The CapEx process is a mechanism by which the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) returns approximately 8 to 10 percent of indirect costs from federally-funded grant expenditures (i.e. 144-accounts) generated in the previous fiscal year (ending June 30). These monies are used by the Department of Medicine (DOM) to support research objectives by funding capital equipment, lab computers, research personnel, and similar needs.

SMPH prefers CapEx funds be expensed by June 30 of the fiscal year in which the funds were allocated. Carrying over remaining balances is generally not allowed and requires detailed justification and approval.

DOM Policy Overview

Indirect cost return to a principal investigator (PI) is based on the PI’s prior fiscal year (FY) research expenditures. At minimum, 50% of DOM’s allocation will be returned to PI’s. The remaining balance will be used to support the CapEx Competitive Pool and research infrastructure (including but not limited to biostatistical, grant management and compliance support, etc.) 

Funds are available for expenses dated July 1 through June 30 of the current fiscal year. Purchases should be processed by early June to ensure the expense is posted in the current fiscal year.

Carrying over remaining balances is generally not allowed. If a large purchase is planned or PI’s want to pool funds for a large purchase, the DOM Research Executive Committee (REC) may approve carryovers on a case-by-case basis. PIs should coordinate any requests for carryovers with their division accountant.

Funding Distribution to Principal Investigators

For PIs with federally-funded research administered through the department:

  • CapEx funding allocations will be based on the contribution of each PI member to the total CapEx pool and will be automatically awarded, without need for prospective application. 
  • Funding notifications will be emailed to the PI's division chief and division administrator to indicate the total amount awarded to the division for each PI, and the division is responsible for notifying individual faculty and appropriate staff.
  • Funds are available for expenses dated July 1 through June 30 of the current fiscal year and spending from division CapEx accounts can begin once funding communication is received.
  • PIs are encouraged to pool funds with other investigators to support larger purchases, equipment/service maintenance and license agreements for shared resources as needed.
  • If PIs have a total indirect allocation of less than $200, those funds will not be awarded and will be added to the competitive pool. 

Misuse or continued lack of use of funding may result in a denial of future distribution.

Competitive Pool Application and Review Process

The DOM competitive pool CapEx application will be publicized annually when available. Research faculty/staff without indirect cost allocations and/or early career investigators will be prioritized.

The REC will review and approve competitive pool applications for funding, and consider the following factors when assigning a rank priority to applications: 

  • Advisory prioritization by division or center head/chief
  • Status as an early career investigator (with diminished start-up/discretionary funds)
  • Priority for shared equipment
  • Past and potential future productivity of the investigator
  • Use of the competitive pool CapEx funds in the past three years (note: this is a detractor)

If an application is submitted for the general benefit of the department or a division/center, rather than for a particular investigator or program, it should be noted on the application. Investigators receiving CapEx funds from other sources may apply to the competitive pool for matching purposes with justification of benefit to the department in terms of shared resources.

The application deadline, announced when the competitive pool application process is opened each year, must be strictly observed. Late applications will not be considered. Funds not claimed will revert to the department for redistribution.

Spending Process

Approved use of these funds includes purchasing capital equipment or computers for labs, funding research personnel, and other similar research needs. Travel for research-related purposes is allowed. Other considerations:

  • Use "division CapEx project" for all CapEx purchases.
  • UW policy must be followed for all transactions.
  • Division accountants can provide guidance on purchasing.
  • PIs should use their own department ID (UDDS) number for all orders or salary postings—not 534200.
    • Note: fringe rates are actual amounts on 150 accounts. The negotiated fringe rates only apply to fund 133, 135, 142, 143, 144, 161 and 233. All other funds are charged the actual fringe cost for each employee.
  • PIs should order items as usual with their P-card or initiate a purchase requisition.
    • If equipment request is over $5,000 (one per item approval) the PI should be sure to complete noncompetitive bid justification (sole source) if not going out to bid.
  • All computer equipment, software or accessories must be purchased through department IT at   
  • Research equipment (microscopes, freezers, etc.) requiring internet, network access or connection to a computer must be approved in writing by department IT prior to purchase.
  • All items purchased by the capital equipment exercise funds are the property of the department and are considered a shared resource available to other PIs in the department.
  • If the PI receiving these item(s) leaves the institution, item(s) purchased must remain at the university.
Accountant Tracking
  • Each division accountant is responsible for recording and maintaining a detailed expense spreadsheet, provided by department central administration, for their division by PI—this is to track the amounts allotted to each PI against their expenditures to ensure budgetary compliance for the FY. 
  • Carryover requests must have a reasonable justification listed.  


Please contact the Department of Medicine's Office of Research Services at with any questions regarding CapEx.