Budget and Application Tools


NEW -  Important Information for Investigators with International Collaborations

Budget Development Basics


Budgetary Considerations:

  • In completing the budget, it is necessary to review the elements of the project as well as the sponsor guidelines. 
  • It is important to be cognizant of any sponsor restrictions regarding specific budgetary allowances or disallowances (e.g., one sponsor may allow the PI to charge salary, another may not). 
  • It is important to substantiate your budget with an explanation or a budget justification. 

Common budgetary categories:

Salaries and Wages

All personnel are listed, PI/PD first, along with their percentage of effort for the project.   If the amount of salary requested does not represent the percentage of effort, an explanation should be included on the budget justification.

Fringe Benefits

Unless specifically called “stipends” by the sponsor (as in most fellowships), all salaries must be accompanied by fringe benefits, whether the individuals are working full or part time on the project.  The most current fringe benefit rates can be found on the Office of Sponsored Programs website (provide link to rates here).  Please note that there are different rates for Research Foundation employees, State employees, graduate students, undergraduate students and summer only appointments.

For a student to be eligible for the student rate, the following must apply:

  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled full time at a SUNY institution and must meet the criteria for and are appointed to one of the following titles: R267 (Research Aide), R268 (Senior Research Aide).  All other undergraduate student salaries will be charged at the regular employee rate. 

  • Graduate students must be enrolled full time at a SUNY institution and must meet the criteria for and are appointed to one of the following titles: R149 (Project Instructional Assistant), R150 (Research Project Assistant), R267 (Research Aide) or R268 (Senior Research Aide).  All other graduate student salaries will be charged the regular employee rate.

Clerical Staff

If you intend to include clerical staff on your budget for a federal sponsor, one of the following reasons, or one similar in nature, must be included in your justification.  These examples are not exhaustive nor are they intended to imply that charging of administrative or clerical salaries would always be appropriate for the situations illustrated:

  • Large, complex programs, such as General Clinical Research Centers, primate centers, program projects, environmental research centers, engineering research centers, and other grants and contracts that entail assembling and managing teams of investigators from a number of institutions.
  • Projects that involve extensive data accumulation, analysis and entry, surveying, tabulation, cataloging, searching literature, and reporting, such as epidemiological studies, clinical trials, and retrospective clinical records studies.
  • Projects that require making travel and meeting arrangements for large numbers of participants, such as conferences and seminars.
  • Projects where the principal focus is the preparation and production of manuals and large reports, books and monographs (excluding routine progress and technical reports).
  • Projects that are geographically inaccessible to normal departmental administrative services, such as seagoing research vessels, radio astronomy projects, and other research field sites that are remote from the campus.
  • Individual projects requiring significant amounts of project-specific database management; individualized graphics or manuscript preparation; human or animal protocol, IRB preparations and/or other project-specific regulatory protocols; and multiple project-related investigator coordination and communications.


Equipment is defined as having a useful life of at least one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.  Items not meeting this definition are considered supplies.  Some sponsors may have their own definitions of equipment.  Generally, we would subscribe to the sponsor’s definition. These cost are exempt from the MTDC base.  If you have any questions, please contact your Grants Administrator (insert whom to contact link)


Domestic and foreign travel should be listed as two line items, unless specified otherwise by the sponsor.  The purpose of the trips, the destinations, and number of travelers, number of trips and other costs should be discussed in the budget justification.   It is a requirement on federal awards to use U.S. flag carriers to foreign destinations or, in the absence of through service, to the farthest interchange point.

Participant Support Costs

For programs relating to conferences, symposia, meetings, training activities or workshops, include costs of transportation, per diem, stipends and other related costs for participants or trainees. These costs are exempt from the MTDC base. 

Patient Care Costs

Routine medical costs that would normally have taken place and are now within the scope of the research, i.e., x-rays, blood tests, EKG, travel costs associated with diagnostic testing, personnel cost for medical procedures (i.e, technician or nurse).  These costs are exempt from the MTDC base.  Payments made to the Subject for study participation are not exempt from the MTDC base and should be budgeted under “Other”.

Alterations and Renovations

Alterations and renovations required for project performance and having a cost of $15,000 or more per alteration or renovation. These cost are exempt from the MTDC base. 

Materials and Supplies

The costs of materials or supplies needed for the project.


The costs of disseminating and sharing research findings.  .


List the name and daily amount for each consultant.  Any travel for the consultant is listed in  this category. Some federal sponsors have established daily rates. Stony Brook faculty cannot be paid as consultants on a Stony Brook proposal.  They are considered collaborators.

Computer Services

Costs of computer time and related support services, calculated according to an approved rate schedule for the facility concerned.


Costs for performance and completion of a designated portion of project objectives executed by an organization other than Stony Brook.  The total amount (direct and indirect costs) of the subcontractor budget are listed as direct costs on the Stony Brook budget.  The amount is to be documented by the subcontractor's institutionally endorsed letter of intent (use the Stony Brook Letter of Intent Form found on the Office of Sponsored Programs website (provide link to form here), scope of work, and budget with justification. (See Section VI, Contractual/Consortium Arrangement Requirements).


Unless prohibited by sponsor policy, all proposals which include budget support for a graduate student must also budget tuition costs of $5,652 for each academic year.  The policy and more information and instruction can be found on The Graduate School website. These cost are exempt from the MTDC base.  


This category is used for items that are not suitable for any other category.  A detailed list should be included in the budget justification.


F&A or IDC Costs are real costs incurred by the University/Center and Institution in support of research/sponsored activities but cannot be identified with a specific award.  The cost result from shared services such as libraries, utility costs, general departmental, unit/school and sponsored program’s administrative expenses and depreciation for buildings and equipment

The latest policy and rates can be found at this page.  If you have questions, contact your Sponsored Programs Grant or Contracts Administrator.  (Insert whom to contact link)

Cognizant Agency

The Research Foundation for The State University of New York applies every four years for rate renewal and approval through its cognizant agency, DHHS.

F&A Bases for Rate Calculation

The most common types of F & A rate bases are: Total Direct Cost (TDC), Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC).   

Modified Total Direct Cost

Modified Total Direct Cost is calculated by excluding alterations and renovations having a cost of $15,000 or more, in/out patient care, rental maintenance of off-site activities, student tuition, participant support cost (student aid, stipends, travel, etc.), amounts over the first $25,000 of each subcontract and equipment over $5,000. Most federal programs use this rate.

Total Direct Cost

Total direct cost include all direct costs associated with a sponsored project including those items excluded in Modified Total Direct Cost  

F&A Rates

For the most current rates see: https://research.stonybrook.edu/budget-and-application-tools#facilities-and-administrative-(idc)-rates

Pro-Rated F &A Rates for On/Off Project Locations

For projects conducted partially or completely off campus, pro-rated F&A rates may apply.  .  To determine the off and on campus rate, only the Stony Brook personnel effort is considered (effort on any subcontract is excluded).  After determining the amount of all effort, ascertain the effort that is only for off campus, rounding to the closest 25% increment.   Contract your Office of Sponsored Programs Contracts or Grants Administrator for the pro-rated F&A rates. The following locations are considered to be off campus when SB faculty are conducting projects at these sites:   BNL, Stony Brook Cancer Center, CRC, Flax Pond Lab, Stony Brook Tech Park, University Hospital and the Long Island State Veterans Home.

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