Indirect Expenses: Jargon

Total Direct Costs 

Exactly what it sounds like.  The total expenditures directly related to project.

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) These are the Total Direct Costs minus certain exemptions. (a lot of exemptions, really.) For example:

  • Equipment purchases
  • Capital Expenditures
  • Rental Costs: Offices, Laboratories
  • Scholarships and Fellowships

Note that just because the above items are excluded doesn’t mean that the grant doesn’t pay for these…that is the whole purpose of accounting for indirect. 

Facilities and Administration Costs (F&A)  Just another name for indirect costs. 
Bids and Proposals (B&P) These are costs related to the preparation of bids and proposals. This is not to be underestimated; I’ve related elsewhere how the preparation of grant proposals can run into considerable time. 
Independent Research and Development (IRAD) This refers to additional R&D that is being pursued outside of the scope of a funded project. This relates especially to National Science Foundation projects.  IRAD is unallowable…that is, NSF will not fund IRAD as either a direct or an indirect cost. Same with NIH. However, other government agencies will allow IRAD as an indirect cost. According to Russ Farmer, high-tech companies will typically allocate 10-15% of their revenue to IRAD. 
Unallowable  Unallowable is an expenditure which is cannot be funded either directly or indirectly by a award. There is a famous list; my favorite is alcoholic beverages.  

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