The Costing Tool

The Costing Tool replaces URMS (University Research Management System) and is one part of the larger Integrated Research Information Systems (IRIS) Project.

The tool can be accessed via myResearch in MUSE.

We have designed the new tool to be intuitive and have included helptext against each item and on each page (top right-hand side of the screen).

We are continuing to develop the tool and are constantly making small enhancements and adding new features, however users will be updated should any significant change be implemented.

We hope you like the new Costing Tool. We welcome feedback and also suggestions and ideas for future developments – please email or use the feedback through the tool (top right-hand side of the screen). Please also get in touch if you have any questions or technical difficulties with the Costing Tool or if you would like training or a demo session. We have dedicated support for use of the tool: ext 27629 or email costingtool@sheffield.ac.uk.

Pricing Support

For general information about pricing and submitting projects and non-system queries, please visit the Pricing pages


Frequently Asked Questions

Access/Permissions

How do I access the new Costing Tool?

The Costing Tool can be accessed via myResearch in MUSE.

Will I still be able to access costings in URMS?

No, the Costing Tool has replaced the Project Initiation section of URMS. Finance has some access to URMS but Project Initiation will be fully retired at the beginning of July 2017.

Will I still be able to access other parts of URMS?

Yes. If you currently have permissions to access other parts of URMS e.g. Award Details, you will still be able to access these through CIS from MUSE, or you can bookmark it on your web browser.

Will I still be able to access costings that were created in URMS?

Yes, the Costing Tool is a new interface, however the background data is the same and is unchanged.

Do I need to register to use the new Costing Tool?

No, but if you need any special user rights e.g. departmental authoriser or departmental administrator rights, you will need to request this from R&IS. Please email research.eds@sheffield.ac.uk or use the form online registration form.

Will I have the same permissions as I did on URMS?

Yes, you will have the same user permissions as you do on URMS. If you need to update yours or your department’s permissions, please contact R&IS at research.eds@sheffield.ac.uk.

Can I access the Costing Tool from any device and web browser?

Yes, the Costing Tool is a web based application so can be accessed from any computer using any web browser. It works on Macs, PCs and mobile devices.

Can I give other users access to my costing?

You can give access to other members of university staff to enable them to view the costing from the Sharing page in the Costing Tool. You no longer need to add them as an Investigator to give access. The Sharing page also allows users to see who can view/edit their costing and highlights who the costing will be sent to for approval.

Can I give my Co-Applicant from another organisation access to my proposal on the Costing Tool?

No, the Costing Tool is for internal use only. You can however send them the a Project Report for collaborators (available on the reports page of the Costing Tool).

Validation/Approval

What do the symbols mean on the left hand menu?

Icons appearing before section names in the sidebar have the following meanings:
X not completed or fails validation
!  needs reviewing - e.g. if records have been automatically updated
O not completed (optional) - no records present but passes validation
successfully completed and passes validation
All the sections need to be either an orange circle or green tick in order for the costing to be complete and ready for submission.

Can I create and approve a project?

No. It is no longer possible to both create and approve the same costing. This is for audit purposes and is in line with policies on segregation of duties.

Can a costing be approved without submitting it for approval?

No. The departmental approver will not be able to approve the costing until it has been submitted for approval from the Submission page. If the departmental approver has admin rights for the department in which the project sits, they will be able to submit the costing for approval and also approve it as long as they didn’t create the costing.

What happens when I submit a costing for approval?

When submitting a costing for departmental approval from the Submission page, an email will automatically be generated and sent to the departmental authorisers. All authorisers in the Principal Investigator’s department will receive an email asking them to approve the costing. They will then be able to review and approve the costing in the Departmental Approval page of the Costing Tool. The creator of the costing and authorisers in departments of other Investigators (if different) will also receive an email notifying them that the costing has been submitted for approval.

What happens once a project has been approved by the department?

Once your costing has been approved by your department it will be sent to Research & Innovation Services (R&IS) to be checked and authorised, which may take up to three working days. At this stage, the Project Status will be shown as PENDING. When the figures are finalised you will receive an email informing you that the status has changed to COSTING APPROVED. The figures on the COSTING APPROVED project report should be used for any applications or quotes.

Can I include notes for the departmental approver or for R&IS when submitting for approval or authorising a project?

Yes, you can include notes in the Additional Details section in the Costing Tool and the Departmental Approver can add notes for R&IS when submitting the costing for approval.

How do I change the status of my project?

The status will automatically change to PENDING once the departmental authoriser has approved the costing. Once R&IS has checked and approved the costing, the status will change to COSTING APPROVED. In order for the status to be updated to APPLICATION AUTHORISED, you must send R&IS a copy of the final application form so it can be checked and approved. If your application is SUCCESSFUL, you must notify R&IS who can organise institutional approval of the award and any related contracts. The status will then be updated accordingly. The project will not be LIVE until the account has been set up by Finance. This can only happen once all the necessary checks have been done and contracts are in place.
For any status change queries, please fill out the change of project status form or  contact the Pricing Team at research.eds@sheffield.ac.uk. For further information about who to contact within the Pricing and Contracts team visit our contacts page.

Searching/Navigation

Can I search for a costing by anything other than Project Number or Investigator Surname?

Yes. All headings on the My Projects page are clickable (e.g. ‘project title’), from which a drop down box will appear enabling you to filter your projects. Additionally, there are extra filter and sort options listed under the ‘actions’ tab on this page.

What should I do if the ‘open’, ‘copy’, ‘help’ or navigation icons aren’t showing?

These functions are available on each page of the Costing Tool. If you are unable to view these you will need to update your web browser. Please contact CiCs if you require any support to do this.

How do I go back to a previous page e.g. My Projects?

The menu on the left hand side of each page enables users to navigate around the system. The My Projects page is the first page of the Costing Tool and shows users the list of costings they have access to view or edit. The ‘myResearch’ link will return users back to the myResearch page and therefore exit them from the Costing Tool.

Funders/Collaborators

Will the full range of organisations and funding programmes be available for selection in the Costing Tool?

No, we have taken the opportunity to update the data in the database and therefore only validated organisations will be available in the Costing Tool. This means only research organisations which have been recently checked and approved will appear in the search function. Old funding programmes have also been removed from the list so that only current / relevant programmes are available. Users have the option to select ‘Unlisted’ if their funder/collaborator/programme is not currently listed and it will be added when the costing is checked by R&IS. We have done this to avoid having duplicate records and to ensure the database only includes organisations and programmes with up to date, validated information.

What if I can’t find the organisation or funding programme I’m looking for?

If the funder/collaborator/programme you want is not currently listed, you will need to search for and select ‘Unlisted’ and write the name of the organisation or programme in the box provided. It will be added to the database when the costing is checked by R&IS.

How do I change the price multipliers for primary funders? The price multipliers for the primary funder (the percentage the funder will pay of the full economic cost (fEC) will automatically default to the price multipliers set in the main database record for that programme or will be set to 100% for unlisted funders. For those with the relevant user permissions, you can change the price multipliers once the funder has been added to the costing in the Funders page by clicking on the icon in the second column under Price Multipliers next to the relevant funder. The price multipliers for each cost type can be edited in the table provided. Common research funder rules regarding pricing
How do I enter the collaborators costs to my costing?

You can choose the currency that you enter the costs in. You will need to select the correct exchange rate against GBP, which will be used to convert the costs to the report currency. The full economic costs need to be broken down into the cost types listed and the total cost will be calculated automatically. The total funder contribution also needs to be entered in the currency selected.

Will all the collaborator information pull through from URMS?

No. Because the total costs are calculated from the amounts entered under the different cost types, any total costs entered in URMS will not pull through to the Costing Tool. The Funder Contribution will pull through from URMS but will be in GBP. If you have selected a different currency in the collaborator costs, you will need to update the Funder Contribution amount to reflect this. The Contact Details and Further Information notes sections pull through any text entered in URMS.

Investigators

Who should be added to the Investigator page?

You only need to add academic investigators to the Investigator page. You can provide access to a costing to other members of staff by adding them to the Sharing page.

Why is the percentage level required to total 100%?

Investigator effort percentage is used to attribute academic contribution to a project. The total amount of contribution therefore needs to total 100% effort.

Will investigators automatically be added to the staff page?

Yes, investigators listed on the project will have a record created in the staff/student page. The Costing Tool makes some assumptions which you will need to check before submitting the costing for approval, such as % fte. All investigators should be included in the staff costs unless they are funded 100% from external sources. If the investigators’ time cannot be claimed from the funder, the price multipliers can be amended. For help with this, contact the Pricing Team.

How do I delete an Investigator once they have been added to the costing?

On the Investigator page, click ‘Open’ next to the investigator you need to remove from the costing. You can then delete the individual record by clicking the ‘Delete’ option in the bottom left hand corner of the pop up page.

Staff/Students

What if I can’t find / add a member of staff to my costing?

Staff data is drawn directly from SAP and will be based on the project start date. If the member of staff you need to cost is not appearing, it may be because the project start date is before they started in post. In this case, you will need to add a new appointment (for example Researcher) and name the member of staff in the Post Description. Alternatively, if you think there is a problem with adding existing staff, you can contact the Pricing Team for further help.

How do I delete a member of staff once they have been added to the costing?

On the Staff/Student page, click ‘Open’ next to the staff member you need to remove from the costing. You can then delete the individual record by clicking the ‘Delete’ option in the bottom left hand corner of the pop up page.

Do I need the Pricing Team to validate staff costs?

No. Apart from professors, the real salaries for existing staff will pull through from SAP as soon as they are added to the system.

Will I see the real salaries for professors?

Users won’t see exact salaries for professorial staff, they will however see the correct salary band and the costing tool will include an average salary amount.

How do I know what staff type to choose?

When adding staff or students to your costing you will be prompted via the Staff/Students page to specify the type of person to add.

New staff should fit into one of the following categories:

Researcher
Technician
Pool Technician
Administrator
Project Manager
Student
Visiting
Other

If your project is using staff already employed by the University, you should select Existing Staff and name them on the Costing Tool.

Once selected, you will need to specify the “Staff Type”.

Fellows or academics on Grade 8 and above or any member of staff entered onto the Investigators tab should be included as an Investigator. If the member of staff is an existing academic and is funded on an open ended contract from University core funds, they should be costed as Investigator Directly Allocated (DA). The only exception to this rule is if the member of staff is applying for a fellowship application, then the member of staff can be added as Directly Incurred (DI).

Directly Incurred (DI) staff are paid directly from a grant or contract. They can be existing ("named") staff or new staff that will be recruited, and may include postgraduate researchers, research assistants, research nurses, technicians dedicated to the project, administrators and clerical staff. Any member of staff on a fixed term contract, or whose normal funding is from external sources, can be costed as DI.

Exceptions are generally only used for students. In rare cases, you may need to cost a particular member of staff at 100% when other staff are only partially funded. They are then considered an exception to the rule and the “Exception” staff type would apply.

The only time you should select "Staff excluded from cost" is when an academic is on a fellowship for part of the project and you need to include their time for that element of the project without including the costs for that period. You would then add them on the costing for the remainder of the project as Directly Allocated (DA). In all other cases, staff costs should be excluded from the funder contribution by using the price multipliers. For help with this, please contact the Pricing Team.

Further information is available on our pricing webpages.

Why can’t I select a new grade when I change the start and end dates for staff that have been added to the costing?

The problem occurs if you don’t click in another item after selecting the staff start or end date. This results in the Grade list of values not re-populating. To avoid this issue, click in another item once you’ve changed the date.

Resources/Facilities

What if I can’t find the relevant category in the list of resource types?

Use ‘Other’ and include a description. The Pricing Team will review this when they approve the costing to ensure the correct overheads and full economic costing rates are applied.

Why are there subcategories?

The subtypes are available to help users identify the specific item they are costing. If the item isn't listed, please select 'other' and use the Description field to specify the correct sub-category.

What is the difference between the subtypes listed under consumables?

The subtypes are available to help users identify the specific item they are costing.

  • General consumables are costs for the project which the department would typically incur;
  • Lab chemicals are chemicals which need to be purchased for the project;
  • Minor equipment (less than £10,000) covers small equipment purchases (mainly used for RCUK applications);
  • Project specific consumables are consumables required for the project which the department wouldn’t usually purchase;
  • Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) are costs associated with PhD students and are usually a separate part of a Scholarship to fund costs to support their projects such as travel to another research organisation;
  • Other category can be used where the consumable does not fit under the subtypes or where a user is unsure of which subtype to use.
Once I have added an item, how do I change the subcategory?

You need to open and delete the resource and re-create it under the correct sub-category.

What is the UoS Facilities page for?

The university has some facilities which have approved charge out rates. When using these facilities it is important to identify them to ensure the correct full economic costing rates are applied.

Project Report

How do I access the project report from the Costing Tool?

Project reports can be downloaded from the Reports page in the Costing Tool. At the moment, a PDF or Word version can be downloaded.

Is there a report I can send to collaborators with our costs?

Yes. The "Project Report for Collaborators" can be downloaded from the Reports page in the Costing Tool. This excludes the summary totals and information about RNC and deficits.

How do I know if inflation has been added to my costing?

The box at the top of the report with the basic project information indicates whether inflation has been applied to staff and non-staff costs. Standard inflation rates will be applied based on background reference data linked to the funder selected. At the moment, inflation cannot be changed on a specific project.

Is there training available for using the Costing Tool?

Yes. If you would like training or a demo session on how to use the Costing Tool, please contact us on ext 27629 or email costingtool@sheffield.ac.uk.

What do I do if I have a problem accessing or using the Costing Tool?

If you have any problems or questions that cannot be answered by reading the help text available on the Costing Tool or the FAQs, please contact us on ext 27629 or email costingtool@sheffield.ac.uk. You can also contact the Pricing Team on ext 21450 or email research.eds@sheffield.ac.uk. Alternatively, if it is a technical issue, you can contact the CiCs helpline on ext 21111 or email helpdesk@sheffield.ac.uk.

What do I do if I have a query about how to cost my project?

Contact the Pricing Team on ext 21450 or email research.eds@sheffield.ac.uk