I thought it might be helpful to point out a few important aspects of proposal budget development.  This is something that is reviewed closely in our Office of Sponsored Programs so moving forward with a clear budget and justification will alleviate much of the last minute stress associated with looming proposal deadlines.

#1: Start your proposal preparations with a draft budget.  The budget will drive your objectives for the project and will help focus you on what is reasonable given the timeframe and budgetary restrictions.

#2: These are the items I consider a “must have” of any project development –

  1. personnel – expressed as either FTE, months requested, or even hourly rates;
  2. benefits or OPE – don’t forget the benefits and be sure to calculate these out separately from the salary base;
  3. travel – many sponsor require at least one person attend an annual meeting (read the guidelines carefully).  This is also a great opportunity for graduate students &/or post-doctoral scholars to work on their presentation skills, include some funds for them to participate as well.  Travel includes mileage, parking, flights, hotel, per diem, transit, etc.;
  4. supplies – this is often greatly underestimated; look at a current project and what you spend monthly…you’ll be surprised at the cost of research disposables;
  5. publications / dissemination costs – include at least a little something to offset the costs associated with project dissemination; and finally
  6. indirect or F&A costs – don’t forget to calculate indirect costs as they are a substantial part of your total costs.

#3: There are a lot of resources but do pay close attention to current OPE, per diem, tuition, and indirect cost rates.  It appears that “Resources” may be the title of my next blog but I’ve posted most of them on our resources webpage (scroll to the bottom). There are also budget building templates there to assist.
Some other quick points of clarification:

  • If you have a subaward (or several) in your budget, we will need a detailed budget breakdown, justification, statement of work and an institutional letter of approval prior to submission.  I encourage you to give your subaward a fixed amount to work with so that it doesn’t affect your budget development efforts.
  • If the sponsor has published a restricted indirect cost rate with their proposal guidelines, OSU will honor this reduced rate.  Make sure to note if it is a rate based on total direct cost or total program costs.

Remember, you can always contact me, Sarah Child &/or Rebecca Ott to quickly put together a draft budget.  All it takes is a quick phone call or email.