The proposed project director/principal investigator (PD/PI) is responsible for providing a complete budget as part of the proposal submission package. The Office of Sponsored Programs created the Budget Wizard to assist in crafting budgets for sponsored research proposal submissions. The campus research community is encouraged to use this tool.
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) must have a copy of the budget for the project file. If the PD/PI does not want the budget to be submitted to the sponsor, it should be marked "DO NOT SEND TO SPONSOR."
OSP generally requires at least 50% advance payment from all foreign sponsors. Read more about foreign sponsor payments.
All costs included in the budget must be both allowable and allocable for the proposed research. These terms are defined in and governed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Requirements (2 CFR 200).
Key Elements of the Budget
While the budget format and detail will vary with individual sponsors, a typical budget normally includes the following:
Salaries and Wages
- To calculate total salaries and wages, list the amount of time that will be spent by any individual serving in any paid capacity on the project.
- Departmental administrative and clerical staff salaries are considered Facilities and Administrative costs (indirect costs) and are not typically charged to sponsored projects. If the sponsored agreement has specific requirements that mandate the use of administrative and clerical staff, or if the project requires significantly more administrative effort or expense, this need must be documented in accordance with the OMB Uniform Requirements and specifically identified in the sponsored agreement. These atypical administrative costs must be described in the budget justification.
- The published Georgia Tech average labor rates may be used in proposal budgets unless individuals are identified by name in the budget. When individuals are identified by name, their actual salaries should be used in the budget estimate.
- No employee may be scheduled for activities in excess of 100% of effort in any given month; this includes research, teaching, and service.
- It is Georgia Tech policy that a principal investigator must devote at least 1% effort to a sponsored program OR a level of effort as required by a sponsor over the term of the award. After the award is granted and accepted, the PI and key personnel are committed to provide that proposed level of effort over the budget period unless the sponsor permits otherwise. Read more about the Georgia Tech's minimum effort policy or watch this video on the minimum effort policy.
- Sponsored activities may not result in any employees receiving compensation at a rate in excess of their authorized salary or academic rate. For multiyear projects, the budget should take into consideration any possible salary increases.
- The fringe benefit rate covers expenses associated with salaries, such as insurance, retirement benefits, etc. These are a direct cost to a sponsored project, are clearly related to the salaries and wages to be paid, and are shown as a separate entry in the budget.
- Full fringe benefit rates are applied to direct salary and wages of full-time employees and to part-time employees who work at least 50% time at Georgia Tech.
- Partial fringe benefits are applied to direct salary and wages of part-time employees who work less than 50% time at the Institute. These employees do not participate in the retirement, group health, and other insurance plans.
- Enrolled students may be employed on sponsored projects, and they are not subject to fringe benefit rate charges.
- Current Rates
Facilities and Administrative Costs (commonly referred to as indirect cost or overhead rates)
- The distribution base used to determine Facilities and Administrative Rates is modified total direct cost (MTDC), as defined by OMB Uniform Requirements. MTDC consists of all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, subgrants, and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 each. It excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for tuition remission, rental costs, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000. Review Georgia Tech's policy on F&A costs.
- Current Rates
- Capital equipment is defined as all property of a capital nature, complete in itself (stands alone), which does not lose its identity, has an anticipated service life greater than 2 years, and has a unit cost of $5,000 or more. The budget should specify the name and manufacturer of the equipment whenever possible. Sponsors may want to see the manufacturer's specifications and price list, particularly if the equipment is very expensive. No F&A costs are applied to this budget category.
Materials and Supplies
- Materials and supplies are defined as (1) consumable supplies, regardless of cost, or (2) equipment with a unit value of under $5,000 or a useful life of less than 2 years.
- Costs for photocopying, publication costs, page charges, reference books and materials, equipment/computer maintenance, service center rates, and contracted services are also categorized as materials and supplies.
- General office supplies, such as staples and pens, may not be allowable on federal grants unless they are related to specific project activities rather than general departmental activities. Budgets that include such items must include a budget justification unique to the project for such materials. A general descriptions of the type of supplies included and a best estimate of their cost can support this budget category.
- For each trip, the budget must outline who will be traveling as well as the proposed destination, purpose, and duration of the trip. An estimated breakdown of expenses for each person traveling should include transportation costs (e.g., roundtrip coach air fare), per diem or living expenses, and any other related expenses such as ground transportation or conference registration fees.
- A subaward, also called subcontract, subgrant, or subagreement, is a formal, written agreement between Georgia Tech and another party to perform a portion of the sponsored project. Subrecipients, including subcontractors and consultants, must be identified in Georgia Tech's proposed budget to ensure that costs are calculated correctly and so that appropriate documentation can be included in the proposal. F&A costs apply to only the first $25,000 of each subcontract.
- The proposed subcontractor must prepare a statement of work and detailed budget signed by an authorized representative of the contractor. Sponsor approval is required prior to entering into a subcontract. If it is a vendor relationship, no sponsor approval is required unless specified in the award terms and conditions.
- When a sponsored research subaward is proposed, Georgia Tech must perform a budget cost price analysis to ensure that the agreement provides fair and reasonable contract prices.
Graduate Student Tuition Remission Program (GSTRP)
- Graduate student tuition is charged to sponsored projects using a standard negotiated monthly rate. No F&A costs are applied to this budget category.
- For more information on the Graduate Tuition Remission program, visit the Graduate Studies & Admissions site.
- Current Rates
- Individuals currently employed by Georgia Tech should be listed under Salaries and Wages and not included under Consultants. A consultant is an individual or a firm offering professional or specialized services for a fixed rate or fee. Georgia Tech only controls the direction of the consultant's work with respect to work objectives and desired results and not the methodology for achieving the results. If you plan to use a consultant, include the following information in your budget and budget justification: consultant name and title, daily fee, number of days engaged, and any other expenses (e.g., travel).
- There is considerable variation in sponsor policies relative to budget revisions. Award terms and/or sponsor agency guidelines must be consulted when revisions are contemplated. To the extent possible, budget revisions should reflect all necessary reallocations of resources that are foreseen through the end of the budget period. If prior sponsor approval is required for a budget revision, a request is made to the program officer as designated in the award — either via an online system, email, or a letter — sufficiently detailing the revision and justification. Once approved by the sponsor, the budget revision will be initiated by OSP.