Indirect Costs

Facilities and Administrative Expenses (F&A) are for the cost of using the University provided:

1. Buildings and Utilities 

2. Phone and computer lines/networks 

3. Central Computer systems such as Outlook, InfoEd, accounting and procurement systems

4. Central Services such as Finance, Payroll, Purchasing, Human Resources, etc.

Please note the above is only an example.  It is not an all-inclusive list   F&A are added to Total Direct Costs to arrive at Total Costs: 


Salary and Wages         

 + Benefits and Fringe         

 + Operating Expenses       

 = Total Direct Costs         

 + F&A                                   

 = Total Costs 

To calculate the F&A expense, both the F&A Rate and Basis must be defined for each study.  The rate is the percentage applied to the “Cost Base Type” (the specific group of expenses) to calculate the F&A expense amount.    The Rate and Basis will vary based on:

1. What type of research is being performed

2. Where the majority of all CU Anschutz work is completed

3. Who the sponsor is 

The appropriate Rate and Cost Type Base can be determined using the F&A Matrix maintained by the Office of Grants and Contract at the following URL:

The Matrix effective until 6/30/2020


There are two Cost Base Types that will apply to most research projects.  Some of the non-profit sponsors will develop their own definitions, but for this discussion, we will address: 

1. Total Direct Costs (TDC)

2. Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) 


Total Direct Costs - TDC are all of the expenses incurred to complete all of the activities required to complete the research project’s scope of work.  None of the direct costs are excluded from F&A.  Please remember the cost of an activity includes the sum of: 

1. CU Anschutz effort to complete the activity

2. All supplies purchased to complete the activity (lab supplies is an example)

3. All services purchased to complete the activity (patient care or sub-contracts are examples) 


Modified Total Direct Costs - MTDC is a subset of Total Direct Costs.  This smaller group of expenses starts with Total Direct Costs and then removes/excludes: 

1. Equipment Purchases

2. Capital Expenditures

3. Patient Care (as defined by NIH)

4. Tuition Remission

5. Building Rental Costs (Not paid by CU, Centrally)

6. Scholarships

7. Fellowships

8. IRB Fees 

9. Portion of Subgrants in excess of 1st $25k 

As an example of each of these bases, we will use the following Direct Costs/expenses:

Salary and Wages  5,000.00
Benefits and Fringe  1,650.00
Patient Care10,000.00
Total Direct Costs (TDC)16,650.00


If the research being performed is an Industry Funded Clinical Trial conducted either on-campus or off-campus, the F&A Rate will be 28% applied to the base of TDC:

ASalary and Wages  5,000.00 
BBenefits and Fringe  1,650.00 
CPatient Care10,000.00 
DTotal Direct Costs16,650.00= A + B + C
EF&A at 28% of Total Direct Costs  4,662.00= D * 28%
FTotal Costs21,312.00= D + E


If the research being performed is a Federally Funded Clinical Trial conducted on-campus, the Rate will be 55.5% applied to the base of MTDC:

ASalary and Wages   5,000.00 
BBenefits and Fringe   1,650.00 
CPatient Care10,000.00 
DTotal Direct Costs16,650.00= A + B + C
ELess Patient Care(10,000.00)= C
FModified Total Costs   6,650.00= D - C
GF&A at 55.5% of Modified Total Direct Costs   3,690.75= F * 55.5%
HTotal Costs   2,340.75= D + G


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