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Research Operations Office


What is the difference between costing and pricing?

Costing and pricing are key elements of the research proposal development process, and there is a clear difference between the two:

  • The cost of a piece of research is how much it will cost the University of Cambridge for you to undertake the research in question. In the UK this amount is calculated and described as the full economic cost (fEC). See the fEC website
  • The price is how much you request (or receive) from your funder

The key issue for a Principal Investigator is to be sure that the funds awarded will cover the costs of the research, and your Departmental Administrator or Research Grants Administrator can assist you with this.

X5 is the costing tool used by the University of Cambridge to calculate the full economic cost of your project.


Useful links

X5 Login

Cambridge Enterprise

Ethics Approval

Exchange Rates (Requires Raven Password)

fEC Rates

Financial Regulations

Finance Division

Grant Application Process Guidance

Human Resources


Research Equipment & Facilities

Research Grant Expenditure 

ResearchProfessional (Finding Funders)

Student Registry

Subsistence Rates

Travel Rates



For routine queries relating to X5, contact your Departmental Administrator. If further support is needed, contact your Research Support Advisor at the Research Operations Office.

General comments only regarding X5 please email