The filing of your “Intent to Submit” form alerts MCRI staff (Sponsored Programs, Scientific Writing and Clinical Research) of your potential need for assistance with developing a budget and completing some of the various components of your proposal. MCRI staff will work with you to develop a timeline for completion of your proposal. 

To facilitate the process start early and adhere to application instructions/criteria. Budget development should occur as early as possible once the major points of the project protocol are decided and it is clear what resources are necessary for the project.  

As you begin to develop a budget for your research grant application and put all of the relevant costs down on paper, many questions may arise. Your best resources for answering these questions are Sponsored Programs, Administrators and Project Management staff. Carefully read the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for budget criteria. You should look for limits on the types of expenses (e.g. no construction allowed), spending caps on certain expenses (e.g. travel limited to $10,000), whether indirect costs are allowed, and overall funding limits (e.g. total costs cannot exceed $300,000 per year). Keep the following in mind:

  • What should be considered a direct cost or indirect cost?
  • What is the fringe benefit rate?
  • What Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are allowable?
  • What costs are necessary and reasonable to complete the work described in your proposal?

Click here to view a detailed description of the NIH budget development process.

Examples of potential direct research cost categories that need to be itemized when planning a budget:

  • Project staff salaries/benefits (based on % time of effort)
  • Travel
  • Postage/Shipping
  • Participant costs (i.e. subject reimbursements, patient care related costs, etc.)
  • Copying/Printing
  • Telephone
  • Subcontracts (i.e. for project work contracted to collaborating investigators/institutions) – See paragraph regarding subcontracts below.
  • Equipment
  • Reagents and consumables

In addition to direct costs, indirect costs are also included in the budget for external proposals. MCRI’s current federally approved indirect cost rates are 60% for organized research and 20% for community service and educational activities.

When working with external collaborators, please be aware that many institutions require complete budget information two weeks in advance of the funding agency’s proposal due date or they may not process the budget.

Written budget justifications are required for all cost categories for which funding is being requested. For investigators and other project staff, this includes a description of their role on the project.