F&A costs are incurred for a common or joint purpose and cannot be directly charged back to a particular sponsor. However, they cover crucial aspects of research such as departmental administration, general administration, library costs, building utility and maintenance costs. Federal F&A and FB rates are negotiated separately by the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and University area on an annual basis.
FB are direct, employee associated costs and must be included in the proposal budget. These costs are expressed as a rate and vary by employee class. The rate is the pooled costs of these benefits divided by the total salaries in each employee class. These rates are then applied to the applicable employee salary to represent the associated benefits for that type of employee.
Assistant Professor Allon Klein discusses F&A costs and how important they are to maintaining a partnership between the federal government and research universities. "NIH and the need for funding facilities and administration costs" was produced by HMS OCER.