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Office of Research and Economic Development

Proposal Budget

Composite Benefit Rates (CBR)




Participant Support


Subcontract/Contract for Services

Other Direct Costs

Escalation Rates

Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)

State of California Indirect Cost Exception

Federal & Private Indirect Cost Exception

Consultant Costs

Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC)

Cost Sharing and Matching Funds

Budget Justification

  • Composite Benefit Rates (CBR): CBR must be used in budgets, instead of the archival fringe/actual rates, for FY 2018. The current rates are found on Costing & Policy’s website.
  • Equipment: Items that cost more than $5,000 per unit and with a useful life of more than one year. Please include a list and description for each item. A copy of the quote should be included with the proposal.
  • Supplies: Items that cost less than $5,000. Please include a list and description of each item.
  • Travel: All travel should be broken down into domestic and foreign. Indicate the purpose, destination, number of people attending, number of days and type of transportation.
  • Participant Support: Direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects. Participants cannot be UC Merced employees, graduate students or undergraduate students. Please follow the Uniform Guidelines for federal sponsors.
  • Subaward: List the total amount as a line item and include a separate detailed budget. An authorized Scope of Work, Budget, and Budget Justification must be submitted for each subaward. Only the first $25,000 of each subaward is assessed the F&A rate for UCM.
  • Subcontract/Contract for Services: Please include the budget as a line item. The total amount of the contract is assessed the F&A rate for UCM.
  • Other Direct Costs: Materials and supplies, publication costs, consultant costs, computer services, subawards, graduate student fees, tuition, insurance, rental charges and facility charges.
  • Escalation Rates: Escalating costs is consistent with the University’s cost principles, and with the University policy of recovering all costs of conduction sponsored projects. Escalation helps to ensure that your project receives adequate funding. Use an escalation rate of 3% to 5% except for:
    • Graduate Student Fees and Insurance should be calculated at 10% per year.
  • Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A): Also known as Indirect Costs are expenses that cannot be easily identified to any specific project, but are incurred for common or joint objectives. They include operation and maintenance of facilities, building depreciation, library expenses, space, utilities, payroll, accounting and other services. UC Merced’s current negotiated rate is 55% of the Modified Total Direct Costs.
  • Revision to Indirect Cost Exception requests and policy for the State of California funding: When indirect cost rates other than the UC Office of the President’s rate with the State of California will be used for research, please make a Submission Note in the Cayuse SP record which states (1) that an exception is being requested, and (2) a justification for the request, following the recently revised UCOP requirements for documentation, questions to be answered, and Chancellor or designee approval (the designee for UC Merced is currently the Vice Chancellor for Research), in addition to uploading the required documentation in Cayuse’s Proposal Attachments. These actions will notify SPO to make the request in the Research Enterprise Management System (REMS) in order for UCOP to review and make a determination. PIs and departmental research administration do not have access to REMS and cannot make the requests – it is their responsibility to provide the requirements in Cayuse for SPO to submit. Generally, it has taken 2-8 weeks to receive a determination from UCOP, after which SPO will make a Submission Note in Cayuse. Please consider this time period in proposal submissions, remembering that a request should be approved before a proposal is submitted but must be approved before an award may be accepted. Exceptions cannot be approved retroactively after a period of performance has ended.
  • Indirect Cost Exception request for Federal funding or Private funding: For indirect cost exception requests for Federal funding or Private funding, the case-by-case exception process is still followed. A similar process must be followed in these cases in order for SPO to make the request in REMS: please make a Submission Note in the Cayuse SP record which states (1) that an exception is being requested, and (2) a justification for the request. SRA will then make the request in REMS and document the determination as a Submission Note in Cayuse.
  • Consultant Costs: May generally only be paid to individuals not employed by UC campuses or labs. Include the same information provided for personnel and b specific about the daily rate and number of days they will be paid.
  • Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC): Excludes equipment and fabrication of equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, tuition remissions, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships and fellowships, as well as the amount of each subaward of more than $25,000. Please check the Sponsor Guidelines.
  • Cost Sharing and Matching Funds: Cost Sharing (also called matching) refers to the specific portion of the total project or program costs (direct or indirect) not funded by the sponsor. Cost sharing occurs when a cost specifically benefits a sponsored project, but is not charged to the sponsor. Typically, cost sharing is a direct cost such as salary or equipment. IF a sponsor limits F&A (indirect costs) eligible to be charged to a project, unrecovered F&A may be allowed as cost share in sponsor has approved.
    • Types of cost sharing
      • Mandatory: Costs required by the terms of the award or by federal statute that the University must contribute toward the project as a component of the award. Two major categories include Cash and In-kind.
      • Voluntary Committed: Costs associated with a project, identified in the proposal, yet not requested from the sponsor. Examples include Effort
        • Effort: A percentage effort included in a proposal for which compensation is not requested
        • Equipment: The purchase of equipment for the project that was identified in the proposal but funds were not requested of the sponsor.
      • Voluntary Uncommitted: Costs associated with a project, not funded by the sponsor, and not identified in the proposal.
  • Budget Justification: A budget justification is one of the most important sections of the proposal. One must make a case for almost everything needed to conduct their project. The more comprehensive the justification, the better the change of getting the project fully funded. A budget justification identifies the need for a particular cost and how the cost was estimated.