Sharing Indirect Cost Recovery Among Collaborating Colleges/Intercollegiate Centers/University-wide Centers

When sponsored project proposals are prepared which include multiple colleges, intercollegiate centers, or university-wide centers (in any combination) AND the proposal requests more than $100,000 of total costs per year, indirect cost recovery (ICR) must be shared unless the opportunity to share is waived by participating colleges, intercollegiate centers, or university-wide centers. This ICR sharing policy applies to new and competitive renewals only (existing arrangements are exempt) and the minimum ICR must be $1000 per departmental unit. Definitions of intercollegiate and university-wide centers subject to this procedure are found in the related policy.

The deans of the involved units or their representatives must agree on how the returned indirect costs will be shared if the project is funded or they may waive their right to receive a portion of the ICR. If the project includes an intercollegiate center, the director of the center would be included in the ICR-sharing negotiations. If the sponsored project includes a university-wide center, both the director of the center or institute and a representative from central academic administration would be included in the negotiations. The principal investigator(s) assist with this process. Any disagreements are mediated by a representative from central academic administration.

If an agreement regarding the method to distribute ICR (i.e., separate budgets or proportional contribution) is not reached prior to the deadline for submission of the grant application, the application can be submitted when the PRF indicates (by dean's signature) the intent to share or waive sharing of ICR. The proportional contribution or separate budgets must be finalized prior to account set up, if the grant is awarded.

If the sponsor substantially changes the budget, the agreement can be modified. "Substantially" generally means changes in key personnel effort or cost sharing, or an increase or decrease of 25% of the original request. ICR sharing should not preclude negotiations with the sponsor.

ICR is shared in one of two ways:

  1. Create separate budgets for the project:

    Develop separate budgets for each of the units participating in the project. ICR will be attributed within each Project by applying the F&A rate in the award document to each eligible expenditure.

  2. Determine the contribution from each unit involved in the project:

    The following principles will be used to determine the proportion each unit contributes to the project:

    • Contributions should be estimated using a reasonable approach to determine value; an exact measurement of actual cost or expense is unnecessary.
    • Estimations of contributions to the sponsored project should be categorized into the three broad areas described below (personnel, facilities, and administrative costs). When estimating each unit's contribution, these three areas should be considered independently and each category given full consideration. A unit needs only to contribute in one category to be eligible to receive ICR.
    • Personnel supported directly by the grant but whose salaries are guaranteed by a unit:

      Personnel include investigators, researchers, postdocs, students, technicians, or administrative staff whose work is chargeable to the grant, either as salary support, or as cost sharing and whose salaries are otherwise guaranteed by other funds (e.g., faculty whose salaries would be paid even if the grant was not successful.)

      For purposes of determining contribution and allocating the ICR, the unit(s) guaranteeing the salary for each individual paid on the grant (including a central unit paying the Director salary, for instance) should be credited with a contribution toward the grant. The Director(s) and dean(s) will pre-determine the appropriate unit split as it relates to the assignment of effort for the purposes of "contribution" for faculty members whose salary is guaranteed by more than a single unit.

    • Facilities and their operational expenses not directly charged to the grant:

      This category includes use of space and facilities of many types, non-capitalized equipment, supplies, and compensation of operating personnel not directly charged to the grant. Contributions toward facilities do not necessarily align with personnel contributions, but with the place that the actual work of the grant/project is conducted. Depending upon the nature of the project, facilities can include offices, administrative support areas, fabrication areas, fields, laboratories, and other places and in many combinations. The contribution of facilities includes operational cost associated with the facility, not just space costs. Units providing operational support for facilities used in conjunction with the grant are considered as contributing.

    • Program activities and administrative costs not charged directly to the grant:

      This category includes partial support of wide variety of administration including tasks associated with programming activities (arranging for seminars, visiting scholars) or infrastructure support (accounting or grant preparation) not directly paid by the grant.

      Provision of administrative support is separate from the affiliation or salary support of the faculty members. The contribution toward a grant may range from a single unit providing all of types of administrative support to a variety of units providing different types of support. All units providing a portion of administrative support should be considered as contributing.

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