Indirect Costs, also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A) or overhead, are institutional costs that are not specifically allocable to individual research projects but are real costs that institutions incur during day-to-day operations. The total cost of federally sponsored research includes a combination of both direct and indirect (F&A) costs. Some examples* of indirect (F&A) costs include:

  • Personnel in support of research, including security, financial, administrative, technical, maintenance and janitorial staff
  • Radiation and chemical safety
  • Secure data storage, telecommunications and high-speed data processing
  • Utilities - ventilation, heat, air conditioning, water and lighting
  • Library and research facilities
  • Advanced research lab equipment
  • Costs of federal, state, and local regulatory compliance including human and animal safety review boards

*Examples from the Council on Governmental Relations Costs of Research Infographic

CU Boulder’s indirect cost rate is negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). We must use our negotiated rate on sponsored project budgets. Implementation of indirect cost rates follows CU Boulder's Indirect Cost (F&A) Recovery Policy and the Application of Indirect Cost (F&A) on Sponsored projects procedural statement. It is extremely important that CU Boulder receive full reimbursement for indirect costs to support the research enterprise. 

CU Boulder estimates and charges indirect costs on sponsored projects according to our Federally negotiated Indirect Cost (F&A) Rate Agreement. Your Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) Proposal Analyst will ensure that the appropriate indirect costs are included on your sponsored project budget. The Campus Controller’s Office will ensure the appropriate indirect costs are charged to your sponsored project budget.