Empowering People through Behavioral Science

Itemized Budget Guidelines


Each grant proposal must contain a budget in the required format. The Budget Template can be downloaded from the Full Proposal Guidelines section of this website. Budget amounts must be in U.S. dollars. Please enter whole dollar amounts.

In the Budget Template, for each period specified (i.e., [1/1/14-3/31/14], Q2 [4/1/14-6/30/14], etc.), please provide projected costs for each line item. The final column on the right of the template calculates the cumulative amounts that are requested from The University of Chicago.

Acceptable uses of grant funds include the following:

  • Summer salary and course buyouts for faculty members
    • Note: All proposed budgets must include some effort for the principal investigator, although this effort may be completely cost-shared (i.e., the cost of this effort may be included in the budget at $0)
  • Student or postdoctoral salary and benefits
  • Assistance in writing or publishing books
  • Justifiable lab equipment, supporting technology, and other supplies
  • Assistance in recruiting qualified participant samples
  • Modest travel allowances to attend conferences or visit collaborators that pertain directly to the proposed research
  • Organization and conduct of workshops, conferences, or lecture series to advance specific research questions or opportunities
  • Overhead of at most 15%. Presence of cost-sharing is encouraged, though it is not mandatory.


Tight budgeting is encouraged in order to maximize the impact of the project as a whole, with emphasis on scientific return per dollar rather than per proposal. The following is a brief outline of budget guidelines by line item. (NOTE: Justification/explanation is required for the line items below and should be documented in the Budget Justification Narrative section of the proposal.)

  • Administrative: Include shipping costs, supplies, storage, photocopying, transcription.
  • Audio/Visual: Include audio/visual media (e.g., films, DVDs, webcasts) production and operation (e.g., expenses related to recording an event, services of video engineer, lighting, sound).
  • Communications: Include expenses related to printing/publications, advertising/publicity, press releases, distribution etc..
  • Conference Meals: Include conference expenses associated with banquet, catering and refreshments.
  • Course Buy Out: Include the costs associated with a substitute instructor so that a staff member may work on the activities of the proposed project.
  • Data Analysis: Include the costs of outsourced data analysis consulting.
  • Equipment: Include all the purchases of equipment and all equipment maintenance costs excluding computers, servers, and technology-related items (fax, printers, etc.).
  • Facilities: Include rent, utilities, insurance, telecommunications, security alarm.
  • Honoraria: Include payment for a service with no predetermined value (e.g., keynote speaker, reviewer, advisor, participant).
  • Indirect Costs: Indirect costs/overhead (also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)) are any costs that are not directly allocable to the supported activity and usually apply to administrative expenses incurred by the affiliated institution’s research administration. The maximum amount that can be requested is 15% of the total expenses for work carried out at your institution (i.e., Project Expense Total minus any Subaward). To be clear, indirect costs cannot be calculated on any funds that will be given out in a subaward.
  • Note for Independent Scholar Applicants: Independent Scholars who are not affiliated with a university or organization are not eligible to request Indirect Costs, therefore any administrative overhead expenses in proposals from such applicants should be budgeted as Direct Costs and not Indirect Costs
  • Information Technology: Include all purchases of technology equipment (e.g., computer, printer, fax machine), as well as related maintenance costs, software, help desk services, and server support.
  • Legal Organization: Organization the funds would be distributed to if awarded a grant.
  • Lodging and Travel for Project Activities: Include the costs of travel, lodging, and meals for all project personnel across all activities of the proposed project.

    Note: Although the project administrators will provide funds to assist the Principal Investigator in attending the two mandatory research network events (the 2014 New Paths to Purpose Research Network Meeting and the 2015 capstone conference), you may request funds here to cover any overages, and to support the lodging and travel of co-investigators to those events as well. When drafting the budget at the letter of intent stage, you may assume that each event will be three days (two nights) in duration, and held in a major city within the continental United States. Researchers will have the opportunity to adjust this portion of the budget as necessary before submitting a full proposal—specific details about the dates and locations of these two events will be provided when full proposals are invited. Please note that only economy class travel will be funded.

  • Materials: Include the cost of any materials (e.g., cases, books, periodicals) necessary for the completion of project activities.
  • Meals: Include out-of-pocket food and beverage expenses incurred by anyone who is not project personnel.
  • Other: Include grant-related items not listed. Identify the components and the methods of allocating expenses included in this category.
  • Overhead Amount: The overhead expense associated with the proposed project.
  • Overhead Percentage: The percentage value of overhead expenses being applied to this proposed project. A number of individual line-items from the budget are not eligible for overhead expenses.
  • Participant Lodging and Travel: Include all reasonable and customary air and rail fares and auto allowances, as well as approved overnight accommodations for non-project personnel such as conference attendees. Please note that only economy class travel will be funded.
  • Participant/Subject Fee: Payments made to participants or subjects as part of their involvement in the research study.
  • Project Expense Total: The total costs of personnel and activity expenses associated with the proposed project.
  • Salaries, Wages, and Fringe Benefits: List individually all dedicated project personnel (names and abbreviated titles). Also provide the institutional fringe benefits rate to be funded by this grant, and the total estimated percentage of time dedicated to the project (For example: “John Smith, Asst. Prof., 22% Fringe, (40% Time).”). Note that proposed budgets must include some effort for the principal investigator, and grant funds may not be used to augment the rate of salary of faculty members during the period covered by the term of faculty appointment.
  • Subawards: The total costs, including indirect costs of no more than 15%, of all subawards to be made as part of this project.
  • Summer Salary: Include academic personnel whose expense is calculated based on per-course or partial-year salaries.
  • Support Personnel: Include expenses associated with hiring of extra staff to aid with conference planning and event responsibilities.
  • Translation: Include all outsourced project related material expenses pertaining to translation services.
  • Website: Expenses related to design and maintenance of a website connected to the project.


Next section: Documents Required at Award Stage


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