Research Project Management and Coordination Charging Guidelines


All staff members at the University dealing with the management and approval of research projects.


To provide guidance to the University’s research community regarding the inclusion of salary costs for research project management and coordination in budgets for externally funded research projects. These guidelines are intended to support the implementation of the Overhead Charging Policy and Overhead Charging Guidelines.


  • A range of post award services are provided by Faculty and Institute Research Services Teams (FIRST) to researchers. These services are funded through institutional overheads and should not generally be included as a direct salary cost in budgets for externally funded research projects where those projects attract the full overhead rate.

  • It is appropriate to include salary costs for project management and coordination where:
    • overheads cannot be recovered in full (overhead exception) (as detailed in Overhead Charging Policy), or
    • the project requires dedicated project management and/or coordination that cannot be delivered by the researcher(s) or supported by FIRST due to scale, complexity, specialist or technical nature and/or extensive external engagement requirements (dedicated support exception). The funding schemes listed in Appendix 1 are eligible for the dedicated support exception due to the type of support that is required.
  • Where either the overhead exception or dedicated support exception applies, the Principal Investigator should discuss the need for project management and coordination with their local FIRST before submitting the funding proposal. At this point FIRST may involve Technical Services if the role is of a technical nature.

  • Where it is agreed that project management and coordination is required, then:
    • recruitment should be undertaken in consultation with FIRST and Technical Services (as required),
    • support should be procured from FIRST or Technical Services where possible,
    • existing FIRST or Technical Services position descriptions should be used,
    • roles should report through FIRST or Technical Services management lines, and
    • all University recruitment policies and guidelines must be adhered to.
  • Existing staff that are assigned dedicated project management or coordination duties for a research project in accordance with these Guidelines will require a variation to their current terms and conditions. These additional duties will be included as part of the standard FIRST/Technical Services position description (as appropriate), with a dedicated section to describe the project management/coordination duties that are required.

  • If an opportunity cannot be filled internally, then a generic FIRST/Technical Services role (as appropriate) will be advertised, with the position description amended to include these additional project management/coordination duties. The Director Research Strategy and Integrity (or delegate) in consultation with HR may approve the use of a different position description where the role is undertaking other duties in addition to the project management/coordination duties (e.g. Research Software Engineer).

  • For funding schemes not listed in Appendix 1, salary costs for project management and coordination should not be included in budgets unless the overhead exemption applies or the Director Research Strategy and Integrity has provided express written approval for the inclusion of such costs.
    Note - This is to ensure that the University remains compliant with the audit requirements for the prevailing overhead rate.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Overheads and overhead rate have the meaning set out in the Overhead Charging Policy.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Content manager: ORSI
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 14 November 2019
Review date: 10 August 2024

Appendix 1 – Eligible funding schemes

Funder Fund Scheme
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Endeavour Research Programmes
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Catalyst Strategic
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Strategic Science Investment Programmes