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Queen's University
 

University Secretariat

Procedure: Recovery of Funds to Support the Indirect Costs of Sponsored Research   

Contact Officer: Executive Director, University Research Services

Purpose

To provide the research community with instruction on how to recover Indirect Costs in Sponsored Research proposal/agreement budgets.

Procedure

Recovery of Funds to Support the Indirect Costs of Sponsored Research 

Who  How

Faculty member, in consultation with University Research Services (URS) or Research Contracts Unit (in Industry Partnerships) if required

Step 1:  Research or service determination

 

Confirm whether the proposed activity is a research activity according to the definition of Research in the Policy.  If the activity is Research, proceed to Step 2.

Faculty member

Step 2:  Read relevant University policy 

 

Read the Indirect Costs of Sponsored Research Policy in its entirety to understand the University's requirements for the recovery of sponsored research project direct and indirect costs.

 

The Indirect Costs recovery rates as noted in the Policy are:

 

  • The Indirect Costs recovery rate will be 40% of the Direct Costs where funds will be supplied under a Research Agreement (with or without conditions) subject to the following recovery rate exceptions:
    • 30% of Direct Costs where funds will be supplied under a Clinical Trial Agreement.
    • 25% of the Direct Costs where the External Sponsor is a commercial entity and External Sponsor's funds are to be matched with funds from a government or not-for-profit agency that are contingent upon the External Sponsor's contribution, or
    • where the External Sponsor prescribes a different recovery rate in published terms or policy, which are approved by the University, e.g., The Federal Tri-Council Granting Agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR).1
Faculty member, in consultation with URS or Research Contracts Unit

Step 3:  Obtain and read sponsor policies/guidelines

 

Review any sponsor guidelines and policies on Indirect Costs (particularly for government or foundation-sponsored research) or, where no published guidelines are available, commence discussions with the sponsor to determine:

  • the permitted nature and scope of the research project;
  • the definitions of, and any limits on, allowable Direct and Indirect Costs;
  • whether the sponsor prescribes a specific Indirect Cost recovery rate that would supplant the recovery rates provided in Step 2 (if so, go to Step 4, otherwise, go to Step 5);
  • whether funds received are to be leveraged with another funding agency; and
  • whether a Research Agreement or Clinical Trial Agreement is appropriate, based on the nature of the research and the conditions imposed by the sponsor on the research project.
Faculty member, faculty/school dean (or designate), URS or Research Contracts Unit

Step 4:  Determine indirect costs exemption if applicable

 

Exceptions to the Indirect Costs of research rates may be approved in the following circumstances:

  • Sponsor prescribes a specific Indirect Cost recovery rate different from those in Step 2.
  • When the lead institution (in the case of sub-Research Agreements, or sub-Clinical Trial Agreements) transfers only a portion of the Indirect Costs of research recovery to the University.
  • When the research project is performed partially or entirely Off Campus. A reduced recovery rate may be negotiated with the faculty/school dean (or designate) in consultation with URS or Research Contracts Unit.
  • When there is a substantial benefit to the University or one of its affiliated hospitals.
  • Where expenditures include flow-through funds, i.e., funds awarded or received by the University, and distributed to, and expended by, a partner organization.

The procedures for managing these exceptions are categorized as follows:

 

  1. Pre-approval Exceptions:
    All faculties will accept the sponsor’s published Indirect Cost rate for the following agencies/programs, regardless of the value of the project:
  • Tri-council (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, NCE)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
  1. Research projects less than $1,000,000 total for all years inclusive of Indirect Costs and not included in the above pre-approval exceptions:
    • All faculties will accept the sponsor’s published Indirect Cost rate. (Note: the same sponsor may have indirect cost rates that vary from one funding opportunity to another.)
  2. Research projects less than $1,000,000 total for all years inclusive of Indirect Costs where the PI is requesting a rate that is lower than the published rate:
    or
    Research projects $1,000,000 or more total for all years inclusive of Indirect Costs and not included in the above pre-approval exceptions
    • An Indirect Cost policy variance form with all appropriate signatures (including affiliated hospitals, if applicable) will be submitted to URS or the Research Contracts Unit prior to submission of the proposal, or execution of the agreement, respectively.
    • University Research Services (URS) and/or the Research Contracts Unit will facilitate communications between faculty members, department heads, and/or deans/associate deans research where appropriate.
    • It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator(s) to obtain all of the appropriate signatures.
Faculty member

Step 5

 

Develop the research proposal and budget. For multi-faculty, multi-department and/or hospital-based research projects, see the Procedure: Distribution of Funds to Support the Indirect Costs of Research.

Faculty member in consultation with URS or Research Contracts Unit

Step 6

 

Calculate the Indirect Costs to be included in the research project budget.

 

The following methods are used to calculate the Indirect Costs of research recovery:

  • Determine the total Direct Costs of the project and multiply by the applicable Indirect Cost percentage.
  • If the program has a total cap on the available funding, an imbedded overhead rate is required. An example of the required calculation is as follows: 
  • indirect costs policy = 40%
  • maximum total funding from sponsor = $X 
  • Indirect Costs = $X – ($X/1.4)

The research community is encouraged to consult with URS or Research Contracts Unit staff to develop their budgets particularly when working with commercial entities

Faculty member in consultation with URS or Research Contracts Unit

STEP 7

 

Finalize the research project budget and proposal in consultation with the external sponsor’s policies and guidelines and/or in consultation with the external sponsors’ representatives.

Faculty member in consultation with URS or Research Contracts Unit, department/unit head, dean, Affiliated Hospital

 STEP 8

 

Obtain approval from the department/unit head through the electronic approval workflow (TRAQ).

 

The signing authority for Research Agreements without conditions (i.e., grants) is a designate of the Vice-Principal (Research) and is typically the Director of Grants and Institutional Programs.

 

Research Agreements with conditions (i.e., contracts) must be approved and signed in accordance with the Queen's University Contract Signing Authority Policy. The signatory for the University is a designate of the Vice-Principal (Research) and is typically the Director of Industry Partnerships.

 

Research Agreements with conditions conducted at an Affiliated Hospital(s) must be signed by the sponsor, the Vice-Principal (Research), or designate, and the applicable Affiliated Hospital signing authority.  

URS, Research Contracts Unit

STEP 9

 

Manage submissions to sponsors or agreement execution. 

Date Approved:
Approval Authority:  PACB, VPOC
Date of Commencement:  2013 May 1
Amendment Dates: 2014 May
Date for Next Review:  2019 May
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: Indirect Costs of Sponsored Research Policy, Procedure on Distribution of Funds to Support the Indirect Costs of Sponsored Research, Policy on the Administration of Research Funds, Queen’s University Contract Signing Authority Policy, Canada Foundation for Innovation Operations and Maintenance Policy

 

1For NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC, the University receives a yearly fund allocation called the Federal Indirect Costs Program (FICP) grant, to partially support the indirect costs of research associated with Tri-Council funded projects.  The FICP grant is based on the funding received by researchers from NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR in the three most recent years for which data is available.    The FICP grant funds associated with the Canadian Microelectronics Corporation (CMC) and the SNOLAB Institute are distributed directly to these entities and not shared with Faculties/Schools.

 

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