In a recent post, DrugMonkey pointed out an interesting analysis posted by Grantome.com regarding funding trajectories of a list of the top 50 (actually 49) institutions in terms of the level of NIH support.
This post reminded me that, some time ago, I had searched for a list of indirect cost rates (a.k.a. F&A rates) for a range of institutions in order to have a factual framework for some of the notions about the range of these rates that fly around the internet. Although I believe such a list used to be available online, I Googled in vain. I had started to compile such a list by searching for data from individual institutions but I never finished it. Motivated by the new post, I finished the list for these 49 institutions...
Institution Rate(%) Link
Johns Hopkins University 62.0 JHU
University of Pennsylvania 60.0 Penn
University of Michigan 55.5 UMich
UCSF 56.5 UCSF
University of Washington 54.5 UWash
Yale University 66.0 Yale
UCLA 54.0 UCLA
Washington U.-St. Louis 52.0 WashU
University of Pittsburgh 52.5 Pitt
U. Wisconsin, Madison 53.0 Wisc
UC San Diego 55.0 UCSD
Columbia University 60.0 Columbia
Stanford University 60.5 Stanford
UNC-Chapel Hill 52.0 UNC
Duke University 57.0 Duke
University of Minnesota 52.0 Minn
Harvard University 61.5 Harvard
Vanderbilt University 56.0 Vanderbilt
Mass General Hospital 74.0 MGH
Emory University 56.0 Emory
Baylor College of Medicine 56.5 BCM
Case Western University 58.5 Case
U. Alabama at Birmingham 47.0 UAB
University of Rochester 53.5 Rochester
Scripps Research Inst. 89.5 N/A (see below)
Brigham-Women's Hosp. 76.5 BWH
New York University 69.5 NYU
UT Southwestern Med 59.0 UTSW
Northwestern U.-Chicago 54.5 Northwestern
University of Iowa 51.0 Iowa
University of Chicago 58.0 UofC
University of Virginia 58.0 UVa
Boston University 62.5 BU
U. of Colorado, Denver 54.5 CU-Denver
UC Davis 54.5 UCDavis
University of Utah 49.0 Utah
Oregon Health-Science U. 54.0 OHSU
U. of Southern Cal. 64.0 USC
UC Berkeley 56.5 Cal
Univ. of Florida 49.0 Florida
Ohio State University 53.5 OSU
U. of Maryland, Baltimore 53.5 UMd-Baltimore
Mt. Sinai School of Med. 69.5 MtSinai
Penn State University 49.5 PSU
Tufts University 65.0 Tufts
UC Irvine 54.0 UCI
U. Mass. Med. Worcester 66.5 UMassMed
M.D. Anderson 58.0 N/A (See below)
Mass. Inst. Technology 56.0 MIT
The rates were available online for almost all of the institutions, usually on the website of the institutional Office of Sponsored Projects. However, for a couple of institutions, I could not find the rates. However, a thoughtful colleague pointed out that such information should be deducible from data in NIH RePORTER by plotting indirect versus direct costs for a series of grants from a given institution. The success of this approach is shown below for R01 data from FY2013 for the University of Pittsburgh.
The data show a clear limiting line that corresponds to the published rate of 52.5%. The points with lower overall indirect cost rates presumably reflect grants with equipment costs excluded from indirect costs. The small number of points with higher overall indirect costs presumably reflect the impact of subcontracts.
Having validated this approach, I was able to determine the indirect cost rates for Scripps Research Institute and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center which I could not find online. The relatively high indirect cost rate of 89.5% for Scripps compares with other independent research institutes such the Salk Institute (90.0%) and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (88.5%).
Note that these rates are not determined by NIH. Instead, they are the product of elaborate negotiations between each institution and the "cognizant federal agency" according to an Office of Management and Budget document, Circular A-21. The cognizant federal agency is often the Department of Health and Human Services, but it can also be other agencies such as the Office of Naval Research. The indirect cost rate is calculated based on 9 "cost pools." These include 5 facilities pools (building depreciation and use allowances, interest on debt associated with selected equipment and buildings, equipment depreciation, operations and maintenance expenses, and library expenses) and 4 administrative pools (general administration, departmental administration, sponsored projects administration, and student services and administration). The administration component has been capped at 26% for a number of years. For those with severe insomnia, the University of Cincinnati website has a relatively clear description of their indirect cost calculation and allocation.
My impression is that the portion of the NIH budget going to indirect costs has increased slightly over the past decade, but only slightly. Although I have requested such data from NIH, they do not appear to have been compiled. A project for another day...