UBC Policy on Indirect Costs of Research

Indirect costs of research are real, ongoing, necessary operating expenses that support research but cannot be wholly attributed to any one research project. 

Many of the indirect costs are incurred whether or not research funding applications or proposals are successful.

Researchers must recover indirect costs of research for all research grants, contracts and agreements for research projects sponsored by industry and government.

As of May 1, 2015, the required indirect cost recovery rate for all new research projects is:

  • 25% of all direct costs for all non-industry funding (government and non-profits)
  • 40% of all direct costs on industry funding
  • All industry projects initiated prior to May 1, 2015 may continue to recover indirect costs at a rate of 25%.

The only exceptions to this rate are:

  • Tri-council funds: These funds are exempt as UBC already receives an indirect cost recovery for these funds through the federal Research Support Fund (formerly the Indirect Costs Program). The only exception is the SSHRC-administered Tri-Agency New Frontiers in Research Fund. Applicants to this fund should contact ORS about building indirect cost recovery into their application.
  • Grant funds received under the following conditions:
    • The grant application form clearly states that a different indirect costs recovery rate applies to all applicants; or
    • The alternate rate can be verified (by ORS or UILO, as the case may be), through publicly-available documents, such as the sponsor’s website.

If any of these conditions are met, UBC will accept the posted rate. Verified rates are now listed in RISe (see "ICR Rates" tab on RISe header menu).

After May 1, 2015, all discretionary powers for the recovery rate of indirect costs (for projects not covered by the standard or published verified rates) rests with the deans of the faculties and not with the Vice President Research & Innovation Office.

Unless a sponsor requires the indirect cost recovery to be presented as a separate line item, whenever appropriate it should be built into each budget line item. Indirect costs will be automatically recovered from research accounts at the standard (or special) rate as expenses are incurred.

Please see the Vice-President Research and Innovation website for full details about indirect cost recovery and distribution.

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