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 two 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 is able to 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 Office of Sponsored Projects staff and the sponsor as this option clearly changes the scope of the project, an action that can not normally be taken without prior approval from the sponsor.