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Currently, the University formally creates budgets and monitors them via the Cambridge University Financial System (UFS) for three areas of activity;

  • Chest income and expenditure
  • Research grants and contracts
  • Buildings

Departments are free to establish local budgets for any activity but at present there is no facility to record these budgets in UFS.


Chest budgets

Most departments receive some central funding from the University. It is this central funding that is known as the 'Chest' budget or allocation. This is a department's share of income collectively earned by the University as detailed below:

  • Block grants for Teaching and Research from HEFCE and Teachers Development Agency (TDA)
  • Fees paid by students
  • Investment income from the University's general Trust Funds
  • Other Income which includes the profit transfer from Cambridge Assessment (formerly 'UCLES')
  • The Chest share of research overheads

The process by which departmental chest budgets or allocations are set each year is detailed under "How and When does the University set its budget?".

In general chest budgets relate to one financial year and funds are distributed annually, at the beginning of the University's financial year. The exception to this is Non-recurrent Grants which are awarded throughout the year on a needs basis.

The table below details those sources of funds (SoF) for which budgets are created in the General Ledger module of UFS.

SoF Code SoF Name Main Usage
AAAA Chest Non-Pay Recurrent funding for consumables and other non-pay items.
ABAA Chest Stipends Recurrent funding for the pay costs of academic and academic-related staff.
ACAA Chest Wages Recurrent funding for the pay costs of assistant staff.
A*** Others Special Expenditure Specific to Institution.
AHAA Equipment Grants General departmental equipment.
A*** Non-recurrent grants As specified in the letter awarding the grant.
EBAA Unpaid Leave of Absence Savings Budget equals saving in pay costs made by a chest-funded member of staff taking Unpaid Leave of Absence e.g. an academic who is granted a Royal Society Fellowship.
FABM Incentive payments for non-professorial staff Recruitment incentive payments for non-professorial staff.
FACF/FACE Vacation Study Grants Expenditure on field trips and vacation study.

Budgets in UFS can be either positive or negative. A Chest expenditure allocation is entered into UFS as a positive budget whilst an income allocation or expected saving would be entered as a negative budget.


Research grant budgets

The budget for a research grant or contract is set when the grant or contract is awarded. All applications for research grants and contracts must now be costed on 'x5' on a Full Economic Cost (fEC) basis.

More information on the costing process is available from the ROO or on the ROO website.

Budgets for Research Grants are input into the Grants module of UFS by ROO for the whole life of the grant, generally extending over several years. More information on the setting, monitoring and controlling of research grant budgets can be found in the Research Grant Chapter of the Financial Procedures Manual.


Budgeting for buildings

In the University the majority of buildings related expenditure is managed by the Estates Management (EM) including routine running costs, refurbishment and construction of new buildings. Budgets for these activities are managed by EM directly. The budget for the routine running costs of the University's estate is set as part of the annual Planning Round, more details of which are given in section How and when does the University set its budget?

Major investment, such as refurbishment or the construction of new buildings, has a separate approval process. Budgets will be prepared by EM or contractors employed by them and these budgets will be submitted to the Buildings sub-committee and Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) for approval. As part of this process the expected contribution from the department to the cost of refurbishment or new building will be agreed. In general this will not be funded from a department's or Institution's Chest budget but from sources such as Donations or government funding such as SRIF/CIF.

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