The University of Wollongong Research Committee (URC) has recently approved revised guidelines for the level of infrastructure levy to be applied to grants from funding bodies that are not on the Australian Competitive Grants Register, as these grants do not attract any government funding for infrastructure.
Levies collected on grants assist faculties to cover infrastructure costs for staff who undertake these projects and contribute to the cost of strategic research development undertaken at an institutional level.
Many grant schemes allow for some level of administrative overhead. Such allowances should always be incorporated into budgets at the application stage.
To facilitate this and assist applicants early in the preparation of their proposals, RSO staff will be endeavouring to include information of allowable overheads in all advertisement of funding opportunities.
The full guidelines can be found below. Related information on levies for commercial research income can be found in the Commercial Research Policy, S11.
Guidelines: External research grants*
Faculty cost recovery
This is the cost recovery fee applied to External Research Grants to reimburse the relevant faculty and academic unit (either Department or School or in some cases Institute or Centre) for associated support costs.
Support costs include but are not limited to the costs of maintaining equipment, electricity, computers, laboratories, offices, cleaning, facsimiles, printers, human resources and telephones.
Note that the Faculty Cost Recovery is not intended to cover the costs of purchasing items of equipment, computers or refurbishments to accommodate new staff involved in the research project.
Such additional costs must be requested separately in the application (where allowed).
UOW cost recovery
This is the cost recovery fee applied to external research grants to reimburse UOW for associated support costs.
Support costs include the costs of maintaining insurance/protection, obtaining legal advice (both internal and external advice), raising invoices, financial management, commercialisation and research support staff.
Cost recovery amount
- The UOW cost recovery is 15% of the pre-GST total cost for non-Australian Competitive grants.
- The Faculty cost recovery is 15% of the pre-GST total cost for non-Australian Competitive grants.
NOTE: Where a funding agency imposes a cap of less than 30% on the allowable infrastructure levy, the maximum allowable levy shall be requested and distributed evenly between UOW and the Faculty.
UOW and Faculty cost recovery waiver
Funding sources listed on the Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR) attract significant additional funding for research infrastructure and indirect costs from the Government via the Research Infrastructure Block Grants (RIBG) and Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) Program.
As infrastructure funding for grants that are not listed on the ACGR (non-Australian Competitive grants) is not covered in this manner, the UOW and Faculty cost recovery are added to meet these costs and assist in providing researchers with adequate infrastructure to undertake these projects.
The Faculty cost recovery can only be waived with the prior approval, via a Faculty Cost Recovery Waiver Form[e2], of the relevant Dean. It is the responsibility of Faculties and Units to determine and inform their staff and the RSO of decisions relating to variations from normal Faculty requirements. This information should be provided on the Faculty Cost Recovery Waiver Form.
The UOW cost recovery levy must be charged. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) will only give prior approval for this fee to be waived in exceptional circumstances. All requests for exemptions must be in writing and sent to the Director, Research Services Office.
*Infrastructure Levy Exemptions
The following categories of external research funding are exempt from including a charge for infrastructure costs:
- Public sector research funding bodies included in the Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR).
- Salary awards such as fellowships and scholarship stipends for training of postgraduate students.
- Applications to schemes that specifically exclude payment of infrastructure levies.