The Distribution of Indirect Cost Recovery in Academic Research

Alexandra Graddy-Reed, Maryann Feldman, Janet Bercovitz, W Scott Langford, The distribution of indirect cost recovery in academic research, Science and Public Policy, 2021;, scab004, https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scab004

43 Pages Posted: 1 May 2021

See all articles by Alexandra Graddy-Reed

Alexandra Graddy-Reed

Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California

Maryann P. Feldman

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy; Kenan Flagler Business School

Janet Bercovitz

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - College of Business

W. Scott Langford

School of Public Affairs - Arizona State University

Date Written: January 5, 2021

Abstract

Research universities rely heavily on external funding to advance knowledge and generate economic growth. In the US, tens of billions of dollars are spent each year on research and development with the federal government contributing over half of these funds. Yet a decline in relative federal funding highlights the role of other funders and their varying contractual terms. Specifically, non-federal funders provide lower recovery of indirect costs. Using project-level university sponsored research administrative records from four institutions, we examine indirect cost recovery. We find significant variation in the amount of indirect funding recovered – both across and within funders, as well as to different academic fields within a university. The distribution of sponsors in the overall research funding portfolio also impacts indirect cost recovery. The recovery variation has important implications for the sustainability and cross-subsidization of the university research enterprise. Together, our results show where universities are under-recovering indirect costs.

Keywords: Academic R&D, Administrative Costs, Indirect Costs, Federal Funding

Suggested Citation

Graddy-Reed, Alexandra and Feldman, Maryann P. and Bercovitz, Janet and Langford, W. Scott, The Distribution of Indirect Cost Recovery in Academic Research (January 5, 2021). Alexandra Graddy-Reed, Maryann Feldman, Janet Bercovitz, W Scott Langford, The distribution of indirect cost recovery in academic research, Science and Public Policy, 2021;, scab004, https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scab004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3833249

Alexandra Graddy-Reed (Contact Author)

Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.graddyreed.com

Maryann P. Feldman

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

CB 3435
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3140
United States

HOME PAGE: http://maryannfeldman.web.unc.edu/

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Public Policy ( email )

Abernathy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3435
United States

Kenan Flagler Business School ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC
United States

Janet Bercovitz

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - College of Business ( email )

Champaign, IL 61820
United States

W. Scott Langford

School of Public Affairs - Arizona State University ( email )

411 N Central Ave #750
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States
2527176016 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.scottlangford.us/

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