6.6 Cost-Sharing and Matching Funds
The portion of the total sponsored project costs not funded by a sponsor is considered to be “cost-sharing.” University policy discourages voluntary committed cost-sharing when submitting proposals to an external sponsor and expects that all proposal submissions include only the minimum amount of cost-sharing necessary to meet the sponsor’s requirements. For most sponsors, cost-sharing is not a requirement in order to receive the award.
There are several types of cost-sharing: mandatory, voluntary committed, voluntary uncommitted, or in-kind/matching. Mandatory, voluntary committed cost-sharing, and in-kind/matching must be identified, administered, and accounted for consistently throughout the University. Cost-sharing can also be provided in the form of salary and accompanying benefits (effort devoted to a sponsored project), materials and supplies, or even by the waiver or reduction of F&A costs. Provided below are detailed definitions of the types of cost-sharing with some common examples.
6.6.1 Mandatory Cost-sharing
Mandatory cost-sharing is funding that requires a university contribution toward the project as a condition of receiving the award. Mandatory cost-sharing may be a specific dollar amount, or cited as a percentage of the costs requested from the sponsor, or the amount may not be specified.
6.6.2 Voluntary Committed Cost-sharing
Voluntary committed cost-sharing is a cost associated with a sponsored project and supported with university and/or other non-sponsored funds that were identified in the proposal but were not required or funded by the sponsor. Some common examples include the following:
• A percentage of effort of faculty or senior researchers included in a proposal budget or stated in the text of the proposal for which no compensation or only partial compensation was requested.
• The purchase of equipment for the project, identified in the proposal, for which no funds or only partial funds were requested.
6.6.3 Voluntary Uncommitted Cost-sharing
Voluntary uncommitted cost-sharing is a cost associated with a sponsored project that was not committed in the proposal or in any other communication to the sponsor. This includes effort of faculty or senior researchers that is over and above that which is committed and budgeted for in a sponsored agreement. Some common examples include:
• Donated faculty effort on a sponsored project over and above the effort identified in the proposal or award.
• Academic year effort on a sponsored project for which only summer salary was proposed, if the effort was not listed either on the budget page or described in the body of the proposal.
Voluntary uncommitted cost-sharing should not be reported on time and effort sheets.
Some sponsors that award funds to a university insist that those funds be matched in some proportion with funds from another party, either from the university or another sponsor. Matching may be in the form of actual cash expenditure of funds or may be an “in-kind” match, which is the value of non-cash contributions to the project. In-kind or matching contributions made by a party other than BU require documentation from that third party supporting the use of the funds as in-kind/matching and may require a certification of fair market value. How third party matching may be valued as cost-sharing is described in OMB Circular A-110, section .23.
6.6.5 Voluntary Committed Cost-sharing Approval
As defined above, voluntary committed cost-sharing is a cost associated with a sponsored project that was identified in a proposal but was not required or funded by the sponsor. The University does not typically cost share on a voluntary basis, consistent with its objectives of receiving fair compensation from sponsors for research and scholarly activity conducted at the University. A voluntary commitment of sponsor-uncompensated effort and/or other types of commitment should be made only where the competitive circumstances or perceived institutional benefit of receiving the award are deemed to be sufficiently strong to warrant the commitment. Approval for voluntary committed cost-sharing must be obtained from the Provost or VPR on the CRC campus, and the Director of OSP on the MED campus.
6.6.6 Mandatory Cost-sharing and In-Kind/Matching Approval
Some sponsors may include a requirement for the University to cost-share and/or provide in-kind contributions or matching funds to a sponsored project in their program announcement. This requirement is rare and can be costly to the University. Approval must be obtained from the school or college dean and the relevant campus provost prior to the preparation of the budget and budget justification. The signature of the department chair on a proposal transmittal sheet for a proposal indicates approval of any voluntary commitment to cost share effort.