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Budgets - Indirect Costs

Find links and information on indirect costs in budget preparation.

Indirect costs (IDC) - also referred to as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs - are those costs not specifically identifiable for any one project or program, but which are valid expenses of conducting research, instruction, and other sponsored activities at UCSD, such as building use, equipment depreciation, operation and maintenance of UCSD facilities, student services, departmental administration, or administrative support offices.

UC San Diego’s IDC rates are determined through negotiation with the US Department of Health and Human Services. The most current federal rate agreement is dated May 12, 2010.  For a copy of the UC San Diego rate agreement, see Institutional Information and Codes.

Check out information about Indirect Costs and F&A:

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UC San Diego Indirect Cost Rates

UC San Diego Indirect Cost (IDC) Rates

Rates are applied to Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) except where noted




Sponsored Research (7/1/10 – until amended)



Instruction (7/1/10 – until amended)



Other Sponsored Activity (7/1/10 – until amended)



MPL/Nimitz Research Facility (7/1/10 – until amended)



Federal Flow Through (Federal Agency as Prime/Original Sponsor) Sponsored Research or Clinical Trials1 (7/1/10 – until amended)



Industry Sponsored Research2 (7/1/10 – until amended)



Non-Profit Sponsors

Based on sponsor written policy, please see the Non-profit IDC Blink page

State of California Sponsors3 (7/1/16 – 6/30/18)



State of California Sponsors(7/1/18 – 6/30/19)



Industry Funded UCSD PI Initiated Clinical Trials (7/1/16)

30% TDC4

30% TDC4

Industry Funded Sponsor Initiated Clinical Trials (7/1/16)

30% TDC4

30% TDC4

Federally Funded Clinical Trials (7/1/10 – until amended)




Funding that is flowed from a federal agency through a non-federal sponsor is subject to the federally negotiated IDC rate, based on the on-campus or off-campus location.  Federal funding as the prime is the driver for determining the IDC that applies (federal funding as the prime trumps the rate that would apply to the flow-through funding source). 

For more information on industry sponsored research and IDC please see the UC Policies on Industry Agreements Blink page.

3 For State awards, the rate in effect for the first year of a multi-year project will be the rate used for the entire project in proposed and awarded budgets.  If additional funds (not previously appropriated or budgeted) are awarded by a State agency; the proposed budget for these additional funds would use the UC-approved state rate in effect at the time the new budget request is submitted.

4 Total Direct Costs.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)

Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) requires that indirect costs be allocated on the basis of modified total direct costs (MTDC).

For sponsored proposals and agreements using the federally negotiated rate, the following budget items are excluded from the MTDC:

  • Equipment
    • Tangible personal property with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life of more than one year
  • Capital Expenditures
    • Buildings, alterations, renovations, etc.
  • Patient Care Costs
  • Graduate Student Tuition Remission
  • Participant Support Costs
    • Stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) for conferences or training projects.
  • Rental Costs of Off-Site Facilities
    • Does not include costs for hotel rooms, equipment, or automobile rental
  • Scholarships and Fellowships
    • Financial aid paid directly to university students as stipends or dependency allowances.
  • The portion of subawards that exceeds $25,000
    • IDC is assessed only on the first $25,000 of any subaward, regardless of how many years the subaward is for.
    • When a grant/contract requires a new fund number, IDC will be re-assessed.
    • If the subaward is for another UC campus, the entire amount is exclude
  • Cloud Computing Costs via UCSD Contracts/ ITS/ SDSC
    • Includes: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, SDSC Cloud, Triton Shared Computing Cluster (TSCC), SDSC Project Storage and Sherlock Cloud.
    • New account codes assigned to these costs will ensure these charges are exempt from IDC.
    • Note: Cloud computing costs acquired directly, or through purchase of equipment/licenses, will be subject to the assessment of IDC.
    • See Cloud Computing Services: Exemption from Indirect Costs for more information.

On-campus and Off-campus Rates

On-campus rate applies to projects:

  • Conducted in buildings owned by the University regardless of where they are physically located
  • When rent is paid by the campus, but not charged directly to the project

 Off-campus rate applies to projects:

  • Conducted at facilities not owned or leased by the University
  • When rent is charged directly to the project

 Both on-campus and off-campus sites:

  • Either the on-campus or off-campus rate is generally applied, consistent with the location where the majority of the work is to be performed. For this purpose, salary costs are generally accepted as the measure of work performed.
  • The use of both on-campus and off-campus rates for a given project may be justified if both of the respective rates can be clearly identified with a significant portion of salaries and wages for a given project. For the purposes of this provision, significant is defined as approximately 25% or more of the total costs, and a project's total salary and wage costs exceed $250,000.

Indirect Costs 101

Learn all about Indirect Costs & how they work with this 28 minute video by NIH Deputy Director Sally Rockey

Link to YouTube video

Indirect Cost Worksheet

An Indirect Cost Worksheet has been created to assist you with budget preparation using the federal rate agreement. The file will help you estimate your budget IDC. By filling in the red numbers, the blue numbers will be automatically calculated according to pre-programmed formulas.

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