Did you miss it? April 2023 Virtual Office Hours Recap: How to Write a Great Budget: A visit with DGA (Division of Grants and Agreements) 

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on April 20, 2023 providing information on current solicitations and Dear Colleague Letters of potential interest to the community. This overview was followed by our topic of the month, how to write a great budget. Vanessa Richardson and Staci Jenkins from NSF’s Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) gave a brief presentation on budget-related subjects including participant support costs, no-cost extensions, other direct costs that are listed in proposal budgets on line G6, international costs, and proposals that need to have IRB or IACUC approval. 

The Virtual Office Hour slides are available HERE.

Some highlights of the presentation from DGA were:  

  • The NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) includes detailed instructions for proposal preparation, including the budget and budget justification section. 
  • Common budget justification issues were reviewed. These must be addressed prior to an award being recommended.  If you have questions about these sections in particular, you are strongly encouraged to contact DGA and/or a program officer before submitting a proposal: 
    • Unallowable costs; usually found in F. Participant Support, and G.6. Other Direct Costs (e.g., Entertainment Cost);
    • Costs not fully described in the budget justification; usually found in G.6. Other. 
    • Exceeding the two-month salary without budget justification 

The responses to audience questions about no-cost extensions and rebudgeting requests are as follows: 

  1. No-cost extensions: PIs can request a no-cost extension (NCE) during the last year of an award and the request must be made before submitting a final report or a project outcomes report. The first request for an NCE is grantee-approved, while any additional NCE requests require NSF approval. PIs should refer to the deadlines and guidance for NCE requests specified in the PAPPG, as these requests must be made in advance of an award end date by your Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). Note that any funds that are 6 years past their anniversary date will be sent back to the federal government (a NCE cannot stop that).  
  1. Rebudgeting: Rebudgeting is possible as long as the updated budget still utilizes funds in a way that addresses the original scope of the award. PIs can often arrange rebudgeting directly with their institution’s AOR without approval by the NSF. However, there are a few rebudgeting decisions that require NSF approval, including rebudgeting of Participant Support to another category. A comprehensive list of budget items requiring prior written approval is available here.  

And finally, DGA’s motto is Ask Early, Ask Often! Don’t hesitate to reach out to DGA or your program officer with any questions you have! 

Please join us on May 18, 2023 for our next IOS Virtual Office Hour, where we will discuss the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER). You can register for May’s virtual office hour HERE