Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Authoring Organisational Unit
Office of Research - Central Unit
Date Approved
01/08/2005 Revised 01/08/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Indirect Cost Recovery (Infrastructure) on Research Grants and Contracts

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that research grants and contracts undertaken by UWA include provision for indirect cost recovery.

This policy applies to all staff and students of the University, including adjunct and honorary appointments, who intend to or have submitted a research grant or contract administered by the University.


In this policy and any associated procedures,

the University means The University of Western Australia

Australian Competitive Grants are grants listed on the Australian Competitive Grants register at .

Charitable Trust/Foundation is an organisation established for charitable purposes and recognised as such by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Bona fide Donation is a gift made to the University to fund a broad target area for which there is no restriction placed by the donor.

Direct costs are costs that are directly attributable to undertaking the project including salaries and salary on-costs of staff employed on the project, consumables, specialised laboratory and facility user charges, travel, equipment purchases and other maintenance costs.

Indirect costs are costs incurred by the University in support of research, including but not limited to existing facilities and equipment (including laboratory and office space), UWA-funded research assistance and technical support, administrative support, libraries, computer services, telecommunications, power and lighting, and building maintenance and cleaning.

Infrastructure is an alternative term used for indirect costs.

Chief Investigator is the lead researcher responsible for the conduct of the research project.

Policy statement:

1 General Principles

1.1 The University adopts a transparent methodology for costing research projects in alignment with the National Competition Policy.

1.2 The minimum amount of funding requested from a granting body/sponsor must comprise the total of all direct and indirect costs of a research project.

1.3 Where a research grant does not provide for indirect costs the University makes provision for indirect cost recovery by subsidising the indirect cost from elsewhere within the University.

1.4 The University seeks to price research grants and contracts to cover all direct and indirect costs, with the indirect cost recovery component calculated as 35% of the direct costs of the budget. This infrastructure charge applies uniformly across all eligible research contracts (refer clause 1.8 below), without consideration of the sponsor's restrictions imposed on publishing or claims against project Intellectual Property (IP).

1.5 The University may charge infrastructure by applying a multiplier against academic staff salaries, as illustrated in Appendix 1. Some funding agencies prefer this indirect cost recovery model because it is more transparent with academic salaries being costed on the basis of total time spent on the project; inclusive of a 127% infrastructure charge for laboratory based disciplines and a 100% multiplier for non-laboratory based disciplines.

1.6 Once funding for a research project has been received:

  • the direct cost component is distributed to the Chief Investigator to be used to carry out the project; and
  • the indirect cost component is distributed to a central pool for use on strategic initiatives.

1.7 Where a researcher or research group negotiates a price for a project in excess of the minimum indirect cost recovery, the additional funds is distributed to the Chief Investigator.

1.8 Research grant and contract income exempt from an infrastructure charge includes:

  • Australian Competitive Grants;
  • projects funded by Charitable Trusts/Foundations, except for projects funded by Overseas Trusts and Charitable Foundations which are considered on a case-by-case basis;
  • bona-fide donations; and
  • funds specifically for a student stipend.

1.9 Projects funded by major international competitive schemes (e.g. NIH, NSF) are subject to a reduced rate of indirect cost recovery, in accordance with the funding rules of the relevant scheme.

1.10 Other exemptions from an infrastructure charge may be sought on the following grounds, but not limited to:

  • research funds received from a UWA spin out company;
  • UWA licensee.

1.10.1 Applicants seeking exemption from an infrastructure charge must submit the Request for Variation to Indirect Costs Recovery (Infrastructure) form to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Related forms: (Link)

Request for Variation to Indirect Costs Recovery (Infrastructure) form

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Research Enterprise

Related Policies or legislation:

National Competition Policy at