Sharing facilities and administrative cost recovery to facilitate interdisciplinary research

Acad Med. 2011 Mar;86(3):394-401. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31820924ea.


Purpose: Despite increasing interest in interdisciplinary research, researchers consistently cite institutional barriers as deterrents. Researchers, administrators, and others have suggested developing processes for sharing facilities and administrative (F&A) cost recovery as one way to support collaborative research. Therefore, the authors reviewed current policies for sharing F&A cost recovery and user satisfaction with them.

Method: In 2010, through reviewing institutional Web sites and surveying researchers and grants administrators from a range of institutions, the authors identified different policies currently employed and assessed user satisfaction with them.

Results: Whereas most respondents (80.7%, 205/254) agreed that a standard policy for sharing F&A cost recovery would facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, only 35.4% (90/254) reported that their institutions had such a policy. Among the 85 respondents who answered questions about their institution's policy, most (66 [77.6%]) reported that the policy applied to grants with multiple principal investigators or coinvestigators across departments or schools, and 68 (80.0%) reported satisfaction with the policy. Respondents from institutions with policies were significantly more likely to endorse the notion that policies are helpful compared with those who reported that their institutions did not have such policies or were unsure of their existence (89% versus 76%, P = .014). The authors detected no significant differences in satisfaction scores based on policy type, whether determined by investigator effort, space allocation, or other considerations (P = .29).

Conclusions: These data support the need for institutions to establish formal policies for sharing F&A cost recovery as a way to promote interdisciplinary research collaboration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Cost Savings*
  • Facility Regulation and Control / economics*
  • Health Facilities / economics*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy
  • Research Design
  • United States