Sponsored Projects

Facilities and Administrative (Indirect Cost) Waivers

The Berkeley campus automatically grants waivers or reductions of indirect costs (IDC) for most individual agencies that have formal written policies dictating an indirect cost rate different from the campus’ federally negotiated campus rates. These waivers are handled automatically by SPO.

However, in some cases, the sponsor does not have a formal written policy governing IDC, and the Principal investigator (PI) has a compelling reason for asking that the campus’ federally negotiated rate be waived. In such situations, the Assistant Vice Chancellor (AVC) may approve an exception to the campus’ negotiated indirect cost rate on behalf of the campus and request final approval from the UC Office of the President.

Vital Campus Program Criteria

Situations appropriate for a vital program IDC waiver may include, but are not limited to:

  • Small seed grants which may attract future larger awards;
  • Cases of hardship for a new investigator;
  • Awards which include contributions of equipment or building renovation funds;
  • Awards for a community relations interest vital to the campus;
  • Supplements for a student services activity which the campus must provide;
  • Supplements for library holdings or public exhibits.

Requesting a Vital Interest Waiver

To request a vital interest waiver, the PI should develop a written justification for the waiver that is specific to the proposed project related to one or more of the situations listed above. If the waiver is requested for any other reason, the justification should clearly demonstrate why such a waiver is vital to the campus as a whole.

The PI’s justification should be sent to the SPO Contract and Grant Officer who will forward the request (along with the amount of waived IDC that will result) to the AVC. Do not submit the waiver request directly to the AVC.

The SPO Contract and Grant Officer will convey the AVC’s decision regarding the vital interest waiver to the PI.

Note: When IDC is waived for a campus vital interest, the reduction in overhead may be used as cost sharing, however, in no circumstances will a vital program waiver be approved for the sole purpose of meeting cost-sharing requirements.


UC Berkeley Procedures for Cost Sharing and Matching (includes procedures for Waivers or Reductions of Indirect Cost Recovery)

UCOP Contract and Grant Manual:
  Chapter 8: Indirect Costs
  Chapter 8, Section 8-500: Indirect Cost Exceptions