Full Cost of Research Initiative


University of Guelph is a research-intensive institution, and it is important to recover, to the greatest extent possible, the full costs of research to ensure a continually thriving research enterprise.

While some research costs are covered by external sponsors and partners, others are carried by the institution. Like most other post-secondary institutions, U of G has an existing Indirect Costs Policy.

The Full Cost of Research Initiative focuses on aligning that policy with the current policies of other Canadian institutions as well as developing and strengthening associated procedures and communications to support the research community.

Full cost of research = direct costs + indirect costs

Research is supported by both direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs are the expenses directly associated with an individual research project or activity. They can include student salaries, materials and supplies, equipment and travel that benefit the research.

Indirect costs (IDCs) may not be directly attributable to any one research project. They are real, significant, and necessary institutional costs incurred to realize the University’s research goals. They can include facilities and maintenance, administrative processes, regulation and safety compliance, and internal research funding.

Researchers who have made use of the interlibrary loans service, needed services such as payroll or purchasing, navigated a human participants protocol with one of the University’s Research Ethics Boards or been allocated research space on campus will all have experienced the benefit and support of indirect costs.

  • To strengthen understanding of the full cost of research campus wide
  • To improve the clarity and transparency of the Full Costs of Research Policy
  • To improve accessibility of information on the Full Cost of Research Policy and IDC rates
  • To develop resources – procedures, frequently asked questions and communications – for researchers and their teams

To assess the campus research community’s awareness and impressions of the existing Indirect Cost Policy and related procedures, a survey was circulated throughout July 2022. The survey collected both statistical data and respondent commentary.

Of the 258 respondents, 74% described their role as “principal investigator, research or scholar.” The remaining respondents were a mix of central research administrators (11%), college/faculty administrators (9%), college/faculty research leadership (5%) and senior executive (1 %).

Respondents identified the following needs:

  • Clear, consistent and transparent information about the Policy, including the rationale for it, how it works across different situations, and how IDCs are allocated
  • Help communicating with sponsors and other stakeholders about IDCs
  • Best practices for calculating and allocating IDCs
  • Resources to streamline the IDC process for researchers, such as
    • Standard internal and external communication templates
    • Tools and guides
    • Learning modules and presentations
    • Informational documents

Note: As resources are developed, they will be posted in "Resources” below.

  • Consulting with stakeholders on the draft Full Costs of Research Policy, procedures and FAQs documents.
  • Policy implementation expected May 1, 2024.

The advisory committee is responsible for the overall strategic direction of this initiative, including consultation, change management and communications.

Committee membership

All committee members have full voting rights.

  • Associate Vice-President, Research Services (Co-chair)
  • Associate Vice-President, Finance (Co-chair)
  • Dean, College of Biological Sciences, or Dean, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Dean, Ontario Agriculture College
  • Department chair representative
  • Associate Director, Finance and Operations, College representative
  • College Research Manager representative
  • Associate Vice-President, Alumni Affairs and Development
  • Associate Vice-President, Institutional Research and Planning
  • Faculty member representative (non-administrative)
  • Faculty member representative (non-administrative)
  • Assistant Vice-President, Research Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization Office
  • Director, Research Financial Services
  • Managing Director, Research Services Office


Documents related to the existing IDC policy at the University of Guelph

Contact Information

Jill Rogers, Managing Director, Research Operations
Research Services Office