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Budget Preparation


PIs and RBMs work collaboratively to develop project budgets. RBMs review all budgets paying specific attention to budget limits set by the funding announcement, allowable costs, effort limits, and indirect costs.  Depending on the project, other offices are engaged during this process including, but not limited to, core facilities, clinical trials financial managements, etc. RBMs also enter the budget into eSPA prior to submission, and reconcile budgets in eSPA when necessary, after an award is received. PIs should reach out to their RBM as soon as they know they are submitting a grant to begin working on the budget.

The NIH uses two different formats for budget submission depending on the total direct costs requested and the activity code used, the R&R Budget Form and, the PHS 398 Modular Budget Form. To determine whether to use a detailed versus modular budget for your NIH application, see the flowchart below. 

Modular Budgets request up to a total of $250,000 of direct costs per year (in modules of $25,000, excluding consortium F&A costs). In order to determine how many modules you should request, subtract any consortium F&A from the total direct costs, and then round to the nearest $25,000 increment. 

A modular budget justification should include: 

  • Personnel Justification: The Personnel Justification should include the name, role, and number of person-months devoted to this project for every person on the project. Salary and fringe benefit rate should not be included in the justification, however the legislatively mandated salary cap should be used when calculating your budget. 
  • Consortium Justification: Consortium/subcontract, should be include the total costs (direct costs plus F&A costs), rounded to the nearest $1,000, for each consortium/subcontract. Additionally, any personnel should include their roles and person months; if the consortium is foreign, that should be stated as well. 
  • Additional Narrative Justification: Additional justification should include explanations for any variations in the number of modules requested annually. In addition, this section should describe any direct costs that were excluded from the total direct costs (such as equipment, tuition remission) and any work being conducted off-site, especially if it involves a foreign study site or an off-site F&A rate.