When universities perform research on behalf of the federal government, they incur costs – Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, commonly called indirect costs.
F&A costs encompass: the maintenance of sophisticated, high-tech laboratories and research facilities; utilities such as lighting and heating; hazardous waste disposal; data-storage; information technology and internet services; and the administrative support required to comply with various federal, state, and local regulations and reporting requirements. Historically, the federal government has partnered with research universities to pay for these critical and necessary research expenses, just as it does when it contracts with industry or utilizes its own federal laboratories to conduct research.
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AAU works with its members to help explain how the federal government supports both the direct and indirect costs of federally funded research. The Association also works to ensure that F&A costs reimbursements are sufficient to support the physical and administrative infrastructure necessary for universities to continue to conduct research on behalf of the government.
See Also: Reducing Regulatory Burden