Matching Funds & In-Kind Contributions

Matching Funds

Matching means the value of the third party in-kind contributions and the portion of the costs of a federally assisted project or program not borne by the Federal Government. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation are two agencies that use this mechanism for some of its awards (specifically the Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF). The Principal Investigator and the department or administrative area to which the Principal Investigator belongs, are responsible for acquiring the matching funds. There are specific guidelines for appropriate matching funds from each agency that requires a matching commitment.

If a Principal Investigator fails to raise sufficient matching funds, there are three courses of action open to the Principal Investigator who is in this situation.

  • The Principal Investigator may appeal to the sponsor for additional funding. This approach can be particularly effective if the Principal Investigator can prove that a good faith effort was put forth to raise the matching funds.
  • The Principal Investigator can initiate steps to rebudget at a lower funding level and re-evaluate the objectives of the project, in light of the reduced budget. The Principal Investigator must work closely with both the Office of Sponsored Projects staff and the sponsor, as this option clearly changes the scope of the project, an action that cannot normally be taken without prior approval from the sponsor.
  • The Principal Investigator takes no action and continues to make expenditures based on the belief that matching funds will eventually be raised. At a certain level of over-spending, the Office of Sponsored Projects will put a pending close on the project's budget. The Principal Investigator or the Principal Investigator's Department is responsible for covering the expenditure. This is NOT an acceptable or fiscally responsible method for handling problems in raising matching funds.

In-Kind Contributions

In-kind contributions are similar to cost sharing in that they represent contributions to the cost of a sponsored project award that will be covered by Dartmouth College resources. An example of an in-kind contribution would be if a piece of equipment was 'donated' in support of a sponsored project award. There is usually no financial tracking of transactions related to in-kind contributions. There is, however, a form titled In-Kind Contributions that must be completed by the department that is providing the in-kind contribution. Once this form has been signed, it is sent to the departments Sponsored Research Manager to be documented for that sponsored project award.

In-Kind Contribution Form (Excel)


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