Research Grant proposal budgeting

PINS should have documentation uploaded (budget, budget justification, RFP) prior to routing/approval at Department level; SOW is required to get College approval

  • Fringe Rates: Faculty/Staff 27.91%. Post Doc, Grad, Undergrad and Student 9.05%.
  • Travel: Who is traveling, Where are they traveling, When are they traveling and Why are they traveling?
  • Tuition: $14,769 per academic year (fall 2020 – spring 2021) – includes in-state and GTRM calculation (to be used until the Univ. Cashier’s Office and College of Engineering Research Office provides next year’s official rates). Please add 10% to projects with start dates in fall 2021.


  1. Principal Investigator’s best estimate based on past experience purchasing similar items, written or oral quotes from a vendor, or catalog price; include shipping costs for each item. 
  2. Inflation suggested at 5% per year but not mandatory. 
  3. Individual components to be used for equipment fabrication should be identified as such and should be included under the Equipment Category if the final capitalized cost of the fabricated equipment is anticipated to exceed $5,000 (see Fabricated Equipment under Equipment above). 
  4. Non-capitalized equipment, such as sufficiently justified PERSONAL COMPUTERS costing less than $5,000 should be listed here. Below is a special note on Personal Computers that extends to other multi-use costs: Personal Computers are allowable costs and can be charged direct to a contract or grant. If a PI needs a personal computer beyond current computing resources to accomplish technical goals on a project, the cost of the personal computer can be charged directly to the project based on the pro-rata benefits thereto. That is, if the PI plans to use the new personal computer 75% of the time for the project and 25% for general purpose, 75% of the cost should be charged directly to the project. Likewise, for other hardware, software licenses and maintenance. Personal Computers rarely cost more than $5,000. As such, contrary to popular belief and in compliance with OMB Circular A-21 they are not treated as an equipment item at NC State. Even though, in RARE circumstances a sponsor may still promulgate inclusion of certain items in the equipment category those costs over a value less than the NC State $5,000 threshold, University accounting recommends including the item in the Materials and Supplies category and include in your budget justification the reason you have presented the budget in this manner. Also, substantive justification is necessary for personal computers and a good example is as follows: 

“[FIRST DESCRIBE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PC, THEN…] A Personal Computer is necessary to carry out X, Y, and Z efforts under this project. Because the personal computer may also be used for A, B, and C efforts over the course of the project and these efforts may or may not be directly attributable to this program, we request that XX% of the total cost be covered by [SPONSOR]. Also note that because NC State, under our federal cost accounting disclosure statement must treat as equipment only those items that meet certain other capitalization qualifications AND meet or exceed $5,000 in cost, the [pro rata] cost of this Personal Computer is included in the Supply category of the budget.”

Term: Participant Support Costs

Definition: Participant support costs refer to costs paid to or on behalf of participants, trainees/fellows attending conferences, meetings, symposia, training activities and workshops. A participant must be an individual who is attending in the context of a “student.” 

  • Participant support costs may include transportation, per diem, stipends, supplies, conference fees, and other related costs (registration fees, books, instructional materials) for participants only. Honoraria and travel for speakers and receptions are not considered participant support costs.
  • Employees of NC State, including Graduate Research Assistants (who are considered employees), may be considered a participant under the definition above, but should not be included under participant support cost in a proposal budget because they are a NC State employee. Their costs should be incorporated into other budget categories (i.e. travel). 
  • Participant support costs (non-employee participants) are exempt from indirect costs.