Waiving the Indirect Cost - Not a
Adapted from Linda Mason's editorial for the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education
Misunderstandings concerning indirect costs loom around many campuses. There is a thought
that waiving the indirect cost request as part of a grant proposal will make it more competitive. In reality,
the opposite happensóthe proposal is not perceived as more competitive, but is perceived as a less
than responsible use of funds.
We should never waive or reduce the indirect cost figure. While it may seem to be a gift, it is
really undermining the institutional daily programs. The indirect cost figure is based on real costs at the
university, and should not be invalidated by waiving. The university does need it, and has to pay the
costs that the figure represents. The giving agency plans for it and expects it to be used appropriately.
Letís consider how an indirect cost rate is negotiated and what it represents. Each institution
negotiates a rate with a federal funding agency that is based on actual costs of carrying out the grant
project activity but that are not covered by the grant. Our rate is 50% of salaries and wages, including
These costs include the following expenses: common services such as utilities, copying, telephones,
electronic networking, support staff, payroll systems, security, insurance, and other services;
supporting an institutionís facilities and real estate such as research centers, labs, equipment maintenance,
and field sites; and supporting the institutionís search for funding for projects, such as writing
time for the PI, services of the Sponsored Programs Office, travel to funding agencies, and other nonsupported
Indirect cost recovery supports or pays for these real costs that are prohibited as direct costs in
an award. The university must conduct its activities, including pursuing sponsored projects, on a no
profit--no loss basis. Accordingly, the university is required to cover all of the expenses associated with
projects conducted for extramural sponsors.
Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) - National Science Foundation
Letter of Intent Due Date (required) : November 05, 2010
Full Proposal Deadline: January 06, 2011
The Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program seeks to enable significant advances in student
and teacher learning of the STEM disciplines. Projects funded under this solicitation begin with a research
question or hypothesis about how to improve preK-12 STEM learning and teaching and then develop,
implement, and study effects of innovative educational resources, models, or technologies.
DR K-12 invites proposals that meet a variety of educational needs, from those that address immediate
challenges facing preK-12 STEM education to those that anticipate the future when expectations,
roles and resources are likely to be aligned in different ways. DR K-12 especially encourages proposals
that challenge existing assumptions about learning and teaching within or across STEM fields, envision
needs of learners in 10-15 years, and consider new and innovative ways to support learning. Project goals,
designs, and working strategies should be informed by prior research and practical experience drawn
from all relevant disciplines and they should focus on concepts and skills that are central to STEM disciplines.
The DR K-12 program is primarily concerned with the goals and effectiveness of formal education,
yet it recognizes that learning is not limited to traditional school sites and times. As appropriate, the
program encourages projects to draw from knowledge and practice of learning in out-of-school and informal
settings. While many projects supported under this solicitation will focus on exploratory development
and testing of innovative ideas for some specific facet of STEM education, all proposals must explain
how the work can lead ultimately to successful adoption of findings or products in the preK-12 enterprise
on a national scale.