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

Resources to help with cost attribution:

Access support for your study attribution 

Researchers may require support regarding attribution and the NIHR CRN offers this service through the Early Contact and Engagement aspect of the CRN Study Support Service. We've pulled together a number of resources that can help you understand the principles of AcoRD including our attribution e-learning tool. You can see these resources listed on this page.

Find your AcoRD specialist

NIHR has established a network of AcoRD specialists based in your Local CRN to:

  • Signpost researchers to resources and training to understand the principles of AcoRD
  • Provide specialist advice and support for activity attribution
  • Support resolution of attribution queries

If you need support from an AcoRD specialist in your region on how to correctly identify and attribute these activities, please contact your local CRN representative or get in touch with our Study Support Helpdesk.

AcoRD news


On 31 March 2016, the Schedule of Events was formalised as the single tool for activity capture and attribution included in the IRAS document set for HRA Approval for NHS sites in England. The CRN has defined the consistent support available to Chief Investigators in applying the principles of AcoRD to the development of new studies prior to HRA Approval submission, which ultimately aims to identify attribution queries as early as possible to minimise the impact of these discussions on site set-up time. The CRN continue to work with the wider NIHR and funders to expand this support and encourage researchers to consider attribution as early as possible by utilising the national tools and support available.

Exploration of the HRA Schedule of Events as an integrated resource including non-commercial costing

Acting on feedback from the research community requesting a national template for non-commercial costing, a beta version of the HRA Schedule of Events is being explored as a potential tool to deliver costing functionality. The ambition is to provide a single, integrated, multi-purpose tool which can be used throughout the study from grant application stage to HRA Approval and beyond. The single tool would capture study activities, attribution and costs at grant stage, which can then be revised and refined for submission for HRA Approval, and subsequently updated in line with protocol amendments as required. This would avoid the need for Chief Investigators to capture costs in different ways for different purposes during the research life cycle.

NHS England is supporting this development of the HRA Schedule of Events to help providers and commissioners to agree and document excess treatment costs and excess treatment savings for individual clinical trials using consistent national pricing assumptions.

In support of this increased functionality the CRN, in conjunction with key stakeholders including the HRA and NHS R&D forum, are undertaking a review of investigational activities within the national costing templates. The aim of the review is to enable an update of the guidance values, calculated as averages in 2008, to better reflect current research activity and support a single definition for these activities across both commercial and non-commercial studies.

Next Steps

The functionality for inclusion of cost values within the tool is currently being reviewed by the members of the DH Non-Commercial Costing and Attribution Group. Following piloting through the group, the opportunities for testing with upcoming funding calls is being explored. This would involve applicants for these funding calls completing the Schedule of Events as part of the full application for funding. At present, the Schedule of Events from the HRA website (without this costing functionality) is a component of the full non-commercial application package for HRA Approval. 

Excess treatment cost funding issues

The CRN are supporting ongoing work in relation to identifying excess treatment costs (ETC) funding issues.  Where researchers have experienced such issues they are encouraged to complete the Issue Collection Template and provide this to and This exercise is to gain a broader understanding of the type of ETC issues that are occurring, their scale and impact of such issues on NHS organisation research participation.

Please note that provision of this template does not form part of an escalation process to resolve any issues reported and is purely for identification purposes.  Researchers should work with their R&D offices and Local CRN as appropriate to provide support for resolution of such issues.