Cost Share Tracking System (CSTS)

Cost Share Definition

Cost sharing or matching means that portion of project or program costs not borne by the funding agency. It includes all contributions, including cash and in-kind, that a recipient makes to an award. If the award is federal, only acceptable non-federal costs qualify as cost sharing and must conform to other necessary and reasonable provisions to accomplish the program objectives. Cost sharing effort is included in the calculation of total committed effort. Effort is defined as the portion of time spent on a particular activity expressed as a percentage of the individual's total activity for the institution.

Cost sharing is auditable and must be allowable under cost principles and verifiable to records.


Faculty Effort

An example of faculty effort that is cost shared: a faculty member proposes to spend 30 % of her effort on a sponsored project, but charges only 10 % of her salary to the project. The remaining 20 percent of her effort is regarded as cost sharing because she has committed the effort, but is not charging the entire 30% to the sponsor.

It is the expectation that faculty members and senior researchers on sponsored research projects will make a commitment of their effort to the project. Generally, it is not acceptable for a principal investigator to submit a research proposal without a commitment of PI effort. A proposal should include the amount of effort expected to be spent on the project, but not less than 1% effort (2% if award amount is $25,000 or greater.) If effort is committed and expended but not directly charged to the project, it must be cost shared.


If a project requires the acquisition of new equipment as a condition of an award, it is acceptable to purchase the equipment and cost share all or part of it. For example, in an equipment grant award, the equipment can be accounted for as cost sharing. The piece of equipment would be recorded as cost sharing in the Equipment Entry section of the Cost Share Tracking system. The equipment should also be identified as cost shared in the DaFIS Capital Asset Management System.  Cost sharing of current equipment is not allowed as the sponsor is already paying for a portion of it through the indirect rate calculation. However, a piece of UC-owned equipment can be used on a sponsored project. In this case, the proposal should explicitly state that “the equipment is available for the performance of the sponsored project at no direct cost to the sponsor."

Space and Facilities

It is not appropriate to claim the value of UC Davis facilities as cost sharing. The use of our facilities is partially paid for by sponsors through the application of the indirect cost rate. Therefore, offering university space or facilities as cost sharing is unallowed.  The principal investigator may want to offer the use of a research lab or facilities for the project. In such a case, the proposal should state “the facility or lab will be available for the performance of the sponsored agreement at no direct cost to the project."  

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing

There are two types of cost sharing that must be documented and tracked:
  • Mandatory cost sharing is required by sponsor as a condition of obtaining an award. It must be included or a proposal will receive no consideration by the sponsor.
  • Voluntary Committed cost sharing represents resources offered by the university (documented and quantified in the proposal) when it is not a specific sponsor requirement. It becomes a binding commitment which the university must provide as part of the performance of the sponsored agreement.


Supplemental content

Cost Share System Menu