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NIH Modular Budgets

Required on new, competing continuation, and revised (amended) applications, as well as for competing supplements that request up to a total of $250,000 Direct Costs (Less Consortium F&A) and fall in one of the following mechanisms:

In short, NIH modular applications:

  1. include proposed budgets in increments (modules) of $25,000
  2. do not include detailed categorical budget information
  3. include only a brief justification for several of the intended budget items.

More details on the process can be found at the NIH modular application web page.

Modular applications result in modular awards. Modular awards are issued without direct cost categorical breakdowns. Without these categorical breakdowns there is no specific "approved budget" against which project expenditures can be compared. In fact, for modular awards, the NIH restriction prohibiting significant rebudgeting has been removed, for obvious reasons.

Cost Account Standards Still Apply
Issuing a modular award does not relieve the grantee institution from its normal financial management requirements. The cost principles of the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) and the applicable Cost Accounting Standards still apply; all project charges must be allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistently treated; and the University must account for costs related to these awards by category within our standard accounting system.

Note: The modular application format also simplifies the explicit request/approval for items that would normally be considered indirect costs. If you anticipate the need for such expenses during the course of the project, and believe they are allowable under the Uniform Guidance, please complete a Post-Award Change Request Form. If approved, ORSP will sign the form for inclusion in the project team’s budget reallocation request to Sponsored Programs.

Budget Breakdown Options
With the receipt of a modular award, we are faced with the question of whether prospective detailed budgets are necessary to meet our post-award management responsibilities. The answer is no.

The Project/Grant Budget Status Report (PBSR) should be viewed as a management tool for both the PI and his/her administrative staff. It should be an assist device to monitor the costs of the project based on the awarded amounts and actual expenses. Accordingly, Sponsored Programs staff will not require the submission of a budget at the outset of a project. Rather, investigators and their unit representatives will be given the option to provide the degree of categorical breakdown they prefer to enhance their ability to monitor the project. If a breakdown is desired, please communicate the details to the appropriate Sponsored Programs coordinator. If no breakdown is desired, all the awarded direct cost funds will be shown in the unallocated line. The other major cost categories will show a "0" to permit expenditures in these categories.v

References and Resources

  • NIH modular application web page The modular grant application format is an extension of NIH's streamlining and reinvention initiatives, designed to focus the attention of investigators, their institutions, peer re-viewers, and NIH staff on science rather than budget details.