Other Direct Costs


Direct costs are those budget line items that support performing the scope of work and are reasonable, easily identifiable and allocable to the project. The Principal Investigator is responsible for spending the direct costs on allowable costs, such as project personnel salaries and wages, associated fringe benefits, graduate student salaries, materials, supplies, travel, and equipment. 

The following is a list of typical direct costs, broken out by accepted cost categories. Faculty are encouraged to group costs according to sponsor requirements. For more information on budgeting subaward costs, please visit the Subawards at the Time of Proposal Preparation webpage

Consultant Services

Consultants differ from Consortiums/Subawards in that Consultants provide advice, but should not be making decisions for the direction of the research. Typically, consultants will charge a fixed fully burdened rate for their services (i.e. $250/hour)

Consultant services are budgeted as a direct charge in the “Other” category.

Consultant Services need to be justified in the budget narrative. Investigators are advised to explain in the narrative that the specific expertise either does not exist on campus or is not readily available.

Notes:

  • UF faculty may not be paid as consultants from UF sponsored projects. UF faculty devoting time to a sponsored project should be budgeted for in the personnel line with the appropriate amount salary and fringe corresponding to the effort devoted to the project.
  • Intra-UF consulting undertaken by and between faculty is a University of Florida expectation for collaborations to occur without additional compensation.
  • Federal employees may not be paid from grant funds.

Equipment

Equipment is an item that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Has an acquisition cost of $5000 or more. Includes:Invoice amount, sales tax, freight costs, installation costs, and other cost incurred to acquire; less trade or trade in discounts and/or educational allowances.Excludes: insurance, maintenance and service contracts and warranty costs, and
  • Has normal expected life of 1 year or more

Equipment also includes hardbound books purchased through a department (not including the main library systems) where the value or cost of which is $250.00 or more.

Computers

UG Sections 200.453 (c)

The Uniform Guidance allows the direct charging of computing devices, costing less than  $5,000 as a material and supply cost provided they are essential ❶ and allocable to the project. Computing devices do not have to be solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award, in order to be charged 100% to a single award or allocated to several awards. Computer devises are expected to be primarily used to support the performance of the federal award.

❶ UF considers essential to mean: Computer devices and accessories that are necessary for the performance of the project or activity being supported by the federal award. Examples of essential, might include: (1) used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data necessary for the performance of the project or activity; (2) used to create information electronically, including printing, transmitting, receiving and visualizing the information in support of the performance of the project or activity; (3) used in training, instruction, or curriculum development activities funded by the federal award; or (4) other circumstances demonstrated as essential.

Budgeting: If you believe computer devices and/or accessories are essential and allocable to the performance of your project and meets the conditions above, you should budget for the computer devices and/or accessories and provide in the budget justification a narrative that explains how the items are essential to the performance of the project.

In the case of NIH Modular Grant applications, computing devices and/or accessories should be itemized and justified in the detailed budget and justification provided to UF.

CAS Exemption Needed: If awarded, UF will require a CAS exemption form be completed, reviewed, and approved for any computer devices and accessories costing less than $5,000, budgeted or not.  Budgets that include computer devices and/or accessories that have been justified as essential will assist and expedite the CAS Exemption request.

Materials & Supplies

Materials and supplies necessary for the performance of the work may be budgeted for as direct costs.

Also see Budgeting for Computing Devices as a Direct Cost above.

Direct charging of general office supplies should be restricted to projects with a high demand for these items and must be in compliance with the university’s Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) policy; all such charges must be project-specific and justified in the budget. Even though supplies are estimations, it is advisable to have a breakdown of these items by general classification as substantial amounts are usually challenged by sponsor reviewers.

Travel

Travel charges may include airfare, hotel charges, taxis, visas, passports, entry or exit taxes, per diems and rental cars. Most sponsors require (in the budget justification section) the purpose, destination and time span for each trip, and the number of individuals for whom funds are requested. This must be fully explained, noting the relationship of the trip to the project. Sponsored research funds are subject to both sponsor and State of Florida rules and regulations. Domestic and foreign travel have some differences:

Domestic Travel

Domestic travel reimbursements are subject to the state’s travel regulations and payment rates. Out-of-state travel should be requested on the basis of actual expenses for lodging and round trip economy airfare. Meals for State of Florida employees are reimbursed using the State per diem rate. In addition, some sponsors may have set fixed maximum per diem limits. Reimbursement for any trip which includes both in and out-of-state travel should be requested on the basis of as close an estimate as possible.

Foreign Travel

Foreign travel requests must specify the destination. The U.S. Department of State’s foreign per diem and hotel plus meal payment rates should be used. In today’s funding environment, it may not be possible for a Sponsor to cover travel for conference attendance unless there is active involvement of the faculty in the program to present, and/or unless the meeting has direct relevance to the research project. Typically, for international travel, only American flag carriers may be used. Sponsor Prior Approval may be required for foreign travel.

Travel Information is also available online, http://fa.ufl.edu.

Patient Care Costs

Patient care costs are defined by NIH as: “Research patient-care costs are the costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals participating in research programs. The costs of these services normally are assigned to specific research projects through the development and application of research patient-care rates or amounts (hereafter “rates”)”.

Indicate in detail the basis for estimating costs in this category, including the number of patient days, estimated cost per day, and cost per test or treatment. If both in-patient and out-patient costs are requested, provide information for each separately. If multiple sites are to be used, provide the information by detail by site.

Research patient-care costs do not include:

1.) the otherwise allowable items of personal expense reimbursement, such as patient travel or subsistence, consulting physician fees, or any other direct payments related to all classes of individuals, including inpatients, outpatients, subjects, volunteers, and donors;

2.) costs of ancillary tests performed in facilities outside the hospital on a fee-for-service basis (e.g., in an independent, privately owned laboratory) or laboratory tests performed at a medical school/university not associated with a hospital routine or ancillary service;

3.) recruitment or retention fees; or

4.) the data management or statistical analysis of clinical research results

Here are some helpful definitions from the NIH Grants Policy Statement:

  • Routine Services: Regular room services, minor medical and surgical supplies, and the use of equipment and facilities, for which a separate charge is not customarily made.
  • Ancillary Services: Those special services for which charges are customarily made in addition to routine services, e.g., x-ray, operating room, laboratory, pharmacy, blood bank, and pathology.
  • Outpatient Services: Services rendered to subjects/volunteers/donors who are not hospitalized.
  • Usual Patient Care: Items and services (routine and ancillary) ordinarily furnished in the treatment of patients by providers of patient care under the supervision of the physician or other responsible health professional. Such items or services may be diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, medical, psychiatric, or any other related professional health services. These expenses are for care that would have been incurred even if the research study did not exist. The patient and/or third-party insurance generally will provide for reimbursement of charges for “usual patient care” as opposed to not reimbursing those charges generated solely because of participation in a research protocol.

FAQ’s:

  1. What about lab work or procedures done by a hospital that is NOT Shands? Are these considered patient care?
    • Each hospital must develop its own patient‐care rates, which usually are their Medicare rates for each specific service it provides to research subjects. These costs would be considered allowable patient‐care costs.
  2. What about lab work that is sent to a non‐hospital lab?
    • Per the NIH policy, costs of ancillary tests performed outside the hospital on a fee‐for‐service basis by an independent, privately owned laboratory or performed at a medical school/university (UF) laboratory (Quest, CTSI, CRC, AMRIS etc.) are NOT considered patient‐care.
  3. What about professional fees for medical procedures (UFP)?
    • Per the NIH policy, patient‐care costs do not include consulting physician fees. Ordinarily, physicians who are named as co‐investigators or other key persons on a project will be compensated through their effort on the project, fulfilling their time as part of their professorial duties to conduct research.
    • UF Professional fees do not meet the definition of patient‐care costs.
    • UF expects that when professionals are identified as participating on an NIH grant submission, their professional services are presented in the budget with appropriate effort and salary compensation.
    • Shands Technical fees meet the definition of patient‐care costs.

Helpful Hints: If Shands bills for the medical services, these services are patient‐care costs; if UF bills for medical services, these are non‐patient‐care costs. For example, an MRI or a blood draw provided at Shands or its clinics is a patient‐care cost; an MRI at the McKnight Brain Institute or a blood draw in UF research space is a non‐patient‐care cost. The term patient care may include services, such as a blood draw, that are not strictly “care” of the patient but would meet the NIH definition of patientcare costs.

Recommendation at Proposal Stage: if you are unsure of where the services will be performed, include the costs in the ‘Other’ section of your budget.

  1. What about research subject specimens that UF receives from another clinical site to be tested at UF?
    • As these tests would not be conducted by Shands laboratory and the specimens are not from UF’s subjects, they would not be considered patient‐care costs.
  2. What about the maintenance, administrative overhead, record retention and dispensing charges from Investigational Drug Services (IDS)?
    • When we are paying IDS directly, the costs to dispense the drugs from IDS for our participants would be considered patient care costs. Protocol maintenance, administrative overhead and record retention costs would not be considered patient care costs.
  3. What about the imaging CD I need from Radiology for the protocol required CT scan?
    • The CD would not be considered patient care costs.
  4. What about the required UF Staff health assessments at the Student Health Center needed in order to work on a particular study?
    • These are not considered patient care costs.

REMINDER: The PI must seek prior approval from the NIH program officer when there is a significant change in scope of work. UF does not consider re‐budgeting categories for a change in the service location (from UF to Shands or vice versa) as a change in scope. The change of location of services can result in an increase/decrease of patient care costs and if the F&A base is MTDC could result in an increase in F&A charged to the project. This change may require change in R99 status for Shands billing.

Facility Alterations & Renovations

Facility alterations and/or renovation (A&R) cost must be specifically budgeted for and approved by the sponsor. A&R costs are allowable if necessary for the performance of the project. One example is altering a room to make space for a new grant-related piece of equipment. Justify basis for costs in detail. Provide the square footage and costs. If A&R costs are in excess of $500,000 it would be considered a”construction” project and not allowable under traditional grants.

You should coordinate pricing with UF’s Planning, Design, Construction Unit.

Training Costs – Training Grants Only

This category may include fees, tuition, trainee travel costs and stipends. While the budget cost category reflects the total required cost, provide individualized breakdown of costs for each trainee on a separate page to allow reviewers an independent assessment of the level, scope and need for the training activity. Sponsors may have specific rules and regulations for training costs.

Participant Support Costs

Participant support costs are defined by Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.75 as direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences or training projects.

  • Participant support costs are excluded from the MTDC base when calculating F&A costs.

This category is NOT used for the following, unless specifically allowed by sponsor written instructions or sponsor prior approval:

  • For general travel to conferences or to bring collaborators together to meet and discuss the project
  • For payments to participants in human subject research studies
  • For any other purpose or for non-participant support categories of expense

Separate project will be established for Participant Support Costs:

  • When an award is received that includes participate support costs, a separate project must be established to separately account for the participant support costs.

Sponsor Guidance:

  • NSF Guidance: Participant Support C.2.g(v), II.D.9
  • NIH Guidance: For the purposes of Kirschstein-NRSA programs, this term does not apply. NIH will continue to use the terms trainees, trainee-related expenses, and trainee travel in accordance with NRSA Regulations.

Other direct costs are those cost necessary for the performance of the project or activity being supported by the award, but do not fit in any other prescribed budget line item. Examples follow:

  • Long distance telephone charges
  • Field work expenses
  • Equipment maintenance and repair
  • Facilities rental
  • Data processing
  • Freight
  • Computer services
  • Animal Care Services
  • Human subject payments
  • Statistical or technology service center fees
  • Page charges