May update on the Research Costing Tool

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Costing, Projects | 0 comments

The research costing tool project aims to improve the University’s ability to accurately cost research activity and will allow staff to model costs throughout the lifecycle of a research project. A product called BlackDackel, a web-based tool will be implemented at The University of Manchester.


Project update

A second phase of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) will commence on Monday, 26 April for two weeks. This UAT programme will test bug fixes and new functionality which has been added to the system. Research Services and Academic users will be involved in this second UAT providing valuable feedback on the tool and costing processes.


Forthcoming developments

  • Updated funder reports are being tested prior to UAT
  • Newly created pricing templates are being tested prior to UAT
  • FAQs and a terminology glossary are in development and will be available on the updated costing tool webpages before launch
  • Creation of training videos are in development
  • Communications are being drafted to provide updates on the training programme and launch


Training programme update

As we draw closer to our launch date, essential training and guidance materials will be made available to all users. Leading up to go-live, a suite of training items will be made available to users.

The training programme will include:

  • Overhaul of the costing tool webpages which will provide user pathways providing focused guidance and training information to user cohorts
  • BlackDackel User Manual
  • PDF training documents concentrating on focused areas of the costing tool
  • Complimentary training videos which work alongside PDF documents 
  • Links to University policies and corresponding guidance documents
  • FAQ providing links to policies, processes and request forms
  • Glossary to explain new costing terms to users
  • Drop-in training sessions for all user cohorts before go-live
  • Open communication channels to ask questions and seek support



A launch date of June will be taken to the RLP Project Board for approval. This date allows the project to include some additional enhancements and ensure that staffing levels are available to support the launch.



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