Indirect Costs

Issue Overview

A main issue for many nonprofit funders of research relates to policies on payment of Indirect Costs (also called facilities & administration, or F&A) to the research institutions. The initial survey by the FIRST group showed that policies on paying IDC varied widely from zero (very common) to 40%, (one organization) with 10% being the most common. However, data also show that many HRA members who pay zero % actually do provide substantial support for costs that are more typically categorized as IDC yet this is not always recognized by the institution. In fact, some institutions have even prohibited their researchers from applying for grants with low IDC, even though the funder provides significant support for the project in other areas. Funders are working with research institutions to capture this “third category” of support while avoiding penalizing researchers or adding to administrative requirements for the university. The FIRST Group has formed a partnership with research institutions called the Nonprofit Funder – Research Institution (NFRI) Partnership.  This issue is covered by a specific workstream dedicated to addressing these challenges.