Sponsored Projects Procedures

Write a Budget Justification

Research, Sponsored Projects   |   Approved October 9, 2015


Write a budget justification for a proposal budget.


Investigators and administrators preparing proposal budgets. 

A good budget justification (also known as a budget narrative) supports the proposed budget. For more information, see the Sponsored Programs Administration website on Guidelines by Budget Category.


  1. Follow sponsor instructions for the budget justification. Look for limitations such as number of pages or amount of detail to be provided.
  2. In the absence of specific sponsor instructions, follow the same order for the items in the budget justification as in the itemized budget or sponsor’s budget form, so that reviewers can easily compare the two documents.
  3. Explain why items are essential in relation to the aims and methodology of the project as well as meeting the goals of the project. Articulate how the funds requested are reasonable to complete the project.
  4. Make sure that the budget and budget justification match. For example, if consultant services are budgeted, ensure that the number of hours or days, the rate, and the calculation are the same in both the budget and the justification.
  5. Each subrecipient should provide a justification to accompany the subrecipient’s budget. The budget justification for the overall proposal should list any proposed subrecipients with the subrecipient principal investigator, the total cost, and a brief description of the subrecipient’s role in the project.
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