February 23, 2013

Participant Support Costs in NSF REUs

The National Science Foundation has released a revised Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program Announcement (NSF 13-542). Effective with this REU Program Announcement, NSF no longer permits the recovery of indirect costs on Participant Support Costs in REU awards. NSF states:
“Recovery of indirect costs (F&A) is prohibited on Participant Support Costs in REU Site proposals and REU Supplemental funding requests. This limitation may entail mandatory committed cost sharing by the institution. In such cases, it constitutes an exception to NSF’s cost sharing policy.”
Reminder from the Sponsored Projects Office:

Until a formal change in NSF policy on this issue is announced, UC Berkeley PIs should act in accordance with the following NSF written guidance and not charge F&A on participant support costs, except under exceptional circumstances with the prior approval of NSF.
“(iv) Generally, indirect costs (F&A) are not allowed on participant support costs. However, an allowance for indirect costs associated with participant support costs may be established or negotiated in advance when circumstances indicate that the grantee could be expected to incur significant expenses in administering participant payments (other than salary or other direct expenses being reimbursed under the award.”