How to contact us

Research Development Team Tel: +44 (0)20 7106 1202


Compiling a research budget

Where to start?

Step 1:   Complete a costing request form| [Excel]. To help you complete the form, see some example travel costs| [PDF]. 

Step 2:  Email the costing request form to|

Step 3:  If you need help compiling a budget for your research project, contact the Research Division on +44 (0)20 7106 1202 or email the Research Development team|.

You may also want to include the following items in your budget.

Staff salaries [click to expand]

Often the most expensive part of the budget is the salary cost. You’ll need to consider the amount of time you wish to spend on the project as well as the amount of research assistance and expertise required.


To ensure you budget enough money for staffing costs, you’ll need to consider what staff roles the project requires. Are there tasks that need a research assistant, a research fellow or even a professor?


You may want to factor in administrative support if you plan on sending out a large number of questionnaires and have a lot of data entry to do. If the study is complex, you may want a senior research fellow with previous experience. It will cost more but it will be an expense worth paying for.


There will be extra costs to include, such as:

  • recruitment advertising 
  • redundancy expenses
  • pension costs
  • National Insurance contributions

There are procedures for including named staff in proposals. If you have a specific person in mind contact your grant applications manager for advice.


It is best practice to discuss staffing salary levels with your head of department or centre manager in the first instance.

Indirect costs [click to expand]

Indirect costs can include estates costs and institutional overheads, for example the cost of using an office and the cost of using facilities such as HR, IT support and library services.


In your budget - and in your application for funding - you will need to account for indirect costs. Often a funding body will only pay a contribution towards these. The Research Division will calculate these costs based on a standard full economic costing. If you have any queries, get in touch with the Research Development team|




Equipment [click to expand]

This could include items such as a digital recorder or a laptop for carrying out field work. Some items of equipment may not be eligible depending on the funder’s regulations. 


For example, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will normally expect a computer to be provided by the host institution but they will consider funding if a standard computer will not be adequate, for example, if you need to process vast amounts of data. You will need to justify the equipment explicitly in your proposal. 

Consumables [click to expand]

Some examples of standard running costs of a project include:

  • printed brochures for dissemination events
  • tea, coffee, lunch for meetings etc.
  • postage and stationery
  • photocopying
  • computer supplies (toner)

Travel and subsistence [click to expand]

Often a project will require travel costs to allow you to:

  • carry out field work
  • attend a conference
  • present findings for dissemination purposes
  • meet co-investigators working on the project

The School has some example costs, including travel rates to cover the cost of subsistence and accommodation as well as flights and train costs. You can refer to these example costs when estimating your budget. View example costs [PDF].


Some funding bodies have set criteria of what they are prepared to cover and may apply funding caps for example, no business class flights; economy travel only. Contact the Research Development team in the first instance who will help you with your costs. When requesting a costing, consider:

  • the total number of trips you'll require
  • the number of people who'll need to travel
  • the year in which each trip will be taken 

Justification of resources [click to expand]

A common component of a project is the ‘justification of costs’, sometimes referred to as ‘resource allocation’. It's essential to spend time making this section clear.


If an expensive item of equipment is crucial for the project, you need to state how it will be used and why alternative options are not viable.


The same rule applies for the inclusion of those people who have specialised expertise – you must state:

  • what these staff will be doing
  • why less costly options are not viable 

The Research Development team can offer you further guidance on what is required – please get in touch.  

Teaching buyout: incentive scheme [click to expand]

If you're applying for funding to cover the cost of teaching buyout, funders offer varying amounts of assistance. You need to check the guidelines to see what conditions need to be fulfilled.


The Research Development team will help calculate the amount of buyout you can apply for and will offer further advice on the procedure. For more information download LSE’s research incentives policy| [PDF].  


Ineligible costs


Each call has different guidelines for what may or may not be included within the budget for your project. It is best to read the guidelines for the call and if in doubt, check these details with your grant application manager in the research development team.|