Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR)

August 29, 2013

Reports of the Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) working group and BEAR (Berkeley Excellence Accounts for Research) support program.

Dear Colleagues:

I am happy to share with the campus community the recommendations of the working group on return of 10% of indirect cost recovery (ICR); the possibility of this program arose with the design of the funding model for Shared Services.  Here you will also find the follow-up recommendations of the same working group regarding annual allocations to individual faculty members.

The working group represented a range of perspectives.  It was chaired by Janet Broughton, Vice Provost for the Faculty.  Members were (in alphabetical order): Betty Deakin, Vice Chair, Academic Senate; Fiona Doyle, Executive Associate Dean, College of Engineering; Steve Martin, Dean of Biological Sciences;Robert Price, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research; and George Roderick, Chair, Committee on Research, Academic Senate.  Laurent Heller, Executive Director of the campus Budget Office, staffed the committee.

Charged with recommending a fair distribution of 10% of campus ICR, the working group considered a variety of options and ultimately recommended that 1.4% be used to avoid inequities among decanal units with the transition of research administration to Shared Services, that 2.6% be used to address the research needs of all individual faculty members, and that 6% be provided to deans and the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) to enable them to address shared faculty research needs.  In its follow-up report, the working group recommended providing all individual faculty members with $4,000 per year by consolidating and redirecting several existing programs and using other campus revenue streams in addition to 2.6% of ICR.  I have accepted all these recommendations as a 3-year pilot, beginning July 1, 2014, after which we will evaluate whether the process worked as intended.  

Please note that the specific amounts distributed to deans and VCR in any given year will vary with the amount of ICR generated by varied units in the immediately preceding year.  Also note that the second report provides details about faculty eligibility for the annual research funding. 

I draw your particular attention to the general principles recommended by the working group, which urge deans and the VCR to use ICR funds to meet shared research needs and provide common research goods.  I would stress that scientific inquiry and grantsmanship will increasingly require cooperation among units in multiple schools and colleges. 

This means that efforts to redirect relatively small percentages of ICR to the advantage of one unit and disadvantage of another would not benefit the campus.  Here I note that the working group endorses a principle of transparency in the use of ICR.  I am confident that full transparency will enable us to minimize any “gaming” that might occur.  This would certainly be essential to the success of the pilot program. 

I trust that the campus community will appreciate this pioneering experiment in ICR return.  Details regarding implementation will be forthcoming toward the end of the current academic year.

Warm regards,

George W. Breslauer

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost