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  • Washington Highlights

    Associations Comment to House Science Committee on F&A Costs

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
    Stephen Heinig, Director, Science Policy

    The AAMC June 7 submitted joint comments with five other associations to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on the importance of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost reimbursement policy on federal grants.

    The comments were submitted as additional information following a May 24 House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology joint Research and Technology, and Oversight hearing. The hearing examined the status of F&A costs, also called “indirect costs” or “overhead”, for the National Science Foundation, and considered whether reimbursement policies should be changed [see Washington Highlights, May 26].

    The associations, which included the AAMC, the Association of American Universities, the Council on Governmental Relations, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Association of Independent Research Institutes, and the American Council on Education, wrote that current F&A recovery rates are based on detailed information of real expenses, negotiated with a designated government auditing agency. The associations note these charges represent actual expenditures related to and necessary for the conduct of scientific research.

    The letter adds that proposals to alter or cap reimbursement of these costs would each create new difficulties and weaken national investment in research infrastructure, and engender other unintended consequences. The associations conclude, “F&A expenses are a fundamental and inseparable part of the costs of doing research…Without sufficient federal support for F&A, research institutions would be unable to sustain the scientific infrastructure necessary to conduct this cutting-edge research.”