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"Facilities and Administrative" rates are the negotiated rate at which UC Berkeley is reimbursed by funding agencies for the infrastructure the campus provides in support of funded research. The reimbursement rate is negotiated with the Federal government, and is assessed on Federal grants awarded to UC Berkeley researchers; awards from other funders are often assessed at a rate that is based on (if not exactly the same as) the negotiated rate for Federal awards.

Because this rate directly impacts the share of an award available to a research project's Principal Investigator(s) to fund staffing, equipment, and other direct costs of research, the way the rate is set is a matter of significant importance to the researchers served by Research IT and its partners.

Paula Milano, from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, will present on and discuss the way the F&A rate is calculated, negotiated, and implemented. She will explain how an effective Facilities & Administration (F&A) program incentivizes actions that optimize F&A reimbursement while serving the campus's core mission: by linking our choices about space allocation and utilization, capital investments, administrative costs and the application of F&A rates to desirable F&A outcomes.

When: Thursday, 11 January from 12 - 1pm
Where: 200C Warren Hall, 2195 Hearst St (see building access instructions on parent page).
What: Indirect cost rates on sponsored research at UC Berkeley
Presenting: Paula Milano, Office of the CFO

Please review prior to the meeting: Facilities and administrative rate calculation, negotiation and recovery at Berkeley (slides, PDF)

Presenting: Paula Milano (SSL)


Aaron Culich, Research IT
Amy Neeser, Library/Research IT
Camille Crittenden, CITRIS/PRP
Chris Hoffman, Research IT
David Greenbaum, Reimagining IT/OCIO
Jack Shnell, IST-Storage
Jason Christopher, Research IT
Jenn Stringer, RTL
John Lowe, Research IT
Kevin Chan, ETS
Kortney Rupp, Library (Chemistry)
Meagan Leavitt, ETS
Michael Chang, IST-EDW
Nan Kramer, IRLIE
Nico Tripcevich, ARF
Quinn Dombrowski, Research IT
Patrick Schmitz, Research IT
Rick Jaffe, Research IT
Steve Masover, Research IT

Slides meant for presentation (but not used in the event: Paula used the whiteboard to illustrate her presentation) (PDF)

UCB's actual costs are higher than 57% -- closer to 80%. Filling that gap is a hard task, involving telling some people "no" -- not a welcome task, but one leadership has to tackle in an ongoing way (renegotiation of rates happens periodically, about every 5 years to go through the full process). 57% rate was negotiated in 2015.

The characterization of a cost -- as direct or indirect -- has to do not with the role or title per se, but with what the person does. If an administrative role is focused on administration of a grant-funded project -- "the purpose for which [the work] occurred" (i.e., is performed)-- then it can be considered a direct cost to the project.

Recharge is another way of taking direct costs and reimbursing an indirect cost sort of unit (e.g., IT) for services rendered to a sponsored project.

Waivers of indirect costs are possible, approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research -- but they are rare because they must be granted carefully with great attention to rules/constraints. Awards of these waivers used to be more frequent, but no more.

26% is the cap on reimbursement of administrative costs; facilities has the higher rate (57% for research). There are other indirect cost rates for buckets of reimbursement other than research.

Facilities is a major fraction of costs that the campus 'pays' as indirect costs of running the campus. How we finance our facilities (depreciation, debt service), how we maintain them, what we spend on libraries, what we spend on equipment -- are all costs for which we can be reimbursed.

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