Personnel Costs and Stipends

The budget for a sponsored project is driven by proposed program activities. The majority of the proposal budget will most likely be personnel costs. The budget must accurately reflect the number of personnel and their effort needed to accomplish the project during the proposed award period.


Provide information for all roles on the project, regardless of whether or not the individual's salary will be funded by this award. Note: Committing effort to a project without also charging the salary for that effort to the project budget is considered to be cost sharing. At UMB, this type of cost sharing is not approved unless sponsor guidelines require it.

In the budget justification, include the following for each role:

  • Name of the individual, or TBA (to-be-appointed) for roles not yet filled.
  • Role title on this project (e.g., Principal Investigator, Co-investigator, Lab Technician). In most cases, the individual’s personnel title (e.g., Professor) is not appropriate. The role title should reflect what the individual is doing in terms of the work of the project. (e.g., Core B Director, Study Coordinator).
  • Amount of effort being devoted to this project (express effort in number of calendar months for federal proposals and in percent of effort for most other proposals). When an individual’s effort varies by budget period, list the different amounts of effort and when they apply (e.g., three calendar months in budget periods 1-3 during the data collection phase and 1.2 calendar months in budget period 4).
  • A brief (one- or two-sentence) description of the role responsibilities in relation to the specific aims of the project.

Administrative and clerical salaries must be well justified if you are including them in the budget as direct costs. Direct charging of these costs may be allowable when a substantial amount of administrative work is required to meet the aims of a major project.

Subrecipient Personnel justifications and role descriptions should not be included in UMB's budget justification. Instead, these belong in a separate budget justification for the subrecipient’s budget.

Other significant contributors, as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are individuals who have committed to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project but are not committing any specified measurable effort (i.e., person months) to the project. They will not be paid and should not be included in the budget line items.