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Budget tips

Useful information for preparing an application budget

The majority of our schemes ask for budget information. We hope that the following tips are useful for potential applicants and university research offices.

Costs: how to justify them

Provide a full justification/breakdown, where requested, for the items requested: explain how the items directly relate to the research proposed.

Provide a breakdown when multiple costs are being included under the same heading, e.g. consumables, research trips. 

Provide details of the volume and numbers of units where appropriate.

Ineligible costs

The Trust does not offer funding for any of the following costs – so don’t include them in your budget:

  • Contributions to appeals.
  • Core funding or overheads for institutions: the Trust does not make awards on a full economic costing basis. However, you may be able to recover a proportion of overheads through the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF). This is distributed as part of the block grant to universities from the relevant UK funding council.
  • Endowments.
  • Individual items of equipment over £1,000, with one exception: Philip Leverhulme Prize holders may purchase computer hardware up to a total value of £2,500 where this is for the exclusive and direct benefit of the prize holder’s own research. Specific rules apply to the purchase of equipment for the Leverhulme Research Centre and Leverhulme International Professorship schemes – please see the scheme pages.
  • A shortfall resulting from a withdrawal of or deficiency in public finance.
  • Sites, buildings or other capital expenditure.
  • Student tuition fees, unless associated with an application for Arts Scholarships, Research Project Grants, Study Abroad Studentships, Research Leadership Awards, Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships, Leverhulme International Professorships, Leverhulme Research Centres, or with a nomination for a Philip Leverhulme Prize.
  • Support for the organisation of a conference, seminar, workshop, exhibition or sandpit, unless these are directly associated with: Early Career Fellowships, Philip Leverhulme Prizes, Visiting Professorships, Leverhulme International Professorships, Leverhulme Research Centres. In these schemes, the Trust will also consider, on a case-by-case basis, funding a limited number of travel bursaries for UK PhD students outside of the host university to attend such events.

Include inflation for all non-salary costs, e.g: 

  • technical assistance
  • consumables
  • travel costs

But don’t include inflation in the salary budget. The Trust will endeavour to cover inflationary increases subject to any maximum grant value.

Items of equipment up to £1,000 each

For grants which offer research costs,* your budget can include essential items of equipment costing up to £1,000 each. 

You must justify each item, explaining its function and necessity for your research.

In Research Project Grants, requests for up to £1,500 for PCs and laptops for staff and students employed on the grant will also be considered where they are essential to the project.

For Philip Leverhulme Prize holders only, computer hardware up to a total value of £2,500 may be purchased where this is for the exclusive and direct benefit of the prize-holder’s own research. 

Specific rules apply to the purchase of equipment for the Leverhulme Research Centre and Leverhulme International Professorship schemes – please see the scheme pages.

*Early Career Fellowships, Emeritus Fellowships, International Fellowships, Philip Leverhulme Prizes, Research Fellowships, Research Project Grants

Open access publishing

You may include charges for open access charges in your budget (within associated costs for Research Project Grants; within research expenses for Fellowships).

The open access charges must be incurred during the period of grant, rather than being built into a budget as expenditure anticipated after the research has concluded. 

If these costs are not incurred during the life of the grant, the funds must be returned to the Trust.

Percentages of time and/or replacement teaching

Provide percentages of time totalled up over the duration of the whole grant.

Don’t confuse this with the percentage FTE (Full Time Equivalent), which in some cases is different.

Recruitment costs

You can include the costs of essential external advertising only.

Salary increments

Do include salary increments, but don’t include estimates for future pay awards or allow for inflation – see information on Inflation above.

Your finance office

Consult with your finance office at an early stage regarding costings, in particular costs for: 

  • salary
  • National Insurance
  • superannuation
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