Preparing Your Budget

Practically speaking, developing your budget is an exercise in translating the application’s narrative into dollars and cents. That is, the budget is the financial expression of the proposed statement of work and should reflect the total costs of performing the activities proposed in the application’s narrative.

Syracuse University’s budget development and expenditure guidance is based on OMB Uniform Guidance, University policies, and best practices. As the regulatory framework governing sponsored awards is continuously evolving, our guidance and practices also adapt to such changes.

The budget should include all components required for the successful completion of the project and, unless otherwise mandated, the sponsor should support all project costs to the greatest degree possible (i.e. all allowable costs).

The translation of the project’s work into dollars and cents requires consideration of two major cost categories:

Direct costs are those items that can be easily (directly) assigned or allocated to a particular project with a reasonably high degree of precision. For example, faculty and staff effort, travel to disseminate research findings, materials and laboratory supplies, payment for human research participants, etc.

Indirect costs are items that cannot easily be allocated to the project because they typically benefit multiple projects or activities. For example, copy machines, library costs, departmental administrative/clerical staff, sponsored programs/accounting staff, etc.

Cost sharing or matching means that a portion of project or program costs will be borne by an entity other than the sponsor.