Process for Requesting “Voluntary Committed Matching or Cost Share” Support from the Research & Innovation Office (RIO)

Updated as of March 2021

A voluntary match or cost share are funds contributed toward a project that are not required by the sponsor to receive an award. Beginning in 2014, federal sponsors can no longer consider voluntary cost share or matching in the merit review of a proposal (2 CFR 200.306).

Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for ensuring that cost share or matching commitments are fulfilled and documented.

Timing. Requests for voluntary matching support from RIO should be received sufficiently early in the process for full consideration.  Ideally, requests for matching or cost share support:

  • Less than $100K must be received at least 5 business days in advance of the proposal deadline.
  • Over $100K must be received at least 10 business days in advance of the proposal deadline.

Securing Commitment of Unit/College. Faculty/PIs should consult with Department Chairs and Associate Deans for Research or Institute Directors. The Associate Dean for Research or Institute Director escalates the request to the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation. If there is no commitment of matching or cost share support from the unit or college, it is unlikely matching or cost share funds from the campus will be obligated. Requests for funds are subject to approval and not guaranteed. If matching or cost share is required for an internal limited competition, the same procedure described herein must be done prior to submitting to the internal competition.  Submitting a limited submission proposal without cost share or matching confirmed with the Unit/College/RIO may result in the submission being deemed ineligible.   

Required Information. Requests must be accompanied by a summary of the matching or cost share support that will come from the unit and college. Please send requests by email directly to the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation or The summary should include the following:

  • Synopsis of the proposal
  • Name of PI and Co-PIs
  • Name of the unit
  • Total project cost (estimated or final budget)
  • Total project cost share or matching broken down by dollar amount and percentage
    • Split details (unit(s) or department(s); college or institute; RIO)
  • Number of years or timeline of project
  • Rationale: an explanation as to why the situation is sufficiently unique to qualify for voluntary matching or cost share support. It is insufficient to say only that the funds will make your proposal more competitive; you must explain how supporting the request will benefit the campus.

Campus Spilt.  The defined split for voluntary requests among the unit/college or institute/campus (RIO) is 25% from the unit; 25% from the college/institute; and 50% from the campus (RIO). If the match or cost share can be covered by the unit’s indirect cost recovery, then these funds should be the primary source of support. Requests for equipment support that can be used by other faculty members or for other one-time expenses are preferred to requests for salary support.

OCG Addendum.  All matching or cost share commitments must be documented through OCG’s Cost Share Addendum with signatures from all contributing parties PRIOR to proposal submission.

Preference for In-Kind Support. As much as possible of the match or cost share should be “in-kind.” In-kind contributions represent non-cash support such as volunteer services, donated use of university or non-university equipment or facilities or services of employees from non-university organizations. The value of in-kind contributions is what it would have cost had CU Boulder directly paid for the item or service.  Any in-kind support that comes from a third party must be documented by a letter on that organization’s letterhead and signed by the person authorized to commit the item(s) and its corresponding value.  If volunteer services are offered as in-kind support, a letter documenting the commitment must be provided by the individual offering the services and its corresponding value.

Waived Indirect Costs. Sponsors may allow for waived indirect costs (either as required by the program announcement or voluntarily by CU Boulder) to be included as matching or cost share funds. This can be verified with an Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) Proposal Analyst and, if available, should be a priority for matching or cost share funds. However, requests for voluntary waivers, following the campus and OCG policy and process, are rare and will result in reduced indirect cost recovery (ICR) return to the unit.

Post-Award.  Once a grant has been awarded, requests should not be made for matching or cost share to compensate for a reduced scope of funding. A reduced amount of funding should be addressed by reducing the scope of work.

Link to Campus Controller’s Office Cost Sharing Policy

Link to OCG Proposal and Cost Share Information

Link to OCG Cost Share Addendum

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