Information technology tools and resources at the UW
Indirect Cost (F&A) Waiver for UW-IT Research Storage, Compute and Cloud Services
Effective April 1, 2015, UW-IT research storage, compute and contracted cloud services are no longer subject to Indirect Costs, also known as Facilities & Administrative (F&A) charges for sponsored research expenditures.
This waiver applies to the following UW-IT services:
Contracted Cloud Services
- Shared Central File System for Research Archives (lolo Archive)
- Shared Central File System for Research Collaboration (lolo Collaboration)
- Data Backup and Archives
- Shared Scalable Compute Cluster for Research (Hyak)
- Standard Managed Servers (and Unmanaged virtual servers)
Extending the F&A waiver to these UW-IT services allows Principal Investigators (PIs) in a sponsored research program to choose the most appropriate solution to meet their computing needs, whether it be research storage, compute or contracted cloud services through UW-IT, or purchasing equipment directly, without having to consider the inclusion of indirect costs. Prior to this change, UW-IT services were subject to indirect (F&A) costs, resulting in artificially high costs for those solutions, especially when compared to purchasing equipment directly.
With the F&A rate waiver, PIs now can purchase exactly what they need through UW-IT, including research storage, compute, or contracted cloud services, with the ability to expand or shrink capacity as needed.
This change includes the following benefits for researchers, PIs and the UW:
- Flexibility to choose the best technical solution
- Opportunities for cost savings and efficiency
- Scalability and elasticity—the option to expand and shrink capacity as needed
- Lowering overall costs to the University (power, cooling, space, etc.)
- Supporting environmental sustainability
- Lowering risk for potential data loss by offering geographic resiliency
- Increased security
Currently, expenditures on sponsored research for equipment/hardware are included in a waiver from the F&A rate. Prior to this waiver, UW-IT services, including research storage, compute, or contracted cloud services, were subject to the F&A rate, resulting in costs that were more than 50 percent higher to the PI. This cost difference often resulted in PIs choosing a solution based on cost rather than efficiency.
For example, PIs may purchase their own equipment with more capacity than is needed, or enough equipment to meet “peak” loads, ultimately utilizing only a fraction of the capacity they paid for. This resulted in a higher cost to their budget and a proliferation of small, inefficiently used systems and higher costs to the University overall.
The waiver allows PIs the alternative of purchasing exactly what is needed through UW-IT, including research storage, compute, or contracted cloud services, with the ability to shrink or expand capacity as needed.
Although the F&A waiver will not be applied retroactively, all new charges on existing sponsored research will not be subject to the indirect costs. And new sponsored research proposals may exclude indirect costs for these services.
The new policy is reflected in the updated UW Grants Information Memorandum 13.
A new UW expenditure object code, 03-04, Rsrch Strg, Compt&Cloud, has been established and UW-IT will use this new code in all future billing of these services.
Learn more about UW-IT services to support research.