Salary Cap

NIH Salary Cap

FY2018 Salary Limits:

Every year since 1990, Congress has legislatively mandated a provision limiting the direct salary that an individual may receive under an NIH grant. On March 7, 2018, NIH issued NOT-OD-18-137 which authorizes institutions to rebudget, where appropriate and consistent with institutional base salary, current Federal awards with individuals at the Executive Level II pay scale.

Effective January 7, 2018, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $189,600. For awards issued in those years that were restricted to Executive Level II (see Salary Cap Summary, FY 1990 – FY 2017), including competing awards already issued in FY2018, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level. However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards.

The Pay Tables for Executive and Senior Level Employees as well as other wage scales issues by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) can be found at:

Institutional Base Salary

The National Institutes of Health defines institutional base salary as follows:

"For the purposes of the salary limitation, the terms "direct salary," "salary," and "institutional base salary" have the same meaning and are exclusive of fringe benefits and facilities and administrative (F&A) expenses, also referred to as indirect costs. An individual's institutional base salary is the annual compensation that the applicant organization pays for an individual's appointment, whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties to the applicant organization."