X5 costing and pricing system

Under the University’s financial regulations all applications to outside bodies must be prepared in accordance with University's policy on the costing and pricing of research.

An X5 costing should be created for each outline or full application and submitted into workflow prior to approval and submission of the application by Research Services.


X5 holds personal data on employees, funders and external collaborators. From Tuesday 17 November 2020 we will start to anonymise data depending on the type of personal data and where it is held in X5, the associated costing type and costing status. Employee and funder name data will not be anonymised because of the needs of the Intellectual Property Rights Management team in Research Services.
Further information:


The apprenticeship levy was introduced on 1 April 2017 and is a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships. It is calculated based on 0.5% of basic salary. X5 calculates the levy by calculating a higher NI amount (through an NI rates file). Please select the file applicable to your costing:

  • The NI rates file dated 6/4/21 should be used for all funders that have confirmed they will not pay the levy (see list below)
  • The NI rates file dated 7/4/21 should be used for all other funders.

Funders who will not pay the levy
Action Medical Research, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer's Society, Blood Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Now, British Academy, BHF, CRUK, Dunhill Medical Trust, Fight for Sight, Healthcare Infection Society,  Heart Research UK, Leukaemia UK, Leverhulme Trust, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Nuffield Foundation, Parkinson’s UK,  Prostate Cancer UK, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal Society (limited to URF and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships as the levy is paid on all other schemes), Stroke Association, The Brain Tumour Charity, Wellbeing of Women.



USS have confirmed that the employer contribution rate will increase from 19.5% to 21.1% on 1 October 2019 and to 23.7% on the 1 October 2021. A new USS scheme (USS-Oct19) has been created in X5 to calculate the pension costs using the stepped pension functionality. Please note that X5 has been calculating USS pension costs using an employer rate of 22.5% from 1 October 2019 and an employer rate of 24.2% from 1 April 2020.

New USS-Oct19 scheme and X5 actions

Costings created from new from 17 September 2019

Costings will pick up the new salary files and new USS pension scheme, USS-Oct19, for all applicable DI posts and apply the new stepped rates. New salary files are needed to link grades to the new USS scheme. There are no salary cost changes.

Costings in draft created before 17 September 2019

Users will need to update their costings by selecting the new USS pension scheme, USS-Oct19, against the post on the breakdown by person tab. Selecting the new scheme will apply the new stepped rates and recalculate the pension costs.

Costings in workflow

If there is sufficient time before a funder’s deadline, you may wish to update your costing. This may involve rejecting or withdrawing a costing depending on where it is in workflow then selecting USS-Oct19 against any applicable DI posts.

Approved costings

All pension costs will remain as previously calculated.

Award costings created from approved application costings 

If the application costings were created after 25 March 2019, the award costings will not need amending as they will pick up the original USS pension scheme and any old stepped rates. If the application costing was created and approved before 25 March 2019 and you make any changes to the copied award costing (amending DI posts etc) the pension costs will change. Please contact the helpdesk and we will advise you how to reset your pension costs.

Supplement and supplement and extension costings

These will pick up the new USS-Oct 19 scheme for all applicable DI posts.

How to calculate the pension percentage used on your post

If you want to calculate the pension rate used each year on a costed DI post, just divide the pension amount by the salary amount, on the 'Person by year' tab:

Screenshot of the 'person by year' tab in X5

If you have any queries regarding these pension changes, please contact the helpdesk.


01865 (2)80089

Key documents