F&A Recovery Distribution to Faculty
The College of Arts and Letters aims to more fully recognize and support its faculty who obtain external funding, to encourage research creativity and entrepreneurship, and to buffer against the rising costs of research. Thus, for new grants with start dates of July 1, 2022, or later, the College will begin to return a portion of its Faculties and Administration (F&A) cost recovery that stems from external grants to PIs and Co-PIs who have primary appointments within the College according to their allocated effort on the grant. This return will amount to 5% of the grant’s total F&A budget. No application process will be necessary; these returns will be made automatically twice each year (i.e., the conclusion of the 2nd and 4th quarters).
What are Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)?
Sponsored projects are generally composed of two types of costs. Direct costs are those that are specifically and easily associated with a particular project or activity. Typical examples include faculty summer salaries, research staff salaries, graduate student stipends, fringe benefits, consultants, equipment, materials and supplies, travel, human subjects honoraria, and publication costs.
Indirect costs, more formally called facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, are expenses incurred by the University “for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity” (CFR 2 Part §200.420). Examples of F&A costs include general operating and maintenance costs (e.g., utilities, security, custodial services), renovations, common administrative functions (e.g., departmental, payroll, purchasing), IT and network services, and general office equipment (e.g., copiers, consumables). F&A on an external award does not constitute profit; these are part of the real costs of conducting outside-funded research projects that granting agencies allow institutions to recover.
F&A is typically calculated as a percentage of direct costs. For federally-sponsored grants (e.g., NSF, NIH), Notre Dame’s pre-negotiated F&A rate for FY 23 is 56.5%. Foundations typically limit F&A to much smaller percentages (often 10–20%). Occasionally, an agency may cap F&A at a specific dollar amount.
What is F&A Recovery and Who Receives It?
The University returns 52% of collected F&A costs to the Colleges. Arts and Letters uses these funds in a variety of ways to support the general research enterprise of the College (e.g., start-up packages, annual R&PD contributions, research space renovation and improvement).
The College of Arts and Letters simultaneously aims to recognize and support its faculty who obtain external funding, to encourage research creativity and entrepreneurship, and to buffer against the rising costs of research. Thus, for awarded grants with start dates of July 1, 2022, or later, the College will return 9.615% of its F&A recovery to PIs and Co-PIs who have primary appointments within the College according to their allocated effort on the grant (5% of the grant’s total F&A budget). No application process will be necessary; these returns will be made automatically twice each year (i.e., the conclusion of the 2nd and 4th quarters).
How Can Faculty Use Their F&A Return?
Faculty may use their F&A recovery distribution to support general costs of conducting research that need not be associated with the funded project or activity. Examples include:
• Salaries, wages, stipends, and benefits for postdoctoral researchers, research staff, and graduate students
• Expenses incurred by graduate students while performing research
• Laboratory enhancements for research purposes
• Research supplies and equipment (purchase, restoration, or repair)
• Bridge funding and cost-shares
• Travel to meet with program directors, present papers, give invited talks, etc.
• Books, journals, papers, and other similar expenses related to scholarship and research
• Project development costs such as proposal writing workshops
• General administrative and clerical costs (including office supplies) in support of research
• Professional development
• Course releases
• Support for other research-related activities that fall within University guidelines.
Who Can I Contact with Questions About this Policy?
James Brockmole, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives
College of Arts and Letters
Senior Director of Finance
College of Arts and Letters