Direct Costs

Direct costs are those that are directly associated with the delivery of the approved project and that are required to achieve the expected results. Please check the sponsor’s guidelines to make sure direct costs items are allowable under the sponsoring organization’s guidelines.

Direct costs of research typically include, but are not limited to,

  • Salaries and benefits of research personnel. This includes salaries or stipends for the eligible faculty, technicians, research associates, research assistants, Postdoctoral Fellows, or other technical personnel necessary to meet the goals of the project. Salaries for project management are included here, or under Administrative Costs category, or as a stand-alone Project Management category depending on the sponsor’s requirements.
  • Supplies and materials. Consumables to be used in the performance of your proposed project are included in the supplies and materials category. Examples include office supplies, laboratory supplies, glassware, chemicals, animals, animal food, and data processing supplies. If Administrative Costs are a separate budget category, office supplies will be included there.
  • Travel. Transportation, accommodation, subsistence, and related items incurred by research personnel who are in travel status on official business of the institution related to the project.  The funding agency may have guidelines with respect to travel costs. You can also refer to Business and Travel Expenses for the University policies with respect to eligible and ineligible travel costs. It must be noted that in all cases, the more stringent policy should apply. In some cases, travel costs might be under Administrative Costs if travel is for team meetings or knowledge dissemination.
  • Equipment. Equipment refers to apparatus used primarily for research within the proposed project. Based on SFU Policy A 30.08, equipment purchased from external funds or with University funds (including internal research funds) belongs to SFU.
  • Services. This category includes laboratory analysis services, marketing and printing services, consultant services, publication and communication services, etc. Quotes or statements of work are usually required to justify services. Please note services over $50,000CAD require competitive bidding and at least three quotes.
  • Investigator Fees. In some cases, the funding sponsor allows payment to investigators in recognition of their time, efforts and expertise. The amount of such a payment, often referred to as an investigator fee, will be established at the proposal stage and must be indicated on the SFU Funding Application Signature Sheet and have the approval of the Chair and Dean. Please refer to the What do I need to know about “Investigator Fees”? section for details.