Budgets for sponsored projects require detailed costs to show a funder the financial plan to cover the costs necessary to completing the proposed scope of work. Developing a budget can be a challenge and take a significant amount of time in the proposal preparation process. In addition to being compliant with sponsor requirements, state and federal laws and university policies, the university is required to observe the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200) issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which requires that all costs are allowable, allocable, reasonable and treated consistently.
When building a project budget, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of costs, direct and indirect. Direct costs can be specifically identified relatively easily and with a high degree of accuracy, as being attributable to a particular sponsored activity. This would include such items as salaries, travel or equipment. Indirect costs are expenses associated with doing business that are not be readily identified as belonging to a particular sponsored activity, but are necessary for the general operation of the department, college and/or university. This would include such items as rent, utilities, professional or administrative personnel.
In addition to the checklist detailing required proposal elements and supporting documents, the Pre-Award Coordinator will provide PIs with a line item internal budget template that calculates salaries and fringe benefits, provides travel projections and applies indirect costs. This will be either a standard budget, where 100% of the project costs are requested from the sponsor or a cost-share budget when the sponsor requires matching funds to be included. The Pre-Award Coordinator will provide the applicable version based on the funding solicitation and will assist in the creation of your project-specific budget and justification, which will ultimately be submitted to the sponsor.
Generally, but not always, the following expense types are included in a project budget.
Salaries and Wages
Materials and Supplies
Equipment or Facility Rental/User Fees
Alterations and Renovations
Maintenance and Support Plans
Indirect Costs (IDC)
These are documents that will provide the details required to fit most sponsor-specific budget and justification formats. Any necessary deviations from these internal templates will be provided to the PI by the Pre-Award Coordinator.
A standard budget workbook should be used for those projects that will last less than one year up to five years and will request 100% of the project funds from an external sponsor.
A cost-share budget workbook should be used for those projects that will last less than one year up to five years and will request some of the funds from an external sponsor and provide matching funds/goods/services from a university or other third-party source.
A justification is required for any budget, but the formatting and level of detail will vary by sponsor. This template is standard for most federal agencies, but may be more, or less, than what is required for other funders. The Pre-Award Coordinator will work with PIs to craft a sponsor-compliant justification.
For forms and templates associated with the proposal preparation process, please see the university forms page under "Sponsored Programs and Research Services".
For policies associated with the proposal preparation process, please see the university policies page under policy management area "RSCH (Research)”.
For a glossary of research administration terms, training materials and other resources, please see the OSPRS Resources and Training page.