University of California

Office of the President


Senior Vice President—

Business and Finance





Costing Policy & Analysis

Research Administration Office

No. 03-07

August 18, 2003






Subject:   Californian Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit Cooperative and Joint Venture Agreement


I.       PURPOSE


This Operating Guidance Memo transmits a copy of the California Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU) Cooperative and Joint Venture Agreement.




The Californian Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU) is associated with a national network of CESUs.  The CESUs have been established to provide research, technical assistance, and education to federal land management, environmental and research agencies, and their potential partners.  The CESU is cooperative in that multiple federal agencies and universities are among the partners in this program.  Ecosystem studies involve the biological, physical, social, and cultural sciences needed to address resource issues and interdisciplinary problem solving at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context.  Resources encompass natural and cultural resources.


Participating federal agencies will provide scientific staff, administrative support funds (for assistance beyond the basic support provided by the universities), and project funds for specific research projects and technical assistance.  Federal agencies will contribute research scientists and/or other professionals to be located and working at the University.  Federal personnel are supervised and supported by their respective agencies, through existing administrative systems.

 The following entities are partners in the California CESU:



Bureau of Land Management

Bureau of Reclamation

U.S. Geological Survey–Biological Resources Division

National Park Service


U.S. Forest Service






(UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, UC-Irvine, UC-Los Angeles, UC-Merced,

UC-Riverside, UC-San Diego, UC-Santa Barbara, UC-Santa Cruz)





Office of the President has signed for the University of California  and is acting as host of the Californian CESU.  However, the Berkeley campus, College of Natural Resources, will establish a Californian CESU Administrative Office.




The purpose of the CESUs is to create additional opportunities for interdisciplinary and multi-agency research, technical assistance, and education, and to do so with minimum administrative procedures.  The Californian CESU Cooperative and Joint Venture Agreement will operate much like a Master Agreement.  Individual projects funded under the CESU will not reiterate general terms.




Any of the participating partners may submit a proposal to a federal agency under the CESU so long as the project fits within the CESU objectives and federal cooperative participation can be demonstrated.




1.   The effective date of this Agreement is July 2, 2003.  It runs for five years until July 1, 2008.

  1. Proposals for individual projects should be submitted directly to the sponsoring federal agency.
  2. Proposals must contain, at minimum, a scope of work (SOW), budget, and budget narrative.  Additional documentation may be required by the sponsoring agency.  The SOW must clearly outline the substantial participation of both university and the federal agency in the project. 
  3. Funding for specific projects under the CESU is processed in accordance with agency specifications via the execution of a “modification” or “task order.” Please note that agencies may use different terms for what are essentially task orders under a master agreement.  The use of the term “modification” is a CESU favorite.  Attached is a sample modification, although federal sponsors may use a variation of the sample.
  4. Each federal participating agency has its own agreement number for the Californian CESU.   They will issue “modifications” to their own agreement number.




Bureau of Land Management: BLM # BAA033001

Bureau of Reclamation: USBR# 3FC810873

U.S. Geological Survey–Biological Resources Division: USGS-BRD # 03HQAG0012

National Park Service: NPS # H8C07030001

U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA FS # 03-JV-11272150-307

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: NASA # NCC2-1403


  1. Projects executed under this Agreement may be subject to additional specific terms and conditions as noted by the funding agency, but the general terms of the Californian CESU should not be altered in individual projects.

7.      Projects performed under this Agreement will be subject to indirect cost recovery of 15% of total direct costs for all federal CESU sponsors, except the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, which is prohibited by law from paying indirect costs.  Indirect costs class waiver number 02R-150 is applicable to CESU funded projects.

8.      The 15% overhead limit applies to total direct costs whether they are incurred by a partner, or by a subcontractor.  When a subcontract is contemplated, the 15% will apply to the subcontractor'’ total direct cost.  The CESU partner making the subcontract is not allowed to charge 15% on the first $25,000 of the subcontract as normally permitted by OMB Circular No. A-21.

  1. The SOW must clearly outline the substantial participation of both University and the federal agency in the project.  Projects that do not adequately demonstrate collaboration and active participation of both University and agency personnel should not be executed under this Californian CESU Agreement.  If an agency decides to fund a project that does not meet the Cooperative Agreement criteria, it should be funded via a direct grant from the agency.
  2. In accordance with the terms of the Agreement the host must maintain a record of all projects executed under the CESU.  Copies of all projects executed under this Agreement must be provided to the Californian CESU Administrative Office:

c/o       University of California

            College of Natural Resources

            ATTN: Californian CESU Administrative Office

            101 Giannini Hall

            Berkeley, CA 94720-3100

Or by email attachment to:


  1. Projects will be executed by the Sponsored Projects Office at the Principal Investigator’s home institution (i.e., campus) and that office will function as the office of record for each project executed under the Agreement.
  2. Funding will be awarded directly to that institution and that institution will be responsible for all financial and technical reporting requirements relating to that project.
  3. Each project will be set up as a new project under the Agreement and will be assigned a fund number specific to the project.





Additional information about the CESU can be found on-line at  Questions regarding the California CESU may be directed to the California CESU Administrative Office at UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, Barbara Lane, (510) 643-2203.


Refer: Barbara Lane

(510) 643-2203


Subject: 19



Lourdes DeMattos

(510) 987-9850





David Mears, Director

Director, Research Administration