Budgeting and Budget Justifications

Your budget and budget justification may not make or break a grant proposal, but a well-crafted budget can make for a smoother funding process. In this information session, Amanda Yager, Assistant Director of Research Administration at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health, teaches the basics of preparing a budget, plus common pitfalls and federal requirements. Additionally, Yager covers how to write a compelling budget justification that supports your proposal and allows you to avoid the dreaded budget cut.

Amanda Yager: I’m Amanda Yeager. I have a mouthful of a title: I am — and it’s changed since the last time I’ve done this — it’s the Assistant Director for Research Services at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health. But I’ve also worked at WSU for about, well, so 19 years now, and I’ve worked in CAHNRS and in CAS. And now I’m over at the Allen School in CVM.

Amanda Yager: And so I’ve had lots of experiences working in grants. I also let’s see, there I go. I also have some ability with the Office of Research to submit proposals. So I’ve been doing this for a while now. And so there’s my you’ll, you’ll get the slides. So this is my contact email if you have any questions afterwards. So… Okay, so basically we’re going to run through the, the categories of the budget justification and how they go with the how we’re budgeting and then, you know, kind of go over some scenarios if we have time, unless there’s lots of questions and it kind of depends on everybody.

Amanda Yager: So so what we want to talk about is the costs and how they should be reasonable with the proposal that you’re submitting, that our justification should be thorough, but also, you know, concise. Like, we want to convince everybody that you know what the cost is for your project and how you’re going to get it done within reason, of course.

Amanda Yager: I mean, there’s lots of things that happen during a project that we can’t foresee when we’re submitting a proposal, but we also want to remember that when you submit this, your reviewers are going to also know what the costs should be and what they should look like. And so they’re going to have a good idea. So if you’re faculty, you might want to remember that for when you’re reviewing a proposal, right?

Amanda Yager: That you’re going to look at these things too. And also know. So these are kind of some of the things that you might want to think about while we’re… when you’re submitting to an agency. And it depends on the agency, of course. So so the first thing I’m going to do because of the first bullet point here is to plug that everybody should be working with their research administrator when you’re doing your budget.

Amanda Yager: So that goes for the faculty especially. They are going to know the regulation and policies around what our costs are: How reasonable are we being? Are they allowable on the grant? Are we treating them consistently with other costs that the university has in… that we’re paying for on other budgets? They’re going to help you go through the RFP.

Amanda Yager: Please, please, please, please, please read the RFP – So that’s your request for proposal thoroughly — there are hidden gems generally in there regarding the budget. You know, how much do you have, what’s your limitation does that include indirect costs? Do you need to go on travel while you’re budgeting for this? Do they expect you to show up at a certain conference that you need to take in consideration for?

Amanda Yager: You also want to give enough time to everybody. You don’t want to approach the granting people two days before the proposal is due and expect that your budget is going to match your scope. I’ll tell you right now that I, even a month ahead of time, I’ve blown people out of the water because their scope has been far above what the budget allowed and they’ve had to rethink their proposal.

Amanda Yager: So you don’t want to wait for this part of it. You want to of course you want to have the idea, but you also want to have the budget in hand so that you know that you’re proposing something that’s going to be allowable. And also within the conditions that the agency has set forth to us. And also we’ll talk about sub-awards later.

Amanda Yager: But if you’re going to include sub-awards, then that is going to take some time as well. And that will take longer than you think it will to work with them. But we’ll we’ll get into that as we go through the categories. So while you’re writing your budget justification, we want to remember to indicate how each item is going to relate to the project.

Amanda Yager: As you’ve proposed in the science, how we’ve estimated the costs. You know, you want to provide enough details and then if we have discrepancies, if there’s any yearly increases, we want to talk about that while we’re in the justification as well. Just anything that is going to catch somebody’s eye when they’re looking at this or reviewing. So here are our budget categories and then and they exist also within the justification, right?

Amanda Yager: So we’ve got the personnel, which is going to be our larger cost items, and then your goods and services, travel, equipment, if you have any consultants that we need to pay for personal service contracts and then of course your sub-awardees, if you have any, and then there’ll be a possibility of participant support. That’s a… That category is very hard.

Amanda Yager: We don’t want to assume that you can just budget into it. Most most items don’t fall within participants support cost. And then of course, our F&A. So our right now, our negotiated rate for research on campus is 53%.

Emily Brashear: What does that mean?

Amanda Yager: So we go to the federal government to specifically HHS is to who we go to to negotiate our F&A rate.

Amanda Yager: Right now. I don’t foresee it changing. So that’s our any cast in facility and administration costs. So these are costs that are that are known by us that the project will bear, but we’ve not negotiate it for a rate. So there are things like your electric, right. We can’t really put that on to your proposal. So then that’s just costs at the university are going to bear for us, but then we’re going to get paid back for it by the federal government for doing the research.

Emily Brashear: Do people take 53%, like if I’m applying for $1,000 budget, do I mean a grant? Do I consider 53% of it not there because it’s going to go to the university?

Amanda Yager: Right, well, so it will depend. Right? That’s always that’s the best answer that I can give you as a research administrator. Most of the answers will always exist within that.

Amanda Yager: It depends on what RFA we’re looking at, if they’ve limited the indirect costs. But yes, if there is nothing, if you have if you just get something and it says $1,000 will go to the university, you need a budget for it and there’s no limitation on the F&A. Then you should just assume that 53% of that will go to the university to be able to process the award, to work on all of the close out, to do all of the things that we need to do to make sure that your research is up and running.

Emily Brashear: Did it used to be 27%?

Amanda Yager: There’s no. So it hasn’t I well, maybe long years ago we actually have an off campus rate that’s 26%. And so that’s been a constant. Usually 26 is most of off campus rates that I’ve seen. There’s a few that have been outside of that. That really, truly, though, has to be an off campus project.

Amanda Yager: It can’t just be because you would like for it to be because you might go, “Well, I’m going to travel half the time.” That does not… that’s not off campus. I used to have that a lot when they would tell me that they were working elsewhere, but they would come back to their office and then do all the, you know, the statistical analysis.

Amanda Yager: If your time is more than 50% on campus. And you know what I’m going to tell you right now on campus is not you. I mean, that’s also you’re working from home. Then it’s still 53%. You have to take all of that into consideration. So I have I have some off campus rates, but that’s also because I have an NGO that to NGOs that exist in Africa, we also have to budget for rent and office supplies and all of the employees on up.

Amanda Yager: So there’s other…So there will be more costs when you have the off campus rate than what you expect because there’ll be other things that we have to worry about that we’re not,

Emily Brashear: Do you know, offhand, if the rate is different for any centers?

Amanda Yager: It’s, it’s not it’s it’s whatever. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Prosser or if you’re in Puyallup or if you’re you’re if you’re here on Pullman, it’s 53.

Amanda Yager: So same with Vancouver, same with Spokane, the rate is across the board. Some… There’ll be extension offices that will have the off campus rate for…

Emily Brashear: So most branch campuses that are considered permanent can remain on campus.

Amanda Yager: Yeah.

Emily Brashear: So one other question was, do you know of the most of the NIH and NSF budget limits indicate direct costs?

Amanda Yager: NIH generally has direct costs, and then the indirect are on top of it. NSF mostly is, it’s it’s all included. So if you see a $500,000 NSF, then the F&A is included in there as well. When we see 500,000 at NIH, then usually our F&A is on top of that and it. Thanks, Lisa, for our updated math calculation.

Emily Brashear: Okay. One last question on these categories and it also kind of relates to the budget justification you just had: Do all of these categories need to be justified?

Amanda Yager: So if you have something in it, yes, of course you want to justify it. But if you don’t like, say, there’s no equipment, no equipment, the way that we would define equipment, then no, you don’t need to justify it.

Amanda Yager: There’s… It’s a zero, there’s nothing. Now, normally when I’m writing justifications for my PIs or updating them, I don’t write them right. But I’ll make them look fancy. I guess I’ll put it that way. Then I will put in the category of equipment, but I’ll just say zero and I’ll move on. So but I just think that looks nicer and it follows the budget.

Amanda Yager: The budget that I’m putting into the system. Okay. Okay. So some other details. So we’ll go on to the personnel because that’s going to be your larger cost, right? And that’s probably where most of your justification is going to exist at. So we want to list out the individuals. We want to talk about their role on the project. And you want to give their… a description of what they’ll be doing.

Amanda Yager: And then like you want to put in there the level of effort, how much money you’re asking for. It really, truly depends on which way you want to do it. Some of my professors list out every year. Some of them just put a total, some of them put year one and then put it total. But of course, if we’re including increases, we let them know that and the justification as well so that so that they can calculate if they’d like backwards and see how it’s going to look.

Amanda Yager: Your reviewers may not be doing those calculations. I will tell you that the the grant managers that go that then get it afterwards after we know we’re getting award a lot of them will take that and go back and try to calculate it. So you don’t want to just put in some numbers without knowing what’s going to come of it.

Amanda Yager: I, I frequently get questions back from certain agencies on how did I come up with that calculation and how did it work out. So that’s some things to think about. The Department of Defense is the one that usually gets really down into the weeds with me on the GMSs for the GMSs, that’s what the grant management specialists are called.

Amanda Yager: So a lot of times on those ones, I’ll put a table in for everything so that they can see it. And I don’t get questioned as much.

Lisa Friend: Amanda, this is Lisa. I’ve got a question real quick.

Amanda Yager: Sure.

Lisa Friend: It seems as though there used to be links to some templates. You know, this is how the USDA wants their budget justification written, this is how X, Y, Z agency… Are those available to us? Are they useful?

Amanda Yager: It so it kind of depends on the agency. But yes, I mean, I go out a lot of times to the agency websites and go to look for examples of especially ones I haven’t worked with before and I’m unsure what they

 may want to see if the… especially if the RFP is confusing. But you can go out and see what you can find. For the faculty

Amanda Yager: You can know that your administrators, within reason, can go in and look for examples that other people have submitted. I mean, of course we can’t show you those because that’s, you know, that we we wouldn’t want to do that. But we can go in and look for an example that somebody else has used and then maybe contact, you know, around the university and find out, you know, like I can go to I’m going to pick on Lorena.

Amanda Yager: I know that if I needed anything and Lorena was working on let’s say DOEs mostly, and I had one, and I’ve never really done it before, then I can go to her and say, Hey, how did you put this together before? And so that’s a great resource for you as well. So that’s why also remember that you should always talk to your research administrator because they may know contacts or have ability to look at things up that you’re not able to have.

Amanda Yager: And it also helps, right, because you’re busy working on the science and it helps. For me, I like to help cut down on some of the red tape for my PIs, and that’s how I usually look at why I’m doing this with them. So I don’t know. So you can indicate the base salary. You don’t always do that.

Amanda Yager: That’s kind of also depends on the agency. And then, of course, you want to remember there’s fringe benefits included. That again is could be different per agency. Some of them have it as a category on their own, some of them include it with the personnel costs that would be included in that category. So NIH is one of them. They ask for the salary, they ask for the benefits.

Amanda Yager: It all gets combined. It gets into one combined line. And so we just talk about it in the budget justification under the senior personnel section. Are we good, can I?

Emily Brashear: I have a question and I don’t know if you’re going to touch on this, but if there’s if you’re going to discuss the difference between research and other sponsored activities

Amanda Yager: I can do that, it is it is very I’ll tell you right now, other sponsored activities is also very rare.

Amanda Yager: I have used it only a couple times, once with the libraries. And the other one is when I’ve worked with the National Endowment for the Humanities. And that’s because in their RFP they generally tell you that it’s other sponsored activities. It’s not research, nor is it off campus, right? Well, I mean, it could be. And I have to let you know, too the off campus rate that exists across all categories right now, we have 26%.

Amanda Yager: So if even if it’s other sponsored activities and our rate is here on campus, one thing off campus is generally 26% still. But yeah, those have been the two times that I’ve actually used those. And and the best place to go to look for the definition of what other sponsored activity is, is the Stanford website, because they define it so well.

Amanda Yager: In fact, I steal it and use it for myself so that I remember so…

Amanda Yager: So right now, some other things to remember besides this, I want to point out is that the NIH salary cap right now is generally $21,900. It goes up usually every year. It’s defined by the executive policy through the OMB. And so there will be some… that’s something else that you need to look for. There’ll be some agencies that use this and will tell you that it’s limited.

Amanda Yager: They will tell you in the instructions to go ahead and use your correct rate, your base based on your base salary. But it and then they’ll reduce the budget when it comes to award to match the cap. It can also blow your budget out of the water depending on where that where your salary lies at or what salary you’re dealing with.

Amanda Yager: So so a lot of times, like I’ll just know there’s a few of my PIs I just have to use the cap because otherwise I won’t have enough to budget for elsewhere if I use their correct salary. And then usually you’re not putting in any administrators, right? You’re not going to put in staff, you’re not going to put in anything in your budget.

Amanda Yager: That also is a depends. You may need a coordinator because your project is so huge and that would be likely an administrative role. But here, working with my NGOs, I have to put myself into the budgets as an administrator, and that’s because of the large financial role that I have to play and how many times I have to meet with the agency, so…

Amanda Yager: And so…. But you want to point that out. It also has to meet the definition of how that would fit with the project. And there is when you when the eREX… when you’re doing the eREX, there is a question when you’re using your attachments that says do you have any of these things, it will take you to a definition of what the administrator’s and role is. And then like, you know, does it fit within your project?

Emily Brashear: So if I’m a PI, grad student, faculty, whatever, I should reach out to my research administrator to work on the budget, not try to do it alone?

Amanda Yager: Yeah, that would be my suggestion. I mean, you can I know back in I know the back of the napkins happen a lot, right?

Amanda Yager: You just have some low calculations out there so that you can tell if you’re if, if it looks okay with your project. But again, by the time I get a hold of that and… I’ll… I guarantee you, I’ll blow you out of the water. So I just did… I’m working on one now for somebody that has a resubmission for NIH, I just sent her the budget and I was $150,000 more than what she calculated herself.

Amanda Yager: So given… And that’s due on the fifth and that’s, yeah, so that’s really tight for me. Luckily it’s a resubmission. So I kind of I kind of knew what to expect. So. So the other thing that we want to talk about, especially with personnel, is that you don’t want… please, please, please, please do not cost share unless you absolutely and utterly have to you… Look the… I know what people think.

Amanda Yager: It’s going to make it look good. It will it will it will bring, you know, the reviewers, you know, they’ll know that I’m working on this and they’ll know how much time I’m spending on it. It’s never a good thing. It’s an administrative burden. You will spend most of your time, like trying to get the cost share into the system, making sure that it’s calculating out correctly, making sure that you’re keeping up with that number and also that time is protected.

Amanda Yager: You can’t use it for other things like it is part of it. If you tell them, you know, you’re going to work like this one here, 20% on it, but we’re only going to put 10% on the budget then that you’re 20% of your time has to go towards that grant and you can’t utilize it for anything else.

Amanda Yager: So. So you don’t, don’t… In the justification, it’s… even if the agency doesn’t catch up on it, WSU will. And so if the agency doesn’t expect you to cost share, WSU will still expect you to cost share and you will be held to it unless you go back to the agency and ask them to to remove that requirement, even if they didn’t see it as a requirement.

Amanda Yager: So if you if you feel and this has happened to me as well on some smaller grant applications that you want to show how much time you’re working on it. But we can’t afford it in the budget, then that it should go into the facilities and other resources, document, don’t quantify because it can get also picked up there as cost share.

Amanda Yager: But you can indicate that you have time, you have research time built into your contract. You will spend some time working on this. But if you put it in, like I said, in the justification, that is going to be a place that Sponsored Programs, ORSO they’re going to look, they’re going to know. They’re going to see that in there, because those are the documents that are what we’re working off of to know, you know, what your budget should look like and what should be expended on it.

Lisa Friend: Amanda, there is a phrase that ORSO will sometimes tolerate that says, you know, “we have secured these other commitments from these other funders, but it does not mean that WSU is committing.” And if you say that specifically in the justification that they like that sometimes it’s helpful to under

Amanda Yager: That is, that is part of and you can see that is also language you can get off the eREX when you indicate on the so that’s the internal document that we use to process proposals so that ORSO will review them.

Amanda Yager: It is language that you can pull up when you look at Appendix One on there. Usually for me I pull them for training grants a lot because that is that is that is something that comes up in training grants, right? People are going to commit their time to them because they have to. But we can’t budget for them because they’re not allowed.

Amanda Yager: It’s it’s just part of the RFP. But yes, you can you can utilize that language when it fits, right, so that when we know that that we’re saying that this is available but we’re not going to track it, that’s that’s what’s coming up. But you don’t want to do that with your time. People are going to go looking for that anyways.

Amanda Yager: Well, how come you didn’t spend the 20% on it? We we are going to have to track that. So like I said, it depends on the situation, on when you want to utilize that. So you just want to kind of think through everything. So… And see! Another reason to work with your RAs because I mean, you know, they should know that that language is out there.

Amanda Yager: So okay so equipment and so the definition of equipment is right now is over 5,000. With expected life of more than a year. It’s being proposed that it’s going to change, you know, and it within the federal government with the uniform guidance. So hopefully that will occur. Our direct buy limit is 10,000. So you do want to be careful because you don’t I mean, really, for me, 10,000 is about where I see equipment that anyways I it’s a rare case to see something $5,000 that you would go to.

Amanda Yager: It kind of depends on when we go to purchasing right when we would utilize them to help us with this and so and then and so we want to, you know, use it for the things that they’re saying, right? The research, education, outreach. So all the things that we normally use equipment for.

Emily Brashear: Do you need to have a quote for any piece of equipment or is that just helps the justification and the proposal on the budget?

Amanda Yager: Yeah. So that also will depend. So I would say that if it is an equipment specific proposal, then you probably want the quote in there. Right? But no, not all the agencies have gone with a quote for the equipment and we you know, we’ll do our best estimate at the time of what we see that’s out there. You know, by the time it goes to bid, it could be a completely different cost. As long as…

Amanda Yager: But we do want to justify why you need it. Do we… We don’t have it here. It’s not something that we’ve, you know, the exists. It’s needed for the project for these reasons. Right? You want to put in there why you need it and, and that will it how it will be used on that project. And you want to… Also to if you’ve talked about that within your science, you would want to take that and bring it into the justification if possible.

Amanda Yager: You want to make sure that it’s matching up to everything that you’ve that you’re saying that you need and why. So quotes don’t always need to be. Like I say, it kind of depends, kind of depends on the agency as well. Something else that you have to… You know what? You guys are going to get tired of me saying, “it depends,” but it really does.

Amanda Yager: So don’t forget that you also want to do maintenance. I mean, there could be a yearly contract with it. You go ahead and put that in there. We need we need to keep it up. Hey, you know what? Somebody might come and teach you how to use the equipment. Put that in there as well, if you know what it is.

Amanda Yager: So those were some of the reasons why you would want to know beforehand, you know, kind of what the cost would be and what we would need. But it doesn’t mean that we need to put the quote necessarily what the justification, you know, and sometimes you can’t because it’s just not enough room. If you have a limitation on how long your justification can be.

Amanda Yager: We all remember to budget it near the beginning of the project. Like if you go into year five and try to buy this piece of equipment, then what in the world would we need it for in the first place?

Emily Brashear: Right. What about like fabricated equipment? How do you budget for that?

Amanda Yager: So okay. So those things, yes. Those are… That’s a fun thing. That also is something that you would want to work with your RA on. And… and you would want to talk to them about it beforehand as well. If you fabricate a piece of equipment, because equipment is a protected category, generally it’s not included in our… like, we don’t F&A on it. So, so like if it’s 5000, it’s 5000.

Amanda Yager: There’s not 53% on top of it. Right? But if you’re fabricating something that needs to be indicated because we can remove the F&A from it. So even though all the pieces together are going to be under 5000 by the time you put it together, if it fits the policy that WSU has on fabricated equipment, then it could be a piece of equipment and not have F&A put on it.

Amanda Yager: And you would want your RA to know that because we want to make sure it’s in the budget that way. We want to make sure that our Sponsored Programs knows that it’s like that, and that when you’re putting it into work day that you’re indicating the right… code. So that SC code, right? So that way then you can make sure that it doesn’t get F&A on it.

Amanda Yager: So also it just and you want to justify that. You want to say, you know, although it may be this one time, we’re by the time it’s done, this is what we’re going to have, I don’t know, like a cherry harvester. I’m just going to say something, right? It doesn’t mean that that’s what it has to be. But I’m just saying there are lots of things like that that we can do as well.

Amanda Yager: Okay. Yeah. and just remember that not all… Okay… Not all agencies allow equipment also, so please don’t just take the word of other people, because some in particular program officers have said they don’t allow equipment and that exact same agency under a different program will say, yeah, I can have that in there. So you want to make sure that if it’s unless it says it’s, you know, not allowed.

Amanda Yager: If you’re going to talk to your program officer, make sure that you know what’s what they’re expecting. I had somebody by boat. We talked to the program officer beforehand. He understood why it was needed. We put it in there. The reviewers were fine with it. So she got a piece… she got a boat. Not…Just like a, you know, not like a speedboat, but but I mean, it was for use in archaeology, so so it, it can work out.

Amanda Yager: So you just want to… That’s the reason why. Because it’s everything’s weird, right? I mean, like, sometimes you just have something that you need to buy and it’s specific to here and it looks odd to everybody else, but you want to justify it. I mean, usually it lies within equipment that I found that to be so… Although I’ve had people buy kitty litter. But that’s also for very good reasons for the grant.

Emily Brashear: Before we head off to travel, what’s the best way to explain someone’s significant contribution to the project without justifying their FTE percent? Voluntary or minimal FTE?

Amanda Yager: Well, so I guess what we’re talking about, minimal. It truly will be what you’re listing in the facilities document of what their role is.

Amanda Yager: You can have in… In NIH they have a definition of an other significant contributor. It’s usually you’ll find it within the… in the area of the biosketch. You you just want to, like I said, be careful on what you’re quantifying in terms of where somebody is going to go looking for a number especially. But you can describe what somebody is doing without saying, you know, how much time they may put on it or what their role is going to be.

Amanda Yager: But again, you don’t want to do that in a justification. You just would want to indicate what their role is. A lot of times NSF you know, they they have people that contribute to it that we may not budget for. They have a definition for that as well. And so a lot of times they’ll put a letter in.

Amanda Yager: Right? That happens as well. You could have a letter of support without them quantifying, but saying that they’re going to contribute to the project the way that it’s been described. Also in the… in your narrative. So you could bring up somebody there and we’re not paying for them. But as long as they’re indicating to you and to the agency that they know that they’re going to and that this is fine.

Amanda Yager: And like I said, then you can say what they’re doing without quantifying what that looks like. So that’ll help, hopefully. All right. So travel. Hooray for travel! Everybody loves to travel, right? We all like to go places. So all so a lot of your travel will be A… either A for the project depending on what you’re doing or B, like to disseminate.

Amanda Yager: Right. You want to remember that you’re going to conferences to tell them what you’ve been doing or if you need to travel because the agency’s asked you to attend a, you know, a PI conference. So we want to so you want to talk about, you know, what, how are you going to break that down? What is it going to look like?

Amanda Yager: Are you going to motor pool to rent a vehicle because you’re traveling around Washington to survey people? Or are you needing to fly to Kenya to work on… Well right now, I’ll just go with Uganda to work on an Ebola outbreak. That’s actually the project that I’m working on right now. So why are you traveling? What’s the cost?

Amanda Yager: What, what’s the estimated cost? We want to remember that we have access to the GSA website. It’s listed on here. It it tells us what per diem, what mileages, you know, what your hotel cost could be. If it’s foreign, then the GSA website will also lead you to the State Department and you can see what the costs look like there.

Amanda Yager: Or you may know, like a lot of the anthropologists that I worked with, at College of Arts and Sciences, the State Department tells me one rate but they know that they can get it for slightly cheaper. And so we want to put in there. Why do we know where are they going to stay? Are they going to stay with, you know, in the village, let’s say, or are you going to be in Washington, D.C. if you don’t know where your conference location is going to be at or you’re unsure about, especially conferences, because sometimes they don’t stretch out that far.

Amanda Yager: A lot of times I’ll use D.C. as my rates on the GSA because they tend to have higher rates. To, you know, so that way then it’s at least in there and you want to, you know, you want to say, what are you spending on lodging? What are you spending on the airfare? What are you going to spend in per diem?

Amanda Yager: What’s your incidentals going to be? Don’t forget that you need to take taxis while you’re there, or if you’re going foreign, do you need a visa? Right. You need to think about everything that’s going to go on there. Now, it may exist in different categories than what travel would be in terms of what we’re talking about here. But that’s okay.

Amanda Yager: I mean, but you want to know everything that you’re going to need to get there and what’s going to take do you need to carry extra luggage with you? You know, think about those kind of things when you’re working through your travel and then make sure that we’re justifying it. Yeah. And in a lot… I use tables a lot.

Amanda Yager: This is a good place for tables to be in. On your justification, you know, And then and then just a brief description of why they’re going. Okay, so then here’s a fun category. And everybody everybody wants in this category. This is also a protected category in terms of F&A participant costs. It is a very there is a very narrow definition around participant costs.

Amanda Yager: And so and they’re not and I’ll let you know right now that does not include incentives for your participants to be in your research project. That is category. I put it in goods and services for our budget, usually other direct costs when I’m working with an agency budget, but it will incur F&A. These are costs for the participants that are not WSU employees to attend a conference or have a training opportunity.

Amanda Yager: Training. Training is a good one where we get a lot of participant costs, but those are usually very specific calls as well. And they’re going to be it’s going to be related to the proposal and we’re paying them on behalf or directly to the participants. So workshop submissions, they have specific calls for them as well.

Amanda Yager: Your training grants, these are one we would encourage when we would see participants. But students I know they’re WSU students, but they would be paid a different way. They’re not paid through salary and benefits when they’re a participant in a training grant or a fellowship. There are certain fellowships that students can get and that would be included in there.

Amanda Yager: I mean, also for faculty as well. That kind of depends. So the faculty are a little different, right? Because you’re WSU employee, so we need to be careful around that. But fellowships for students there’s a lot of times that we budget them, you know, they’re being paid out of a participant support costs. So… And then they’ll tell you what they’re looking for, right?

Amanda Yager: So if it’s stipend, tuition, travel, whatever it is, but not again, not everything, though, will be classified even in those kind of training grants or conference grants as a participant costs. Not everything can go on there. So and I let you know right now. Yeah, like lots of people like this one, because like I said, it doesn’t get the F&A on it.

Amanda Yager: That’s going to be where you think that you’re going to gain some money and it’s not going to work that way. And so another reason, again, like it to work with your RA, because they’re going to understand what the difference is and and exactly where it will be charged to. And and you don’t want to do that anyways because like, when you’re caught… things are going to happen.

Amanda Yager: You know, they’ll be times that PIs will come to me and say, “well, my student will be all but dissertation.” That means there’s no tuition on it because they’re trying to save some money and and then it, it won’t, then it won’t happen and and then we have an extra cost rate. So again that’s excluded from F&A. But what I’m saying is that you’re going to run into situations where it’s not… If you’re trying to put it there because you’re trying to save some money or you’re trying to gain some money, by the time you get through your project, it may not work out that way and you may have lost money.

Amanda Yager: So you really want to sit down and think about where these charges are going to go and how they’re actually going to look on the post award. And that’s the other part of like working with your RA, because it’s one thing to put it in as pre award and and it looks gravy. But then when it comes to post awards, there might be some other things that that you just didn’t think about.

Amanda Yager: Another thing could be that I skipped over was sales tax State of Washington, regardless of what happens, we pay them sales tax. It does. So if you go somewhere and it says that it’s not going to, it doesn’t have tax, you want to Amazon, no tax on it. State of Washington is still going to come back and ask for the tax on it.

Amanda Yager: So they’re going so you’re going to want to think about that and you’re going to want to look at where you’re at, too. Because, yeah, we could purchase here in Pullman and it will be one tax rate. But if you’re located in, you know, Seattle, that’s a different tax rate as well, right. So and you want to look at where collaborators are at as well within the system.

Amanda Yager: So you want to think about how those things are going to be as well. Okay, here we go. So here’s our material and supplies and other cost. Don’t forget, you want to add publication costs in there. Publications are very expensive. I hope everybody remembers that. They’re not going to be cheap any longer. And considering all the things that we have to go through, just with security access.

Amanda Yager: Also you want to remember. And that’s something else, I think, and that’s something I need to put in here. Data, data costs. I think that’s something that’s come up recently too, right? You want to budget for those as well. So in a lot of times that’s data costs is a specific area that they want to see. NIH does. I have I have to make it its own part of the justification and I have to put in that what it’s going to be.

Amanda Yager: So so anyway so on these things, it depends on what it looks like and what agency we’re going to. A lot of times I’ll have this specific category of not you want to, you know, describe it out. Another… This other direct cost has a lot of, has a lot of areas and that’s another good place for a table so that you can, you know, put in there.

Amanda Yager: You know these are lab supplies. This is what the lab supplies will look like and this is how much I need each year. So we want to, you know, list other categories. We want to make sure that we’re including everything that we need. If you need service fees for any reason, those are those are fairly rare on my end as well.

Amanda Yager: You don’t on the ones that are on campus rates, we likely don’t want to list office supplies in it. And that that also is a depends situation I I have to list it in mine because I have NGOs that are off campus and they and this is what, the grants are what support them. And so that’s what those supplies are going to is to help them work on the grant.

Amanda Yager: But a lot of times what you might think is office supplies, because we would call it that way, really is going to be for your lab. So you so things that you want to look at, things that your research administrator might know if it’s okay to ask for or not, depending on what agency you’re asking to go to.

Amanda Yager: So rent, rent goes in this as well, this area usually. And then yes. Don’t forget tax and shipping costs you to remember that part as well, because those will like I said. So even if you think that you’re getting a break from that, from the vendor, you’re not from the State of Washington, so… Okay, and so then some other things that go in other direct costs are consultants.

Amanda Yager: That’s where you would find them at. And please make sure that they’re really a consultant and not a sub award. There is a there’s a guideline that is on ORSO’s website that will discuss what the difference is between a sub-award, a personal service contract, and a vendor. It’s sometimes a line that you have to walk very carefully because they can kind of exist within each other.

Amanda Yager: But your sub-awardee is going to have a significant amount of the project with you to work on and they’re going to, you know, publish with you and they’re going to be doing a significant amount of the lab work, let’s say, just as an example. So your consultant might just be coming in to like, you know, help you with, let’s say, statistics for the last year and you’re going to pay them $5,000.

Amanda Yager: So then that would be that would be fine to put in a consultant. You I will tell you that you want to very carefully think about this as well. Your sub-award when the calculations with the… with our F&A will be excluded from the F&A after a certain amount of money. Right. So it’s right now it’s $25,000 that we receive F&A on to administer the sub-award. That’s proposed to go up to 50,000 per sub-award and it’s per sub-award with the uniform guidance updates that they’re looking at.

Amanda Yager: So but then after anything after that, then we wouldn’t we wouldn’t include our F&A on it. Their F&A is, of course, included on the whole thing. But you’re…. So then the consultant still they’ll have that’s a full F&A cost for us. Right? So then whatever you pay them, we have the 53% on top of as well.

Amanda Yager: So you want to, though, think about that because the calculations never come out cleanly when you think that you’re doing something, okay? And then we end up having to revert back and and do something different with them. So, and a lot of times you’ll have to go back for prior approval to from your agency when you’re not using a sub-award or if you are, if you need to put a sub-award in.

Amanda Yager: It depends. So you want to be very careful and you want to think about it. And because a lot of times on our in our post-award people will come into play, purchasing, SPS, they’ll look at it and realize that it wasn’t what it was supposed to be and they’ll want it changed for good reason, right? So, so when you’re so when you’re doing the justification, you want to think about how that’s going to look and how it’s going to affect you.

Amanda Yager: And then how does the agency going to look at it as well. So, see lots of people are looking at this justification. It’s not just going in once you’re going to have to deal with this for the entire project period. So you… So be very careful. Sub-awards, they will they will always take a very long time to get you anything.

Amanda Yager: So please, when you’re working with them to get them to work on it early and give them a limitation on their budget. Because I’ll tell you right now that if you don’t, they’re going to want to take everything because that’s what they’re going to do, right? They’re not I mean, not on purpose, but they’re going to look at, you know, well, what can I do in this whole entire thing and how will that cost?

Amanda Yager: So beforehand, you kind of want to have an idea about what’s in your budget. How can you afford these people and what will it look like for us? What’s nice about it in the justification, though, is that generally they have their own justification. So although I might put a table in, especially when I have a lot of sub-awards to show how much money they’re asking for each year, I can safely see their justification.

Amanda Yager: But you want to also make sure that they’re adding everything that they’re supposed to in their justification. And so that way then it is it’s indicated to the agency… like I was saying, the data sharing costs: that has to exist across all sub-awards. If they’re not going to ask for any, then then we need to put in a section that says they’re not going to ask for any, that it’s zero and you want to make sure it’s in the budget that way.

Emily Brashear: So the PI also need… Do they also need to approve the sub-award’s budget?

Amanda Yager: Well, yeah, they’re going to want to. I mean, let’s put it this way. If if you have $500,000 per year in direct cost and you’re stuff, the word comes back and says they want 300,000 of that, is it reasonable for what you’re doing? And then why in the world are we leading it at that point?

Amanda Yager: So because it is like… Sometimes it’s a lot easier to be the sub-award depending on who we’re talking about and what kind of program we’re going do. Right? But did did they follow in or staying within the limitations of what you expected them to be? Did they just throw in five technicians and you think there should be only one?

Amanda Yager: You don’t want to wait till the last second and then have to realize that you’re the one adjusting because there’s no way for us to go back and adjust before it’s due to the agency. And they will and they will always take a really long time. And I will tell you right now, half my waivers with sub-awards say, when I’m running the eREX and it’s within the time frame that is… ORSO would want it two days out and I’m running it after that, is because the sub-awardee hasn’t gotten me something.

Amanda Yager: Yeah and foreign, foreign sub-awards! Boy they take way longer, right? And usually you have to explain everything to them. So please, please, please make sure that you get your budget together, that you know what you kind of want to tell them the limitation is and then you get them going as well, because they also need to look at the science and they need to work on that with you.

Amanda Yager: And there’s other documents. I mean, besides, I know this about justifications. I’ll tell you right now, there are other documents that you’re going to have to work on them with because they just won’t happen, they won’t know what to do. So fortunately, the domestic ones usually know what to do, and it works out pretty well, but it still will take them a while.

Amanda Yager: And and sometimes they have also their timing, right. So the UW is like two weeks. If you were working with somebody there, they needed two weeks lead time, to get it to their sponsored programs to give it to you. So you need to count backwards, also. When is this due and when do they need to turn in their information and can you see it beforehand?

Amanda Yager: I always ask for them before it gets submitted because I want to know if they’ve put everything in there that they’re supposed to or if they’re trying to budget something that’s out of line. Okay, so here’s our F&A, right, the cost of doing business and and it supports it supports your admins, the library, the heat, the maintenance. It’s everything that you know that we can’t we don’t generally put into the proposal.

Amanda Yager: And if unless there’s a limitation and written into the RFP or on the people’s website, it has to be published. It can’t just be an email. Always enjoy those ones where somebody asks the agency to give them an email saying that it’s limited, but I can’t find it anywhere. Well, no, it has to be there for everybody.

Amanda Yager: The limitation. So we’re going to use our F&A rates that we have right now. I know that they’re working on negotiating again. So these rates will change eventually. But you can see right here, right? So the research is 53 and the off-campus is 26. And then so my instruction instructions quite high that are also a rare number that I’ve only ever budgeted for, I think three or four times in my career here.

Amanda Yager: And then the other sponsored activities, which I kind of said is also fairly rare. I’ve done these ones more than I’ve done instruction months, though. And so, in, in the justification itself, I will say, you know, that this is the this is the rate that we’re using. This is, you know, you could put in there who negotiated it because we have that, it’s HHS, and that this is what’s excluded.

Amanda Yager: You know so like tuition, participant costs, if you have any equipment and how we got to that rate. Usually I have a canned statement that I use for that. And it’s it’s a quick it’s quick part of the justification, but do want to indicate it or if it’s what the agency asked for, you know, per RFP, we’re using this amount.

Amanda Yager: But there’s another reason to also work with your RA and there are different this is fairly straightforward in terms of what it, what we’re used to seeing with our proposals. But there are different rates depending on who you’re going to. So it could say something like total costs, that number will blow you out of the water because you won’t realize that you’ve then now budgeted incorrectly or it’s, you know, on total direct costs.

Amanda Yager: And if we’re not using our F&A rate, the one that we’re use that we’ve negotiated for a lot of times and it is not modified, total direct cost is not everything gets the F&A rate on it. So if you have somebody that says 10%, then your tuition, your, all of the participant costs, all the equipment that will incur F&A on it and that…

Amanda Yager: So another thing to think about while you’re doing your budget and and explaining that in the justification as well that that’s the way that it was set up. Okay well so then there’s this fun little samples and which we’ll just send out because I think I’m already close to an hour I can’t believe it last time I made it through all the examples.

Emily Brashear: You can speed through this, explain it real fast.

Amanda Yager: Okay, so, so then so so this was and so this was created a while ago, which I still think is clever. So I still utilize it, but it’s about capturing mascots. And so some examples are about, you know, what, what would be adequate when you would go to the agency, you know, so we’re just we’re requesting, you know, this salary for this doctor and then, you know, are then the co-PIs and this is kind of the policies look like, right?

Amanda Yager: So there’s not a lot to it. It it would probably be fine. But if you but explaining it and out, right? So we’re going to say that this is what Dr. Hartley is doing and they’re you know, they’re going to provide oversight and coordination between the tasks and here’s the requested salary, and it’s this much per year. And so total over the five years. Is this much, you know it’s…

Amanda Yager: And then here’s without putting it all in the same paragraph right now, you’re going to talk about, well, what are your co-PIs doing and what are their roles and what will they be doing for that amount of money. And then and then down here, like I said, here’s the inflation rate that we’ve added to it.

Amanda Yager: And again, you know what will you… you have two students. And so what are your students going to be doing? There is something on these ones as well. And I know that this might come up, but it has come up for me on the post-docs, considering that the the state of Washington’s overtime eligibility rules have kind of changed things for us, I have started adding in and I might do this with the students depending on the agency that I’m going to where these… this funding level is appropriate and is consistent with the State of Washington rules regarding, you know, overtime, ineligible employees, whatever you’re going to do, you don’t have to do it

Amanda Yager: at that rate. But I don’t know if any of you’ve been out there to see what that looks like. But the scale is is it’s quite a it goes up quite a bit throughout the years. And so there’ll be things that you need to think about as well because you may want to. And just in general, just FYI you may want to hire somebody at a higher rate on this because the overtime will blow the water.

Amanda Yager: Also, when it’s post-award. So I have put in extra statements regarding that just so that the agency knows, because NIH, they have a scale that they use for their their training grants. It doesn’t need to exist for the regular grants, but they will look at that, sometimes. I’ve had them ask me and so I’ve just said that it was appropriate for what the State of Washington has set forth for me.

Amanda Yager: So it’s okay. So then, yeah, equipment seems like this is we just have 20,000 budgeted for it. But if you want to explain why. So this one’s really small but. Right. But the, this piece of equipment and is for the safe capture and release of our mascots and that’s what we’re going to use it for. And we need it in year one.

Amanda Yager: So and then see in this example as well, you can see that we have conference travel and we need to go to an annual mascot conference in D. C. And so this again, would be adequate. It would be enough to show people. But if you if you put this in here with the extra information, how did we come up with the airfare?

Amanda Yager: How did we you know, what kind of lodging are we, are we asking for how many people are going? Right? The per diem per day and the incidentals. You have your airport parking. Like, you want to use when you explain all of this out they’ll be… If you’re on the bubble for your research in the review, any little thing that you can do to make sure that it gets you past that bubble and that it will get funded will help.

Amanda Yager: And this is going to help and it’s going to help the agency also know what you’re doing. And likely the hopefully the award would come a little faster, too. I know that like I explained to you in the Department of Defense, I’ve gone back and forth with them sometimes for months. And so the grant should have started in September, and we’re still dealing with the GMS in June because they want more information.

Amanda Yager: And so the more information we put in prior to it, the less time that we spend working through those situations with the agencies. So here’s your adequate version for materials, your other direct costs, right? So publications, how much they were. Here’s your sub-award. And this one, they said, you know, the that the sub-award will be helping with the safe capture and release of the mascots.

Amanda Yager: I still sometimes just like I said put in just… So I hate to tell us that because it’s bad, but I say, “See sub-award for justification.” But these are the places that I like to put tables in as well, when it’s especially when there’s quite a bit of costs, under the other direct costs. All right. And so then here’s all of our resources that we have.

Amanda Yager: So again, it ends with the please remember your RA, because they will help you quite a bit during this whole situation and they can look for things that you may not have thought about and then we have links to the list where you can find out who your are, as if you don’t know who that is. And then there is also guidelines as well on budgeting that’s out there, along with a template for the budget, for the budget.

Amanda Yager: So you can I mean, put something together in draft form if you’d like to. And in it does some of the calculations for you.

Amanda Yager: And there’s a bunch of programs. So

Emily Brashear: I know we’re out of time, but I just have one quick question about post-award. So I just wanted to get through all of this is here’s your budget. Do project members need to inform the PI on charges and expenses on a project to help prevent overcharges?

Amanda Yager: Well, yeah. I mean, well, you would want it to be that way.

Amanda Yager: I don’t know what project member… So if, yes if you’re like just somebody is going out. Okay so if somebody is going out and buying something on your project and they’re letting the person know that’s going to enter it into Workday, then you would you know, you would hopefully you’ve given that person permission to do that. You kind of… again, you kind of want to talk to your admins and please keep them informed of everything because we are the ones that are going through and approving things right?

Amanda Yager: But you know, a really good way of making sure things are going the way that they’re supposed to be doing. You should be reviewing your grant accounts at least once a month and we want to make sure that you’re getting paid on it the way that you said that you’re going to get paid on it, that everybody on there is getting paid the way that it was supposed to, because when you go to report to the agency, they’re going to want to know, did you get paid the 20% that you promised us?

Amanda Yager: So you want to check all of that. You want to make sure that you know, Yeah. That that things are being put on to the grant account that are appropriate for the project and that are allowable because a lot of times your projects are very similar, right? They’re they can’t be exactly the same because the federal government couldn’t fund you for that.

Amanda Yager: But they’re very similar. So things may could exist across several projects and the admins may not know because, you know, they don’t know the details of every project. So

Emily Brashear: Would you agree, it kind of depends on the co-PI and PI setup?

Amanda Yager: Yeah. And also too… Yeah because if they’re internal to here hopefully you’ve given a grant line for them to manage and to review.

Amanda Yager: And so because you know that’s it’s that’s also an administrative burden you know that you would want them to have their own and then a limitation on the amount of money that they’re able to expend