Indirect costs for university application

I work at a university research center that creates a software platform used by thousands of cultural institutions like galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. We want to put in a proposal and have a specific question about a proposal coming from a university setting.

Universities almost always require “indirect costs,” meaning costs for the overhead of running the research center. Typically that is expressed as a rate negotiated with the federal government.

Are indirect costs allowed as an item in this proposal? If so, what is the rate at which we can ask for indirect costs? Can we use the federally negotiated rate?

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This is a good question and I understand the issue. Is the Uni the applicant? Are you the applicant as a Uni employee? We don’t have a hard policy on this (yet) but we are comfortable with an indirect rate of 15%. I suspect that this is lower than the federally negotiated rate.

I will be the principal investigator, but the award would go to the university.

Our federally negotiated indirect rate is 40% (which might seem high, but is really quite low compared to the research rate of 57%). I will check with our Office of Sponsored Programs about whether we can do that.

If we put in a proposal with a 15% indirect rate, modified total direct costs, then I can simply request the indirect funds as a separate line item in your budget template? We will likely upload our internal budget template as well so you can see the accounting in more detail.

I have some experience with the range of university indirect percentages. Yours is reasonable in that context. This is something we will need to have a better policy on in future CFPs. This is our first of many and we are building as we go on a some aspects. Thanks for your questiopns and feedback.

If we put in a proposal with a 15% indirect rate, modified total direct costs, then I can simply request the indirect funds as a separate line item in your budget template? Yes you can do that

We will likely upload our internal budget template as well so you can see the accounting in more detail.
Yes I agree this is a good thing to include

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Thanks for the helpful responses, @Chris_Lawrence.

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