Proposal Preparation & Submission

Create a Budget

Identify Project Costs
Salaries & Wages

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 appointments on external grants or contracts at a weekly rate not to exceed 2.5 percent of the previous academic-year salary (AYS). Ordinarily, summer appointments are for nine weeks (22.5 percent of the AYS). Appointments may extend to a maximum of eleven weeks (27.5 percent of AYS) if permitted by the agency.

While appointments to a maximum of thirteen weeks full-time (32.5 percent AYS) may be requested, appointments in excess of eleven weeks, whether wholly or partly supported by grant or contract funds, are strongly discouraged. Exceptions to the eleven-week (27.5 percent) limitation will be made only with justification and with approval, in advance, by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Dean of Faculties.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits must be included in proposal budgets for all Indiana University personnel. The rate varies depending upon the type of appointment. Rates change annually on July 1.

Consultant Costs

Include a daily or hourly rate and the number of days or hours the consultant will be working on this project. The consultant's qualifications should be included in the proposal or budget narrative. Include a letter of support for the proposal.


Itemize and justify all equipment. Describe how it is needed in relation to the technical work to be performed. It is a good idea to provide the source of your estimate. For example, you may have received a vendor quote for an item or the estimate may be based on prior experience.

At Indiana University the current threshold for equipment is $5000. An item, which you would normally consider to be equipment but costs less than $5000, should be called Expendable Equipment and be listed in the Other category. For more detail, refer to the Equipment Policy.

Computers are not normally supported on grants, but if they are needed for the project they must be very carefully justified.


Indiana University reimburses lodging at reasonable and actual costs. Per diem is reimbursed at the rates used by the federal government unless limited by the agency. Mileage should be based on the established IU rate multiplied by the number of miles. Special rules apply if international travel is involved. Airfare should be budgeted at the coach rate for domestic travel.

Think about the needs for each trip and provide the detail for each expense item. It is also important to describe the purpose of the travel in the budget narrative. Agencies vary greatly in their requests for detail concerning travel. Keep this in mind when deciding how much detail to provide. Think about the reviewer's point of view in providing justification. You want to make their job as easy as possible by providing enough information to understand the basis for costs for the funds requested.

Patient Care Costs

Expenses for this category include costs of any laboratory or clinical procedures that are conducted in an out-patient clinic or in-patient facility.

Participant Support

Expenses for this category include costs of transportation, per diem, stipends, and other related costs for participants or trainees (who are not IU employees) in connection with conferences, meetings, training activities, or workshops.


Supplies include expendable items used for the project. Include a description, estimate and subtotal for the category. Examples of supplies include: laboratory supplies, computer software costing less than $5000, film, medical supplies, computer supplies, and pharmaceuticals. These costs should usually be grouped rather than each item listed individually so as to allow flexibility when the award is set up (i.e. computer supplies $150 rather than 5 flash drives $100, computer cables $50).


Projects with subcontractors need to obtain the following:

  • Budget
  • Budget justification or budget narrative
  • Work statement
  • Letter of support (available on the Forms, Samples & Application Guides page.) signed by the authorizing official of the subcontracting institution
  • Copy of the subcontractors F&A rate agreement (if applicable)

The total of the subcontractor's budget is included in the Indiana University budget on one line called subcontractor or consortium costs. If you have more than one subcontractor, the documents are required for each and the total for each subcontractor is listed on the Indiana University budget.

Other Costs

This category is used to include various items such as telephone long distance tolls, photocopy costs, graduate student fee remission, expendable equipment, contractual services, honoraria, and subject payments.

Facilities & Administration Costs (F&A)

All projects should include facilities and administration costs unless the agency restricts these costs in their guidelines. F&A can also be referred to as overhead or indirect costs.

Budgeting for Future Years

All costs including salaries can be increased by a modest cost of living percentage, historically 3% has been used.

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