Rates, Forms & Resources Definitions
F&A Base Definitions
Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A, indirect or overhead) are used to cover additional expenses the university incurs to administer sponsored projects, but which cannot easily be directly assessed to a specific award (e.g. facilities, human resources, departmental administration, office supplies, etc.). The basic formula is direct cost base x F&A rate = F&A costs. The direct cost base is determined by the sponsor and is typically specified in the proposal guidelines. A Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) basis should be assumed if not otherwise specified.
Modified Total Direct Cost, or MTDC, is the total of all direct costs of the project, with the following exclusions: equipment over $5,000, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships and fellowships, participant support, as well as that portion of each subgrant or subcontract issued in excess of $25,000.
Total Direct Cost, or TDC, is the total of all direct costs of the project with no exclusions. Note that when this method is used, you must also calculate what F&A would be using the MTDC method and choose the lesser of the two.
Total Costs includes F&A expense in its calculation of F&A. To convert to TDC, use the following formula: rate/(1-rate). Example: 20% Total Costs rate = 0.2/ (1-0.2) = 0.25 or 25% of all direct costs. Again, a comparison must be made with the MTDC method to ensure that we are not charging more than our federally negotiated rate.
On- or Off-Campus Definitions
The Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station rate is applied to research projects where most of the project work is to be performed in any of the following locations:
- Aberdeen R&E Center
- Caldwell R&E Center
- Food Technology Center
- Hagerman Fish Culture Experiment Station (ARI)
- Kimberly R&E Center
- Nancy M. Cummings R&E Center (Salmon)
- Palouse Research, Extension and Education Center
- Parma R&E Center
- Rinker Rock Creek Ranch
- Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center
- Taylor Wilderness Research Station
- Tetonia R&E Center (Newdale)
- Twin Falls R&E Center
- UI Experimental Forest
- U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (Dubois)
A project is considered off-campus if two-thirds or more of it is performed off-campus. Off-campus activities are defined as being conducted at locations other than university owned, leased or operated facilities, and indirect costs associated with physical plant and library are not considered applicable to the project. Projects will not be subject to more than one indirect cost rate. If the project is determined to be off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.
Project Type Definitions
Research is the studious and critical inquiry and examination aimed at the discovery and interpretation of new knowledge. Applies to all activities organized to produce research outcomes. Includes both externally supported projects and departmental research that is separately budgeted for research.
- Basic Research — Research undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without any particular application or use in mind. (Example: A researcher is studying the properties of molecules under various heat and cold conditions.)
- Applied Research — Research conducted to gain the knowledge or understanding to meet a specific, recognized need. (Example: A researcher is investigating the properties of particular substances under various heat and cold conditions with the objective of finding longer-lasting components for highway pavement.)
- Development — The systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems or methods, including the design and development of prototypes and processes. (Example: A researcher is working with state transportation officials to conduct tests of a newly developed highway pavement under various types of heat and cold conditions.)
Instruction involves teaching, giving instructions or commands, or providing information. Applies to any sponsored project where the primary activities are included as part of the institution's instructional program. Includes all teaching and training activities whether for:
- Credit courses
- Noncredit courses
- Academic instruction
- Occupational and vocational instruction
- Extension courses
- Personal and family improvement instruction
Other Sponsored Activity (formerly called Public Service/Outreach) involves furnishing or supplying a benefit or service to the public or a specific segment of the public. Applies to sponsored projects where the primary focus is to provide noninstructional services beneficial to individuals or groups external to the institution. Includes performance of work other than organized research and instruction such as:
- Non-analytical testing and trialing services
- Community service projects
- Health service projects
- Conferences and institutes
- Reference bureaus
- Radio and television productions, etc.