7.4 Technical Expenses

1. Technical Expenses Overview

Technical expenses include:

  • Non-capital equipment (any equipment costing less than $5,000)

  • Computing devices

  • Laboratory supplies

  • Other material as required by the project’s scope

  • Normally administrative expenses used for the project’s technical scope of work

This is a broad category of cost that contains all non-capital items as well as laboratory materials and supplies. The scope of work will drive what you propose and spend in this category of cost. It is important to remember when normally administrative costs are planned and used for the project’s technical scope of work, the project does not need to be major for those costs to be charged directly. The expenses must be specifically identifiable and benefit the project, budgeted, justified and approved by the sponsor.

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2. Computing Devices

Effective September 5, 2014, Stanford Policy allows proposals to include the new Uniform Guidance regulations on computing devices.  Proposals submitted for federally sponsored projects expected to be awarded on or after December 26, 2014 must reflect the changes in computing devices as described below:

Computing Devices are machines that cost less than $5,0001 and are used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories (or “peripherals”) for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information.

1There is no change in policy regarding treatment of items over $5,000. If the acquisition cost of a computer is greater than $5,000 (and has useful life of more than 1 year), it should be categorized as computing equipment. For the correct expenditure type click here. See the Property Management Manual for more information regarding capital equipment.

Charging computing devices as direct costs is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable (provide benefit), but are not solely dedicated, to the performance of a federal award. Such devices are also allowable if solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award

Federal sponsors may impose requirements for these costs to be included in the proposal budget and may require a budget justification. Until the federal agencies release specific information, budget justifications may be used at the discretion of the PI.

Direct charging computing devices to a non-federally sponsored project is appropriate if the computing device benefits the sponsored project. Some non-federal sponsors may have specific requirements for direct charging of computing devices. Such requirements need to be addressed in proposals.

Inventory tags may be affixed to computing devices at the discretion of the department; inventory tagging facilitates accountability, availability for reuse, and appropriate disposal.

Care must be taken when it comes time to dispose of computing equipment which has been used to store non-public data. Please follow University guidelines for disposition/transfer of computer equipment.

Computing Devices under $5,000 should use the ET 55116, Computers and Computing Devices.



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