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Northwestern University

Cost Sharing

Updated 5-9-2022

Voluntary Cost Share of Faculty Effort 

 Weinberg faculty are allowed to include up to 5% academic year cost share effort on proposals without prior approval from the Dean's Office. If voluntary cost share effort exceeds 5% in the proposal:

Institutional Cost Share Support (with Institutional Resources)

Institutional Cost Sharing is only allowed for multiple-investigator proposals with budgets over $5 million. This institutional cost sharing usually comprises commitments of contributed effort, graduate student support, space, and/or cash support

 Voluntary cost share is not generally encouraged by the University and if requested, the PI must provide a strong justification for consideration. Voluntary cost share support should be no higher than 10% of the sponsor budget coming to and remaining at the University. This percentage includes the value of unrecovered indirect costs (i.e., unrecovered F&A). If cost sharing is requested from Northwestern, it is expected that partner institutions (e.g., subcontractors) will also be asked to cost share at the same percentage level.

 Institutional Cost Sharing is not allowed for Institutional Training Grants, Over-the-Cap Requests, and Single-Investigator Proposals.

 Does your proposal qualify for Institutional Cost Share Support? Check out the  Cost Share Decision Tree!

 If your proposal qualifies, the process of obtaining institutional cost share support is comprised of three steps:

  1. Development of cost share budget and justification
  2. Formal request of cost sharing commitments
  3. Generation of official cost share letter of support, if required

 There are a variety of resources available on the Sponsored Research Cost Share Page to assist PI’s and RA’s with navigating the cost share process:

Cost Share Decision Tree – A visual guide to assist PI/RA with determining if cost share request meets OR guidance

 Process of Obtaining Institution Cost Share Support – Document provides detailed guidance on the process to be followed when requesting cost share support

Cost Share Policy – Northwestern University policy (coming soon)

Cost Share Guidance – Office for Research guidance addressing eligibility, cost share levels, and types of support that can be requested

 Roles and Responsibilities – PI, RA, Chair, Dean and OR roles are outlined for various steps of cost share process

 Cost Share Budget Template – Required budget template to be used for creating sponsor and cost share budget.  Final budget is attached to cost share request in DocuSign and uploaded in InfoEd.

 Cost Share Workbook – RA must complete this workbook to calculate cost share distribution.  Completed workbook is attached to cost share request in DocuSign and uploaded in InfoEd.

Weinberg Cost Share Guidance

Weinberg engages in cost sharing in accordance with the Office for Research Guidance on Cost Sharing. Cost sharing typically comprises contributed effort, graduate student support, and/or cash support.

The cash cost share commitments are typically split 25% departments, 25% schools, and 50% Office for Research. Weinberg PIs need to recover 100% of the College’s cash commitment via academic year salary recovery. The released funds generated, including the fringe benefits, will be retained by the College. For proposals where salary is not allowable (i.e., equipment grants), this requirement is waived. The departmental research administrator can assist with the calculations using the Cost Share Budget Template and the Cost Share Workbook. Upon award, the Dean’s Office will work with the department to charge the academic year salary to the project.

Questions regarding the cost share process can be directed to Reid Wellensiek, Senior Director of Research and Graduate Studies.

Institutional Letter of Support

A Letter of Institutional Commitment template is available on the SR cost share page. Please note that all cost share commitments must be final to be included in a draft letter of institutional commitment. The PI or RA should use the VPR Signature Request Form to submit the draft letter of support to the Vice President for Research for review and endorsement.

Please note that the request needs to be received by the Office for Research at least one week before the sponsor deadline.

Northwestern University’s Institutional Stance on Cost Sharing

Some sponsors require institutional cost matching on their grants and contracts as a matter of statute, regulation, or policy. Individual solicitations may also indicate a cost matching requirement. In these cases, the University follows its long-standing practice of meeting published mandatory cost matching requirements for targeted programs.

Northwestern University does not typically cost share on a voluntary basis, consistent with its objective of maximizing sponsor cost reimbursement to support the continued growth of the research enterprise. A voluntary cost sharing commitment can be made where the competitive forces and perceived institutional benefit of receiving the award are deemed to be sufficiently strong to warrant the commitment.


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