Research Costs Investigated: A Study Into the Budgets of Dutch Publicly Funded Drug-Related Research

Thea van Asselt*, Bram Ramaekers, Isaac Corro Ramos, Manuela Joore, Maiwenn Al, Ivonne Lesman-Leegte, Maarten Postma, Pepijn Vemer, Talitha Feenstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The costs of performing research are an important input in value of information (VOI) analyses but are difficult to assess. The aim of this study was to investigate the costs of research, serving two purposes: (1) estimating research costs for use in VOI analyses; and (2) developing a costing tool to support reviewers of grant proposals in assessing whether the proposed budget is realistic. For granted study proposals from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), type of study, potential cost drivers, proposed budget, and general characteristics were extracted. Regression analysis was conducted in an attempt to generate a 'predicted budget' for certain combinations of cost drivers, for implementation in the costing tool. Of 133 drug-related research grant proposals, 74 were included for complete data extraction. Because an association between cost drivers and budgets was not confirmed, we could not generate a predicted budget based on regression analysis, but only historic reference budgets given certain study characteristics. The costing tool was designed accordingly, i.e. with given selection criteria the tool returns the range of budgets in comparable studies. This range can be used in VOI analysis to estimate whether the expected net benefit of sampling will be positive to decide upon the net value of future research. The absence of association between study characteristics and budgets may indicate inconsistencies in the budgeting or granting process. Nonetheless, the tool generates useful information on historical budgets, and the option to formally relate VOI to budgets. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt at creating such a tool, which can be complemented with new studies being granted, enlarging the underlying database and keeping estimates up to date.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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