The Research Foundation of The City University of New York (RFCUNY) was established as a not-for-profit educational corporation chartered by the State of New York in 1963. It has a unique status in that it is not legally or fiscally part of The City University of New York (CUNY) but serves the CUNY Mission. RFCUNY provides support in identifying and obtaining external resources from government and private sponsors and, when grants and sponsored program awards are made, it helps CUNY faculty and staff administer externally funded research, projects and/or sponsored programs in support of the CUNY Mission.
RFCUNY does not receive financial support from the City of New York or the State of New York to fund its activities. It relies primarily on the income it receives from the administrative fee that it charges for the various project administration services that it provides. Without a steady source of income, the RFCUNY cannot exist as an organization, and it would not be able to continue to provide a range of key grant administration and project management services to thousands of CUNY researchers and research teams every year.
All awards are charged an administrative fee based on an established set rate. The fee includes the costs of administering awards by providing a range of project-based services such as pre-award support; human resources and payroll services; contract and sub-contract review; project-based data management and information services; financial management and report preparation; grant audit support; legal services; and other related grant and project management services. The administrative fee does not reduce the amount of funding available to the Principal Investigators (PIs) to cover the direct costs of the project. The administrative fee is paid from a pool of funds that RFCUNY manages for each CUNY college or unit which is sustained from the indirect cost recoveries obtained by the college from all their present and previous grant activity.
Funders know that managing research grants and sponsored programs has costs and they allow for and provide indirect costs on most of their funded activities. Indirect costs are often negotiated by the grant seeker\PI with the funder, or stipulated in the RFP, and are included in the project budget that sponsors approve for each award. If a particular funder does not cover indirect or administrative costs, grant seeking faculty and staff must work with their college grants office, and with the leadership of their campus or unit, to see what arrangements the college is willing to make with its existing funds to cover the fixed administrative costs of managing their project.