Budget Development

A project budget is a key component of a grant proposal as the budget defines the amount of funding necessary to conduct the project. A reviewer can determine a great deal about a project based on the associated budget, and often uses that budget to determine whether the project is feasible.

Typical budget categories include (click on the links listed below to jump to that section on this page):

Personnel Costs

Identify the personnel who will be involved with the conduct of the project and determine the percentage of effort required. The salary amount is calculated by multiplying the percentage of effort by the individual salary. (example: 30% effort x $100,000 salary = $30,000)

Faculty Summer Salary

Faculty on academic-year appointments may receive summer salary on external grants as defined by guidelines set by the Office of the Provost. Faculty members may earn additional summer salary at the same base salary up to the monthly full-time rate of 1/9, normally not to exceed two ninths and absolutely capped at three ninths. Payment of a third ninth is exceptional and is always subject to advance Provost approval. Faculty may not receive additional compensation in the form of summer ninths for work performed during the academic year.

  • Information regarding the above policy can be found on the Faculty Affairs page on the Office of the Provost Web site.
  • The NIH salary cap of $181,500 (Executive Level II salary) is in effect as of January 12, 2014 as noted in NOT-OD-14-052. Accordingly, summer salary charges to NIH grants are limited to a maximum of $15,125 per month; additional salary to compensate faculty member to the equivalent of 1/9 academic year salary for a full summer month's compensation should be covered by the PI's discretionary funds. As a reminder, Funded Research Incentive or "IDC" accounts cannot be used to cover summer salary.


The document explaining the policy for Faculty Course Buy-outs can be found here.

Main Campus Research Position Summaries

[[{"fid":"151","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default"},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"file media-element file-default"}}]]

HR: Manager Resources

Student Costs

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences encourages all faculty members to write student support costs onto their grants wherever applicable. Current rates are as follows:


Capital Equipment is equipment that is durable (useful life greater than one year), portable and has a cost which equals or exceeds $5,000 as established by the University in accordance with federal guidelines. Refer to definitions for detail on Georgetown University’s capitalization threshold.

Expensed Equipment is equipment that is not durable (useful life is one year or less), portable or has a cost below certain thresholds established by Georgetown University in accordance with federal guidelines. Refer to definitions for detail on Georgetown University’s capitalization threshold.

For more information on purchasing guidelines for equipment, refer to the Equipment Manual on the Financial Affairs Web site.


Travel is classified as domestic or foreign. Domestic travel includes trips within the U.S., its possessions and territories, and Canada only. Domestic and foreign travel should be shown separately. Include transportation costs (coach airfare, Fly America Act compliant), registration fees, accommodation fees, and other related expenses. GSA domestic and U.S. Department of State foreign per diem rates should be consulted and used as a reference for hotel and meals/incidentals. Justifications and identification of the travelers are required for each trip.

Additionally, although per diem rates can be used in the proposal budgeting process as a guide for estimating costs for travel to a particular city, the University's Travel Policy requires original receipts to reimburse travel costs, but a per diem option will be available in FY15-16 using standard GSA rates. The exception is that a travel log may be kept for meal expenses under $10 and non-meal expenses under $25. The log must contain specific detail for all costs.


A consultant is an individual or entity that provides expert or professional advice or service on a topic germane to the sponsored project. List each consultant, their specialty or service to the project, and their daily, weekly or monthly rate of reimbursement, and show the consultant's total projected cost on the project. Include in the proposal a letter of collaboration and the consultant's curriculum vitae or biographical sketch.

***Please note: A consultant is not the same as a subcontractor. To determine whether an individual or entity is a consultant or subcontractor, refer to our Pre-Award FAQ page.

Subcontract (or Subward)

Contracting to other organization(s) of some scientific or programmatic aspect of the grant or contract made originally to Georgetown. Include in the main proposal the subcontractor's (subawardee's) authorized proposal, letter of intent, statement of work, and budget with justification. All subcontract (subaward) agreements must be negotiated and drafted by the Office of Research Services (ORS).

***Please note: A subcontractor or subawardee is not the same as a consultant. To determine whether an individual or organization is a consultant or subcontractor, refer to our Pre-Award FAQ page.

Other Associated Costs

Other associated costs need to be delineated in the budget and their use justified in the budget narrative. Typically these costs include items such as long distance telephone charges, data service, equipment use, research publications, fees, animal per diem costs, student tuition or health insurance, or other project related costs not included in the other categories.

Indirect Costs

Budgets submitted to federal agencies must reflect the appropriate indirect cost rates as established in the University’s federal negotiated F&A Rate Agreement. Applications to non-federal entities should reflect the appropriate rate unless otherwise specified by the sponsoring agency (e.g., Department of Education Title VI awards are capped at an 8% indirect cost rate). Investigators who wish to request a reduced rate must first submit a formal request to their unit head (chair/director) and provide ample justification for the reduced rate. The unit head will then confer with their respective dean. If decanal endorsement is granted, the investigator would then need to formally petition the Associate Provost who will render the final decision.

These rates are readily available on our GU Rates and Numbers page. Please refer to the NICRA (negotiated rate agreement with the DHHS, signed 04/11/14) or the Office of Sponsored Programs for a full rendering of the terms.

Multi-Year Projects

A project that is expected to be funded for more than one year should include an itemized budget for each year regardless of the agency’s guidelines. This requirement applies also to proposals submitted to the NIH in modular format. Budgets should be prepared using Excel with relevant costs delineated by project year and conclude with a cumulative summary for the entire proposed project period. Indirect costs must be calculated on each project budget.