NIH R01 Modular Grant Application Procedure

NIH Modular Grant Application Procedures

The modular grant application process applies to most research grants – R01, R03, R15, R21, R41, R43.

Guidelines call for budgeting in $25,000 "modular" units up to $250,000 per year in direct costs. See NIH homepage for more details.

Proposal process – NIH & UMass requirements

Part I: NIH


If the direct costs in any given year exceeds $250,000, do not complete the “PHS 398 Modular Budget” - submit a detailed “Research & Related Budget.”  If the budget does not exceed $250,000 direct cost in any given year, follow the modular budgeting process and complete the “PHS 398 Modular Budget”:

Build the budget using $25,000 direct cost modules – use up to 10 modular units per year.  Although NIH does not require the submission of a detailed budget, one adding up to the modular amounts must be submitted to OGCA – see below under “II. UMass”

Load the modular budget into the PHS 398 Modular Budget form pages within the Adobe form-set or GAMS/FastGrant

  • Data needed to complete the Adobe Modular form pages:
  • B. Indirect cost type – insert “Modified Total Direct Cost”
  • Cognizant agency – DHHS, M. Stanco, 212-264-2069
  • Indirect cost rate agreement date – 07/08/2009
  • For current F&A rates, see the OGCA Fact Sheet
  • Indirect cost base:  the base upon which indirects are assessed – total direct costs less any costs for equipment, curriculum fee, and subcontractor costs in excess of $25,000 – see Proposal Guide for details - Indirect Costs – Modified Total Direct Cost base.
  • Tips to keep in mind:
  • The total modular amount for each year should normally remain constant.  If they vary, upload an “Additional Narrative Justification”.  Additional modules most frequently happen in the first year due to costs such as large equipment purchases.
  • Annual modular budgets must not increase year to year due to COLA’s and inflation. Average the COLA’s (cost of living adjustments) and inflation over the life of the project.  Use a 2% COLA.
  • Salary cap still applies. If PI salary exceeds the NIH salary cap (see NIH salary cap) when annualized (take monthly rate and multiply by 12 months), use the capped monthly rate and exempt this salary from any COLA’s.  This should not be addressed in the Modular budget documentation, but must be noted in the in-house budget – see below “II. UMass” requirements. Please refer to salary cap policy for further guidance.
  • Subcontracts?  Enter the “Consortium F&A” costs from the detailed budget(s) provided by the subcontractor(s) - F&A costs are also known as “Indirect costs”. Although NIH does not require a detailed budget from either UMass or its subcontractor(s), UMass is required to keep subcontractor and UMass detailed budgets on file for in-house purposes.  The NIH excludes “Consortium F&A” costs from any program direct cost limits.  However, subcontractor direct costs are still wrapped into the total direct costs.  So, for example, if UMass direct costs minus the subcontractor costs is $200,000 per year and the subcontractor direct is $50,000 plus $25,000 for F&A, the total direct cost less “Consortium F&A” is $250,000 – thus meeting the threshold maximum for Modular grants.
  • Provide OGCA with subcontractor documentation; see Subcontracts
  • Personnel Justification (PJ):
  • Upload a PDF at the end of the Adobe Modular Budget addressing the following requirements:
  • List all personnel.
  • List names of all paid UMass Amherst personnel beginning with the PI.
  • List effort in person months.  Show effort as either “Calendar”, “Academic”, or “Summer”.  Non-faculty positions will be listed as “Calendar” while faculty need to distinguish between “Academic” and “Summer” effort.  Effort must be budgeted for all “key personnel” – unless an OSC – see below.
  • Detail respective roles on the project for each listed person.
  • List consultants and any "to be named" positions, include their effort and role.
  • No individual salary information should be listed on the “PJ”; do not list other costs, personnel or otherwise.  The PJ is only for listing personnel effort and roles.
  • Contributed academic time up to 20% can be shown for faculty – but beyond that level, approval must be secured from the Vice Chancellor for Research. Since this is considered cost-share, the contributed salary must be shown and signed for on the Internal Processing Form. As always, provide an account number for that contributed time.
  • After listing paid personnel (UM and consultant), list, if any, “Other Significant Contributors” – OSC’s.  An OSC is an unpaid collaborator whether UMass personnel or otherwise who have no measurable effort but make a significant contribution to the project through collegial scientific collaboration.  Keep in mind that OSC’s must also be listed in the “Senior/Key personnel” section with required biosketches uploaded
  • Consortium Justification Subcontractor):
  • Subcontracts?  If yes, upload a PDF at the end of the Modular Budget addressing the following requirements:
  • List the subcontractor(s).
  • Show the total costs (direct and indirect) for each year, rounded to the nearest $1,000.
  • List all personnel following the same format of the “PJ” (above) – list effort and role on the project.  List subcontractor OSC’s as applicable.
  • List if subcontractor is “foreign” or “domestic”.

Part II: UMass

Along with the proposal, submit an in-house budget to OGCA – consider the following points:

  • The internal budget can either be generated in GAMS or Excel
  • Itemization of personnel costs - show effort in person months for each position, TBA’s included
  • Include Fringe calculations
  • Equipment costs ($5K unit cost or greater)
  • Consultant costs – show rate and effort; signed letters required for OGCA confirming rate and effort and that the consultant will not be using either UMass or their own institution’s facilities to carry out the consulting work.
  • Subcontractor total cost as applicable
  • Curriculum fee(s)
  • Other direct costs as applicable
  • Provide annual itemization for each year of the project
  • If the project includes administrative costs such as secretarial, telephone, office supplies, software, memberships, general purpose equipment like computers, printers, cell phones and other costs restricted under federal and University CAS policies, provide an itemized listing with thorough justification. Prior to constructing the budget, please read the University’s CAS policies, in particular the section on “Administrative Costs” and see “Proposal Preparation Guide, Cost Restrictions”, in particular scroll to “sample administrative cost justifications”
  • Note: NIH still requires that its applicants provide proposals based on costing that is allowable, allocable, and reasonable. However, if you need to round up to the nearest $25K, provide a budget with the rounded portion posited in a so-called "unallocated" line item on the detailed in-house budget
  • If Excel, email the budget to OGCA’s NIH contact