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University of Regina Policy

Research Cost Recovery

Audience:All University employees and external research sponsors
Issued:October 02, 2006
Revised:September 14, 2021
Owner(s):AVP (Research)
Approved by:VP (Research)
Contact:Director of Research Office - 306-337-2478


This policy sets out the authority, responsibility and procedures for the recovery of all costs related to externally sponsored research projects at the University.


A 2013 study by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) and the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (CAURA) concluded that universities incur indirect costs at a rate of 40-60% of the direct costs of research.

Research is one of the three fundamental pillars of the University, along with teaching and service. The University undertakes research and scholarship to expand human knowledge and support social, environmental, and economic development. The intent of this policy is to support research by providing some relief to the 40-60% of real costs by moving to a lesser but reasonable and competitive Indirect Cost Recovery Rate.

Indirect Cost Recovery Rate

  • All research funding agreements must include an allowance for the University Indirect Cost Recovery Rate at a minimum rate of 25% of direct costs. Wherever possible, this rate should be incorporated into each line item, not displayed separately.

The Indirect Cost Recovery Rate shall not apply to:

  • Tri-Agency grants,that do not include a special budget section for indirect costs, as these funding agencies reimburse its indirect costs of research through the Research Support Fund Program. On programs like the New Frontiers in Research Fund and others that have a section for claiming indirecto costs, they must be included.
  • Research funding programs that have specific published indirect costs rates that are applied to all Canadian universities.

Indirect Cost Distribution

  • The indirect costs recovered pursuant to this policy will be distributed as follows:
  • For research not administered by a University-based research centre/institute:
    • Office of the Vice-President (Research) – 50%
    • Principal Investigator’s Faculty – 50%
  • For research administered by a University-based research centre/institute:
    1. Office of the Vice-President (Research) - 50%
    2. Research Centre/Institute - 50%

If researchers from more than one Faculty are involved in a research project, the Faculty portion of the indirect costs recovered will be shared in proportion to the proposed allocation of work.

Faculties/Research Centres/Institutes should normally allocate a portion of their percentage of the indirect costs recovered to the Principal Investigator or other researchers on the project.

The Vice-President (Research), Faculties, and Research Centres/Institutes will regularly report on the use of indirect costs recovered.

Roles and Responsibilities

Financial Services

  • Financial Services will arrange for the transfer or indirect costs recovered to the VPR and the appropriate Faculty/Centre/Institute.

Individual Researchers

  • Individuals who are seeking external research funding must include the applicable indirect cost recovery in cost estimates for the proposed project.

Research Office

  • The Research Office will serve as the procedural office for this policy and will inform Financial Services of the applicable indirect costs on any project.
  • The Research Office will administer the process to request exceptions to the indirect cost rate.

Vice-President (Research)

  • The Vice-President (Research) will oversee this policy and be will the final arbiter for exceptions.

Consequences for Noncompliance

If a faculty member negotiates an agreement with an Indirect Cost Recovery Rate of less than 25% without the reduced rate having been approved by the Research Cost Recovery Review Committee, the University may withhold support and approval of any future research funding agreement with that faculty member named as Principal Investigator. Other administrative sanctions may be imposed, as appropriate. These sanctions could include the faculty member being required to personally reimburse the University for the amount of the overhead shortfall and being subject to disciplinary action per the Collective Agreement.


Applying the Indirect Cost Recovery Rate

Researchers must include the applicable indirect cost recovery rate in the project’s cost estimate on all externally-funded research activity. Wherever possible, this rate should be incorporated into each line item, not displayed separately.

For all funding applications and agreements, researchers must provide the proposal and budget to the Research Office for review.  If all requirements of the University and the sponsor are met, including the recovery of indirect costs, the Research Office will provide the institutional signature(s) required on the funding application or the finalized contract.  In addition, the Research Office is responsible for the negotiation of terms of the agreement with the sponsor.

Once the project is approved for funding, the Research Office submits a request to Financial Services to create a new research account or to allocate the funds to an existing account. The request will include the applicable distribution of the indirect costs recovered.

Exceptions to the minimum indirect cost rate may be considered for unusually favourable terms.  Considerations may include, but are not limited to, new research equipment owned by the University, overall support or high volume of research funding from sponsor, high level of student training, competitive pricing compared with other research institutions.

Requesting an Exception to Indirect Cost Recovery Rate

Any faculty member wanting an exception to the indirect cost recovery rate must complete an “Exceptions to Research Cost Recovery” form. The form must be signed by the Principal Investigator, with accompanying signatures by the Dean or Director, and submitted to the Research Office ( The Research Office will arrange for the standing Research Cost Recovery Review Committee to review the waiver request and make recommendations to the Vice-President (Research). The Vice-President (Research) will make a decision based on information in the form and input from the standing committee. The standing committee will consist of the Council Committee on Research Chair, the Associate Vice-President (Finance), and the Associate Vice-President (Research).

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