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Indirect Cost

Indirect Cost Recovery for Sponsored Projects Involving More than One Management Center

This document clarifies the existing, unwritten policy at CWRU regarding the sharing of indirect cost recovery across management centers.


In general, indirect cost recovery should be based upon where the direct costs are incurred. As such, if direct costs for a sponsored project are distributed across more than one management center, then the indirect costs should be distributed as well.

Mechanism for Distributing Indirect Cost Recovery

When a sponsored project is developed that involves more than one management center (e.g., investigators and/or staff from more than one management center who are requesting salary support, use of space at more than one management center), the principal investigator should identify what direct costs will be incurred by the various management centers. The management centers need to decide whether the indirect revenue will follow the direct revenue or whether all the indirect revenue will be retained by one management center. The Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) will honor the mutual decision reached by the respective management centers. The University Review Form should be completed as follows:

  • Indicate "Subaccounts" as a Special Requirement (only if indirect revenue will follow direct revenue);
  • Specify all of the Work Locations;
  • Answer "yes" to the question "Does this project involve more than one management center" and specify the names of these management centers;
  • The University Review Form should be signed by all of the Management Centers involved in the project.

Separate management center-specific budgets do not have to be submitted to OSPA at the time the proposal is submitted (although if the management centers have different indirect rates (e.g., affiliated hospitals) these rates should be used in developing the overall budget). If the project is funded, OSPA will not establish the accounts for the award unless the parent and subaccount budgets are submitted to OSPA. If an unanticipated change in the management centers participating in the sponsored project occurs after the award is made, the indirect rates as awarded will be used to distribute the indirect cost recovery across management centers.

The following guideline should be followed in allocating indirect costs as a function of these budgets:

  • Generally, the full indirect cost rate for each management center should be applied to the direct costs associated with that management center when developing the parent and subaccounts.


NIH award:

Direct Costs: $250,000
Indirect costs (@53%): $132,500
Total costs: $382,500

Principal Investigator is from School of Medicine:Co-Investigator is from School of Engineering:
School of Medicine: School of Engineering:

Parent Account:
direct costs: $200,000
indirect costs: $106,000
total costs: $306,000

direct costs: $50,000
indirect costs: $26,500
total costs: $76,500