DATE: December 13, 2018
SUBJECT: Short-Term Cost-Share Pilot Program from the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act
SUMMARY: The Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act (RIA or ACT), Pub. L. No. 115-246, was enacted on September 28, 2018. Section 108, Short-Term Cost-Share Pilot Program, of the Act amends Section 988 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) to exempt Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) and Non-Profit Institutions/Organizations (NPOs) from the minimum 20% cost-sharing requirements for a research or development activity that is not of a basic or fundamental nature for a two-year period ending September 28, 2020. DOE implemented the cost share requirement in EPAct 2005 through rulemaking at 2 CFR 910.130, Cost sharing (EPACT).
Section 108 exempts IHEs and NPOs from the 20% cost share requirement without having to execute a Cost Share Waiver as previously required by Section 988. Although Section 108 removes the minimum statutory cost share requirement for IHEs and NPOs, it does not affect DOE's ability to impose a non‑statutory, policy-based cost sharing requirements on these or other recipients or contractors.
Moreover, the Act does not automatically change DOE’s financial assistance regulations. Those financial assistance regulations remain in force and effect. We are actively working to update the regulations to align them with RIA. In the meantime, DOE programs and Contracting Officers are to adhere to the cost sharing requirements as set forth in 2 CFR 910.130. Requests to authorize a reduction or elimination of research and development activities must be approved by the Secretary or those with a delegation from the Secretarial Authority to approve a cost share waiver.
Additional guidance will be provided once efforts to align the financial assistance regulations with the Pilot Program are finalized.