PIs are sometimes tempted to ask for institutional commitment for NIH grants when it’s not required–they may believe that such pot-sweeteners improve their chance for funding success. But OHSU recently changed its policy regarding cost-sharing: As of July 1, 2015 the new OHSU policy no longer allows voluntary cost-sharing.
Why did we make this change? Because NIH itself has changed how cost-sharing is reported on the cover page of your proposal for funding. They did this for several reasons, many of which have to do with the new Uniform Guidance for use of federal funds, as well as a change in the climate for how federal agencies view cost sharing–for example, viewing it as unfair to institutions or PIs with fewer resources. The NIH change means we can no longer include the cost-sharing amount in the total project costs. This instruction creates a scenario that could legally bind OHSU to cost-sharing without our having knowledge of doing so. Hence, OHSU has changed the policy.
Mandatory cost-sharing is still permitted, of course, as is cost-sharing considered to be a merit review factor in the evaluation of a proposal when explicitly stated by the RFA. When mandatory cost-sharing is included, OPAM will require that a cost-sharing account be set up along with your project and expenses claimed as cost-sharing will need to be moved into that account. You can see the whole policy here. Please contact your OPAM Grants & Contracts Administrator (GCA) with any questions–and we’ll be posting answers to frequently asked questions in the near future.