Office of Research Guidance by Budget Category - Office of Research

Guidance by Budget Category

There are many steps to developing a research project and preparing a proposal for submission. The Office of Research aims to provide and identify services and resources to aid the researcher’s efforts in developing and preparing a project or proposal.

Salaries and Benefits

Salaries and Benefits

One of the major components of any budget will be accounting for the people who will be working on the project. The budget category “salaries and wages” is designed to account for ONLY UC Davis faculty or staff. Non- UC Davis employees will be listed on their appropriate subaward budget.

If you know the specific person who will be working on a project, you should use their actual salary to calculate the total cost. If you don’t have this information, you should talk to the person in your department or area who processes payroll. You may also need to talk to the payroll staff in another department if an employee on the project works outside of your department.


Administrative and clerical costs may now be charged as direct costs to federal proposal budgets under certain (new) circumstances. When added, these costs should be fully justified in the proposal budget justification. Administrative and clerical salaries should still (generally) not be direct charged, but the rules governing “major project or activity” exceptions have been dropped and replaced by the following criteria, all of which must be met:

  • Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity;
  • Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
  • Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the federal awarding agency; and
  • The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
  • Add language about UC Davis definition of “integral”

If all of these requirements are met, PIs/departments should add a new statement to the budget justification section of proposals to facilitate the required agency approval.


Costs related to protocol development and maintenance, managing substances/chemicals, managing and securing project-specific data and coordination of research subjects are allowable direct costs when they are “contributing and directly related to work under an agreement.” Thus, these programmatic costs may be direct charged using the same underlying requirements as other types of direct costs, and are not subject to the prior approval requirements necessary for administrative and clerical costs.

UNIFORM GUIDANCE made changes to rules regarding COST SHARING SALARIES

Voluntary cost sharing, including cost sharing salaries, is NOT permitted on any federal proposal.

Using the unrecovered indirect costs (when solicitation limits recovery of indirect costs to less than the full negotiated rate) to offset cost-share component in proposals that require mandatory cost-sharing calls for agency prior approval. If this is included in proposal budgets, it must be specifically addressed in the budget justification section.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are listed on a proposal budget as a set percent of salary. For all employees, you will use the Composite Benefit Rate schedule provided by the Accounting Department. You will find the appropriate job classification for each employee, and use the rate listed for each fiscal year of your project.

  • Find links to information you need for Fringe Benefits
  • Rates Summary for Charts 3 & S/ Lookup by Title Code (Excel)