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This is the eighth paper in the research series. It focuses on the aspect of funding for research.
While not all research needs external funding it is true to say that any research that does need to be funded needs to be funded properly. Thus, once it becomes apparent that a research topic will require financial resources, the responsible researcher must make an effort to estimate the amount required and to establish possible sources.
The nature and design of the research project and the assessment and search for funding are intimately linked. It will not be possible to cost a poorly designed project accurately (nor is it likely that any funding body will fund such a project); similarly inaccurate estimation of the probable costs of a project will make it less likely to succeed (and again will make it less attractive to potential funders). An accurate assessment of funding will require not only a good grasp of the research to be undertaken but also a proper understanding of the necessary time course of the project. To complicate matters more the researcher must acknowledge the hidden costs of the research such as infrastructure use and non-research worker time.
Costs fall into a number of categories—the most obvious being equipment and staff time. During the financial planning process each cost identified should be categorised according to the particular nature of the expenditure expected. This process of attributing each expected cost to a particular category of spending is important both to the researcher (who develops a better understanding of the project), to the potential research funder (who is helped to understand exactly what the funds requested will support), and to the institution in which the research is to be carried out (which must ensure that proper division of responsibility for funding has been …