Cost Centre Hierarchy

I am developing a VB application that takes cost centre data in the form of text files from ERP applications like SAP, Peoplesoft etc. My application parses the text files and rebuilds the cost centre hierarchy in the client application. Cost centre details need to include name and address of centre, contact details, and other details which may go beyond the details of the General Ledger.

To do this, each cost centre record also needs to have one or more fields which uniquely identify each cost centre's parent, so my program can "look up" each cost centre parent and rebuild the hierarchy. It follows that the cost centre records need to be in order of highest level first, so the parents can be found.

My questions are

a. How likely is it that companies will be able to export text files from their ERP systems in this format?, and

b. Does anyone have any practical examples of how cost centre coding typically works?

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andysalihConnect With a Mentor Commented:
answer to B)

Request 98/51
Research Activity Survey 1998

 Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of DENI-funded universities
Of interest to those responsible for
 Research funding; Finance; Data collection
Publication date
 October 1998
Enquiries to
 Section 1 (QR): Laura Eastman tel 0117 931 7419
 Section 2 (GR): Keith Harris tel 0117 931 7395


Executive summary

1. This document asks higher education institutions (HEIs) to update information on their research activity.

Key points

2. The data will inform our distribution of research funds for the academic year 1999-2000.

3. This document also incorporates the Accountability for Research Funds survey.

4. All HEIs that made submissions to the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise should complete section 1. All HEIs should complete section 2, or submit nil returns in writing. Computer disks will be provided for both sections.

Action required

5. Responses should be sent to Joanne Iles at the HEFCE, to arrive no later than 15 December 1998.


6. The 1998 Research Activity Survey asks institutions to update data from the 1997 survey on research students, research assistants, research fellows and income from charities. These data will inform quality-related (QR) research funding, as described in Circular 4/97. Data on research active staff will be taken from the submissions to the 1996 RAE.

7. The 1998 Research Activity Survey also asks institutions to update data from the 1997 survey on fundable research students who are eligible to pay home and EC fees. We need these data in order to distribute funds transferred from the teaching model to the research model for 1998-99 onwards, for the tuition and supervision of research students. This information is required following a recommendation from the Harris report on the review of postgraduate education. Our formal response to this report is outlined in Circular 12/97.

8. We have agreed with the Government that we will monitor institutions' internal allocation of research funds, which is why we conduct the annual Accountability for Research Funds survey.

9. To allocate generic research (GR) funds we ask institutions to update information on income from research contracts which satisfy criteria on intellectual property rights and the rights to publish research output.

10. This survey has two sections:

a. Section 1: Quality-related (QR) research funding.

b. Section 2: Generic research (GR) funding.

Section 1: Quality-related research funding

11. This section should be completed by HEIs that made submissions to the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). It asks for the following data by unit of assessment:

a. The headcount of postgraduate research students eligible to pay home and EC and overseas fees, shown separately according to the year of their programme, mode of study and unit of assessment at the census date of 1 December 1998. (This should include students domiciled in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.)

b. The headcount of fundable postgraduate research students eligible to pay home and EC fees, shown separately according to the year of their programme, mode of study and unit of assessment at the census date of 1 December 1998. See Annex A, paragraph 12.

c. The full-time equivalent (FTE) number of research assistants and research fellows at the census date of 31 July 1998.

d. Income from research grants and contracts from UK-based charities during the financial year 1997-98.

12. Institutions which made multiple submissions to a unit of assessment in the 1996 RAE should amalgamate the data into a single submission for this survey. If a department was not submitted to the 1996 RAE, the data should be returned to the unit of assessment which is closest in academic content. We will be using all the information, irrespective of rating, to cross-check institutions' data against other data sources such as the Higher Education Students Early Statistics (HESES) survey.

13. Section 1 also contains the Accountability for Research Funds survey, which should be completed by all institutions receiving QR funding for 1998-99.

14. Please complete this section using the disk-based templates, which will be issued by mid-November to the nominated contact person at each institution. The following annexes should be used as a guide for completing section 1:

Annex A: Notes on research students

Annex B: Notes on research assistants and fellows

Annex C: Notes on income from charities

Annex D: Print-outs of forms R1, R2, R3 and R4

Annex E: Notes on accountability for research funds

Annex F: Print-out of form R5

Annex I: Instructions for completing the disk.

Section 2 : Generic research funding

15. All HEIs should complete section 2. Please inform us of nil returns in writing. This section asks for information on income in 1997-98, which qualifies for generic research (GR) funding. We will use these data along with data from the 1997 Research Activity Survey (HEFCE 97/21) to calculate GR allocations for 1999-2000. Please complete this section using the disk-based template. The following annexes should be used as a guide for completing section 2:

Annex G: Notes of guidance for the GR return

Annex H: Print-out of form R6

Annex I: Instructions for completing the disk.


16. All responses should be sent to Joanne Iles at the HEFCE, Northavon House, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QD, to arrive no later than 15 December 1998. Returns on disk are required for both sections 1 and 2. Further education colleges should not respond to this survey.



Annex A
Notes on research students
1. All students included in this survey should be postgraduate students registered at the reporting institution on the census date, 1 December 1998, for a research-based higher degree. The students should be actively supervised by an academic member of staff employed by a higher education institution in England. Students who spend the whole of their programme of study outside the UK should not be included in this survey, except where they satisfy the criteria in paragraph 13d. The data returned should be headcounts rather than full-time equivalent (FTE) numbers of students. The criteria for data in form R1 are the same as in the 1997 Research Activity Survey. The data in form R2 will be used to allocate funds for the tuition and supervision of postgraduate research students. The criteria for these data are the same as in the 1997 Research Activity Survey.

Definition of registration

2. Registration is defined for this survey as a binding undertaking by a student to pay a fee for tuition, or supervision of research, for a programme of study. If in exceptional circumstances the fee has been waived, the student will be regarded as registered. A student is assumed to register with the reporting institution annually on the anniversary of the initial registration. The simple acceptance of a place does not qualify a student to be counted in this survey.

3. Where a student has been registered at one institution and taught under a franchising arrangement at another institution, only the registering institution should return the student to this survey. A student can only be registered at one institution for any individual qualification. A student on a programme of study run jointly by more than one institution, and not the subject of a franchising arrangement, should be returned only by the institution which receives the fee.

Research-based higher degrees

4. In accord with normal practice in the English higher education sector, a higher degree by research should be one awarded primarily on the basis of a substantial thesis (or equivalent) submitted by the student and resulting from the student's original research. Regulations on the appointment of examiners for the degree should stipulate that the student's work is examined by at least two examiners, individually appointed for the student, one of whom is an external examiner. An exception may be allowed for departments which were highly rated in the RAE, where it may be that the two best-qualified examiners are both internal.

5. Students who have completed their research work and are writing up their thesis (or equivalent) should be excluded. Students registered for research qualifications awarded primarily on the basis of published works should also be excluded, unless they are undertaking a significant amount of research at the institution.

6. Some new specialist doctoral degrees, such as the Doctor of Education (EdD) and the Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsychol), typically include significant taught components and supervised practice, as well as requiring the student to produce a dissertation or thesis. These degrees do not generally require the student to produce the same amount of original research as a PhD. Students registered for a specialist doctoral degree should only be included in this survey if the degree satisfies the criteria in paragraph 4.

7. Students employed by outside research organisations, and based outside the department for most of their study, can be included if they satisfy the criteria in paragraphs 1 to 6.

8. Students who are supervised across more than one unit of assessment should be returned split according to the agreed division of supervision. Figures can be returned to one decimal place.

9. Academic staff who are also registered for a research-based higher degree at the same institution can be returned to this survey as research students, provided that the sum of the individual's staff FTE and student FTE does not exceed 1 on the census date. (In this survey, each part-time research student counts as 0.5 FTE.)

10. In distributing funds for research in 1999-2000, we intend to use a weighted student number count as shown in table 1. The year of programme is defined in the 1998-99 HESA Student Record Coding Manual (Field 72) and indicates the year of the programme that the student is currently studying.

Table 1

Year of programme
Weight applied to headcount of full-time students
Weight applied to headcount of part-time students

11. There may be cases where research students change their mode of study from full-time to part-time. In such cases, each year of full-time study should be treated as two years of part-time study in this survey. For example, a student who has completed three years of full-time study, and is then taken on as a part-time student until the programme of study is completed, should be shown as a seventh year part-time student during his first year of part-time study, and as an eighth year student for the second year of part-time study, and so on.

12. To distribute the funds for the tuition and supervision of research students, we will be using home and EC fundable students. Students are classified as home and EC if they have a relevant connection with the EC as defined under the Fees and Awards Regulations (SI 1997 No. 1972) as amended, such that they would be entitled to pay home fees. Home and EC students should be included on form R2 if they are on programmes of recognised HE that are open to any suitably qualified candidate. These students should also satisfy the criteria in paragraphs 1 to 11.

13. The following students should be excluded from form R2:

a. Students whose places are funded from another EC public source, for example, the Department of Health, the NHS, or the Home Office (that is, where funding is provided in addition to the recommended fee levels, pro-rata for part-time students).

b. Students registered on programmes of study that are not funded through HEFCE funds, but whose funding has been separately agreed and notified by us. This includes programmes of study where we distribute funds on behalf of other government departments.

c. Students on programmes of study franchised to institutions wholly outside the UK, unless we have specifically sanctioned the programme as eligible.

d. Students spending most of their time for the whole programme of study outside the UK, except where:

i. There is a clear academic reason for studying abroad rather than in the UK. Even where such a reason exists, we must specifically sanction the programme as eligible.

ii. The student is temporarily and unavoidably abroad and remains liable to UK tax on their earnings, or is a dependant of such a person. This includes members of HM Forces and their dependants.


Annex B
Notes on research assistants and fellows
Research assistants

1. Research assistants are individuals who are on the payroll of the institution and who hold a contract of employment with the institution. They are academic staff whose primary employment function is defined as ?Research only'. They should be employees of the reporting institution, and would usually be funded from research grants or contracts from Research Councils, charities or industry, but may also be funded from the institution's general funds. The research assistants reported to this survey should be in post on the census date of 31 July 1998. The criteria for research assistants are the same as in the 1996 RAE. Paragraphs 4 and 8 provide further clarification of the existing rules.

2. Senior research assistants returned to the 1996 RAE as research active members of staff should be excluded from this return.

3. Research fellows should not be counted as research assistants. Further details on the definition of research fellows are given below.

4. Teaching company associates should normally be excluded from this survey, except where they function as a research assistant and are based within a department of the reporting institution.

5. We want to maintain the distinction made in the 1996 RAE between post-doctoral research assistants and postgraduate research assistants. Clinical research assistants who are not on the pay scales specified below, for example those funded by the Medical Research Council, should be returned on form R3 according to whether they function as post-doctoral or postgraduate research assistants.

6. Research assistants graded 1A and above on the former University Authorities Panel (UAP) pay scales, or graded B and above in the former Polytechnics and Colleges Employers Forum (PCEF) pay scales, should be returned to this survey as post-doctoral research assistants.

7. Research assistants graded 1B on the former UAP pay scales, or graded A in the former PCEF pay scales, should be returned to this survey as postgraduate research assistants.

8. Institutions which have adopted locally determined pay scales should apply a mapping of these pay scales onto the UAP or PCEF pay scales, as appropriate, to distinguish post-doctoral research assistants from postgraduate research assistants. The former normally have a higher degree. Postgraduate research assistants normally do not have a research-based degree and are more junior.

Research fellows

9. For the purposes of this survey, research fellows are members of academic staff who hold specific awards on the basis of their own research record or research proposals. The research fellows reported to this survey should be in post on the census date of 31 July 1998.

10. The fellowship should be awarded to a named individual rather than to the research project on which the individual is employed. Fellowships are often for a fixed term, typically three or five years, and should be subject to periodic peer review, generally involving an input from outside the institution. Funding for these awards comes from a range of sources outside the institution, but can be channelled through it so that the individual remains an employee of the institution. Examples of such fellowships are Research Council Fellows (Senior, Advanced and Post-doctoral) and Royal Society Fellows and Professors.

11. For the purposes of this survey, institutions should return only those research fellows who are on the institution's payroll and funded from general or specific income, and not returned to the 1996 RAE as a research active member of staff funded wholly or partly from general funds. Research fellows who receive funding directly from their sponsoring bodies, as is the case for NATO and UN fellowships, should not be returned in this survey. Visiting fellows should also be excluded.


Annex C
Notes on income from charities
1. Institutions are asked to provide information about research income from charitable foundations and trusts based in the United Kingdom in the financial year 1997-98 (1 August 1997 to 31 July 1998). The income should be in respect of research carried out at the institution and for which directly related expenditure has been incurred.

2. The figures should tally with those in the institution's annual financial statements and the 1997-98 HESA Finance Statistics Return. Table 4 of the HESA return requests institutions to provide the external research income by cost centre. However, for the purposes of calculating the QR grant this information is required by unit of assessment. For further guidance please consult the HESA Finance Record Coding Manual.

3. Where a grant or contract is held across more than one unit of assessment, its value should be divided in proportion to the number of grant or contract holders. If research projects are funded from a number of sources their income should be allocated between respective headings.


Annex D
Forms for completion
(All forms are Excel spreadsheets)

Form R1 : All research students by year of programme

Form R2 : Fundable home fee-paying research students by year of programme

Form R3: Table of research assistants and research fellows

Form R4: Table of external research income from charities in 1997-98


Annex E
Notes on accountability for research funds
1. We currently distribute QR funding as part of our block grant to institutions. Institutions redistribute this sum to their academic departments according to their own priorities and methods, top-slicing funds for central administration costs if necessary. In 1992, the DfEE requested further accountability in institutions' internal allocation of the research funds distributed by the Council.

2. After consultation with the sector in 1993, we decided that the most direct and cost-effective way to obtain this accountability was to collect information on how institutions allocated their QR funds. We ask institutions to return this information on form R5.

3. For this survey we require the distribution of 1998-99 QR funds by cost centre. Central costs, such as for libraries, computing services and administration, may be shown in the non-departmental cost centres or split out proportionally to the funds in each academic cost centre. When we use the collated data, we will allocate central costs to academic cost centres. A print-out of the table provided on disk is at Annex F. Figures should be entered in pounds sterling.


Annex F
Forms for completion
(All forms are Excel spreadsheets)

Form R5: Accountability for 1998-99 quality-related research funds


Annex G
Guidance notes for GR return
1. Institutions are asked to return GR qualifying income for 1997-98 which satisfies the criteria listed in paragraph 2 below for the six eligible sources of income (see paragraph 16). These criteria remain unchanged from those in section 2 of the Research Activity Survey 1997. In addition, institutions should state the GR qualifying income as a proportion of total external research income, excluding the ?OST Research Councils', ?UK-based charities' and ?HEFCE research funding'. We will use the 1996-97 GR qualifying data returned in response to HEFCE 97/21 and the 1997-98 GR qualifying data to determine our allocations of GR funding in 1999-2000. The data should be recorded on form R6 on the disk provided.

2. To count as GR qualifying income:

a. Research income must satisfy the Frascati definition of research given in paragraph 3 below.

b. Eligible contracts must meet both the following criteria:

i. The initial contract covering the research must not assign, nor agree to assign, to the sponsor any intellectual property (IP) arising from the research; nor grant, nor agree to grant, to the sponsor an exclusive or sole licence, or an option to an exclusive or sole licence, to this IP.

ii. There should be no bar to publication of research results. The stipulation that publication must be approved by the sponsor, where permission to publish will not be unreasonably withheld, subject to a maximum stay of publication of 12 months, will not debar contracts.

See paragraphs 9-15 for further clarification.

c. Only research income from the eligible sources listed in paragraph 16 may be returned. The following sources are ineligible:

? OST Research Councils

? The British Academy

? UK-based charities


See paragraphs 16-17 for further clarification.

Frascati definition of research

3. The Frascati definition of research reads:

?Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.'

?R&D is a term covering three activities: basic research, applied research, and experimental development. Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view. Applied research is also original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective. Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience, that is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed.'

(Second chapter of the OECD 1993 Frascati Manual, ISBN 9264142029.)

Definition of intellectual property

4. IP is anything generated directly or indirectly as a result of the application of human thought and effort. In the context of research projects it will include all recorded information, knowledge and expertise derived from the work. An underlying principle of GR funding is that HEIs should be able to exploit IP in future research projects with different sponsors.

Definition of intellectual property rights

5. Intellectual property rights (IPR) apply to certain forms of IP which receive specific legal protection. In this context the most relevant are patents, copyright, design rights and the protection given to semi-conductor chip designs. In many cases the relevant legal provisions will give HEIs the rights to IP arising from a research project. Any transfer of IPR to the sponsor will inhibit the institution's ability to exploit the research results, either alone or with another sponsor.

Definition of initial contract

6. The initial research contract is the first document, signed by both (or all) collaborating parties, that commits the parties to conduct the research project. Where no formal contract exists, the terms and conditions of the research project set out in a series of letters can be viewed as the initial contract. The initial contract is normally agreed either before, or in the very early stages of, the research project.

Accounting conventions

7. The 1997-98 Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Finance Statistics Return (FSR) includes Table 4 (Research Grants and Contracts - Breakdown of Income by Cost Centre) for eight sources of income. This covers all external income for research within the Frascati definition, except HEFCE research funding. Income from consultancies, which was previously returned as research income by former PCFC-funded institutions, is excluded.

8. Institutions should apply the same accounting conventions when returning GR qualifying income. We will check GR returns against the FSR data. The HESA Finance Record Coding Manual should be consulted for further guidance.

Eligibility of contracts for GR

9. Contracts in which IP is jointly owned are not eligible.

10. Contracts are not eligible if IP was assigned to the sponsor in the initial contract and it subsequently reverted to the institution. Initial contracts which give IP to the institution, but which are silent on future assignment or licensing, are eligible.

11. It is normally good practice for IP and publications conditions to be set out at an early stage in a collaboration. However, if the initial agreement is silent on these points then the relevant rights will rest with the institution. Such contracts are eligible for GR, as long as they meet other relevant conditions. Contracts that give the sponsor(s) the right to block publication for an unspecified period are not eligible.

12. Where the research collaboration is with a club or group of sponsors, then contracts are eligible if they meet both conditions in paragraph 2b.

13. Under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, ownership of copyright is not automatically vested in the Crown when Government departments sponsor research, but only where this is specified in the contract. This is also the case with other forms of IPR such as patents. Any exclusive assignment of IPR to the Crown will render the contract ineligible for GR.

14. HEIs should retain their rights to deal with third parties. Contracts where IP is assigned in principle, or where the HEI has granted a sole licence to the sponsor, are not eligible.

15. Some HEIs have agreements with the British Technology Group Limited (BTG) under which BTG will act as their agent to exploit intellectual property owned by the institution. Such an agreement does not affect the eligibility for GR of research contracts placed by the HEI. Initial contracts in which institutions retain IP are therefore eligible whether or not they contain clauses giving BTG the right to take assignment, or an exclusive licence, to IP.

Sources of income

16. The six eligible sources of income are defined as follows:

a. UK central government bodies, local authorities, health and hospital authorities.

All research grants and contract income from UK central government bodies, UK local authorities and UK health and hospital authorities, except Research Councils. This covers government departments, Northern Ireland departments and other organisations financed from central government funds. Non-departmental public bodies, including the British Council and the Royal Society, should also be returned under this head.

b. UK industry, commerce and public corporations.

All research grants and contract income from industrial and commercial companies and public corporations (defined as publicly owned trading bodies, usually statutory corporations, with a substantial degree of financial independence) operating in the UK.

c. EU government bodies.

All research grants and contract income from all government bodies operating in the EU, which includes the European Commission but excludes bodies in the UK. Grants from European Community non-research mobility schemes, such as the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) and European Social Fund Grants, should not be included.

d. EU other.

All research grants and contract income from all non-government bodies operating in the EU, outside the UK.

e. Other overseas.

All research grants and contract income from overseas bodies operating outside the EU.

f. Other sources.

All research grants and contract income not covered by the above, including income from other UK HEIs, but excluding income from the OST Research Councils and UK-based charities - see paragraph 17.

17. The following sources are not eligible:

OST Research Councils.
All research grants and contract income from Research Councils funded by the Office of Science and Technology.

The British Academy.
All research grants and contract income from the British Academy.

UK-based charities.
All research grants and contract income from all charitable foundations and trusts based in the UK which are registered with the Charities Commission; exempt charities which have not been classified under OST Research Councils or UK central government bodies; or those recognised as charities by the Inland Revenue in Scotland.

All recurrent and non-recurrent research grants from the HEFCE.


18. Once we have received GR data returns, we may ask HEIs for information about contracts to which they relate.

19. We will audit returns from a sample of institutions each year. We will tell these institutions which contracts we wish to review and ask them to provide documentation before a formal audit visit. If requested, we will sign confidentiality agreements before documentation is produced for audit.


Annex H
Forms for completion
(All forms are Excel spreadsheets)

Form R6: External income for generic research


Annex I
Instructions for completing the disk
1. All institutions will receive a 3.5 inch computer disk containing six Excel 4.0 files. The disk has been checked for all known viruses and has been individually prepared for each institution. You are advised to make a back-up copy of the disk before attempting to access any of the files. If the disk is corrupt or unreadable, or if you wish to make your return using the Internet, please contact Laura Eastman (tel 0117 931 7419).

2. The name of each file contains a four or five digit suffix identifying each institution. Please do not attempt to rename or reformat these files as the Council's computer systems for loading institutions' returns depend on the file-naming convention and file formats.

3. All labels and table formats have been protected using Excel's cell protection facilities. Do not attempt to change the contents of protected cells, or the structure of tables by adding or deleting any rows or columns.

4. The disk supplied should have the following files:

R1_xxxxx.XLS: All research students by year of programme

R2_xxxxx.XLS: Fundable home fee-paying students by year of programme

R3_xxxxx.XLS: Research assistants and research fellows

R4_xxxxx.XLS: Income from charities on account of research grants and contracts (financial year 1997-98)

R5_xxxxx.XLS: Accountability for 1998-99 QR research funds

R6_xxxxx.XLS: External income for generic research (financial year 1997-98)

5. When the spreadsheets have been completed, each file should be saved on the disk, overwriting the original blank table.

6. If you do not use Excel version 4 please make sure that the computer package into which the file has been opened does not save the file using a different file extension by default. You should make a back-up copy of the completed tables before returning the completed disk to HEFCE. One set of printed tables should be sent with the electronic copy of the data.


i think
hope it helps
answer to "A"

either ask the other partys to export in ascii comma delimited.

this makes it really easy to read the file without little effort or use ADO. I think comman delimited would be best.

b) Sorry NO

robert_m78Author Commented:
thanks, sorry its taken forever to close this one!
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