Budget Justification an Important, yet Underutilized Part of Proposals
Tags: Budget Planning, federal funding, proposals, SBIR/STTR reauthorization
If you’re preparing an SBIR/STTR proposal for the upcoming Aug. 5 NIH or other agency deadline don’t underestimate the power of your budget justification. Numbers on a spreadsheet are only half of the story. Reviewers need to see WHY you are spending money on the things in your budget. Here are some important things to remember:
- This is the only place in the proposal that really tells the reviewers who is doing what, where. It should be a valuable overview of the way the project is set up, which will help answer a lot of questions reviewers have about your company.
- This is not where you justify the project and talk about how great it is. That information should be in the Research Strategy. The Budget Justification is where you explain in narrative detail how you will spend the agency’s money.
- Every line item (including project personnel) in the project budget should have a subheading and corresponding paragraph in the Budget Justification. Keeping the order, numbering and headings as in the budget spreadsheet will help you to do this.
- Include all justification information for all years of a multi-year project in the same document. There should be Year 1, Year 2 and Total columns for each line item.
- List all Company Personnel and include the following information in a short paragraph for each:
- Employment status – Where are they currently employed? Will this change on receipt of award? Will they be hired by the company on receipt of award?
- Project role – What will their project role/title be, and what will they do? This is not the place to add a lot of background information about the individual and how great they are; that information belongs in the Biosketch.
- % Effort – Express in terms of Calendar Months. E.g. 50% effort on a six-month project = three calendar months.
- Total salary/payment in $
- If the application includes a subaward/consortium budget, a separate budget and budget justification must be submitted for each subaward.
- The Budget Justification should be a stand-alone document to give the reviewers an overview of the budget without having to refer to the budget spreadsheets.
BBC can provide assistance not only in reviewing your budget and budget justifications, but your entire proposal. Contact us to see how we work.
Kris Bergman, BBCetc’s Grants & Contracts Management Consultant, assists clients in preparing to receive and manage federal grant and contract funds. This includes advice on financial policies and procedures, DCAA compliance, budget development, indirect cost negotiation, Just-in-Time response, using QuickBooks and preparing for government audits.