F&A and F&A Return

What is F&A?
  • F&A stands for “Facilities & Administration”. F&A is sometimes referred to as “Indirect Costs”.
  • F&A refers to costs incurred by MU in general support of sponsored programs, (but not costs associated with a specific project). As an example, F&A does not refer to the chemicals used in experiments, but does refer to such things as the power required to run the fume hood for the experiment or keep the lights on in the building.
  • F&A is the portion of the grant budget intended for this purpose and kept by the campus.
  • How much F&A is calculated on a given project is called the F&A Rate.
    • The university negotiates F&A rates with the federal government on a periodic basis.
    • The F&A rate depends on project classification—Research, Instruction or Other Sponsored Activity—and whether the project takes place on- or off-campus.
    • All rates are shown at https://research.missouri.edu/sponsored-programs-administration/grant-fact-sheet, under the drop-down menu of the header “Facilities and administrative (F&A) rates (applied to MTDC*)”
    • For example, for an NSF-funded on-campus research project, the FY24 F&A rate is 56.5%.
    • With the exception of commercial, industrial, or for-profit sponsors, the University will accept a reduced F&A rate if the sponsor’s limitation is published in a public domain applicable to all awardees. As an example, in FY24, the Sloan Foundation restricts F&A on some grants to 20%.
    • A higher F&A rate will be applied if the PI chooses to waive their Intellectual Property (IP) on an industry-sponsored project. For example, if the PI waives IP on an on-campus research project sponsored by IBM, the F&A rate is 56.5% + 5%, or 61.5%.

*The F&A calculation is based on the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) on a grant proposal, rather than the Total Direct Costs. That is, some costs are excluded from the F&A calculation. Please reach out to Engineering Research Office (ERO) for clarification on MTDC.

Where does F&A go when it is collected by the campus?

MU Campus retains 80% of the collected F&A to support operational costs. MU Campus returns the remaining 20% to the College of the PI and/or co-PIs, in the amounts corresponding to their shared credit. See gold boxes in Figure 1.

F&A Return

The aim of returning a portion of F&A to colleges is to spur spending on research.
The College of Engineering (COE) FY24 policy is to share the returned 20% of the collected F&A with the PI, depending on the faculty member’s existing discretionary funds (DF):

  • Faculty with < $100,000 in DF will automatically receive half of the 20%, i.e., will receive 10% of the collected F&A in the amount corresponding to their shared credit.
  • Faculty with ≥ $100,000 in DF will automatically receive no F&A return, but may request return here.

Question: How and when is my DF threshold determined?
Answer: See here.

How do I get my 10% of F&A

For faculty with < $100k in DF, the shared-credit portion of the 10% will be processed automatically by CoE Fiscal Office Staff and deposited in the PI’s Operating Account.

For faculty with ≥ $100k in DF, no F&A will be returned automatically to the PI. However, the faculty member can apply to have these funds retuned. See here for the application.

An example is illustrated below.

Consider an NSF research project on MU campus with an award of $2,769,911. F&A = $1,000,000 (Red box at top of Figure 1). The grant includes 3 faculty with shared credit as follows:

  • PI #1 (ChBME, COE), Shared Credit = 40%
  • PI #2 (EECS, COE), Shared Credit = 20%
  • PI #3 (Physics, A&S), Shared Credit = 40%

As shown in the three blue boxes, the 20% of F&A is distributed to the COE and A&S.
As shown in the four green boxes, the COE distributes half that 20% to each COE co-PI.
For the handling of A&S F&A, please contact their fiscal officer.

Figure 1: Illustration of F&A sharing for College of Engineering where both COE PIs have < $100k in DF.

Updated July 27, 2023