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Understanding UCL finances is a challenge even when one has what appears to be reliable information. My perspective is that of an academic in a Science Department at UCL, who recently participated in a time-consuming and detailed analysis of income and expenditure, to find out why our Department runs at a deficit. By way of a disclaimer I should point out that whilst I can vouch for the accuracy of my own experience, it may be that budgets and accounts are managed differently elsewhere in UCL. Most Departments (perhaps all) in the FLS and FBS run at a loss, and all have been asked to hit certain savings targets. Our analysis provided I & E information for individual academic staff (PIs) and what emerged, unsurprisingly, was that PIs contribute to the deficit to varying degrees. Thus, a PI with no grants who does no teaching, would be relatively expensive as there would be no recovery of any percentage of their salary through overheads or QR.

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