Transparency Review

The Transparency and Accountability Review for Higher Education was initiated following the Government’s 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review.

TRAC Guidelines

Representation of the process

Dear Colleague,

The University has to report its annual financial costs to HEFCW split between teaching, research and other using a methodology called TRAC (Transparent Approach to Costing) also known as the Transparency Review. In order to allocate the costs into these categories staff are required to report how they allocate their time between teaching, research and other (this will be mainly consultancy) activities and also the time spent supporting those activities (e.g. preparing research proposals). 

As a general rule we would expect staff on teaching contracts to have high percentages in either or both publicly and non-publicly funded teaching (e.g. lectures, supervisions, marking etc.) with some time in support for teaching (e.g.pastoral support). Staff on teaching and research contracts could have time against any of the TRAC categories. It is usual to have lower percentages in the support categories than in the direct categories of teaching, research and other, however there are instances where this may not be the case.

The main research funding bodies, such as UKRI, require us to price projects using a Full Economic Cost model (FEC), which in turn is built upon TRAC data. UKRI funding can be withdrawn, or suspended, if one of the regular UKRI audit identifies problems with TRAC methodology or data.

A key part of the TRAC methodology is the staff time allocation data, which need to be periodically updated. It is some years since the last time data collection exercise, so this letter is by way of a brief reminder of the process to be undertaken. 

New time data from staff needs to be collected for a one year period (01/06/22 to 31/05/23) and this will be split over three equal periods of four months:

•    01/06/22 to 30/09/22 (return to be completed by 15/10/22)
•    01/10/22 to 31/01/23 (return to be completed by 15/02/23)
•    01/02/23 to 31/05/23 (return to be completed by 15/06/23)

The survey data will be collected via an on-line form at the end of each period (please note that the on-line form will not be available to you until the period has ended, which is an external audit condition, e.g. the form for the first period cannot be accessed until 01/10/22) and you will be required to split your time between teaching, research, other and support activities on a percentage basis rather than numbers of hours or days. The data provided will only be used to allocate costs, is confidential and will not be shared with anyone either inside or outside of the University.

The TRAC returns submitted are examined in detail by HEFCW and benchmarked against other universities in the UK so it is very important the returns are completed in an accurate and timely manner. The data provided also influences the estates and indirect cost rates. 

Research Councils can audit the submission rate of the time allocation data; if a School’s overall submission rate is less than 75% for all three periods they will penalise the University.

Any queries should be e-mailed to


Dylan James
Head of Financial Accounting
Finance Office
Bangor University

Alison Armstrong
Finance Manager
Finance Office
Bangor University

This requirement follows the latest update by the Transparency Review Development Group.

  • Institution funded research work where there is no external sponsor of a research project, but there are research outputs, should be allocated to 'Research – Own Funded' (on the TAS form)
  • Institution funded research work where there is no external sponsor of a research project and no research outputs, should be allocated to 'Support - Scholarship' (on the TAS form). 
  • Schools, whose main mission or strategic focus is Teaching, may require and support their academics to carry out Institution funded research. This is done with the primary aim of supporting their Teaching activity.  Such Research should be allocated to ‘Teaching - Institution Funded Research in Support of Teaching’ (on the TAS form).

The Time Allocation Schedule (TAS) should be completed by all academic and technical staff who have been asked to do so for the following periods:

  • 01/06/22 to 30/09/22 (return to be completed by 15/10/22)
  • 01/10/22 to 31/01/23 (return to be completed by 15/02/23)
  • 01/02/23 to 31/05/23 (return to be completed by 15/06/23)

The layout of TRAC the web site is convenient for final completion of the form and its return to the TRAC Data Manager, but for first-time users it is not ideal for gaining a general overview of the task in hand.

We believe the following tips will help to minimise your overall time spent on this task.


The TAS form requires you to think in an unfamiliar way about how you spent your time on various activities. The aide memoire will assist you in keeping a record of the time spent on these activities on a weekly basis, information which you can then transfer onto the TAS at the end of each period. The aide memoire is only to assist in the completion of the TAS and should not be returned.

Before attempting to complete either the aide memoire or the TAS, it is best to look firstly at the main groupings of activities, and secondly to scan through the examples of activities in the explanatory notes to be clear about which activities should be counted in each section and sub-section.


Think particularly carefully about time spent on Support (S) activities for Teaching (T), Research (R) and Other (O) – it is easy to confuse those activities which should be counted as direct T, R or O and those which are supportive to T, R or O. This can often lead to an underestimate of the percentages reported for support time. The explanatory notes will guide you here and reflect the activity groupings required by the Transparency Review.

Particular care should be taken with the distinction between Publicly Funded Teaching Courses and non-Publicly Funded Teaching Courses- See Note 3 and Note 4 (per Schedule Completion Notes and Further Information).

Also, please make sure that you read the update  relating to the allocation of Institution Funded Research.



See Tips section for the suggested approach to the time allocation exercise.

On TAS forms percentages should be stated to the nearest whole number.

Time data are requested in % terms, not hours, so that irrespective of the actual length of your typical working week, which we recognise may well be longer than the conventional 37.5 hrs, we can correctly apportion the aggregate payroll costs for each grade of staff to teaching (T), research (R), other (O) and support (S) activities. These percentages will also allow the correct daily labour and overhead rates to be calculated for contract pricing purposes.

When considering the division of the total time spent on all activities (100%) you should exclude any time taken for holidays (statutory or other) and time on private work carried out in personal time (eg. consultancy done in evenings/weekends/holiday periods).

If your appointment is part time, give %’s in the schedule which add up to 100% of your time on Bangor University work. We will adjust the cost allocations to allow for part time work at a later stage.

If you were appointed during the year in question, again give %’s adding up to 100% of the actual work period and we will adjust cost allocations later.


Note 1 PIN Number

This is not needed. Your submission will be linked to your network ID for processing; this will only be used to ensure response. For all subsequent uses of the data, names are not relevant and anonymity is guaranteed.


Note 2 Teaching (T)

  • Holding lectures, seminars, tutorials
  • Project, workshop and laboratory supervision
  • Preparing materials for lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes
  • Preparing materials for an agreed new course
  • Editing and updating course materials
  • Organising and visiting placements, fieldwork
  • Supervision/contact time relating to projects and dissertations; and assessment
  • Other student contact time relating to educational matters including remedial classes
  • Preparing and marking examination papers, including resits
  • Oral examinations/vivas
  • Reading and assessing student dissertations, reading and marking essays and other student work
  • Invigilation of examinations including external examining
  • Mentee meetings
  • Outreach where T is the underlying activity

N.B. all training and supervision of all PGR students is to be recorded as Research


Note 3 Publicly Funded Teaching (PFT)

  • PF Teaching covers publicly funded courses in the UK. These are termed award or credit-bearing courses
  • PFT activities include those sponsored by HEFCW, FEFCW, former TECs, NHS (e.g. nurse training), EU (e.g. ERASMUS, TEMPUS, ESF)
  • All levels of teaching – sub-degree (e.g. HND, NVQ), degree, PGT (but not PGR)
  • Higher education, further education, teacher training, NHS (nursing) etc.
  • Overseas students and self-financing students (where the institution is not grant-aided for the students by any of the above bodies) on a programme that is significantly grant-aided (e.g. credit bearing courses) should be allocated to PFT where the numbers involved are not material


Note 4 Non-publicly Funded Teaching (NPFT)

  • Short courses are defined as those which are not award or credit bearing, and are therefore not eligible for Funding Council support or grant aid from the bodies referred to in Note 3 (e.g. full cost short courses, non-credit/award bearing courses, overseas courses, other NPF commercial teaching, CPD courses, employer/industry specific courses)
  • Teaching carried out through trading units/commercial companies

N.B. Where you believe that there are a significant or material number of overseas and self-funded students on UK award/credit bearing courses, please refer to the Transparency Review Project Manager


Note 5 Institution Funded Research in Support of Teaching

  • Schools whose main mission or strategic focus is Teaching, may require and support their academics to carry out Institution Funded research. Such research is done with the primary aim of supporting the Schools teaching activity.


Note 6 Research (R)

  • The Frascati Manual defines research as
    “Research and Experimental Development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of 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.”
  • Fieldwork, laboratory, studio, classroom work
  • Management of projects, informal discussions, progress reports etc.
  • Recruitment and supervision of research staff
  • Attendance at conferences, seminars and society meetings that are directly connected with specific research projects
  • Production of research reports, papers, books
  • Training and supervision of PGR students including training in research methodology, review of drafts and preparation of thesis, and external examining
  • Collaboration with other departments or institutions in any of the above
  • Outreach where R in the underlying activity
  • Teaching Company Schemes to the extent that they can be classified as research

N.B. all training and supervision of all PGR students is to be recorded in a separate category.


Note 7 Institution Funded Research

  • Institution Funded research work where there is no externalsponsor of a research project, but there are research outputs. Examplesinlcude speculative research undertaken to investigate the potential of ideas before preparing grant or contract bids; or for publication.


Note 8 All Other Research

  • Research where an external sponsor has been identified
  • Sabbatical leave carried out under research fellowships should generally be allocated to R (unless undertaking T,O or S)
  • Research Councils
  • UK charities
  • UK government
  • European Commission
  • UK industry, commerce and public corporations
  • Other overseas


Note 9 PGR: training and supervision

  • Time spent training and supervising postgraduate research students.
  • This time should not be allocated to the sponsor of the student or the project on which they are working.


Note 10 Other Activities (O)

  • Including direct work (i.e. work which has an identifiable income stream) which is neither T nor R in academic departments/schools
  • Also, direct work which is undertaken in non-academic departments/units (e.g. work in trading/subsidiary companies which is neither T nor R)


Note 11 Other: Consultancy, Other Services Rendered

  • Consultancy (excluding private) i.e. that is contracted to the institution and carried out in institution time, including advisory work, journal editing, feasibility studies
  • Other services rendered, including testing and non-R clinical trials (i.e. activities not covered under the Frascati Manual definition of Research)
  • Work carried out through trading units/commercial companies that is not T or R
  • Technology transfer work if remunerated through the university (e.g. directorships of start-up companies and/or consultancy contracts for the companies) (If not remunerated then Support to O)
  • Outreach (where the outreach activity is not T or R)


Note 12 Support Activities

  • Those that are undertaken in support of Teaching, Research and Other acitivities


Note 13 Support for T

  • Timetabling
  • Examination boards
  • Preparing prospectuses
  • Interviewing students, admissions and induction
  • Course and other committees related to teaching
  • Schools liaison
  • Pastoral support (outside timetabled tutorials), counselling
  • Initial course development (where the future of the course is not certain; preparing materials for an agreed new course is T)
  • Module reviews (but subsequent updating and editing etc. is T)
  • Scholarship/professional development and other Support such as:
    • writing books and other publications for teaching purposes;
    • advancement of knowledge and skills related to teaching;
    • secondment to/academic exchanges with other universities for teaching activities;
    • publicity for teaching facilities and opportunities.


Note 14 Support for R

  • Drafting and redrafting proposals for new work and supporting bids to external bodies (where bids involve a significant amount of speculative research, that element can be attributed to R)
  • Refereeing papers
  • Scholarship/professional development and other Support to Research such as:
    • advancement of knowledge and skills related to research;
    • unpaid work advising government departments or committees, professional bodies or agencies in relation to research matters;
    • institute and department committee work supporting Research;
    • block time in other institutions on research exchange schemes;
    • publicity for research facilities and opportunities.


Note 15 Support for O

  • Drafting and re-drafting proposals for new work and supporting bids to external bodies for consultancy and other services rendered activities (where bids involve a significant amount of speculative research, that element can be attributed to R)
  • Negotiating contract terms and conditions with external bodies
  • Technology transfer work that is not private, nor remunerated through the institution (e.g. supporting patent applications, licence negotiations, formation of start-up companies)


Note 16 Professional Development and Scholarship

  • Maintenance and advancement of own personal knowledge and skills (reading literature, attending professional conferences, maintaining professional clinical skills, acquiring new skills etc.)
  • Consultancy that is carried out in institute normal working hours, in agreement to the institution, but is not contracted to the institution, i.e. private consultancy in institutional time – e.g. maintenance and development of clinical or professional skills
  • Institutional Funded research, where there is no sponsor of a research project and no research outputs.

N.B. private consultancy, carried out in private time – is not to be included here (or anywhere).

Note 17 Management and Administration

  • Including membership of/participation at faculty boards, senate, institution committees etc.
  • Management duties such as deans, head of admissions, assistant deans etc.
  • Staff management, appraisal etc.
  • Publicity, representative work on behalf of the institution or department
  • Careers advice
  • Information returns
  • Quality assurance
  • Contribution to sector e.g. (unpaid) committees, secondments to RAE panels
  • Secondments, exchanges, all other tasks not attributable to other categories

Contact Information

Dylan James
Transparency Review

Cae Derwen
Finance Office
College Road
LL57 2DG




Over the next year you will be asked to complete three in -year schedules covering 4 months each - a 12 month period overall.

All time spent on University activity should be allocated against activities, this includes weekend and evening work.

If you were in post for all or some of  the time period then complete a TAS return.

If you have been off for a significant time ( longer than normal holidays and sick leave ) during the period then you should still complete a questionnaire. Send the project manager an email or phone the project manager with your name and department and let us know the dates that you were off so that we can make the appropriate adjustments to the questionnaire results data.

For the purposes of the review do not include time spent on holidays, sick leave or any other leave of absence.

If the travel time is required as part of your teaching/research duty it should be attributed to the relevant activity of T or R. If the travel time was spent on other University business attribute to Support - Management and Administration.

Although this activity may be primarily teaching or for the purposes of the Transparency Review you must allocate this time to Research.

Student contact time relating to educational matters should be allocated to Publicly Funded Teaching, whereas pastoral support and counselling should be allocated to Support for T.

All administration and management duties which are not directly in support of teaching and research should be allocated to Support - Management & Administration.

If the work is paid then it should be allocated to Other - Consultancy, Other Services, if the work is unpaid it should be allocated to Support - Management & Administration.

All research work funded by an external sponsor should be coded against the relevant sponsor.

Support staff in the department will initially, be split according to the split of academic staff time between T, R and O . In future years this area may be revisited if it is felt that this approach is too approximate, and leads to material inaccuracies.

It looks like you’re visiting from outside the UK, would you like to be redirected to the international page?