On-Again, Off-Again Relationship
Ah, the F&A rate portion of your awards: can’t live with them, can’t – quite literally – live without them. The F&A rates here at WSU are variable as you well know (we’re in a 52.5% period on-campus right now), and that portion generated by awards is distributed according to the policies set forth in section 03-5 of the WSU Administrative Policy Manual. Those funds pay the salaries, leases, capital projects, etc. etc. that keep our research infrastructure viable. Many awards allow you to calculate and request F&A (or indirect costs) on top of a direct cost cap, but many do not. When this is the case, that 52.5% can swiftly eat into your project budget. That’s when the 26.0% off-campus rate sure starts to look good. But when can you use it?
What is “Off-Campus” Research?
The definition of “off-campus” applicable to WSU is negotiated in our DHHS agreement. In our case, “off-campus” is agreed to mean:
For all activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project(s) the off-campus rate will apply. Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than one F&A cost rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.
This is the standard for determining which rate you can use until our current agreement is renegotiated (in 2020, barring extenuating circumstances).
My research is done in a non-WSU facility; is it “off-campus”?
Whether your non-WSU facility research is considered “off-campus” is entirely dependent on the terms of your lease; the terms of your lease is the first place you should check. If WSU is the responsible party for payment on your space, chances are you should be using the on-campus rate (as that cost is factored into the on-campus F&A rate). If WSU is not the named responsible party, there is a possibility that the off-campus rate in effect at the time of submission could apply (be sure to build those costs into your proposal!).
Even after reading the contract, I’m not really sure who is responsible for my lease. Who can help?
There are definitely murky circumstances, especially when it comes to leasing DMC space and our affiliation agreements. If you’re not sure, be sure to contact SPA to find out how your space relates to certain existing blanket agreements. Once you’re sure, we can help you with any adjustments that may need to be made!