News       Events


Funding the costs of research (AcoRD principles)

Introduction of the online SoECAT

From 1 April 2023, the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT) is available online within the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). There will be no further updates to the Excel version of the SoECAT.

If you are submitting a funding application for a project that plans to include the recruitment/consent of participants, the funder may ask that a SoECAT is completed as part of the application process. Using the online SoECAT, a Funder Export should be created within CPMS and submitted to the funder.

In order to create a SoECAT, you will need to create an account in CPMS. After creating the account, you will need to login to CPMS to activate this account. If any assistance is required in creating the account, please refer to the user guide. Once your account has been created and is active, you can proceed with preparation of your SoECAT.

Guidance for the completion of the online SoECAT is available in the online tool, which will assist at each page and stage of the application process. Further details can be found on the Online SoECAT Guidance page.

An Online SoECAT Guidance Module which includes video tutorials and linked resources is also available. Please note that an NIHR Learn account is required to access and enrol onto the module. Please also see the Study Representative - Online SoECAT Top Tips infographic.

If you are required to update an existing Excel SoECAT due to study amendments, the original excel version can be updated, and there is no requirement to complete an online SoECAT.

In some circumstances, completion of the SoECAT may not be necessary, e.g. when applying for funding to support: overarching programmes with no specific research study protocol, infrastructure, fellowships, anything where the grant is to be used for direct employment of a member of staff or purchase of an asset, and data or diagnostic reviews where recruitment data is not collected. Such funding applications should be submitted to the funder with supporting documentation to explain why a SoECAT was not submitted in this instance.

If you require further information or assistance, please contact



It is important that the costs of health and social care research in the United Kingdom are properly identified and appropriately funded by the right organisations. For this purpose, guidance on Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD) was introduced in 2012 (see below).  The AcoRD guidance provides a framework for the NHS and its partners to identify, attribute and recover the various costs associated with research in the NHS, in a transparent, robust and consistent manner. It applies to all NHS* research covered by the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care, and most funders will ask applicant to identify and attribute costs in line with the guidance.

New guidance and processes have been implemented for funding and approving Excess Treatment Costs and Service Support Costs associated with research that proposes to recruit participants through the NHS or an organisation providing a service on behalf of the NHS. The guidance for accessing funding for these costs for studies recruiting participants through a health and social care (HSC) organisation in Northern Ireland, or an organisation commissioned to provide services on behalf of the HSC, is available here. Further information about the processes in other areas of the UK can be found in the country-specific guidance (England; Wales; Scotland).

Attributing the costs of health and social care Research & Development (AcoRD)

In May 2012, the Department of Health (DH) published new guidance, entitled “Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development” (AcoRD) to provide a framework for the NHS and its partners to identify, attribute and recover the various costs associated with research in the NHS, in a transparent, robust and consistent manner. AcoRD also provides a new mechanism to meet some of the costs of high quality peer reviewed charity-funded research in the HSC. It recognises the important contribution research charities make to the HSC research environment, funding research through donations made by patients and the public. For this reason, the AcoRD guidance identifies some research costs (Annex A Part B) that would be funded by DH either via NIHR CRN or through Research Capability Funding for studies funded by members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

The key purpose of the AcoRD guidance is to:

  • Improve the consistency of cost attribution
  • Encourage more consistent funding of the costs of research

HSC R&D Division has published AcoRD guidelines for Northern Ireland. These are based on the same principles as the DH publication but reflect the differences in infrastructure and funding arrangements in Northern Ireland. While drawing on well-established attribution principles, the release of the AcoRD guidance in Northern Ireland is an important step forward in clarifying the principles for attributing the costs of HSC research.

AcoRD provides a framework for the identification, attribution and, where relevant, recovery of the various costs associated with research in the HSC, in a transparent, robust and consistent manner. Clarification is provided between the three categories of costs associated with non-commercial research studies:

  • Research Costs
  • HSC Support Costs
  • HSC Treatment Costs

The AcoRD guidance and two associated Annexes are available at the links below for your information. Annex A provides an exemplar set of common activities that have been attributed to the three specific cost categories and Annex B provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These Annexes will be updated as required and users should ensure that they refer to the latest version when attributing the costs of research.

AcoRD guidance-Northern Ireland.pdf

AcoRD - Annex A-Northern Ireland.pdf

AcoRD - Annex B-Northern Ireland.pdf

To access the DHSC AcoRD documentation, click here.