Update: Research Costing Tool project

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Costing, Projects | 2 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 has been implemented at The University of Manchester.


Project Update

Phase two of the decommissioning of pFACT will take place on Monday 3 May 2022. As of this data, users will no longer be able to access pFACT as all access will be disabled. Please see below for the decommission schedule.

  • Phase Two (3 May 2022) – Disabled access
  • Phase Three (27 June 2022) – Full decommission of pFACT (removal of system for IT servers).

Please prepare for Phase Two by downloading all required reports as soon as possible and before May 3 2022. After this date, users will no longer be able to log into pFACT and access reports.

Information for Project Managers: If you require costs to be modelled, please refer to you Research Support officers.


BlackDackel becomes available to research Finance users in read-only capacity

BlackDackel launched to Research Services users in June 2021. The Project team and Research Services have worked closely together to get BlackDackel to a point where we can now invite more users to the system.

From Monday 9 May, Research Finance staff will have access to BlackDackel in a read-only capacity. This will allow users to download reports directly from the system and set up Award and carry out post-award activities.


Why is access being granted now?

Many BlackDackel grant applications are now being awarded in Pure and after consultation with Research Finance and Research Services, it was decided that BlackDackel has been suitably developed to allow a new cohort of users.

Granting access to Research Finance teams will allow improved collaboration in the Awards workflow and will streamline processes. Research Finance staff can proactively access BlackDackel reports for the Awards set-up, reducing email traffic to teams and facilitating a more collaborate way of working.


If I am part of Research Finance, what do I need to do?

All research Finance staff included in the roll-out will be contacted in the coming weeks, so you do not need to take any actions at the moment. Access to the system will be granted via our systems teams and you will start to receive invites to attend mandatory training.


What training will be available to me?

Training will be available to all Research Finance users on week commencing 2 May. These training sessions will consist of one campus based and two virtual training sessions. These will last one hour each and attendance is mandatory for one session. The sessions will cover accessing the system, how users can navigate the system and how to download reports.

Users will also be provided with guidance and support information via the Research Costing website and will have access to guidance documents, support videos and a user manual for read-only uses. This will be available towards the end of April, in time for the training sessions.



If you need support accessing or downloading information from pFACT, please contact your faculty Research Services Operations Managers. If you wish to find out more about the Research Finance roll-out, please contact the finance support helpdesk by logging a support ticket.


  1. Kate Vaughan

    When will BlackDackel be rolled out to the wider PS and academic research community? This has been promised for several years now and we are currently left without access to any costing tool for internal planning. This causes issues and seems to be an inefficient way to run a research intensive university.

    • mdeascmm

      Hi Kate. Thanks for your message. BlackDackel, as the research costing tool of the university, is to be piloted with a small number of academics over the summer and then made available to all academics in the last quarter of 2022. It is intended that access to the application will be entirely voluntary. If you would like further details please contact Malc Brown at Malcolm.brown@manchester.ac.uk


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *