Research Budgets

A proposal budget is an estimate of all the "costs" necessary to implement the activities developed in the narrative section of an application to external sources. The budget flows from the design of the project and reflects a cost-effective plan for implementation. When properly developed, the budget summarizes the needs of the project and the institution's fiscal policies.

The Research Foundation for SUNY administers all grants and contracts on behalf of SUNY institutions, per an agreement established in 1977. Thus, the legal applicant for all external grants and contracts is: The Research Foundation for The State University of New York on behalf of SUNY Geneseo.    Budgets are developed in accordance with sponsor, Research Foundation for SUNY, and SUNY Geneseo guidelines.

Direct Costs

Salaries: Who will be involved, how much time (% of effort or person-months) will each person spend on the project, will summer effort be included, what is the role each person will perform. 

There are numerous ways to charge salaries.  For faculty, summer support is purchased in months, where one month is equal to 1/9th of academic year base salary. Note that 2 months of summer support is the general limit on summer salaries (additional summer support requires strong justification and approval by the President). Faculty may also request released time from teaching and this is calculated as a percentage of credits normally taught each year. For example, if you normally teach 7 courses for a total of 21 credits (3 credits per course), release time from one course is charged at 50% of 3/21 or 1/7th of academic year salary.  The 50% reflects the percentage of effort that faculty members devote to teaching. If you are projecting faculty or staff salary expenses for a multi-year project, please make sure to increase salary levels each year. A 2% increase per year is a reasonable estimate. 

Fringe benefits: The Research Foundation maintains a list of the current fringe benefit rates. There are different fringe benefits rates for different types of employee.  There are also different rates for faculty summer salary and faculty course releases.

Supplies/Materials: Materials, books, journals, office supplies, CDs (video or auditory recording), chemicals, etc.

Publication: Costs of printing, duplicating, publishing results, workbooks, manuals, etc.

Equipment: Including testing, laboratory, and teaching equipment essential to implementation of the project. Will the sponsor support the purchase of these items?

Travel: Per diem, transportation, use of rental or state vehicles, etc.

Miscellaneous: Computer time, telephone and postage (for certain projects), consultants (fees per day plus travel and expenses), repair and maintenance of equipment, subawards to collaborating institutions, space, participant costs, chemical removal, advertising costs for recruitment for positions, etc.

Indirect/Facilities & Administrative Costs 

Rates (7/1/20 - 6/30/2024)

Our Federally Negotiated Rates (DHHS); Date of Agreement: December 2, 2019

Rates are apportioned according to the amounts of on-effort and off-campus effort

  • 57.0% On Campus (Modified Total Direct Cost Base)
  • 22% Off Campus (Modified Total Direct Cost Base)
  • Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than one Facilities and Administrative rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project.
  • For indirect cost calculations, the MTDC base is equal to total direct costs minus all costs for: equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000.
  • SUNY Geneseo Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

Indirect Cost Rates: are the rates of reimbursement to the Research Foundation and College for the conduct of Sponsored Programs.   These rates are negotiated every four years by the Research Foundation of SUNY (the legal applicant for all grants and contracts) for and on behalf of SUNY Geneseo.  The rate is negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services which acts on behalf of all other federal agencies. Our rates are based in part on the "volume" (amount) of grant and contract funds coming to the campus through the Research Foundation from both public (federal or state) and private sources, and the costs associated in administering and supporting sponsored research activities.

Explanation of Indirect Costs: Two types of cost are associated with all grants and contracts: Those directly involved with the specific project as noted above, and those categorized as general support and management of sponsored activities. This latter category is frequently referred to as "pooled" or indirect costs for accounting purposes, and most recently as "facilities and administrative" costs, and includes such things as utility costs, maintenance and operation of the physical plant, library, and general administrative support (accounting, payroll, computer support, etc.). Both direct and indirect costs are real and usually occur before an external sponsor reimburses the institution - in our case through the Research Foundation. Some private sponsors do not allow for indirect cost recovery and some federal, as well as private, sources allow only a specific lower rate. If an external sponsor does not allow Indirect Cost, the "cost" associated with accounts management (payroll, purchasing, billings, auditing and other centralized costs) may be charged as a Direct Cost item as Accounting or Administrative services.

Finally, please bear in mind that an external sponsor, whether federal, state or private, is looking for a cost-effective project of high caliber. Thus, proposals are judged on the quality of the proposed project and the appropriate costs required to implement it.