'Cost share' is the term used to describe that amount of money that you will need, over and above what the sponsor will give you, in order to successfully complete your research project. If the sponsor requires that the grantee provide a portion of the cost of the project, sometimes they will call it 'matching funds'. There are some federal and state programs that require matching funds or cost sharing. If your budget contains either cost share or matching funds, you must document the source and institutional approval of the cost share or match. This information must be provided on the fourth page of the proposal approval sheet which must be signed by your Department Chair and the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. You may also have to document and describe the cost sharing in your budget narrative.
Cost share is real money, and a commitment for cost sharing or match, regardless of whether or not the sponsor requires it, should not be made lightly or without the support of your Chair and the Dean. There must be a very clear and quantifiable benefit to the project before you consider including cost sharing in your proposal. Please note that there is no proof that voluntarily including cost share in your budget will increase the chances of your being funded. If cost sharing is NOT required by the sponsor you should not include it in the budget. If you choose to include it anyway, be aware that voluntary committed cost share is binding on the grantee and auditable upon receipt of an award, and it imposes tracking and reporting obligations on the University.
The actual cost share itself can take several forms. The most frequent 'cash' contributions are:
* salaries and fringe benefits of University employees;
* University-purchased equipment;
* University unrestricted funds (state funds, gift accounts, endowment funds);
* the indirects (F&A) recovered and returned to departments; and
* program income