Indirect costs (Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs)
are charged to externally sponsored awards, unless specifically
prohibited by the funding agency. A percentage of indirect
(F&A) costs recovered from sponsored projects is distributed to
university entities based upon the affiliation and relative
contributions of key personnel to project objectives.
The University at Buffalo (UB, university) will recover the
total direct costs and indirect (facilities and administrative
(F&A)) costs for each sponsored award unless specifically
prohibited or limited by the funding agency. Because indirect
(F&A) costs cannot be readily assigned to a particular
sponsored project or activity, they must be recovered from funding
agencies through the application of the federally approved indirect
(F&A) cost rates. All proposals for external funding must
include a budget request for indirect (F&A) costs using the
appropriate federal indirect (F&A) cost rate.
When a funding agency has a published rate that differs from the
federal indirect (F&A) cost rate, the funding agency’s
rate will be used. In these cases, the funding agency may allow
some costs normally covered under the indirect (F&A) cost rate
to be charged as direct costs; these costs should be included in
the direct cost budget request.
Principal Investigators (PI) may request approval of a waiver or
reduction of the indirect (F&A) rate when the potential
benefits are compelling and well-justified. Waivers are only
considered under exceptional circumstances.
Annually, the university will determine a percentage to be
applied to the indirect (F&A) costs recovered from the
preceding fiscal year; the resulting amount will be distributed to
the provost, appropriate vice president, or dean, based upon the
relative contributions of key personnel to project objectives. The
provost, vice president, or dean will determine the appropriate use
or allocation of these funds.
The PI is responsible for determining the relative contributions
of key personnel, and for representing those contributions as a
credit distribution in the proposal. The provost, vice president,
or dean must approve the credit distribution prior to proposal
Indirect (F&A) cost rates are established in accordance with
the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) Uniform Guidance. These rates are negotiated between The
Research Foundation for SUNY on behalf of UB and the Department of
Health and Human Services, the cognizant federal agency overseeing
the administration of sponsored agreements at UB. Indirect
(F&A) cost rates are applicable to all externally sponsored
projects funded by federal, state, or private sponsors. The
application of these rates allows UB to recover certain costs (for
example, but not limited to facilities, utilities, libraries,
administration, student services) associated with externally funded
research and training activity.
This policy applies to all sponsored projects administered by
the Research Foundation (RF) or the UB Foundation Services, Inc.
Allocation of an individual’s
relative contributions towards project objectives outlined in the
proposal; allows the university to recognize and record such
contributions, and appropriately distribute recovered indirect
Indirect Cost (Facilities & Administrative (F&A)
The costs of administrative and
support functions of the university including general
administration and expense, operations and maintenance, building
and equipment depreciation, and library expenses. Costs incurred
for common or joint objectives that cannot be readily assigned to a
particular sponsored project, instructional activity, or any other
Indirect (F&A) Cost Rate
The total indirect (F&A) costs
attributable to research are compared to the total direct costs of
research to derive the percentage of indirect (F&A) to direct.
This percentage, the indirect (F&A) cost rate, is then applied
to the direct costs of research and is the means by which the
university is reimbursed for indirect (F&A) costs associated
with direct cost expenditures. The application of the indirect
(F&A) cost rate allows the university to recover some of the
costs of doing research that are not readily identified with a
particular project or activity, but are necessary for the general
operation of the organization and support its research
Indirect (F&A) Distribution Base
A defined group of direct cost
expenditures to which the indirect (F&A) rate is applied to
determine the total indirect (F&A) costs of a sponsored
project. The two most commonly used distribution bases are Modified
Total Direct Costs (MTDC) or Salary and Wages (S&W) however,
some non-federal sponsors may have developed other distribution
bases such as Total Direct Costs (TDC).
MTDC - all direct expenditure
categories excluding the following: equipment, tuition
remission, rental costs, scholarships and fellowships, patient care
expenses, and subcontract costs over $25,000.
S&W - the direct salary
and wage expenditures of the sponsored research agreement.
The Principal Investigator (PI) and
other individuals who design, conduct, and report research, or who
contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project
in a substantive, measurable way, regardless of compensation.
Principal Investigator (PI)
A UB faculty or staff member who
bears responsibility for the intellectual leadership of a project.
The PI accepts overall responsibility for directing the research,
financial oversight, and compliance with relevant university
policies and sponsor terms and conditions.
Any externally funded research,
training, evaluative testing, or public service activity directed
by UB faculty or staff as part of their university work that
requires the university to perform a specified program or deliver a
The indirect (F&A) distribution percentage rate is currently
Sponsored Projects Services
402 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260