A competitive budget provides a sponsor with a complete financial picture of the proposed project. Budgets are reviewed by the sponsor to verify that the costs are reasonable and necessary for the proposed project and to ensure that the budget conforms to the sponsor's instructions.

Cost estimates of individual line items should be carefully calculated so that the requested funds are adequate but not excessive. As you develop your budget, it is important to keep in mind that sponsored project costs fall into the following categories:

  • Facilities & Administrative Costs: Also known as indirect costs or overhead, F&A rates reimburse the university for the indirect costs associated with a research project. View current F&A rates.
  • Direct Costs: The most significant direct costs for any sponsored project are typically salaries and fringe benefits, but direct costs may also include travel, printing, materials and supplies, subcontracting agreements, and more. If your budget charges the sponsor for expenses that would normally be considered indirect costs (e.g., equipment, facilities, administrative support, etc.), these items require a budget justification. Review Georgia Tech's policies on allowable direct costs and unallowable costs.
  • Unallowable Costs: Certain costs incurred by higher education institutions cannot be charged to federally sponsored research projects, either as direct or indirect costs (e.g., advertising, bad debts, entertainment, lobbying, and more).

The Office of Sponsored Programs offers classes on preparing budgets and budget justifications. Please check our training calendar for upcoming sessions.

Sample Budget

› Agency (Form) Budget: This budget example is a PDF file and includes information on how to calculate F&A.

Service Center Rates

› View Service Center Rates

Small Business Plans

› A small business plan is required on federal contracts that are expected to total $750,000 or more for the entire period of performance. A small business plan is also required of any sub-recipient whose total dollar subcontract amount is expected to exceed total costs of $750,000 for the entire period of performance. We've put together some resources to help navigate this topic.