NIH Modular Budget Spreadsheet Preparation Instructions

Page Updated: March 21st, 2017

For answers to questions concerning proposal preparation, including appropriate budget preparation, please contact your College or School research administrator.

An additional resource is guidance on Allowable Direct Costs on Sponsored Projects.

Features of the NIH Modular Spreadsheet
Enter the number of years and an inflation factor on the Title page and the spreadsheet will automatically calculate subsequent years. Select a Salary Category from the pop-down menu and the spreadsheet will automatically enter the correct fringe benefit rate. Select "Copy Previous Year" on Salaries & Wages after the first year and the spreadsheet will automatically inflate salary and fringe benefit rates. Percent effort can be overridden in case of a change and the system will recalculate. Modular page adds total direct cost, divides by the number of years proposed and rounds to the next highest $25,000 module. This is a suggested amount. Use your discretion in preparing the final figures.

Detailed Help

Title Page
Enter the name of the sponsor, the title of the project, the beginning and end dates of the project, the number of years of the project in whole numbers (always round up), and the name of the Principal Investigator in the appropriate fields.

Indirect Cost Rate
In general, when entering the indirect cost rate and base, please use the University of Wisconsin-Madison negotiated rates which can be found at F&A and Fringe Benefit Rates.

Detailed information on the policy of collecting indirect cost is provided in RSP Notice 98-4.

For a listing of the negotiated indirect cost rate see: the Indirect Cost Rate Table in the spreadsheet.

For a listing of non-federal indirect cost rate exceptions see: the Index of Non-Federal Indirect Cost Exceptions.

Indirect Cost Base
The indirect cost base indicates the type of calculation used for determining the indirect costs.

Three main types exist:

  • MTDC = Modified Total Direct Cost: All direct project costs excluding:
    • Equipment (over $5,000)
    • Subcontracts in excess of $25,000
    • Capital expenditures
    • Rental and lease costs
    • Participant support costs
    • Patient care
    • Tuition remission
    • Scholarships and fellowships
  • TDC = Total Direct Cost: All direct project costs
  • Salary, Wage & Fringe: Calculation using only salary, wage, and fringe benefit costs to be charged to the project.

Inflation Rate
An inflation rate of 3% is used automatically to calculate dollar amounts for supplies, travel, services, and sub-agreements for subsequent years.

F&A Rate Table
This table provides the current indirect cost rates for research, instruction, and public service.

Fringe Benefits Table
Category: For assistance in determining which salary category a specific job title belongs, consult your school/college personnel administrators. See the RSP Website for current fringe rates.

Rates: This table provides the current fringe benefit rates.

(NOTE: Fringe benefit rates used in the spreadsheet calculations for year 1 are 1% higher than the rates on this table to allow for contingencies. In addition, a 1% increase to the fringe benefit rates is automatically calculated for each subsequent year. Fringe rates may be manually overwritten.)

Salaries and Wages (Years 1 through 5)
These pages list the salaries and fringe benefits for project personnel.

The pages will calculate the salaries for Academic ("C" basis) and Annual ("A" basis) appointments based on the data entered in the Salary & Wage Base, Pay Basis, Months, and Effort fields. Salaries for Hourly ("H" basis) appointments are not calculated; the amount of requested salary should be entered in the Salary and Wage Base field. Pay Basis, Months, and Effort fields for Hourly appointments are informational only.

(NOTE: Payments to UW Hospital employees for salary reimbursements should be included on the Services worksheet.)

This form is limited to 16 people. If you have more than that, please group like positions together (i.e. 5 graduate students).

For Year 2 and beyond, the "Copy Previous Year" button will copy the data entered in the previous year to load the spreadsheet. The copied data automatically includes a 4% (or your modified rate) inflation increase for all salaries and a 1% increase for all fringe benefits. All data copied from the previous year is modifiable.

Instructions

Name: Enter the name of the person to be paid on this project. If the name of the person is not known at this time, enter "TBD" (to be determined). A name or TBD is required; do not leave field blank.

Title: Enter the working title of the person to be paid on this project (Examples: Principal Investigator, Professor, Research Assistant, etc.). If the working title of the person is not known at this time, enter "TBD" (to be determined) or leave field blank.

Salary Category: Select from the field's pull-down box the appropriate salary category for the person to be paid on this project. For assistance in determining the appropriate personnel salary categories, consult your school/college personnel administrators or research administrators.

Salary & Wage Base: For academic ("C" basis) and annual ("A" basis) appointments, enter the full-time salary rate (including salary to be paid from other funding sources). For hourly ("H" basis) appointments, enter only the portion of salary to be charged to the project.

Pay Basis: Select from the field's pull-down box the appropriate pay basis.

Months: Enter the number of months the person is to be paid on this project. The default values for this field are "9" for academic ("C" basis) appointments, "12" for annual ("A" basis) appointments, and "blank" for hourly ("H" basis) appointments.

Effort: Enter the percentage of time that will be devoted to this project by the person to be paid. The default value is "100".

Requested Salary: For academic and annual appointments, this field is calculated by the formula: (salary & wage base) x (months) x (effort)

For hourly appointments, the requested salary is the same as the salary & wage base. The values in this column cannot be changed.

Fringe Rate: Indicate the requested fringe benefits rate. The default value is equal to the current rates as indicated in the fringe benefits table, plus a 1% contingency factor.

Fringe Benefits: This field is calculated by the formula: (requested salary) x (fringe rate). The values in this column cannot be changed.

Example Calculations:

Professor Smith is paid on an annual basis $72,000. His salary category is regular faculty at the current rate of 39.7% (FY 2017). This rate is increased by 1% to equal 40.7% on the worksheet for Year 1. He will work on the project for 12 months at 30% effort. The calculation of his requested salary and fringe benefits is as follows:

$72,000 x 12 months x 30% = $21,600 x 40.7% = $8,791
requested salary = $21,600; fringe benefits = $8,791

Professor Jones is also paid $72,000 but on an academic basis. Her salary category is also regular faculty so it appears as 40.7% on the worksheet. She is requesting 2 months of summer salary for a project she will spend 75% of her time on. The calculation of her requested salary and fringe benefits is as follows:

$72,000 x 2 months / 9 months x 75% = $12,000 x 40.7% = $4,884
requested salary = $12,000; fringe benefits = $4,884

Mr. Miller is a student hourly for the salary category (fringe rate on worksheet = 3.3%) and the pay basis is hourly. The dollars committed to pay this student is $6,000. This student will only work on the project during the school year or 9 months. When entered into the worksheet the salary & wage base is $6,000 and 9 months for the project. For hourly (H basis) the salary & wage base is equal to the requested salary. The calculation of his requested salary and fringe benefits is as follows:

$6,000 9 months 100% = $6,000 x 3.3% = $198
requested salary = $6,000; fringe benefits = $198

Tuition Remission
Tuition Remission is charged as a flat fee for each PA/RA per year. To ensure that you request sufficient funds in your proposal, enter the appropriate academic term as well as the number of PAs/RAs that will be working on your project.

Supplies
The federal definition of "Supplies" does not include office supplies or other supplies that are not directly allocable and allowable to the specific project. (See 2 CFR 200, Subpart E.) These costs are figured into the University's indirect cost base calculation.

If the supply costs are allowable, they are defined as any item that individually costs less than $5,000, or items with a useful life of less than one year. Several categories are provided to illustrate the type of items to include as supplies.

Definitions/Examples (all items individually cost less than $5,000):

  • Research/Lab Supplies: Chemicals, glassware, medical and surgical supplies, lab utensils, seeds, fertilizers, etc.
  • Equipment & Furniture-Research: Microscopes, appliances, etc.
  • Equipment & Furniture-Office: Fax machines, telephones, desks, chairs, etc.
  • Equipment & Furniture-Computer: Desktop personal computers, laptop computers, printers, etc.
  • Experimental Animals: Live animals (mice, rats, rabbits, etc.) used for laboratory research purposes.
  • Fuel for Vehicles: Gasoline, diesel, other fuels, used in UW/State owned and leased vehicles.
  • Printing & Duplicating: Not general purpose
  • Publication & Reprints: Manuscript covers, graphics, binding materials, page charges, etc.
  • Drafting/Photo/Film Processing: Film, microfilm, framing and matting materials, etc.
  • Other Supplies: Medicine, drugs, safety glasses, paint, etc.

Enter each amount into the cell corresponding to the first year in which each supply will be needed. The spreadsheet will automatically multiply that amount by the appropriate yearly inflation rate and enter the amounts for the subsequent years into the appropriate cells. This automatic calculation can be overridden by typing new values directly into the desired cells or by using the delete key to delete the calculated value in the cell.

Equipment and Other Capital
This category includes items that individually cost $5,000 or more and have a useful life of more than one year.

Exceptions to the $5,000 limitation: 1) construction/fabrication component-parts; 2) items over $5,000, but paid from multiple funding sources; and 3) all permanent additions to libraries. Other items that individually cost less than $5,000 should be included in the supplies or services categories.

Equipment is excluded from indirect cost calculations when using the MTDC base.

Examples (all items $5,000 or more and a useful life of more than one year):

  • Research/Lab Equipment: Ion accelerators, seismographs, X-ray equipment, cardiographs, etc.
  • Office Equipment: Copy machines, etc.
  • Computer Equipment: Computer mainframe, mass storage devices, servers, communication cables, etc.
  • Other Equipment: Livestock, vehicles, furniture, etc.

Definitions for equipment items with costs less than $5,000:

  • Construction/Fabrication Components: Any integral part used in the building of a piece of equipment.
  • Equipment to be purchased on multiple funds: Costs of equipment items that are shared on more than one funding source. For example, a $10,000 piece of equipment to be acquired for four grants, each paying $2,500 for the total cost.
  • Permanent Additions to Library: Books, periodicals, audiovisual media, etc. for use by the general student and faculty community.

Travel
Transportation, lodging, meal, and other related costs for travel necessary to conduct project or travel for professional meetings and development. Domestic and foreign travel should be separated. List items in appropriate category including costs associated with UW sponsored events.

Additional information on the UW guidelines for reimbursing travel is available on the Accounting Services travel web page.

Definitions/Examples:

  • Domestic: Travel inside the 48 contiguous states of the US.
    • Fleet Charges: Costs to departments for use of UW/State cars, vans, aircraft, etc.
    • Conferences/Conventions: Transportation, lodging, meals, registration fees, etc. incurred while attending conferences/conventions, etc. in the 48 contiguous states of the US.
    • Business/Research Travel: Transportation, lodging, meals, per diems, etc. incurred while traveling to perform assigned duties or research activities in the 48 contiguous states of the US.
    • Other Travel: Job-applicant interviewing expenses, moving expenses, temporary lodging reimbursements, etc.
  • Conference & Meeting Expenses (UW hosted events):
    • Meals/Refreshments: Cost of food and beverages for meals and refreshment breaks for participants incurred for hosting a meeting, conference, seminar, etc.
    • Lodging & Transportation: o Cost of hotels and travel for participants incurred for hosting a meeting, conference, seminar, etc.
    • Space & Equipment Rental: Cost of rental of meeting space and equipment (audiovisual, etc.) used to host a meeting, conference, seminar, etc.
    • Additional information on UW hosted conference and meeting expenses is available from the Business Services Guide to Planning Meetings.
  • Foreign: Same charges as domestic; travel outside the 48 contiguous states of the US; per UW policy, travel to Alaska, Hawaii, and all US territories and possessions are considered foreign locations.

Enter each amount into the cell corresponding to the first year of travel. The spreadsheet will automatically multiply that amount by the appropriate yearly inflation rate and enter the amounts for the subsequent years into the appropriate cells. This automatic calculation can be overridden by typing new values directly into the desired cells or by using the delete key to delete the calculated value in the cell.

Participant Support Costs
Participant support costs are direct costs to support individuals who are receiving a training opportunity as part of a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored award. Costs may include stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants (not employees).

Participant support costs may be included in an NIH budget only if specifically identified as allowable in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. For the purposes of the Kirschstein-NRSA program, the term “participant support costs” does not apply.

Additional information on participant support costs is available at this link.

Other Direct Charges
The federal definition of "Other Direct Charges" are those charges that are directly allocable and allowable to the specific project. (See 2 CFR 200, Subpart E.)

Includes tuition remission (see the "Excluded from MTDC section") goods, assistance, or technical expertise from University units, outside vendors and individuals.

Definitions/Examples:

  • Lab Animal Care & per diem: Costs of lab animals and their care provided by animal care facilities
  • Postage & Overnight Delivery: Stamps, postal cards, stamped envelopes, express delivery (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.) charges.
  • Telephone (long distance or dedicated lines): Long distance toll calls, telephone line charges for phones dedicated exclusively to project. (NOTE: All other types of telephone charges are not appropriate to include in an extramural support budget.)
  • Research Subjects: Direct payments to an individual who serves as a research subject.
  • Consultants: Payments for professional, instructional, or vocational services. Includes honoraria and payments resulting from Academic Support Service agreements. Examples of services include: data collection, surveys, technical writing, translating, etc. (NOTE: Sub-agreements should not be included, see below.)
  • Computing Services & Software: Computer time, data processing, programming, data entry, software, etc.
  • Services Provided by Other UW/State Departments: Services purchased from a UW/State department (DoIT, Physical Plant, Animal Care Unit, Soil Analysis Lab, etc.)
  • Maintenance/Service Agreements: Cost of agreements to maintain or repair equipment, vehicles, office machines, etc.
  • Subscriptions: UW business related subscriptions to newspapers, periodicals, and cable TV services.
  • Memberships: Usually not allowable as per the UW's Cost Accounting Standards.
  • Job Related Training & Education: Costs associated with training: 1) required by the employer or 2) required as a condition to retention of the position or status (e.g., continuing professional education courses) or 3) taken to maintain or improve skills required in present work.
  • Personnel Services (e.g. Hospital Staff): Payments for salary reimbursement for work performed by non-UW staff. (NOTE: All payments to UW staff should be included on the Salaries and Wages worksheets.)
  • Other Services: Advertising, etc.

The following categories are excluded in the indirect cost calculations if the MTDC base is used:

  • Tuition Remission: Tuition remission is an allowable cost for helping to defray the tuition charges to the University for Research and Project/Program Assistants and is charged against all federal and non-federal sources of such support.
  • Rentals & Leases for Space and/or Land: Payments for use of buildings, workspace, land, conference rooms, etc.
  • Equipment Rentals & Leases: Payments for rental of use of equipment.
  • Patient Care Costs: Hospital and associated costs for inpatient and outpatient treatment.
  • Grant/Aid/Lump Sum Support/Research Support: Grants or re-grants to organizations or support and travel payments to individuals. Do not include reimbursements or payments to UW employees or to nonemployees who render a service to the UW.
  • Student Aid/Tuition & Fees: Payments for individuals registered as students in the UW System and receiving degree-counting credit.
  • Alteration and Renovation Costs: Allowable only with prior sponsor approval.
  • Participant Support Costs: Participant support costs are direct costs to support individuals who are receiving a training opportunity as part of a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other short-term instructional or information sharing activity funded by a sponsored award. Costs may include stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants (not employees). Only allowable if specifically identified in the NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement. For the purposes of the Kirschstein-NRSA program, the term “participant support costs” does not apply.

Enter each amount into the cell corresponding to the first year that each service will be needed. The spreadsheet will automatically multiply that amount by the appropriate yearly inflation rate and enter the amounts for the subsequent years into the appropriate cells. This automatic calculation can be overridden by typing new values directly into the desired cells or by using the delete key to delete the calculated value in the cell.

Sub-agreements/Sub-contracts/Consortium/Contractual Costs
Note: For budget purposes, the words "Subagreement," "Subcontract," "Consortium," and “Contractual" mean the same thing.

List name of non-UW entity performing a portion of the scope of work. Amount of each sub-agreement in excess of $25,000 is excluded from indirect cost calculations using an MTDC base.

Definition of sub-agreement: A grant from one institution to another institution in support of a project in which the programmatic activity is carried out through a cooperative arrangement between or among the grantee institution (UW-Madison) and one or more other institutions or individuals which are separate legal entities, administratively independent from the grantee. These cooperative agreements, in this context, refer to consortium costs/subagreements/subcontracts. The involvement of the non-grantee institution or individual is that of actually performing a portion of the scope of work as opposed to simply providing a routine service or consulting activity.

(NOTE: If the non-grantee institution or individual is NOT actually performing a portion of the scope of work; but rather, simply providing a routine service or consulting activity, an Academic Support Services agreement or purchase order is used. Those costs should be included on the Services worksheet.)

Enter each amount into the cell corresponding to the first year that the sub-agreement or sub-award will be in effect. The spreadsheet will automatically multiply that amount by the appropriate yearly inflation rate and enter the amounts for the subsequent years into the appropriate cells. This automatic calculation can be overridden by typing new values directly into the desired cells or by using the delete key to delete the calculated value in the cell.

Additional information on UW policies regarding sub-agreements is available on the Outgoing Subagreements website.

MTDC (Modified Total Direct Costs)
This page is provided for informational purposes only and details the values used for calculating indirect cost when using MTDC base.

MTDC (Modified Total Direct Costs) is shorthand for the calculations that exclude certain categories from being included in the direct costs that indirect costs are applied against.

Project Budget Page (Total Page)
The total page contains the figures you should use for non-modularized NIH budgets (budgets with Direct Costs greater than $250,000 per year). It includes the information from the Title page and totals from each worksheet. Total direct costs , total direct costs minus MTDC exclusions, total calculated MTDC (indirect costs) and overall total cost of the project are listed on this page. For NIH modular budgets, do NOT use the totals on this page; rather, use the Modular Budget Template Page (see below).

Choose the "Print All Pages" button to print the entire worksheet (except the indirect cost rate table, fringe benefits rates table, and MTDC costs table). Only pages that have values entered will print.

Choose the "Print Totals Page" button to print only the Project Budget summary page.

Modular Budget
This modular budget template page does all calculations required to complete an NIH Modular Budget.

Since this budget preparation spreadsheet will do both the detail and the modular budgets, please attach the entire spreadsheet to the WISPER record as part of the budget approval process.

NIH excludes Consortium F&A Costs from the determination of whether a proposal's budget may be modularized. For more information about this policy see this page.

This policy impacts eligibility to submit a modular budget. The modular budget format continues to be used for applications requesting $250,000 or less in direct costs per year. However consortium/contractual F&A costs are not factored into this direct cost limit. They may be requested in addition to the $250,000.

The policy also impacts applications requesting a budget of $500,000 direct costs or more for any year. These applications continue to require prior approval from Institute/Center staff; however, this limit is exclusive of any consortium F&A costs.

This modular budget template will automatically make the correct calculations in accordance with NIH policy, and will provide, on the last page of the spreadsheet, all the figures necessary for filling out an NIH Modular Budget.

Year One Additional Modules: If it is necessary to have additional modules in Year 1 because of an equipment purchase or other one-time cost, select the number of additional modules to appear in Year 1. The system will subtract the equivalent dollars from the total cost, divide by the number of years and then add the dollars back into Year 1.

Example: Total Estimated Direct Cost = $650,862
# of years = 5
Equipment in Year 1 = $65,000

Results with no additional modules in Year 1:
$650,862 / 5 = $130,172
round up to $150,000 per year
($750,000 total direct cost)

Results with 2 additional modules in Year 1:
$650,862 - $50,000 = $600,862 / 5 = $120,172
round up to $125,000 per year, add $50,000 to Year 1
$175,000 for Year 1 and $125,000 per year for Years 2-5
($675,000 total direct cost)

Choose the "Print Modular Page" button to print only the project NIH Modular Budget page.