What does recovered F & A support?
Indirect cost, also referred to as Facilities and Administrative (F & A) cost or Overhead,
is the portion of a project's cost that is not directly charged to the sponsor. Examples
of indirect cost include utilities, telephone, departmental staff, office supplies,
accounts payable personnel, etc. Indirect cost is not profit for the university, but
is the federally approved method for recovering costs necessary to develop and maintain
the infrastructure required to support the research enterprise.
The recovered indirect cost budget and allocation is managed by the Vice Chancellor
for Research. The Vice Chancellor works with the Chancellor to create a list of priority
projects and services to develop and support with recovered indirect. Generally, the
recovered indirect cost is used to support UNO's mission as it relates to the strategic
plan for research. Another core area of support is for projects and services which
benefit UNO's students. Graduate tuition waivers and scholarships are an important
use of recovered indirect cost. Listed below are some of the recurring services supported
by recovered indirect cost.
1 for 3 Graduate Assistantships
As an incentive to encourage the support of Doctoral students on sponsored funding,
one Doctoral student will be supported for each three Doctoral students completely
supported on sponsored funding in a department. The students must have a stipend and
tuition paid from the sponsored funding. Each department is examined individually
and the department chair decides who should receive the support. The support includes
tuition and stipend. These assistantships encourage outside funding and increase the
number of graduate students that receive financial support to attend UNO.
A portion of the recovered indirect cost is used to fully fund operations in the Office
of Research & Sponsored Programs and in Sponsored Programs Accounting. Both of these
offices play an integral role in applying for and managing sponsored funding, which
includes ensuring compliance with sponsor and federal regulations. In addition to
these offices, indirect cost funds the Office of Economic Development and Technology
Transfer that manages the patent applications and technology transfers for UNO. These
functions allow UNO to continue performing research and obtaining outside funding.
All of these offices receive no general fund support.
Other offices receiving salary or operating support range from External Affairs to
Financial Services and the Graduate School.
Since sponsored research activities increase the use of utilities and therefore increase
the cost of doing business, a portion of the indirect cost is used to pay for utilities.
The Vice Chancellor for Research and Vice Chancellor for Financial Services annually
agree upon the level of support.
Compliance Committees Support
Some research projects require approval to use human or animal subjects. Their use
requires review and approval by the IRB (Institutional Review Board) or IACUC (Institutional
Animal Care and Use Committee), respectively. One member on each committee is from
the Office of Research. In addition, the Office of Research provides monetary support
to be used for committee expenses such as travel to training workshops to keep current
with federal/state compliance guidelines. These committees are a federal requirement
that support both research and instructional uses.
ORSP has a staff member on many of the other compliance committees on campus which
oversee such diverse areas of compliance as export controls, financial conflicts of
interest, and safety. Many of these committees have nominal recurring costs which
may be supported by recovered indirects.
A few sponsors require UNO to demonstrate financial commitment to a proposed project,
referred to as mandatory cost share; a proposal will not be considered for funding
without this cost share included in the proposed budget. Cost share can also occur
when specific expenses are not allowed by the sponsor. For example, the Louisiana
Board of Regents does not allow tuition in their portion of the project budget, or
a sponsor may cap the funding amount.
Cost share may come from a third party, a departmental or college general fund, or
recovered indirect cost. The Vice Chancellor for Research must approve all requests
for cost share.
Through the years, recovered indirect cost has been used for tuition (especially for
Board of Regents awards), equipment, salary, supplies, etc. Some awards or projects
would not be able to be completed without the use of indirect costs for cost share.
Recovered indirect is used to fund this innovative program which was established in
2010 and is managed by the Graduate School office. Students who have filed for graduation
and only need to complete their thesis or dissertation can apply for the Dissertation
or Thesis Improvement Grant during the open call sent out annually by the Graduate
School. Funding is used to cover expenses related to dissertation and thesis research.
This student program is designed to improve the quality of a students' thesis or dissertation
and to improve the graduation rate for our students.
The Vice Chancellor for Research has the authority to approve requests to renovate
or build a lab for a professor, department or center in support of research. Lab improvements
have the potential to attract both faculty and students to UNO, improve the quality
of the student's experience at UNO, and improve the quality and quantity of sponsored
funding. This is in keeping with both UNO's and the Office of Research's mission statements.
New Faculty Start-Up
Attracting talented and dedicated faculty is important for all universities. In order
to attract top research faculty, start-up funds may be provided as part of the hiring
packet. Recovered indirect cost has been used for start-up funds, usually to supplement
what is provided by the department or college. This is at the discretion of the Vice
Chancellor for Research and is based on negotiations with the chair and/or dean recruiting
new research faculty.
Recovered Indirect Cost Return
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has a policy to return a portion of
the indirect cost recovered to each college, center/institute, and the library each
fiscal year. Per IMD 85.002, each college can receive up to 10% of their college's
recovered indirect cost (excluding any board approved center's or institute's recovered
indirect cost); each Board of Regents approved center or institute can receive up
to 25% of their recovered indirect cost; the library will receive 1% of the total
recovered indirect cost.
Each dean or director has discretion in the use of these funds.
Research/Distinguished Professor Awards
Because of dedication and success in their chosen field, selected professors may be
honored as an Early Research Professor, University Research Professor, Chancellor's
Research Professor or Distinguished Professor through a nomination process at UNO
or as a Boyd Professor through the LSU Board of Supervisors. As recognition for their
hard work to earn these honors, a portion of their salary and a monetary award is
provided from the pool of recovered indirect costs. The level and length of support
varies with each type of award. For example, Distinguished and Boyd Professors receive
their support as long as they are employed by UNO, whereas the Research Professor
support is for either one year or three years depending on the award.
The Research Council aids the Vice Chancellor for Research in selecting which faculty
should receive this honor.
Research Strategic Plan
The Office of Research is continually seeking ways to improve research on campus and
achieve UNO's Research Strategic Plan which has 2 main goals:
Goal 1: As Louisiana's Urban Research University of National Stature, the University of New
Orleans will rank in the Top 200 of American Research Universities by 2015. The University
will continue to be recognized as a major research university as reflected by our
designation as a Research University - High Research Activity by the Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching.
Goal 2: Achieve technology transfer performance metrics equal to the average of US Universities.
Since the summer of 2009, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has funded
internal summer awards. The purposes of these internal awards are to improve the grant-making
skills of inexperienced investigators and to develop new areas of research or scholarly
endeavors. There are three programs:
- SCoRE (Stimulation Competitive Research) - This funding is intended to be seed money
for faculty to develop a new area of research activity.
- CEO (Creative Endeavor Opportunity) - The goal of this funding is to provide support
for faculty to launch programs of research, scholarship, exhibition or performance
that will ultimately result in increased research and creative activity on campus.
- SUE (Summer Undergraduate Experience) - This funding is intended to provide research
experience to undergraduate students which will help them if they choose to continue
with graduate school.
Investigators submit a proposal just like any outside funding opportunity. The Research
Council recommends which proposals to approve funding.