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Indirect Costs

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Indirect costs (IDC), otherwise known as Facilities & Administration (F&A) costs, allow Stanford University to recover certain expenses (e.g., facilities, utilities, libraries, administration, student services, etc.) associated with externally funded training and research activity. Click here for Stanford’s IDC rates for this year.

Some foundations, associations, and other non-profit entities will not pay the University’s full rates. The following guideline details steps to determine the IDC rate allowed by a US-based foundation. Please contact us about foreign sponsors.

1. Please check Stanford's indirect cost waiver list to see if the foundation in question has a pre-approved IDC waiver on file already with the university.  If so, submit your budget to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) or Research Management Group (RMG) using the pre-approved rate on the waiver list. Click here for the list.

2. If the foundation is not on Stanford’s waiver list, follow these steps:

a. Find out the foundation’s IDC policy. If the foundation's policy is published on their website, make a copy of it and submit it with your PDRF to OSR. Additionally, have your pre-award officer or school dean’s office liaison contact and provide the link. Once reviewed and approved, it will be added to the pre-approved waiver list.

b. If the foundation's rate is not published on their website, but available in other materials supplied by the sponsor, please contact us. We will guide you through the IDC waiver request and submitting it to the Dean of Research Office. Click here to see the waiver request form.

c. If the foundation does not have a published IDC policy or has not yet developed a policy, consult with us about how to work with the foundation to find an acceptable solution. DO NOT use the university infrastructure charge (ISC) as a default.

If the funder covers 0% IDCs, the PI will need to cover Stanford's infrastructure charge (8%). An IDC waiver does not bypass this charge. Calculated on the budget total, this charge covers infrastructure and administrative costs. It can be paid by the PI, department, center, school, or some combination thereof. Funds from other sponsored activities may not be used to cover this charge. [More about ISC]

How to calculate the IDC on a proposal, given a specific rate:

  • IDCs are calculated not necessarily on your total budget, but from the modified total direct costs (MTDC) in your budget. Some budget items (e.g. tuition, equipment) are excluded from modified total direct costs and therefore are exempt from IDC. Click here for the DoResearch Research Policy Handbook’s explanation of direct costs.
  • If there is a maximum total grant amount allowed by the funder, IDC must be calculated to be included in that amount. To determine how much project money you will have after IDC is deducted, take the total grant amount and divide by 1.X, where X = IDC rate. (E.g.,  a $100,000 grant proposal with a 60% IDC rate yields not $40,000 in direct costs but $62,500 in direct costs [100,000/1.6 = 62,500] for your project.)