Common Elements of a Budget

Personnel – For each project participant, list the salary, title, and type of appointment (e.g., academic (9 month) or calendar year (12 month)). Necessary personnel can include the Principal Investigator, other faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, Graduate Students, and other personnel. The following information may be of assistance:

Effort - Principal Investigators should review the Effort Reporting Policy. Northwestern requires a commitment of effort for each period of the project except for project types specifically excluded.  General statements for faculty with NU-NMFF appointments can be found here.

Fringe Benefits – The University has negotiated four distinct employee benefit rates as identified within its fringe benefit rate agreement with DHHS.  For questions related to eligibility under any of the indicated rate categories, see HR Benefit Eligibility or the FASIS manual.  Fringe costs that are not allowable because of sponsor guidelines, or which are ineligible by HR appointment, cannot be incorporated into the proposal budget.

Computers less than $5,000.

Consultants – Consultants must provide a letter identifying the service that will be provided, the daily or hourly rate, the number of days or hours that will be worked, and any additional project expenses.

Equipment – Capital Equipment items cost $5,000 or more and have a life expectancy of at least one year. All equipment in the proposed budget should be itemized and justified, identifying how it will be used in the project.  Provide the source of the estimate in the budget justification.  Any equipment that will not be owned by Northwestern must include applicable F&A costs.  High Performance computing hardware purchased through Quest (over $5,000) is budgeted and expensed as Capital Equipment. The following resource may be of assistance: Equipment Policy Manual.

Materials & Supplies – Laboratory or research materials/items necessary for use on the project. Equipment costing less than $5,000, and not restricted by institutional policy, should be included as supplies in the budget and included within the applicable F&A base.

Research Subjects  Projects anticipating use of animals and/or human research participants should complete appropriate forms and obtain approvals where necessary.

Subcontracts – Anticipated agreements with other institutions, corporations, and entities should include an endorsed letter of intent, Statements of Work, approved budgets and all other information required within the FOA.

Travel – Domestic and Foreign travel that is relevant to the project goals and appropriate per the FOA and/or sponsor guidelines. Costs should be separated into domestic and foreign (if foreign travel is allowable).  Sponsor guidelines may be specific as to the allowability or limits of travel costs. See also Northwestern Travel Policy.

Tuition – Tuition for graduate student Research Assistants (RAS) must be charged to the project where their effort is charged.  Applicable tuition rates are available from Student Financial Services.

Other Costs – other costs to be identified within the budget may be publication costs, laboratory services, participant support costs.  Check specific guidelines for information as to how to identify these costs within your budget.

F&A Costs – F&A Costs are incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be identified readily or specifically with a particular sponsored project, or any other institutional activity. Check the DHHS rate agreement for the applicable rate to be applied to your budget based on the type of activity and if work will be done on or off campus.

All projects should include F&A costs unless restricted by the sponsor’s written policies.

For information on what may be exempt from F&A in your budget, along with the definitions of TDC and MTDC, refer to the F&A page or the most recent DHHS rate agreement.

Budget Justification – A detailed justification should be included with every proposal based on the instructions as provided in the FOA.