Developing a Budget

Budgets and Budget Justifications

Every proposal to an external sponsor requires some type of budget which outlines the estimated costs associated with the proposed project. In addition, a budget justification should also accompany the proposed budget.

Some points to consider when developing a budget justification are:

  • The budget justification should describe the expertise of personnel on the project and why other budget items are being requested.
  • Some sponsors have page limitations or specific formats for the budget justification that must be followed. Always read the sponsor guidelines carefully.
  • Some sponsors allow a cost-of-living increase for future year budgets. This is typically around 3%, but should be confirmed with the sponsor and your school.
  • A number of programs require cost-sharing (also known as matching or in-kind contributions) i.e., some institutional contribution to the project's costs.  This should be outlined in the sponsor guidelines. If cost-sharing is not required by the sponsor, do not include. 
  • Cost-sharing is a REAL cost and is subject to audit. The source of cost-share funds must be clearly identified.  Please note that you CANNOT cost-share a project using another research project's funds.