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Time Allocation Survey (TAS)

Time Allocation Survey

The University is required to identify separately its costs for research and teaching each year. These data have a direct impact on our income and are critical to our strategic planning so overall they are of major importance to the University.  A key factor in the apportionment of costs  is the Time Allocation Survey (TAS)  - an annual survey of working time by each member of academic staff engaged in research and teaching. The statistics we derive from TAS have a direct bearing on our ability to estimate accurately research and teaching costs.

The research costs identified using TAS data underpin the indirect cost rates included in research grant applications to the Research Councils. Significant income in support of our research therefore depends upon getting this right.  The analysis of teaching costs is increasingly being used by OfS (Office for Students) to inform its funding rates, and its advice to the Government on appropriate fee rates.

To ensure that these statistics are robust, a high response rate to the TAS across all areas of the University is essential. A low rate would make the University vulnerable in the audits undertaken by Research Councils and OfS. Ultimately, the Research Councils could substitute their own much lower rates of funding if they consider the calculation of the University's rates to be insufficiently robust. This would have a major detrimental impact on our income.

Cambridge has one of the sector's least intrusive Time Allocation Surveys and it is not a significant burden to complete. The survey takes place over a week (in each year) chosen randomly for each individual.  All data are processed anonymously, and returns are aggregated to show how time is spent across the University.