In April 2010, RCUK Assurance merged two previously separate assurance processes, the Funding Assurance Programme (FAP) and the Quality Assurance and Validation of TRAC (QAV) into a new single assurance process. The risks addressed by each of the previous programmes is now covered by a single visit to research intensive organisations, or a desk based review for others. This is now known as the RCUK Assurance Programme.
After the conclusion of the QAV programme, and the resulting assurance rating of partial assurance that it delivered, it is necessary to continue with an ongoing programme of assurance on the calculation of TRAC rates used on Research Council applications. This programme focuses on the high risk aspects identified in QAV as well as any specific institutional findings reported on their visits.
was published in December 2011 which outlines the new methodology and also gives more background information about the work of RCUK Assurance.
- Visit selection will be similar to previous regimes in terms of research
intensive organisations being visited at least once every four years
and less research intensive organisations being subject to desk based reviews
over a similar time frame.
- Visit selection will take into account more than purely the volume of Research
Council funding. On this basis, research organisations from outside the traditional
top 60 may also be subject to visits. Research organisations with significant
outliers for their charge out rates will be more likely to be subject to visit.
- Visits will last two to three days and incorporate up to one day for review
- A testing template for the TRAC element of the review is available on
request, and assessment of this area will continue to follow the QAV
ratings of one (impact of <5% on rates), two (impact of >5% on rates) and three
(impact of >10% on rates). Sanctions will be applied in the same manner to those
research organisations where the three rated issues applies to over statement
- Unsatisfactory visits will result in a re-visit within 12 months (three
months if TRAC issues are prevalent).
- A pre-visit information request will continue to be made.
RCUK Assurance works closely with the TRAC development group (TDG) in addressing
the issues arising from the QAV Report and improving the use and design of TRAC
at universities. The TDG website provides further information on this at
The Wakeham review of fEC:
Financial Sustainability and Efficiency in Full Economic Costing of Research in
UK Higher Education Institutions requires research organisations to consider
their cost base over the next three years with a view to more efficient practice.
For more information regarding the Research Councils implementation of these recommendations
follow this link.
The Research Councils have taken on the responsibility of setting the
dispensation rates for use by eligible higher education institutions and
independent research organisations.
RCUK Assurance has developed procedures to provide assurance over costing mechanisms
used at independent research organisations (IROs). For more information, see:
Information on the Research Councils grants expenditure from 2011/12 can be found
here (Alternative Microsoft Excel format).
For further information please see the Assurance Programme contacts in the contacts area.