The budget is a key element in any proposal because it outlines the projects in fiscal terms and is often used by reviewers to form an impression of how the project will be organized. If a preliminary proposal is submitted with an unrealistic budget, it becomes very difficult to request increases in the final proposal. Arrange for early discussions on the budget with the Office of Sponsored Programs staff.
The major budget item is often salaries-a broad category that must be broken into personnel classifications such as professional and support staff. Salary levels and the percentages of time spent on the project should be indicated. Fringe benefits are calculated on all salaries. See the fringe benefit rates in the appendix. Other budget items are office and laboratory supplies, computer time, travel expenses, equipment, and indirect costs/facilities and administrative (F&A) costs. If UW-Platteville is providing partial support for the project, cost sharing, it must be indicated in the budget. Assistance is available in the Office of Sponsored Programs to develop and fine-tune the budget.
The principal investigator's best estimate of the financial support required to carry out the statement of work should be presented in detail in the proposed budget. A reasonably detailed explanation of budget categories should be provided in the budget narrative. When undertaking a research project, there are two components of costs, direct costs which are attributed to the specific project and indirect costs which are incurred by the university for the general support and management of the project.
Salaries and Wages: List professional/professorial personnel first, followed by classified personnel (clerical, technical postitions), LTE's, part-time and students. Professional/professorial staff salary figures should include the percentage of effort he/she will devote to the project. Part-time and non-professional personnel hours may be an estimate. Consultants should not be included in this category. Care should be taken to anticipate and provide for annual merit and promotional rate increases. Generally, the department secretary and administrative support are not included, however, any individual specifically assigned to the project should be listed at the appropriate level of participation. It is appropriate to request summer salary support for academic year personnel. When requested, the amount cannot exceed 2/9th of the full-time previous academic year salary. Exceptions must receive prior approval from the provost. In all cases, summer salaries shown must be determined and approved in accordance with university policies. Proposal funds cannot be used to augment salaries beyond the university-approved rate. See Summer Appointment Policy in the Appendix.
Fringe Benefits: All proposals submitted for funding must include fringe benefits. Fringe benefits, expressed as a percentage of salaries and wages, include items such as social security, state retirement, health insurance, life insurance, unemployment compensation and disability. Fringe benefit rates vary according to the personnel calssification. However, average rates for different categories of appointment are used for assessing the charges to the grant or contract. Care should be taken to anticipate and provide for annual increases in the fringe benefit rate. Rates are updated annually. See Fringe Benefit Rates in the Appendix or at http://www.uwplatt.edu/~sponprog/fringe.html.
Supplies: Identify as specifically as possible the types of consumable supplies needed for the project. List each.
Equipment: Include the costs of specific equipment acquired for use in the project. Provide an explanation for the expenditure as well as listing the item and cost of each piece.
Computer Use: If your project requires computer time from an outside source, provide documentation of the approved rate for the time and the necessary supporting services. If the porposed work includes the purchase or use of computer hardware or software, it is important that the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Services review the proposal to insure that the technology and/or software can be supported on campus.
Student Stipends: Student stipends can only be requested on training grants.
Space and Facilities: If the proposed work requests funds to build a facility, remodel or rent space, the budget must include a detailed explanation of these costs. The basis for this item will be estimates you receive from the director of space management. If the work is off-campus, the budget should include rent, utilities, custodial care and other costs that may be incurred.
Miscellaneous: Where supporting funding agency regulations permit, the budget should include appropriate amounts for miscellaneous costs such as telephone, fax, freight charges, equipment maintenance, rental service contract charges, postage, etc.
The Board of Regents has mandated that we must request the maximum indirect cost rate, which the funding agency will pay, up to our federally negotiated rate. If a funding source won't pay our full indirect cost rate, we will list the indirect costs as a match. They are real costs; if the funding agency won't pay them, the university must. Indirect costs are expressed as a percentage of the salaries, wages and fringe benefits. They provide reimbursement of expenses incurred in conducting or supporting the project. Extramural proposals MUST request indirect costs to cover expenditures such as administrative costs and maintenance of physical facilities and utilities that are not readily identified with a specific project. The current rate is 44% of salaries, wages and fringe benefits. Some federal agencies (e.g. NSF & NIH) will pay the full rate for most of their programs. Others will pay a smaller rate. For example, the US Department of Education typically pays 8% and the US Department of Agriculture will pay 19% of total direct costs. A few federal agencies, most state and local agencies, and virtually all private foundations refuse to pay any indirect costs at all. Be sure to read the guidelines carefully.
Indirect costs are usually divided into the following categories:
Federal agencies generally require the university to demonstrate its participation in the total costs of any project supported by a research grant. Flexibility is allowed in determining how the university shares in the cost of a project, however, since the cost sharing is audited, it should be limited to contributed faculty salaries, related fringe benefits and indirect costs whenever possible. The university can supply cash, services or facilities to match the percentage of the grant. Some agencies have established minimum cost sharing guidelines for research grants.
The proposal should summarize all of the principal investigator's current and pending extramural support. The information should include the sources of support, the project title, amount funded, and the budget period.
References should be selected carefully. Generally, references discussed in the proposal should be included. A reviewer will be interested in assessing the relevance of the listed studies to the proposed project.