Cost sharing

Cost sharing is the financial and non-financial support contributed by the University or a third-party to sponsored projects in order to complete the project’s statement of work. It is University policy to commit cost-share only when required by the sponsor and only to the extent necessary to meet the sponsor’s specific requirements.

All cost sharing requires prior approval from the University before the application is submitted to the sponsor.

Types of cost sharing
Mandatory Cost Sharing
  • Required by the sponsor
  • Must be included in application
  • May also be referred to as "matching":
    • When the sponsor requires the University to match grant funds in proportion to funds being requested in the budget to the sponsor
Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing (VCCS)
  • Not required or expected by federal sponsors
  • Occurs when quantifiable financial commitments are made in the Scope of Work, Letters of Support or elsewhere in the application
Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing (VUCS)
  • Costs covered by the University that are above and beyond that which was committed and budgeted for on a sponsored project
  • Not reportable to the sponsor

Access GAP 200.140 for further details

Required documents for pre-award cost sharing commitments
Commitment typeDocumentation requiredForm required?
Faculty effortNoneyes
Other Duke resources (including staff salaries, equipment, copying, etc.)Letter of commitmentyes
Waiver of F&APolicy statement from sponsorno
3rd Party commitmentLetter of commitmentyes

NOTE: The University requires that F&A costs be calculated on faculty effort and other contributed resources, and included in the cost-sharing totals unless this is unallowable by the sponsor. The rationale is as follows: If instead of contributing these resources, Duke had asked the sponsor to provide them, Duke would also have asked the sponsor to pay the associated F&A costs. The F&A costs which the University will not collect are considered part of the cost to Duke of supporting the project.

Cost sharing FAQs

What are the roles and responsibilities associated with administering cost sharing?

Access "Roles and Responsibilities" within GAP 200.140 for details.

For assistance during proposal stage:

  • Provost Area/Campus Schools: Contact ORS
  • School of Medicine/School of Nursing: Contact ORA

For assistance post-award:

  • PIs should work with GM, departments and management centers to ensure all cost sharing is approved, recorded and documented.
What criteria must contributions meet to be considered a part of the University's cost sharing commitment?

Contributions must be:

  1. Verifiable from Duke's, as the grant-recipients, records
  2. Not included as contributions for any other external award
  3. Necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives
  4. Allowable, per sponsor terms and conditions
Is cost sharing the same as an unallowable expense?


Cost sharing is not the same as an unallowable expense.  An unallowable expense is one for which the sponsor will not reimburse the institution, either because:

  • The amount the sponsor will reimburse is limited (for example, salary over the DHHS cap) or; 
  • There is a policy or regulation that prohibits the expense to be direct charged to the project. 
What expenses are not eligible for cost sharing?

The following are not eligible for cost sharing:

  • Unallowable costs
  • The use, and any related expenses of using, University facilities, such as laboratory space.  
  • Depreciation on equipment.
  • PI compensation over the sponsors mandatory salary cap (e.g. the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) salary cap).