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Research Business Support

This page contains information to assist with budget preparation and cost allocation for ECU research projects.

Full Costing

Research projects must be fully costed, taking account of any limitations imposed by the funding body.

Project leaders must apply for the funds necessary for the research activity to be undertaken. All of the direct costs, i.e. salaries (inclusive of salary on-costs), equipment, travel, accommodation and consumables – must be included in the budget.

Allowances should be made for increases in costs during the period of the project, including rises in base salaries and salary increments.

Travel and Accommodation

Use should be made of ECU travel policies and related resources, including information on ECU vehicle allowances and the Australian Taxation Office’s travel and meal allowance rates.

University Service Charge

Unless explicitly ruled out by the funding body, or otherwise exempt, the University Service Charge must be included in the budget.

The USC covers all Indirect Costs, such as office and laboratory space, administrative, technical and professional support, IT and information support services and building maintenance.

USC is set at 15% of the TOTAL cost for research projects, so must be calculated using 17.647 % (1.176471~) of the Total Direct Costs of budgeted funds. This equates to 15% of the total revenue, i.e. Total Direct Costs PLUS the USC.

USC can be shown in the budget as a separate line item, or built into the amounts shown for the total costs.

For more details refer to the University Service Charge pages under Resource Planning


Unless the funding body instructs otherwise, GST should be included in your budget as a separate line item. GST should be calculated as a percentage of the total project costs inclusive of the University Service Charge.

Note that in most instances, applications for funding from the schemes listed on the Australian Competitive Grants Register cannot include the USC.

Budget Categories

Some funding bodies may define how budgets are to be constructed and presented, while others will rely on the applicant setting out the budget in an appropriate manner.

The funding body’s policies may prescribe which categories of expenditure it will meet and hence the items that can be included in the budget. A funding scheme may, for instance, prohibit or limit spending on travel, equipment or teaching relief. The funding body may also have other, specific restrictions on the use of research funding.

Budget Justification

The budget justification section should include a concise and compelling statement supporting the need for each budget item.

There should be a clear link between the research plan and the budget. By providing a clearly articulated case for all of the items requested in the budget you can reduce the likelihood of the amount awarded being (considerably) less than the amount applied for.

Related Information

Please refer to the following pages for up to-date information regarding:

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