NIH Modular Budgets

NIH requires modular format budgets for all applications with budgets up to $250,000 direct costs per budget period, unless otherwise stipulated in a program announcement.

The applicant requests funds in increments of $25,000 “modules.” Up to 10 modules ($250,000) may be requested for direct costs in each budget period of the project. The modules requested should represent a reasonable estimate of costs allowable, allocable, and appropriate for the proposed project. Some program announcements limit the number of modules allowed for that program.

Usually, the same number of modules should be requested in each budget period of the project. If the project has specific costs that will require a different number of modules in one or more project budget periods, the budget justification must explain why.

Estimate the budget: To determine the number of modules required to perform the project, prepare a line-item budget, then round to the nearest $25,000.

Subrecipients’ Facilities and Administration (F&A) costs: Under NIH policy, F&A included in subrecipients’ budgets should not be included in the calculations when determining whether the UMB budget adheres to the maximum allowable number of modules. The subrecipients’ F&A costs are separate from the rest of the project direct costs on the modular budget form.

Modular budgets and Kuali Research:  Kuali Research automatically calculates the modules based on your detailed budget, including the accounting for F&A costs. Modular Budget Guide October 2019

Modular Budget Justifications

Just as modular budgets are summaries of the amount requested, modular budget justifications are similarly bare-boned. Budget categories allowed in modular budget justifications are personnel, consortium (subrecipients), and variation in the number of modules requested. No specific dollar amounts are to be quoted in the budget justification narrative. Do not provide justification for any other type of expense (supplies, travel, etc.). Equipment should only be justified if it is the reason you are requesting a different number of modules in one or more budget periods. Per NIH, applications that do not comply with the formatting guidelines may be rejected without review.

Personnel Justification 

List all personnel, including names, number of person months devoted to the project (indicate academic, calendar, and/or summer), and roles on the project. Do not provide individual salary information. Upload the modular budget justification in Kuali Research using Attachment Type PHS_ModBud_PersonJustif

Consortium (subrecipient) costs 

State each subrecipient institution’s name, indicate whether it is a U.S. or foreign institution, and list its total costs for each budget period, rounded to the nearest $1,000. Subcontract budgets do not need to be in $25,000 increments.

Provide effort and a role description for each of the personnel included in the subrecipient’s budget. Do not provide individual salary information. Do not include justification for any of the subrecipient’s other costs (supplies, travel etc). Do not include the subrecipient’s itemized budget or checklist in the application.

If there is more than one subrecipient, include this information for each subrecipient, merged into one pdf. Upload the justification for the subrecipient(s) in Kuali Research using Attachment Type PHS_ModBud_ConsortiumJustif

Additional narrative justification (variation in modules) 

Explain variations in the number of modules requested. Indicate the budget period(s) in which you are requesting a different number of modules, describe what item(s) caused the need for extra funds that budget period, and why this cost is necessary to meet the goals of the project. Do not provide specific dollar amounts.

Some common reasons for costs varying are major equipment purchases, costs of purchasing expensive supplies in bulk, and variation in the number of personnel or amount of effort for personnel in the budget periods.

You also may use this justification to provide an explanation of exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation.

Upload the additional narrative justification in Kuali Research using the Attachment Type PHS_ModBud_NarrativeJustif