By Christina Wilkerson
Richard Redfearn, grant programs manager for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, has published an article that describes the difference between direct and indirect costs for higher education and how to calculate them.
Redfearn’s publication, “Practical Consideration of Direct vs. Indirect Costs for Higher Education” appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Grant Professionals Association. It describes the difference between direct and indirect costs and how to calculate them to use in grant proposal budgets.
“For any grant project that’s proposed, you create your budget and everything that goes in there to support the project is called a direct cost. It’s directly related to that project,” Redfearn said.
In contrast, indirect costs – also called facilities and administrative costs – are costs for administrative resources or facilities that are not directly related to a specific project but are still needed for an organization to stay in business, such as heating and electricity bills or shared staff salaries.
Grants are an important financial resource for any college or university. The University of Arkansas receives millions of dollars in grant awards every year. Redfearn works at the front line, facilitating the applications for investigators that will attain some of these grants. He says his job consists of “seeking out grant sponsors, helping with the applications, and working with the talented staff at our Office of Research & Sponsored Programs, hopefully culminating in winning grants for Walton College.”
Before Redfearn moved to Arkansas from Memphis in 2006 for family reasons, he had a successful career in industrial chemistry. But upon discovering there were very few high-level positions for an industrial Ph.D. chemist in northwest Arkansas, he decided to re-brand himself “as a grant and resource development professional,” he said.
Redfearn has had grant experience in Arkansas with small nonprofits, government and higher education. He has worked at Walton since January 2012.
Redfearn said that in his planning for writing, he was amazed at the misconceptions that some fellow grant professionals had about how to calculate indirect costs. He thought, “Whoa, this is obviously a needed contribution in the field.” The article has been well-received by other grant professionals, he said.
He presented his article in workshop format at the Grant Professionals Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. Redfearn also took part in a panel discussion on association leadership. He plans to write another article for JGPA about direct vs. indirect costs from the small nonprofit perspective.