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A proposal budget reflects the Principal Investigator's best estimate of the costs for conducting the project within a defined time period.  The time period is usually specified by the sponsor in the Request for Application (RFA) and most projects are funded for at least a one year period.  OSP generally recommends an inflationary increase between 2-4% for all budget categories when appropriate.

In all cases the proposal budget should follow the sponsor’s published guidelines (included as part of the RFP or located on the sponsor’s website). Please see this excellent article [link] regarding why budget justifications are helpful to winning an award. When the sponsor does not provide a budget or budget justification template or related instructions, we recommend using the following budget guidelines with the understanding that there can be exceptions for each category.

Helpful information and tools for international projects can be found at the following link:

Additionally, cost share is the portion of total project costs that are paid from sources other than the sponsor in order to complete the project's statement of work. Visit the Cost Share Policy page for more information regarding how to address cost sharing.  Contact your OSP representative for further guidance.

For more information about each budget category, visit the Federal Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200, MSU's Federal Cost Policy, and the following webpages:

Salary and Fringe Benefits



Participant Support Costs

Other Direct Costs

Facilities and Administrative Cost Rates

Budget Justification


What if the sponsor does not require a detailed budget to be submitted with the proposal?

MSU generally requires a detailed budget at proposal stage, even when the sponsor does not, in order to review for proper costing and verify that applicable indirect costs have been calculated correctly.  The budget should be prepared following the OSP Budget Guidelines webpage.

If a budget justification is not required by the sponsor, the Office of Sponsored Programs may request additional detail in order to verify proper costing, but will not require a formal budget justification.

If a requested amount is not required by the sponsor, a detailed budget will not be required at the proposal stage.  The Proposal Development document (PD) should include a note explaining the rationale for not preparing an internal MSU budget.  Contact your OSP Proposal Team for further guidance.  Note, at award negotiation an Award Revision PD with a detailed budget will need to be routed for approval before an account can be established.

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