Cost Sharing and Matching

Cost-sharing is that portion of a project's costs, direct or F&A, not borne by the sponsor. These costs may be contributed by the University or by third parties. The University will only commit to cost-sharing on a project if it is required by the sponsor and, generally only in the amount required.

While the terms matching and cost-sharing are often used interchangeably, matching has a specific meaning. Some agencies have programs which will "match" funds raised by Duke from third parties. The match is given in addition to the basic award. ORS is required to certify the award of the third party funds before the agency will provide the matching award.

SPS can prepare budgets with full cost-sharing details and, if not provided by the sponsor, can create an appropriate budget form to show the cost-sharing.

Four Types of Cost-sharing

  • faculty effort

  • other Duke resources such as non-faculty salaries, equipment, supplies and materials necessary for the project
  • reductions/waivers of indirect costs, considered only when an agency or program has a formal indirect cost rate lower than the University's current rate or disallows indirect cost recovery
  • third party contributions, either in-kind or cash, for example, the donated use of an off-campus meeting space or auditorium for which a fee is usually charged.

Required Documentation for Commitments


      Documentation Required

      Form Required

      Faculty effort



      Other resources*

      Letter of commitment


      Waiver of F&A

      Policy statement from sponsor


      3rd Party commitment

      Letter of commitment


      * Other Duke resources include staff salaries, equipment, copying, etc.

      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.

      Filling out the Request for Cost-sharing Form

      If the sponsor requires cost-sharing, the proposal must be accompanied by a completed Request for Cost-sharing form when it is submitted to ORS for review. For each type of cost-sharing, for each year of the project, the PI should complete the worksheet section of the form and attach letters of commitment as described in the table above.

      Required Endorsements

      • School of Arts and Sciences: Department chair only (except for NIH salary above the cap which requires the Dean's approval)
      • School of Engineering: Department chair and dean
      • Schools of Law and Divinity: Dean only
      • Fuqua School of Business and the Nicholas School of the Environment (NSOE): Business Manager
      • If more than one unit will be contributing faculty salary or other resources, the appropriate chairs and deans from each unit must sign the form. If a School of Medicine Department is included, their approval of the SPS entry serves as approval.

      Agencies which routinely require cost-sharing will provide budget forms with two columns, one for the request and one for Duke's contribution. If a form is not provided, the PI should create a double-column budget clearly describing Duke's commitment by cost category. Such a budget can easily be created in SPS.

      Federal funds cannot be used to match other federal funds. Also, one source of funds, whether internal or third party, may not be used as a match more than once, nor used to meet more than one cost-sharing requirement.