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Research Operations Office


You can browse the X5 FAQs by topic or search all FAQs by keyword.

Q. How can I obtain access to additional departments?

If you require access to costings within other departments please ask the Department Administrator of the Department/Faculty to email your Research Dvelopment Advisor to request access

Q. How do I set up my User Profile in X5?

Setting up your user Profile in X5 can be found using this link Guidance on setting up your User Profile

Q. How do I obtain a user account for X5?

A new user form needs to be completed, further details can be found here  

Q. What browsers are compatible with X5

X5 is compatible with Internet Explorer version 10 and 11, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. 

Q. My screen appears out of line and the menu on the left has disappeared.  How can I prevent this from happening next time I log in?

To refresh the screen and browser menus, the browser and application cache needs to be cleared.  Details on how to do this can be found in the documentation below:

Clearing the browser cache

Clearing the X5 cache

Q. Why are the dates in X5 showing in the American format?

Check that your browser language is set to English (United Kingdom). Guidance on Adjusting Date Formats in your Web Browser

Q. One/all of my favourites have disappeared from the Favourites section on the home screen. How can I set these up?

Standard shortcuts are: Advanced costing search, Change password, Costing dashboard and Project setup wizard.  Should any of these not appear in the My favourites section on the home screen please refer to the document on how to reinstate them: Adding my Favourites

Q. How long before the system times out?

System time out is currently set at 2 hours.

Q. How do I change my password?

Details on how to do this can be found here: How to change your X5 password

Q. Does the system automatically check my costings back in and why have I lost connection to X5?

All proposals are checked in at 3am when system maintenance is performed.  During this time all users will be automatically removed whilst this takes place.

Q. Why doesn’t the client default in with UC when I log in?

Some institutions have multiple clients and therefore the system cannot automatically populate this field.

Q. Why do I have to keep scrolling horizontally?

The system has been designed so that in all screens, except the price screen, the user should only have to scroll vertically.  If your screen resolution is smaller than standard then this may cause you to scroll horizontally.

Q. What are Banded Rates?

Banded Rates are averaged rates that the University uses to ensure confidentiality relating to salary information of members of established academic staff.

Note that as the non-clinical payscales have been frozen and the inflation date moved forward a year, users will probably notice that on existing costings using inflation, the salary costs will go down after updating the rates files. This is normal.

Q. Funders who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy

Please note that the following funders do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy:

  • Action Medical Research
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Arthritis Research UK
  • BHF
  • Bloodwise
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • British Academy
  • CRUK
  • Dunhill Medical Trust
  • EC INTERREG (Funded by EDRF)
  • Fight for Sight
  • GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital)
  • Healthcare Infection Society
  • Heart Research UK
  • Human Frontier Science Program
  • Isaac Newton Trust
  • Kidney Research UK
  • Leverhulme
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Nuffield
  • Parkinson's UK
  • Prostate Cancer UK
  • Royal Academy Of Engineering
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Royal Society (maybe included in some Fellowships, check funder T&Cs)
  • Stroke Association
  • Wellbeing of Women

Q. Guidance on the Apprenticeship Levy

Please click on the following link - Apprenticeship Levy Guidance for X5

  1. If you need to create a costing excluding the levy, use the Rates Tab and select the NI rate file dated 05/04/20xx (date for the current year) and Save.

  2. If you need to create a costing including the levy, use the Rates Tab and select the NI rate file dated 06/04/20xx (date for the current year) and Save.

Q. Why are there two payscales for Grade 7, RES7 and RESFEL7?

The existence of both payscales on X5 is a result of bringing into line the wider University payscales a few years ago.
RES7 includes "ghost" points (points where the grades historically skipped a level), and RESFEL7 does not. New appointees are placed on the scale based on their experience and qualifications for the post: ghost points do not come into consideration when making a new appointment or for regradings. They only apply when working out subsequent incremental salary progression. So, for new staff (i.e. for Fellowships), Research Assoicates should be costed on RESFEL7 without ghost points.
For costing unnanmed staff where we do not know if they will be a regrade or new appointment on research projects, we suggest RES7 to be sure that no undercosting will occur in the event of a regrade.

Q. Adding Inflation to Equipment and Non-staff Costs

Guidance on how to add inflation to the Equipment and Non-staff cost lines can be found here. Please note, this should only be applied if allowed by the funder.

Q. My Submission Report is only showing Zeros. How do I fix this?

Users may have a situation where they update the Rates in an X5 and then immediately print a Submission Report. The report will show all the figures as having a zero amount. To fix this, click on the Project Setup button - Click on Save - Go back into the Costing and print your report. The report will now reflect the figures correctly. Please note: Wellcome returns an error that stops the PDF from opening, whilst all other reports return zeros. X5 Support have reported this issue to Unit 4 and a fix is expected shortly. 

Q. How do I change the start and end dates on my X5 costing?

Information on how to amend the dates can be found here: Amending the dates

Q. Explanation of the Costing Types in X5

There are various types of costings that can be selected in X5. The following guidance gives an explanation of what they are and when to use them. Explanation of Costing Types in X5

Q. I need to delete an External Partner in my X5?

Q. Pay Band changes for the Grade 7 posts in X5

Information and guidance on these changes can be found using the following link. Pay Band Changes for Grade 7

Q. How do I update the Rates in my X5?

During the year, a number of rates need to be changed and you are requested to update these rates in your Costing. Guidance on how to do this can be found using the following link How do I update the Rates in my X5? 

Q. Applying the new MRF/SRF rates in X5

Please be advised that X5 has been updated with the new MRF/SRF rates for 2017 as of 1st February 2017. Users of X5 are advised to update their costings (go to the Rates Tab / Facilities Rates File / select 01/02/2017 and Save).  


  • the funder budget heading amounts in the Facilities tab have been removed and will need to be re-entered
  • facilities using ‘Variable rates’ have defaulted to 0.01. You will need to change this figure back to your previously agreed rate
  • facilities that are no longer available should be replaced by a new or similar facility.  Failure to do so will result in you being unable to Validate or Save your Costing

Should you have any queries related to the updates, please contact your Research Support Advisor at the Research Operations Office.

Q. What VAT rates should I be using?

Please use the following link for guidance on the various VAT choices that can be made in X5. VAT Guidance

Q. How do I use Simple Costing in X5?

The Simple Costing screen allows you to add in all staff, equipment and consumables in one vertical screen. Guidance on how to achieve this can be found using the following guidance - Completing a Project using the Simple Costing

Q. How do I change the funder on my X5 costing?

Information on how to amend the funder can be found here: Changing your funder in X5

Q. I am creating an X5 and need to use a generic funder. I cannot find any generic funders to use?

New Overseas Charity, New Overseas Industry, New UK Charity and New UK Industry are generic funders and can only be selected if you are setting up a Trial costing.

These types of funders will not be available when setting up an Application, as you would either need to use the correct funder, or a similar funder whilst you are waiting for your funder to be set up. Once your funder is available, you would need to change the funder in your X5. Guidance on how this can be achieved can be found at the following location - Changing your funder in X5. Please remember to delete the generic funder once you have added your ‘proper’ funder. The guidance document will provide help with this.

Q. I need to enter a member of staff that will have different FTE values each year. How do I do this?

On page 3 of this document Adding DI Staff, you will find an explanation of how to add different values for each successive year for a staff member using the Person by Period tab. 

Q. My submission report is showing vastly inflated figures for the DA costs. How can I correct this?

There is a known issue within X5 where vastly increased costs are being shown on submission reports for DA costs when they have not been added to an X5 costing. This document provides the explanation as well as guidance on how to correct the issue Incorrect DA Costs on a Submission Report

Q. What schemes are available for Industrial Funders?

Industrial schemes within X5 will allow users to select schemes that attract 80% fEC, 100% fEC or 120% fEC

Q. Clinical Consultant pay scales are not available in X5. Why is this?

Due to the complexity of calculating these costs the pay scales are not available in X5.  Should you need to include Clinical Consultants costs as a Directly Incurred salary please contact the Clinical Schools Finance Advisor, Rob Williams If you are not applying for actual salary costs, use CCMAN to cost a banded salary in the DA staff tab as Directly Allocated PI time.

Q. When should the inflation toggle be used?

The inflation toggle defaults to Funder.  This means that any costs entered into X5 will include the specified rate of inflation for that Funder. To enter costs without inflation ensure the toggle is set to None and then enter the costs. Inflation on salaries is labelled as COLA within the system.

Q. I have updated the rates file and the currency rate being used on my costing is incorrect. How can I fix this?

Information on how to amend currency information can be found here Currency Revaluation. Information on exchange rates can be found here

Please remember that if you update the Currency Rate file in your X5, you must also amend the currency field on the Project Set up screen.

Q. Why am I unable to change to change fields on The Project Set up screen?

If none of the Collaborating departments have submitted the project into the workflow and all parts of the projects are "Checked in" changes can be made. If the lead department is not able to make these edits, then please contact your Research Support Advisor  for advice on how to proceed

Q. Why can I not see all the elements of my collaborative project?

In order to view all elements of the costing by those involved who are not a Lead department you would run a Je-S submission report and anyone involved in the collaboration will be able to see the full costs of the project

Q. Why is the spine point in the Salary Calculator not showing the correct figures?

Where a start date is in a future year the spine point is not reflective of this date the increment/s should be amended manually.

Q. What is the correct method of using Outline in X5?

This selection should only be made if the sponsor requires an Outline application. It is important to note that you will be limited in your choice of Funder and UFS budget headings. Guidance on how to use an Outline Application can be found by clicking on this link

Q. The staff costs produced by the salary calculator do not match the costing. Why is this?

The salary calculator will not take increments into account if the increment date is the same day as the start date. If this is the case enter the spine point one above the actual spine point to include the increment. Guidance on using the Salary Calculator can be found by clicking on this link.

Q. How do I change my Outline Costing to an Application?

Guidance on performing this action can be found by clicking on this link

Q. How do I use the salary calculator?

The Salary calculator page can perform simple Salary calculations which can be used as a guide to the likely salary costs of a particular post. The tool allows salary costs to be calculated for a particular grade and scale for the entered FTE and duration as well as showing the resulting breakdown by COLA (Cost of Living Allowance), Basic Salary, NI and Superannuation. Click on this link for guidance on how to use this tool.

Q. Can I archive my costings in a batch?

No. Archiving can only done on individual costings. Please note, that only Draft costings can be Archived. The following guidance is available Hide/\Archive your projects

Q. How do I delete proposals within X5 that I no longer need?

Proposals in X5 cannot be deleted. However, you are able to Hide/\Archive your projects. Please note, only Draft costings can be Archived.

Q. How do I change the scheme in my X5?

Guidance on changing your scheme can be found in this document Changing the Scheme in your X5

Q. How do I make a copy of a project that I have already submitted?

The guidance on how to make a copy of an individual costing can be found using this link 

Guidance on how to make a copy of a Collaborative costing can be found using this link 

Q. I have received an error when trying to perform an Advanced Search. How do I solve this?

In order to correct this error, please use the link to access the guidance. Advanced Search Not Working

Q. I have chosen the wrong PI in my costing. How do I change the PI details?

The following link gives guidance on how to Change your PI details in your X5 Costing.

Q. Why am I unable to see all the proposals within my department on the Costing dashboard?

In the Costing dashboard screen, under the Draft section - select By my department.

Q. In a collaboration, how do I change the Lead Department in my X5

The following documentation will guide you through the change process - Changing the Lead Department

Q. Where can I find information on the exchange rates being used in X5?

The University Euro and US Dollar rates are loaded into X5 by ROO and will default in when selected in the currency fields. You will be asked to update the rates on existing costing.  Further information on University exchange rates can be found on the Finance Division website

Q. The funder that I want to apply to is not available in X5. How can this funder be added?

A new funder form will need to be completed and sent to your Research Support Administrator.  Further information on new funder setup can be found here

Q. When costing staff in X5, what do the costing roles mean?

Please see costing roles document for further details.

Q. Why is the spine point missing for professorial grades?

The scale point for named Professors will not show to protect confidentiality. If a figure is required change the grade field to DI_PRF12 (Professor Directly Incurred), select the appropriate scale point and remove increments, as professorial grade staff do not automatically received increments.

DI_PRF12 should also be used for unnamed Professorial positions and also within the Salary Calculator screen.

Q. The DA staff tab does not show any salary costs. Why is this?

The DA staff tab will only display banded salaries.  Example; if the staff member selected is a Grade 9 Researcher the salary will not display as it is not a banded salary.  To calculate the salary enter the Grade 9 Researcher in the DI staff section and change the cost type to DA.

Q. The copy post button is not working as I expected. Why is this?

The system is unable to copy a post that has been pulled through from CHRIS.  This is due to the position being assigned to a staff record with a position reference number.  The copy post button will only work for positions that have been manually entered in X5.

Q. I need to use old FEC or salary rates on my costing. Am I able to do this within X5?

Yes. Ensure that the costing you wish to use old rates on is checked out to you. Go to the rates tab and click into the date field next to the file that you wish to change. Delete the value in the field and then press the space bar. You can then select the appropriate file from the list that appears.

Q. I need to amend a costing that is with my HoD, who is absent. How can I make amendments to this costing?

The costing will need to be rejected back to DA level. Please contact your RSA for advice.

Q. How often is the X5 staff list updated from CHRIS HR data?

A new import of HR data is processed early every Monday morning.

Q. How can I allocate a sub department code to a member of staff?

If a member of staff needs to be costed within the sub division of a department, please email X5 Support with the staff name and sub department code so that an amendment can be made to the HR feed that X5 derives its data from.

Q. Why don’t inflation rates update when changing dates?

Q. Why am I unable to see partner costs on the report or in the price screen?

Partner costs should be added as a one line entry in the Non-staff tab giving the description as the partner name. By entering the information in this way the costs will show in the report, the full breakdown of partner costs should also be added to the External partners tab. Information on how to how to add and view partner information can be found here

Q. How do I cost Pooled Labour?

Information on how to cost Pooled Labour can be found here: Costing Pooled Labour

Q. How do we know what inflation rate is being is being used for Funders?

Information on viewing funder rates can be found here: Viewing Funder inflation rates in X5

Q. How do I change the project title?

Information on how to change the project title can be found here: Amending the project title

Q. How do I amend the currency on my X5 costing?

Information on how to amend the currency can be found here: Amending the currency 

Q. How can I amend the Estates rates?

Information on how to amend estates rates can be found here: Amending Estates rates

Q. Adding another department to my existing costing?

Information on how to add collaborating departments to my costing can be found here: Adding a department to a costing

Q. The X5 funder inflation information I have amended has reverted back to the original information. Why is this?

The original funder inflation information is pulled through from the funder template setup and therefore defaults into the costing. If this information is amended in the X5 rates tab and saved the costing will calculate on the new rates entered. If the files are updated using the 'apply all updated files now' button within the rates tab then the original funder inflation rates will once again pull through from the template. To prevent this override manually update the relevant rates within the costing or select the ‘retain current file settings’ button within the rates tab.

Q. Where can I find out more information on using the correct spine point for a member of staff?

For more information on spine points and staff members please contact the Human Resources Division or your Research Support Administrator.

Q. My EC submission report is not showing an overhead line for facilities costs. Why is this?

The excess to overheads button on the price does not default in for DA costs. In order to see the overhead cost for DA entries select excess to overheads, save and then re-run the report.

Q. My EC submission report is not showing an overhead line for facilities costs. Why is this?

The excess to overheads button on the price does not default in for DA costs. In order to see the overhead cost for DA entries select excess to overheads, save and then re-run the report.

Q. Why are the updated funder inflation rates not showing on my report?

When the Funder Inflation rates are manually changed on a costing, reports don’t show the updated rates (they still show the default Funder rates). This is a display only issue, the calculations are correct. 

Q. When running the generic submission report why is the funder contribution higher than the FAC column within the summary, but the breakdown adds up to the FAC figures?

The summary on the generic submission report shows the price the funder is paying which may be over 100% FEC or include overheads. Check the price tab within the costing to review the actual % or whether there is any figures within the overheads row.

Q. The submission report does not reflect the costs that I have added into X5. Why is this?

The submission report has been designed to reflect Funder rules which includes showing inflation, where applicable.  Further information on submission reports can be found here: A guide to Submission Reports

Q. What submission reports are available in X5?

There are currently 5 submission reports available in X5. Further information on Submission Reports can be found here: A guide to Submission Reports

Q. On a Je-S report; why do all costs appear within Directly Incurred and Directly Allocated rather than within the expenditure categories?

The costs will appear within Directly Allocated and Directly Incurred if the costing type and scheme are set to Outline.

Q. My report has not run. Why is this?

If you have double clicked the report button it will cause the report to fail. Simply close the report box, open again and make your selection by clicking the report once.

Q. 'Divide by zero error encountered. Failed to GetDataTable2' has appeared when I run a report. Why is this?

This error is triggered by incomplete information within the costing.  Check all costing lines to ensure that a 0.00 value is not present, amend, save, validate and then re-run the report.

Q. What is the difference between Withdraw and Reject?

The link is a diagram explaining the difference between withdrawing a project and rejecting a project in the Workflow - The difference between Withdraw and Reject.

  • Approval (accessed in your task lisk) is the action to take when a costing is rejected and this puts a costing into workflow
  • Submit is the action to take when a costing is withdrawn (i.e. when it's out of workflow for editing)

Q. How will I know when a costing requires my attention in Workflow?

You will be notified by:

An automated email notification.

The Costing can be viewed/actioned in;

  • My tasks
  • The Costing Dashboard under the Workflow tab

Further information can be found here: Workflow Tab

Q. My costing is at the Workflow status ‘Wait step’, what does this mean?

The costing is a collaboration and has been entered into Workflow. This status will appear when one Department’s element of the costing has been submitted and is awaiting the other collaborating Department(s) to do likewise.

If you are the lead department you can check on the progress of the costing other collaborating Departments by changing the Department toggle on the costing screen and looking at the Workflow tab/Map.

Q. My costing is at the workflow status ‘Amendment Required’, what does this mean?

A. The costing has entered into Workflow but somewhere in the approval process it has been rejected and returned to the creator.

Search for the costing through Advanced Search and refer to the Workflow tab for information on why the costing has been rejected as well as where the costing is in the Workflow process.

It is worth noting that in the Amendment Required status, the costing can only be amended and approved by one user. Their details will be displayed on the Workflow map in the yellow outlined square at the very bottom.

Q. Where has my costing gone?

If your costing has been submitted into workflow it will disappear from your costing dashboard screen. In order to retrieve the costing you would need to utilise the Advanced Search. Details on how to use this tool can be found using this link Advanced Costing Search

Q. How does the Research Office approval process work within X5?

Q. How does the PI approval process work within X5?

Q. How does the Collaborating Departments process work within X5?

Q. How does the Department approval process work within X5?

Q. Why do those with delegated authority have to approve costings twice?

People with delegated authority may be carrying 2 roles within the application approval process and are therefore required to approve the costing twice: Departmental Administrator; to create and approve a costing for submission into the workflow. Head of Department; this role may have been assigned to an Administrator with delegated Head of Department authority up to a maximum financial amount. Authorised financial limits are set in accordance to the Letter of Authority which is submitted to the Research Office on an annual basis. The process above is carried out in line with audit requirements.

Useful links

X5 Login

Cambridge Enterprise

Ethics Approval

Exchange Rates (Requires Raven Password)

fEC Rates

Financial Regulations

Finance Division

Frascati Definition of Research

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, please contact your Research Develoment Team at the Research Operations Office.