Indirect Cost Waiver Requests
Revised Policy Effective July 2012
A waiver of indirect costs is rarely granted and only in extraordinary situations. The following policy describes the process that should be followed by Medical School units seeking an indirect cost waiver. This policy replaces the previous version dated March 2002.
Institutional commitments take many forms, including the provision of effort or services, access to existing equipment, a pool of funds available to support a project, or a reduced overhead recovery. This policy addresses requests for reduced overhead recovery through the Indirect Cost Waiver mechanism.
Indirect costs represent the real costs of the University infrastructure. These costs cannot be specifically assigned to a particular project. These costs are charged to the grant as a percentage of the direct cost items. Consistent with University standards, full recovery of indirect costs is expected on all grants and contracts. The current indirect cost rates for all activities and sponsor types can be found at:
When the Medical School agrees to forego the indirect cost recovery on a research project, we are still responsible for providing the infrastructure needed to support our faculty and the School’s mission. We must exercise particular caution as we do not want to set a precedent with a sponsor for the expectation of reduced rates on other projects. All considered, we are particularly thoughtful when committing institutional financial support in the form of an indirect cost waiver and ask units to adhere to the following guidelines so that all requests may be evaluated consistently.
Requests for waivers are exceptional and are not intended to take the place of direct financial support by the Department(s). In most cases, cost sharing may be more appropriate than an indirect cost waiver. Please review the School’s companion policy on cost sharing to ensure you are requesting the correct support mechanism.
The following types of projects routinely receive a reduction from standard indirect cost rates and do not require a waiver request:
- Phase I SBIR and STTR proposals – currently waived to 0% in the Medical School. (If your proposal involves other schools/colleges, please check with them for their rates prior to preparing the proposal.)
- Investigator-initiated, interventional clinical trials – waived to federal OSA rate (currently 30%)
Requests must be approved by the Principal Investigator(s) and the project’s administrative home Department Chair prior to being submitted to the Office of Research.
Requests must include:
- A completed Indirect Cost Waiver Form.
- The amount of the total proposed budget and the amount of the waiver request (as a rate reduction and in dollars).
- A description of why the waiver is perceived as necessary. Address any sponsor restrictions, caps on the indirect cost rate or total dollars that may be requested, etc., and include corresponding documentation where applicable.
- Whether other sources of support are available or being sought. Is the Department committing financial support to this project as well; if so, in what form or how much?
- The significance of the research and potential impact of the waiver.
- The history of and anticipated future support from the sponsor.
Requests must be received no less than one month prior to submission deadline, regardless of submission method, in order to provide adequate review time. It is recommended that requests are sent to (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the completed Indirect Cost Waiver Form prior to circulating the final proposal for review in the University routing system. You may also submit requests attached to the PAF and routed to the Medical School in the eRPM system provided it arrives the month prior to submission. Be advised that late requests will be given lower priority.