Considering Indirect Costs

Research requires both direct and indirect investments. Operational maintenance of research infrastructure requires reinvestment on a significant scale.

Indirect costs support many institutional functions of the University, including:

  • Space and utilities (electricity, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, as well as plans for and finances new research spaces)
  • Core facilities (janitorial services, Facilities and Management Planning, Computing & Communication Services, hazardous waste disposal, campus security and health services)
  • Library services (acquisitions, maintenance costs, etc.)
  • Research financial services (personnel, financial management utilities, like FAST, Banner, etc.)
  • Research compliance and regulatory requirements (Research Compliance Office, Animal Care Facility)
  • Payroll
  • Office of the Vice-President (Research and International) (Research Office personnel, cuResearch, research development funding, etc.)
  • Occupational safety
  • Liability insurance
  • Laboratory/office furniture
  • Advanced Research Computing

These indirect costs must be included in budget requests to external sponsors of research. Carleton’s Indirect Costs Policy states that indirect costs will be recovered as follows:

Funding Type Rate Applied
Contracts, agreements and grants (charitable, government or industry)Includes cash contributions made as part of matching programs (except for NSERC CRDs, which are exempt from overheads on the industry contribution). Maximum allowable by sponsor or 20% when no sponsor policy exists
Public Works and Government Services Canada Sponsor procurement policy: 65% on direct salaries and benefits, including fringe benefits; 2% on travel
Service agreements 20%

How are indirect costs distributed at Carleton?

Indirect costs are distributed as follows:

  • 40% – Central university operating
  • 15% – Office of the Vice-President (Research and International)
  • 15% – Faculty (for cross-faculty CURCs* this amount is split equally between the Faculties)
  • 15% – Department or School (based on the principal investigator’s appointment)
  • 15% – Principal Investigator–Researcher (for non-CURC* projects) OR CURC* (for CURC* projects)