summarises which costs are admissible and at what rate MRC will pay these costs.

Description Discuss with programme manager in advance MRC FEC contribution %
Costs for overseas CoIs and any locally employed staff % of actual salary, travel and expenses. Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
Costs charged by the overseas organisation and associated with the research, for example consumables, field work. Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
A contribution towards indirect and estates costs at the overseas organisation, where the research is being undertaken in a developing country, where it can be shown that it will assist in developing research capacity. Calculated as 20% of the overseas organisations’ directly incurred costs. Must be entered as exceptions. Yes 100
The costs of any service or product procured for use in the UK from an overseas supplier, for example mouse, antibody strains, cell lines, assays. No 80
Travel and subsistence, including bench fees for UK-based researchers going abroad to undertake work. This does not include costs incurred directly by the overseas organisation when the researcher is active in that country. No 80

Overseas costs may not include:

  • overheads (estate or indirect costs) for an overseas CoI or locally employed staff in India, China or developed countries.

Last updated: 15 October 2021

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