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What is AcoRD?


Published: 21 November 2022

Version: 0.1

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Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD)

The AcoRD guidance provides a framework for the NHS and its partners to identify, recover and attribute the costs of health and social care research and development, in a transparent and consistent way.

To ensure researchers have all the support they need around the attribution of study activities, we’ve developed a range of resources to help you understand the principles of AcoRD, including the attribution e-learning tool.

For answers to commonly asked questions on AcoRD, see DHSC's Annex B - AcoRD FAQs.

Role of an AcoRD specialist

NIHR has established a network of AcoRD specialists based across all of our local clinical research networks (LCRNs), whose role is to:

  • Signpost researchers to resources and training to understand the principles of AcoRD and the differences between a Research Cost, a Treatment Cost and an NHS Service Support Cost
  • Provide specialist advice and support for activity attribution
  • Support resolution of attribution queries
  • Assist with understanding the requirements for a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT), for studies that include Service Support or Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs)
  • Authorise the SoECAT for submission to the funder
  • Facilitate the triage process to confirm the majority commissioner responsible for funding the ETCs

Help and support

If you need support from an AcoRD specialist in your region on how to correctly identify and attribute relevant activities and to authorise your completed SoECAT, please contact your LCRN. Please allow a minimum of 10 working days for authorisation of a SoECAT by an AcoRD specialist.

Further information about SoECAT can be found on our online SoECAT guidance webpage and in our online SoECAT guidance module on NIHR Learn.

Funders often request completion of a SoECAT as part of their application processes. Applicants for such grants may request support or advice from their local AcoRD specialist in completing the SoECAT if required. Although please note that it is the role of the AcoRD specialist to authorise completed SoECATs, not complete them on behalf of sponsors. Non-NHS sponsors may also request support or advice from their lead NHS research and development office.

Determining the commissioner

Treatment costs are the care costs that would continue to be incurred if the patient care service continued to be provided following the end of the research study. The difference between the treatment costs and the costs of the existing standard treatment is referred to as the Excess Treatment Cost (ETC).

ETCs are funded by service commissioners. If ETCs have been identified for a study, the SoECAT and corresponding documentation should be submitted to the Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRNCC) for review once funding has been successfully secured. The review will determine the majority commissioner responsible for funding the ETCs.

Once the triage process is complete, a commissioning decision email will be issued and the study record will be updated in the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS) to reflect this.

From 1 April 2023, all new ETC submissions must be completed using the online SoECAT. Where an online SoECAT has been used, the study representative will need to upload the grant award letter. This will initiate the commissioning triage process.

If a previously completed Excel SoECAT is in use, the AcoRD specialist at the study's lead LCRN will submit the Excel SoECAT and the accompanying documentation to CRNCC. The CRNCC will then determine the majority commissioner responsible for funding the ETCs.

Further information

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