Indirect Cost Policy

Indirect Cost Policy

Foundation Grant Principles and Indirect Cost Guidance


Nadace Aging Biology Foundation EU[1] and Aging Biology Foundation US[2] are non-profit organizations seeking to advance understanding of fundamental mechanisms of healthy human aging through global collaborative research.

Human aging is a highly complex issue. To get a full and clear picture of aging mechanisms and create a system model of their interplay, we need to study many correlated processes that occur in cells and tissues altogether and measure whatever is possible in different physiological systems on a large number of people. Our vision is that a global Human Aging Project should be launched to collect and analyze all available data to achieve a comprehensive knowledge of aging processes.

In aging research, something has been done so far by governmental institutions and private companies’ efforts. However, we are still far away from a global Human Aging Project and an international database for achieved results. Although the problem is already overdue, the scientific community and potential investors have not joined their efforts to launch such a vital and essential global project.

Through a series of pilot projects followed by a call for grant applications, we aim:

  • to attract the attention of possible additional funders to this problem
  • to initiate global cooperative research of fundamental mechanisms of healthy aging
  • and to establish together a Human Aging Project roadmap.

Eligible Projects

We are very interested in joint projects with researchers who have access to genetic, epigenetic, biochemical, clinical data, blood, and tissue samples for:

  • analyzing collected human data and samples by parallel multi-omics approaches including sequencing, profiling for chromatin structure, transcriptomics, proteomics, etc.
  • cross-sectional (different ages) and longitudinal research focused on the collection and analysis of data for healthy individuals
  • creating statistical models predicting risks of age-associated diseases for healthy people based on the results of data processing

Who can apply?

  • experts in the field of human aging research
  • researchers who are interested in complementing their professional interests with research in the field of healthy aging

A necessary condition is access to the infrastructure required for the successful implementation of the project. For bioinformaticians involved in the projects analyzing already collected data this condition is optional.

Grant Application

The grant application should consist of a research proposal, and commitment letters from the primary applicant’s organization and from each collaborator’s or subcontractor’s organization acknowledging and accepting the foundation’s indirect cost policy.

The research proposal includes information on the research topic, the scope of work, goals and outcomes of the project, duration of the project, principal investigators, potential collaborators, and describe required resources and financing requirements. The proposed budget should show direct costs and indirect costs in the respective structure.

Grant Amount & Period

The grant amount is a subject of the proposed scope of work and typically varies from $50.000 up to $8.000.000. The grant period is usually from 6 months up to 5 years.

Indirect Cost Guidance

We aim to structure grants in a way that is practical for our research partners, and that makes sense from a financial perspective. We commonly provide funding by periodic tranches during the overall duration of the project. We promote research partners to deliver results efficiently and effectively by open and honest constant dialogue about the resources required and progress achieved. As grant proposals are developed and projects executed, we try to gain a complete and accurate understanding of the total costs to run the project and achieve its goals.

Our founders prefer to use foundation contributions primarily to cover the direct costs of the projects that we have decided to support rather than to cover the indirect costs of the beneficiaries. However, we are aware that beneficiaries have certain general facilities and administrative expenses that are not directly related to the projects funded by the foundation but are necessary to support grant-funded projects or activities. We set this indirect cost policy taking into consideration the interests of both parties.

Direct Costs

The essence of this policy is to fund direct costs, i.e., the expenses that are directly attributable to project outcomes, and to limit the reimbursement of indirect costs, i.e., the expenses associated with the general running of the business of a research partner.

The most frequent examples of direct costs are research team salaries, associated travel expenses, materials and equipment required for the research, consultants, and other third-party contractors working on the research. Those would not exist if there were no grants received.

Indirect Costs

In contrast, indirect costs usually include general administration expenses, such as salaries to HR, legal, finance, and other administrative personnel running day-to-day activities of a research partner, costs for utilities, facilities and communications associated with central operational functions, etc., as those would be incurred by a research partner even if the grant would not be in place.

We set the following limitations to the indirect costs covered by the foundation:

  • Up to 15% of direct costs for grants with the total direct costs not exceeding $1.000.000 (or an equivalent in local currency)
  • Up to 10% of direct costs for grants with the total direct costs between $1.000.000 and $3.000.000 (or an equivalent in local currency)
  • 0% for grants with the total direct costs exceeding $3.000.000 (or an equivalent in local currency)

Note that grants with direct costs exceeding $3.000.000 are considered to be exceptional awards. Such grants (usually of long-term duration, around 5 years) are intended not only to support specific scientific goals but also to develop new centers of excellence in human aging by providing resources for establishing cutting-edge computational and omics capabilities in this area. In this sense, these grants will provide initial infrastructural momentum for the development of human aging research at the host institution to create a long-term self-sustainable community.

The indirect costs rates in funding requests should not exceed the maximum rates described above. It is also not intended to provide the maximum indirect costs rates automatically. Beneficiaries with an actual indirect cost rate lower than allowed by the maximum rate provided above should not increase the funding request to the maximum allowed. We will closely review the proposed budget for each research project to assess direct and indirect costs on a case-by-case basis.

Our goal is to ensure sufficient funding of actually incurred costs and not to create surpluses for beneficiaries. As we cooperate based on the principle of transparency, we reserve the right to request a specification and substantiation of our research partner’ indirect costs. We can also request proof of expenses incurred during the project execution.

The limitations of indirect costs described above apply to both the primary applicant organization and any collaborator’s or subcontractor’s organization. The maximum indirect cost rate for all participants is defined by the total amount of direct costs of the entire grant.

This policy shall enhance transparency among applicants, and we undertake to apply these principles to all research partners beneficiaries in an equitable manner.


[1] Nadace Aging Biology Foundation EU, a non-profit legal entity incorporated under the laws of the Czech Republic, with its registered address at Na hřebenech II 1718/10, 140 00 Praha 4 – Nusle, Czech Republic, ID: 108 65 951, registered in the Foundation Register, Section N, Insert 1945.

[2] Aging Biology Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation organized and existing under the laws of Massachusetts (USA), having its registered address at 2 Seaport Lane, Suite 8C, Boston, MA, 02210, USA, ID: 001179742.