Selecting the Correct Budget Format for Your Application

Providing budget information is a necessary part of requesting federal funding. The amount of budget detail needed for funding consideration varies based on the type of funding you are requesting. The funding opportunity announcement, application instructions, and the associated form package hold the key for determining the prefect level of budget detail and format needed to apply. Each opportunity announcement includes award budget and project period information; any opportunity-specific budget guidance; and the specific forms appropriate for the opportunity.  

Some grant programs require all applicants to use a specific budget format. For example, applicants for R35 Outstanding Investigator Awards must provide detailed budgets. Some director awards (DP1, DP2, DP3) and a few other programs simply use the total funds requested information collected on the SF424 (R&R) form and don’t include a budget form at all. For these programs there is no choice of budget format – you simply fill out the forms presented to you.

Many research grant programs, however, require applicants to choose between two budget formats (e.g., R01, R03, R21, R15, R34, U01):

  1. the modular budget format using the PHS 398 Modular budget form, or
  2. the detailed budget format using the R&R Budget form and associated subaward budget form (if needed).

When presented with budget format options, you need to carefully read the funding opportunity and application guide instructions and choose the budget format that matches your situation.

Must provide modular budget if ALL apply Must provide detailed budget if ANY apply
Applicant organization is based in U.S. Applicant organization is foreign (non-U.S.)
Direct costs (minus consortium/subaward F&A) is less than or equal to $250K in all budget periods Direct costs (minus consortium/subaward F&A) is greater than $250K in at least one budget period
Application does NOT propose the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions (NOT-OD-19-128) Application proposes the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions, even if no costs incurred (NOT-OD-19-128)
The proposed project period is less than or equal to 5 years  

The PHS 398 Modular Budget form cannot accommodate more than 5 budget periods
The proposed project period is greater than 5 years  

A special detailed budget form supporting data collection for more than 5 budget periods will be included in the form package

For more information, see Modular versus Detailed Budgets.

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