Most budgets for sponsored funding require the inclusion of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs associated with the direct cost of your project. Additionally, when budgeting for salaries, it is necessary to include the fringe benefits that are associated with each respective personnel appointment.
F&A rates used in our proposal process are established through a negotiated agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To learn more about the fringe benefits breakdown, check the SUNY RF website.
Currently the Research Foundation has six categories for Fringe Benefit Rates as shown in the table below. Subsequent years will use the FY25 rates. Rates updated 1/7/21.
|FY 2023||FY 2024||FY 2025|
|Research Foundation Employees|| |
|SUNY Summer-only Appointments|| |
|Graduate Students|| |
|SUNY Undergraduate Students|| |
|Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Employee|| |
|SUNY Employees (IFR)|| |
Federal or federal flow through
|Non-Federal||59.5% TDC||26% TDC|
Federal or federal flow through
|Other Sponsored Programs|
|Federal or federal flow through|| |
|Federal or federal flow through|| |
|Federal or federal flow through|| |
Are those that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project or that can be directly assigned to a particular project with a high degree of accuracy. These costs can include PI and project staff salaries and fringe benefits as well as project travel, project supplies, equipment and subject payments.
Also called “indirect costs” are those costs incurred for common or joint objectives that cannot be readily assigned to a particular sponsored project, instructional activity or other institutional activity. Facility and administration are the two components comprising F&A costs.
The F&A applied to any project is the product of the F&A cost rate and a Direct Cost Base. We establish the F&A rate and base through negotiations with the federal government. The RF/UB federally approved base is a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) base. MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.
A Total Direct Cost (TDC) base includes all direct costs of a project with no exclusions.
Occasionally a sponsor will publish a different base that must be applied for that program. For example, some NYSTAR programs limit the F&A base to salary/wages and fringe benefits only. UB accepts a restricted base as a condition of an award. (See below for F&A sponsor limits, exceptions and details.)
A project is considered “off-campus” if it meets the following criteria:
(See below for details on projects conducted partially on and partially off campus)
Research, development and scholarship activities that include inquiry, experiment, or investigation to discover new knowledge or build upon existing knowledge that increases the scholarly understanding of the involved discipline. It involves systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of a subject and includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques (research training) where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the Instruction function.
Basic research (aka fundamental research) is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
Applied research applies the outcomes or theories arising from basic research toward the production of useful materials, devices or systems. It is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.
Clinical Research is research using human subjects to evaluate biomedical, behavioral or health-related outcomes.
NOTE: Externally-funded research training grants are categorized as Research (rather than Instruction or an Other Sponsored Program) if the trainees are primarily performing research activities.
A sponsored project is a research training award/fellowship if:
Note: A research training grant may include a description of a specific research project, but the primary purpose of the award must be to support the trainee’s learning experience.
Under a research training award/fellowship, the following characteristics apply:
Except for research training, described above, this term includes all teaching and training activities, whether they are offered for credits toward a degree or certificate or on a non-credit basis, and whether they are offered through regular academic departments or separate divisions, such as a summer school division or an extension division.
The following are examples of Instruction projects:
Programs and projects that involve the performance of work other than Instruction and Research (as defined above). These programs primarily provide non-instructional services beneficial for individuals and groups external to UB.
Clinical trials are research studies designed to answer specific questions about the effects of drugs, vaccines, medical devices, tests, treatments and other therapies for patients. Clinical trials are used to determine safety and effectiveness. For reference, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) categorizes human clinical trials into the following four phases.
All clinical trials must include the prospective enrollment of human subjects and the controlled testing of a drug, device or diagnostic under an approved protocol. Laboratory research, retroactive chart reviews, analyses of existing medical data and records, and animal studies are not considered clinical trials for purposes of applying the clinical trial indirect cost rate. Clinical trials sponsored by federal grants or cooperative agreements (not commercial organizations) will be charged at the 40% Other Sponsored Projects rate.
An IPA allows a UB faculty or staff member to work temporarily with a federal agency while remaining a university employee and continuing to accrue university benefits. These are institutional agreements between RF SUNY and the federal agency. IPA assignments vary in length, but usually last anywhere from six months to three years.
An evaluative or testing award could be defined as either Research or an Other Sponsored Program depending on the unique characteristics of the particular award.
An evaluative/testing agreement for which the Research rate applies is:
An evaluative/testing agreement for which the Other Sponsored Programs rate applies is defined as:
UB charges the maximum allowable federally negotiated F&A rate on all sponsored projects regardless of funding source unless a sponsoring agency's written policy will not allow full recovery of F&A costs. UB will abide by the written, published policies of foundation/non-profit and government sponsors who limit payment of F&A, however industrial sponsors are expected to pay full F&A rates when funding sponsored projects. Unlike foundations or non-profits, UB does not accept a letter or other documentation from industrial sponsors indicating a policy of lower F&A rates. Instead, the PI must request a formal waiver (see below for the waiver process). If approved, the waived rate will be applied to a total direct cost base (TDC).
If a sponsor does not have a written policy on the payment of F&A, you must request the full rate in the proposal unless you obtain a waiver. We cannot submit an application with an F&A rate below the applicable full federally approved rate without either a waiver or documentation of a sponsor's published policy.
If a sponsor restricts the F&A rate without specifying the base, we determine the base as follows:
We use the MTDC base when a federal sponsor's published F&A rate is less than the current full DHHS-negotiated rate, but does not specify a base. We use the TDC base when a federal sponsor prescribes use of the TDC base.
We use the TDC base when a non-federal sponsor's published F&A rate is less than the current full DHHS-negotiated rate and when a specific base in not specified. If a base is specified, we use that base.
Please use care determining the appropriate rate for sponsor limitations. Some sponsors limit F&A based not on direct costs, but rather on total project costs, which would include both direct and F&A costs. You should work with your SPS representatives to determine the correct rate and base when there is a sponsor limitation.
An F&A waiver is an institutional agreement that F&A costs will be charged at a lower rate than the sponsor's published rate. Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis and must be endorsed by the department chair(s) and cognizant dean(s), submitted through Sponsored Projects Services (SPS), and approved by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
PI’s seeking a waiver should contact their SPS contacts as early as possible in the proposal process to seek a waiver. Please allow at least one week for us to process the request. Complex requests require additional turn-around time, so plan accordingly. If a waiver is not approved by submission time, you must use the full appropriate F&A rate in your budget.
Some projects require activity performed in multiple locations. When those locations represent both on- and off-campus space (according to the criteria established below), and the proportion of off-campus activity reaches the threshold outlined below, then the applied F&A rate includes on- and off-campus components.
Per UB’s rate agreement and the IDC Policy a project’s F&A rate contains both when:
SPS rounds the percentage of the project conducted off-campus to the nearest 25% based on the percentage of salary costs of UB project staff expended at off-campus sites. Please work with your SPS representative to determine the applicable F&A rate.
UB recognizes that if projects transfer between institutions, sponsors rarely increase funds to cover differing F&A rates. NIH awards are the exception because NIH funds F&A at UB’s current rate at the time of transfer.
To minimize the impact, UB will accept a lower F&A rate for an award transferred to UB if the initially awarded F&A rate is lower than UB's established F&A rate. However, once the award is transferred to UB, requests for additional funding would follow UB rates and policies.
We do not assess F&A costs on individual fellowship awards. This is consistent with UB's rate agreement with the federal government which excludes fellowships from the MTDC base upon which F&A costs are assessed.