Indirect Cost Allocation Policy

Office of the Provost
Vice Provost for Research
July, 2022

Indirect Costs

External grant and contract funding for research purposes is encouraged at Georgetown.  The Provost Office seeks to support these activities using available resources.  In particular, it is recognized that some of the costs of research cannot easily be itemized nor funded directly by a given grant or contract, leading to funding gaps.  The Provost Office provides institutional funds to help fill these gaps.

External sponsors often provide the host institution with supplemental resources in addition to the funding that supports direct, itemizable, research costs.  This so-called Indirect Cost, or IDC, is typically a percentage of the direct costs allowable under the award, although the rates vary by sponsor and, for federal awards, by the location (on-campus vs off-campus) of the research activities.  The IDC is also known as F&A (“Facilities and Administration”), a term that appropriately captures the many institution-wide costs associated with operating a research-intensive university.

Research Funding Support from Institutional Funds

In accordance with this reality, institutional support is provided to multiple units that support research activities, including schools, departments, and investigators themselves.  Recognizing that funding gaps will typically be related to the size of the costs of research, the support offered is calibrated to the IDC generated on each grant.  Specifically, for externally funded research, the Provost Office will provide support as follows:

Principal Investigator(s): 10% of the generated IDC
Department: 10% of the generated IDC
School: 5% of the generated IDC

For grants administered through approved Research Institutes, Centers, and Initiatives (RICIs), a special IDC allocation policy applies.

For grants to PIs in Schools that do not have Departments, the Department allocation accrues to the School.

For grants with multiple PIs, the PI share is either allocated in full to the primary PI, or shared amongst the PIs in accordance with a written agreement signed by the PIs and their Department Chairs, and approved by the Vice Provost for Research.

For grants with multiple PIs in different departments and/or schools, or for grants to a PI with a joint appointment, the department and school credits are allocated to the academic unit housing the grant account, unless a request for a different allocation signed by the PI(s) and all relevant chairs is approved by the Vice Provost for Research.


PIs, Departments, and Schools have dedicated accounts to which accrued institutional funds revenues are credited.  Other funds, for example from gifts, internal grants, and donations, are deposited into different accounts.

The Office of Research Services establishes a Revenue Allocation Profile (RAP) in GMS as each new award is set up, through which the PI, Departmental, and School institutional funds accounts are automatically credited as award expenses are incurred.  Note that over the course of the grant cycle, credited IDC revenues might not match those in the original budget if actual expenditures differ from budgeted direct costs.  Similarly, corrections to grant expenditures, such as reallocation of direct charges, will carry with them accordingly changes to IDC account balances.

Guidelines on Allowability of Expenses Charged to the Institutional Funds Account:

Please see the policy on the Use of Research Funds.