Grant Writing

What to Do with Personnel Effort and Salary in Grantwriting

Your team members are perhaps the most important piece of your project, and you want to convey their vital role within your budget. Your key personnel are all individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of your research project in a significant and measurable way. A staff member may be key personnel but not receive salary or compensation. Remember to look closely at the specific instructions provided with your grant announcement regarding personnel, effort, and allowable salaries.

  • Personnel:
    • Percent effort should be listed for every with expected effort (ex. 20.8 hrs/yr = 1%). The percent effort of all investigators does not need to equal 100%; instead, it is a percentage of each person’s time to be spent on the project out of his or her entire day/week/year. 
    • No salary for administrative or clerical personnel should be budgeted.
    • Overtime should not be requested.
    • Letters of agreement from consultants or outside collaborators should be included in the ‘Letters of Support’ attachment for NIH submissions.
  • Consultants: Use of consultants should be to add additional expertise which will improve the quality of the project. These costs are those for individuals who have dedicated time to the project not as an employee of the applicant organization or under a subcontract agreement as a member of the contractor staff. Payments to non-employee patient and stakeholder representatives are included.
    • Consultant costs must be expressed in an hourly rate or a flat fee.
    • Consultant costs must be reasonable and justified within the budget justification.
    • Provide total cost of consultant(s) as well as names, expected number of hours, and hourly rate.
    • For all consultant costs, provide computations for how applicants arrived at the specific number.
  • Annual Salary and Salary Caps (currently $199,300 for most federal grants.)
    • Salaries include wages earned by an employee, and eligible costs also include fringe benefits, including insurance and retirement plans.
  • Level of Effort: Personnel contributing to a funded research project are expected to monitor their total percent effort across all funding, and may not exceed 95%. Effort must be reported by the percentage of time over the course of the project year. All personnel from the applicant organization dedicating effort to the project should be listed on the personnel budget with their level of effort, even if they are not requesting salary support.
  • Fringe Benefits: Fringe benefits should be requested with each salary (current rate is 28% for faculty, 34% for staff, and 1% for students). These costs are calculated based on the institution’s own policy. As referenced above, there is no cap on the fringe benefits rate.

Further Reading

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