Cost Sharing

Cost-sharing commitments are generally discouraged by Harvard unless they are required by the sponsor. If a proposal commits a quantified portion of a PI’s academic-year effort that will not be paid from the grant or offers other direct costs that will be paid for by university funds, sponsored funds, a subrecipient, or an entity providing in-kind resources, this constitutes a commitment by the University to cost share. See Personnel: Faculty Effort for ways to describe unpaid effort in a proposal without implying cost sharing. 

Cost sharing requirements are typically specified by the sponsor in the program announcement or solicitation.  If either mandatory or voluntary cost sharing is included in a proposal, the GMAS request must indicate that cost sharing is being offered by answering Yes to the approval question "Does this request include any cost sharing?". All cost sharing commitments must be detailed on the GMAS cost sharing form and submitted for review and approval as part of the initial proposal request. If a revised budget is requested by the sponsor at the time of award, a GMAS cost sharing request must be submitted to revise the cost sharing commitment accordingly .

In FAS, all proposals that include mandatory and voluntary cost sharing commitments and certain cost sharing revisions must be reviewed and approved by RAS.  Please see the FAS Cost Sharing Approval and Signature Requirements document for more information about which signatures are required on proposals with cost sharing and cost sharing revisions during the life of an award.

Should a program announcement require cost sharing and cap indirect costs at a rate below the full federal rate, a proposal may be able to use “foregone” indirect costs (i.e., the difference between the sponsor’s maximum allowed indirect cost rate and the full federal rate) toward any cost sharing commitment, with RAS and sponsor approval.

Note that on any federal award, federal funds from a different source cannot be used to meet the cost sharing requirement. 

Once a grant is awarded, actual cost sharing amounts and effort commitments must be tracked separately using a companion account.  Cost shared effort must also be certified, and changes in effort must comply with sponsor policy.  See also Cost Sharing Companion Accounts and Effort Reporting.

See also the University Cost Sharing Policy