Direct costs are those budget line items that support performing the scope of work and are reasonable, easily identifiable and allocable to the project. The Principal Investigator is responsible for spending the direct costs on allowable costs, such as project personnel salaries and wages, associated fringe benefits, graduate student salaries, materials, supplies, travel, and equipment.
The following is a list of typical direct costs, broken out by accepted cost categories. Faculty are encouraged to group costs according to sponsor requirements. For more information on budgeting subaward costs, please visit the Subawards at the Time of Proposal Preparation webpage.
Consultants differ from Consortiums/Subawards in that Consultants provide advice, but should not be making decisions for the direction of the research. Typically, consultants will charge a fixed fully burdened rate for their services (i.e. $250/hour)
Consultant services are budgeted as a direct charge in the “Other” category.
Consultant Services need to be justified in the budget narrative.
These costs should be budgeted under Other Direct Costs and must be incurred during the period of performance even for scientific data and metadata preserved and shared beyond the award period. Reasonable, allowable costs should be included in NIH budget requests when associated with:
Budget requests must not include infrastructure costs that are included in institutional overhead or costs associated with the routine conduct of research. Costs associated with collecting or otherwise gaining access to research data, such as data access fees are considered costs of doing research and should not be included in data management and sharing budget requests.
Please note at this time that UFIRST does not have a category for “Data Management and Sharing Costs.” Therefore, these costs should currently be budgeted under “Other Expenses” in UFIRST, and then in Section F Other Direct Costs in the SF424 manually make the name change to “Data Management and Sharing Costs.” You must word the SF424 section exactly “Data Management and Sharing Costs” or your application will be rejected.
Equipment is an item that meets all of the following criteria:
Rental of Equipment should be budgeted not as equipment but as an Other Direct Costs and does incur F&A even using an MTDC base. The UFIRST Category “Rental/User Fee – Equipment or Facility” should NOT be used for equipment rental.
The Uniform Guidance allows the direct charging of computing devices, costing less than $5,000 as a material and supply cost provided they are essential ❶ and allocable to the project. Computing devices do not have to be solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award, in order to be charged 100% to a single award or allocated to several awards. Computer devises are expected to be primarily used to support the performance of the federal award.
❶ UF considers essential to mean: Computer devices and accessories that are necessary for the performance of the project or activity being supported by the federal award. Examples of essential, might include: (1) used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data necessary for the performance of the project or activity; (2) used to create information electronically, including printing, transmitting, receiving and visualizing the information in support of the performance of the project or activity; (3) used in training, instruction, or curriculum development activities funded by the federal award; or (4) other circumstances demonstrated as essential.
Budgeting: If you believe computer devices and/or accessories are essential and allocable to the performance of your project and meets the conditions above, you should budget for the computer devices and/or accessories and provide in the budget justification a narrative that explains how the items are essential to the performance of the project.
In the case of NIH Modular Grant applications, computing devices and/or accessories should be itemized and justified in the detailed budget and justification provided to UF.
CAS Exemption Needed: If awarded, UF will require a CAS exemption form be completed, reviewed, and approved for any computer devices and accessories costing less than $5,000, budgeted or not. Budgets that include computer devices and/or accessories that have been justified as essential will assist and expedite the CAS Exemption request.
Materials and supplies necessary for the performance of the work may be budgeted for as direct costs.
Also see Budgeting for Computing Devices as a Direct Cost above.
Direct charging of general office supplies should be restricted to projects with a high demand for these items and must be in compliance with the university’s Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) policy; all such charges must be project-specific and justified in the budget. Even though supplies are estimations, it is advisable to have a breakdown of these items by general classification as substantial amounts are usually challenged by sponsor reviewers.
Travel charges may include airfare, hotel charges, taxis, visas, passports, entry or exit taxes, per diems and rental cars. Most sponsors require (in the budget justification section) the purpose, destination and time span for each trip, and the number of individuals for whom funds are requested. This must be fully explained, noting the relationship of the trip to the project. Sponsored research funds are subject to both sponsor and State of Florida rules and regulations. Domestic and foreign travel have some differences:
Domestic travel reimbursements are subject to the state’s travel regulations and payment rates. Out-of-state travel should be requested on the basis of actual expenses for lodging and round trip economy airfare. Meals for State of Florida employees are reimbursed using the State per diem rate. In addition, some sponsors may have set fixed maximum per diem limits. Reimbursement for any trip which includes both in and out-of-state travel should be requested on the basis of as close an estimate as possible.
Foreign travel requests must specify the destination. The U.S. Department of State’s foreign per diem and hotel plus meal payment rates should be used. In today’s funding environment, it may not be possible for a Sponsor to cover travel for conference attendance unless there is active involvement of the faculty in the program to present, and/or unless the meeting has direct relevance to the research project. Typically, for international travel, only American flag carriers may be used. Sponsor Prior Approval may be required for foreign travel.
Travel Information is also available online, http://fa.ufl.edu.
Patient care costs are defined by NIH as: “Research patient-care costs are the costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals participating in research programs. The costs of these services normally are assigned to specific research projects through the development and application of research patient-care rates or amounts (hereafter “rates”)”.
Indicate in detail the basis for estimating costs in this category, including the number of patient days, estimated cost per day, and cost per test or treatment. If both in-patient and out-patient costs are requested, provide information for each separately. If multiple sites are to be used, provide the information by detail by site.
Research patient-care costs do not include:
1.) the otherwise allowable items of personal expense reimbursement, such as patient travel or subsistence, consulting physician fees, or any other direct payments related to all classes of individuals, including inpatients, outpatients, subjects, volunteers, and donors;
2.) costs of ancillary tests performed in facilities outside the hospital on a fee-for-service basis (e.g., in an independent, privately owned laboratory) or laboratory tests performed at a medical school/university not associated with a hospital routine or ancillary service;
3.) recruitment or retention fees; or
4.) the data management or statistical analysis of clinical research results
Helpful Hints: If Shands bills for the medical services, these services are patient‐care costs; if UF bills for medical services, these are non‐patient‐care costs. For example, an MRI or a blood draw provided at Shands or its clinics is a patient‐care cost; an MRI at the McKnight Brain Institute or a blood draw in UF research space is a non‐patient‐care cost. The term patient care may include services, such as a blood draw, that are not strictly “care” of the patient but would meet the NIH definition of patient‐care costs.
Recommendation at Proposal Stage: if you are unsure of where the services will be performed, include the costs in the ‘Other’ section of your budget.
REMINDER: The PI must seek prior approval from the NIH program officer when there is a significant change in scope of work. UF does not consider re‐budgeting categories for a change in the service location (from UF to Shands or vice versa) as a change in scope. The change of location of services can result in an increase/decrease of patient care costs and if the F&A base is MTDC could result in an increase in F&A charged to the project. This change may require change in R99 status for Shands billing.
Facility alterations and/or renovation (A&R) cost must be specifically budgeted for and approved by the sponsor. A&R costs are allowable if necessary for the performance of the project. One example is altering a room to make space for a new grant-related piece of equipment. Justify basis for costs in detail. Provide the square footage and costs. If A&R costs are in excess of $500,000 it would be considered a”construction” project and not allowable under traditional grants.
You should coordinate pricing with UF’s Planning, Design, Construction Unit.
This category may include fees, tuition, trainee travel costs and stipends. While the budget cost category reflects the total required cost, provide individualized breakdown of costs for each trainee on a separate page to allow reviewers an independent assessment of the level, scope and need for the training activity. Sponsors may have specific rules and regulations for training costs.
Please see the detailed description of participant support costs and how to budget for these costs on the DSP website at https://research.ufl.edu/dsp/proposals/budgeting/participant-support-costs.html.
The University recovers the cost of maintenance of facilities, space, equipment and other assets through the “Facilities” portion of the Facilities & Administration rate. Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) mandates that no cost can be both direct charged to a grant and included in the F portion of the F&A rate development. Therefore, internal charges between departments for use of facilities and equipment must be scrutinized to ensure UF does not charge sponsors for the same asset twice. To ensure this does not occur, follow the costing guidance below:
The Rental/User Fees category should be used when renting or leasing facility or space is required for project implementation, and the facility or space is not owned by UF.
NOTE: If rental in non-UF facilities or space (not equipment) is budgeted for AND the majority of the project occurs in these facilities, the project may qualify for the off campus F&A rate.
The Other Expenses category should be used when a facility, space or equipment is owned by UF and an approved Auxiliary (EBA) Rate is in place for the facility, space or equipment. The owner/operator of the facility, space or equipment should provide you documentation of the approved rates as you are preparing your budget. Examples include the ICBR and ACS core services.
When facility/building space is owned by UF and no approved Auxiliary (EBA) Rate is in place, only direct costs associated with running or using the space or equipment may be included on the budget as direct charges. These charges may only include reimbursable expenses such as personnel time, materials and supplies, fuel, etc. Direct charges may not include any maintenance or depreciation on the already UF owned asset.
• When budgeting for these items on a grant proposal, it is acceptable to use a flat rate which is not broken out into reimbursable expenses, depending on the level of detail that is required by the sponsor. However, when these costs are charged to the grant, they must be broken out. If there is not an approved auxiliary rate, no flat rate may be charged to the grant.
• Example: A PI would like to use a greenhouse which is owned by another department at UF. There is not a UF approved EBA/auxiliary rate in place for use of the greenhouse. The PI could budget for purchasing plants and fertilizers for the project, and for paying greenhouse staff to care for her plants. She could not budget for electricity or water use, or maintenance for the greenhouse.
• Example: The University owns a boat which is used by many faculty to access remote field sites. There is not a UF approved EBA/auxiliary rate in place for the use of the boat. The PI could budget for the hourly rate of the ship’s captain and fuel but not for a flat rate for the maintenance and depreciation of the boat.
Equipment rental from non-UF owners should be budgeted as Other Direct costs and is subject to F&A even when the MTDC base is used. The UFIRST Category “Rental/User Fee – Equipment or Facility” should NOT be used for equipment rental.