Indirect Costs

The Trump Administration has proposed reducing the federal government’s role in supporting U.S. research by covering a smaller percentage of the research-related costs universities, independent research institutes, academic health centers and other research institutions incur. The Administration’s proposal focuses specifically on a category of expenses variously known as “indirect,” “facilities and administrative,” (F&A) and “overhead” costs.  

The costs included in the indirect category are generally those that are incurred by multiple research projects (specially purposed laboratory space, utilities, disposal of hazardous waste, compliance with a broad range of regulations, and other essential aspects of conducting and administering research), as opposed to “direct” costs attributable to an individual research project.  Since research institutions already receive only partial reimbursement for indirect costs, policy changes that leave even larger gaps could lead to a dramatic contraction in our nation’s research output. 

You can learn more about indirect costs here, and check out Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley’s weekly letters for updates as this complex – and high stakes - issue unfolds.  

Policy Contacts

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