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Directly allocated and directly incurred costs during strike action

13 Mar 2020

A response from Karen Heaton, Director of Human Resources

Karen Heaton, our Director of Human Resources, has responded to a letter sent on behalf of UMUCU (University of Manchester UCU) Executive Committee and UCU Branch members dated 3 March 2020 to the President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.

The letter, sent to the UMUCU Branch Secretary, reads as follows:

Where staff costs form part of the directly allocated (DA) costs on a funded research project, these costs are calculated on the basis of an estimate of the contribution of these staff to the project. Unlike directly-incurred (DI) staff costs, the salaries for these DA staff are not charged directly to funders. Instead the University will receive funding to enable it to provide for the estimated contribution of the DA staff to the project. Therefore the use of pay deductions from DA staff to benefit students is a discretional matter for the University and does not involve the use or misuse of external funds or affect the University’s continuing obligations to ensure full delivery of funded projects in line with the award notification and funder terms and conditions. As the previous communication from you recognised, the situation for DI staff costs is quite different as these salaries are charged directly to grants. Therefore pay deductions for DI staff are properly excluded from the fund for student benefit and are instead reflected in reduced charges to funders.

I can confirm that we have formally checked this position with the Medical Research Council (MRC) and understand that this is common across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Programmes.

In my letter to you of 21 February I stated that “The costs for fixed term contract staff working on funded research projects typically fall into the “directly incurred costs” category and funders are not charged for days when these staff are on strike”. It is therefore not necessary to engage with UMUCU over what these funds could alternatively be used for.

I hope this helps to clarify that the University is not misappropriating external research funds for days when staff are on strike.

Yours sincerely

Karen Heaton

Director of Human Resources