Research Justification

Budget Development Resources

Budget Justification


The budget is the financial expression of the project and should accurately reflect the costs of the proposed research/education/service program. The budget justification provides the sponsor agency and reviewers of the application with information such as why costs are programmatically necessary and how they are calculated. Reviewers will analyze the financial data to determine if the proposed costs are allocable to the program, allowable under federal cost principles or non-federal sponsor guidelines (whichever is applicable), reasonable, and treated consistently by the institution and similar organizations.

When the University receives an award, the approved budget items become part of the agreement between the University and the sponsor. Only those costs that are included in the budget or re-budgeted costs allowed by the sponsor should be directly charged to the award. If the cost requires prior institutional and/or sponsor approval after the award is made, the approval must be secured before the cost is incurred. Therefore, it is important to develop a budget that will enable the PI to fulfill all of the programmatic requirements of the project.

A budget and budget justification must be provided for:

  • ALL proposed direct costs
  • Proposed cost share
  • Estimated program income, including projected revenue and expenditures
  • Facilities and Administration (F&A or Indirect Costs)

Funding Sources

One of the first steps in developing a budget is a determination of the original source of funding: federal/federal flow through, state and local government, private, etc. The Office of Research, College of Public Health (COPH), will assist grant writers in identifying the source of funding. 

  • Federal/Federal Flow-Through
    If the funding source is federal in origin, budgets must comply with the sponsor agency budget guidance and OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions. Additional information is provided throughout this document to assist grant writers in determining if items of cost are normally treated as direct costs or F&A. In addition, definitions are provided at the end of this document for the following terms: direct costs, F&A costs, allocable, reasonable, consistent treatment.
  • Non-Federal Sources
    Budgets developed for non-federal funding sources must comply with the sponsor agency budget guidance and University guidelines.

You can view one Sample Budget Justification here >

You can download another Sample Budget Justification here (doc)