Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
What are indirect costs?
A thriving research culture must be supported by a vast infrastructure that is often taken for granted. Laboratories require light and heat to operate, equipment needs to be maintained, library collections are built and cultivated to aid faculty and students in their research. Brock’s hundreds of researchers come to the Office of Research Services for assistance in filling out their grant applications, advice on how to comply with spending and financial requirements, navigating the system of ethical review and compliance, and in some cases communicating their research activities to a wider audience.
All of these things essential to research activities – heat, light, library materials, the establishment and functioning of a system of ethical review and compliance, management and administrative services and other indirect costs – cost money, yet most research grants do not provide additional funds to help a university defray these costs. As a result, over time the research activity puts a strain on the institution’s budget.
What is the Federal Indirect Costs Program?
The Federal Indirect Costs Program is a Government of Canada funding program to assist Canadian post-secondary institutions in offsetting the cost of administering research awards from the three federal granting councils (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research). Brock University receives funding support for the indirect costs incurred on Tri-Council funded research through the program.
For more information, see www.indirectcosts.gc.ca/about-au_sujet/index-eng.aspx 
In 2012-2013, Brock University allocated its Federal Indirect Costs Program funding in these five areas:
Facilities: In addition to a portion allocated to facilities management to defray the cost of heat, light and electricity for research space, Federal Indirect Costs funds were used to renovate and update laboratory space to meet the needs of new research development.
Resources: Federal Indirect Costs funds were provided to the university’s library to expand research holdings and to maintain subscriptions to electronic journals and databases critical to faculty and student research.
Management and Administration: Federal Indirect Costs funds are a key component of the Office of Research Services’ budget, which provides researchers professional staff to assist them with grant writing and to oversee their financial compliance and reporting.
Regulatory requirements: The maintenance and operation of the Research Ethics Board, the Animal Care and Use Committee, and Research Safety are funded through funds from the Federal Indirect Cost Program.
Intellectual property and commercialization: Federal Indirect Cost funds have allowed Brock University to meet rapidly expanding needs in the fields of intellectual property, patenting, technology transfer, and commercialization.