NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised November 2016. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2016.
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7.3 Direct Costs and Facilities and Administrative Costs

A direct cost is any cost that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program, or activity or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy. Direct costs include, but are not limited to, salaries, travel, equipment, and supplies directly benefiting the grant-supported project or activity. Most organizations also incur costs for common or joint objectives that cannot be readily identified with an individual project or program. Facilities operation and maintenance costs, depreciation, and administrative expenses are examples of costs that usually are treated as F&A costs. The organization is responsible for the management and accounting of costs consistently and must not include costs associated with its F&A rate as direct costs.

Note, the term facilities and administrative costs and the term indirect costs may be used interchangeably to determine applicable policies. For NIH purposes, including the NIHGPS, these costs will be referred to as F&A costs; however, other documents or non-NIH entities may refer to them as indirect costs.

Project costs consist of the allowable direct costs directly related to the performance of the grant plus the allocable portion of the allowable F&A costs of the organization, less applicable credits (as described below and in the cost principles).

The amount NIH awards for each budget period will reflect the total approved budget for the grant, including direct costs and, if applicable, F&A costs. (SBIR and STTR awards also may include a fee as specified in Grants to For-Profit Organizations-Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs in IIB.) If a recipient waives reimbursement of full F&A costs, NIH will either not award F&A costs or will award only partial F&A costs, as appropriate. The NIH award amount shown in the NoA constitutes NIH's maximum financial obligation to the recipient under that award.