Proposal Budget Forms

Prepare one set of forms for each proposed funding year as well as a cumulative budget summary if applicable. Direct any questions regarding indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, percents of time, etc., to your campus research office.

NOTE: For proposals encompassing more than one campus, complete separate budget worksheets for each campus. Budget limits described refer to the CUMULATIVE amount requested for all campuses combined.


Clearly identify all budgeted items, whether requested from Sea Grant or proposed as cost sharing. Itemize expendable supplies and equipment. All costs must be allocable to this project, so clear explanations and justifications  for all items will reduce the amount of questions regarding your budget by technical reviewers, administrative staff, and the NOAA grants office.

Each line item on the Budget Form must have a corresponding justification in the Budget Justification section. Please read the NOAA Budget Justification Checklist.

Please see sample budget justification.


The following definitions of personnel categories are organized to correspond with the Budget Form / Justification example:

A. Salaries & Wages
Under salaries and wages, show the total time (in months of effort) that each individual will spend on the project. In calculating salaries, use the actual time each individual will spend on the project. For example, if a researcher has a nine month appointment and will spend 25% of his/her time on the project during the academic year and his/her academic year salary is $131,600, then the salary will equal $131,600 multiplied by 25%, and the time spent will be nine months multiplied by 25%. Include the calculations of salary in the budget justification.


1. Senior Personnel

  1. The Project Leader is responsible for the conduct of the activity. He/she may be the principal investigator of a research project, the coordinator of an educational project, or the director of an advisory service activity. If responsibility is shared equally between two persons, they should be listed as co-project leaders.

  2. Associate: Faculty Associates are full-time academic appointees in the professional series. Staff Associates are full-time academic appointees who are not in the professional series, i.e., researchers, specialists, etc.

2. Other Personnel

  1. Professionals are persons who are non-faculty and non-staff associated with the project.

  2. Research Associates (Faculty or Staff) are professional persons who are employed as faculty or staff and have an active role in the project.

  3. Research Asst./Grad Students are part- or full-time students who hold at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent, are enrolled in a program leading to an advanced or professional degree, and are integral to the project as research assistants. They can also be graduate students working up to 50% time in the summer months usually to supplement their Sea Grant research traineeship stipends for those months. Because Sea Grant supports graduate student research traineeships, requests for GSRs for the academic months are strongly discouraged.

  4. Professional school students are students enrolled in medical, legal, and other professional schools.

  5. Pre-baccalaureate students may be employed as aides or helpers on a Sea Grant project as part-time employees or on an hourly basis. [Prebaccalaureates are undergraduate students enrolled either part or full-time in a course leading to a degree, including an Associate Degree in the case of students in two-year programs or a certificate in the case of some vocational students.]

  6. Secretarial-clerical is a category for office personnel. Only under extraordinary circumstances can clerical personnel be funded by Sea Grant. Clerical assistance is considered part of the University overhead.

  7. Technical is the category to use for technicians, shop personnel, lab personnel and other persons with special but nonprofessional skills.

  8. Other Personnel.


B. Fringe Benefits
Fringe benefits are those customarily paid by the grantee institution. Please provide a rate and base detail per year.

C. Permanent Equipment
Permanent equipment is defined as items that cost more than $5,000 and having an expected lifetime in excess of one year. In the budget justification section, please clearly describe each item of equipment, including cost and how the equipment will be used in the project. Also include a justification for purchase rather than lease of the equipment. Please note, Sea Grant recommends equipment purchases have a 50% cost share component.

NOTE: Institutions with lower equipment value thresholds may include equipment costs at those standards. However, this must be explained in the Budget Justification.

D. Expendable Supplies & Equipment
Expendable supplies and equipment should be itemized in the Budget Justification by type of material or nature of expense, e.g., glassware @ $500; reagents @ $1,000; laboratory supplies @ $300; computer @ $1,500. Itemize all equipment items less than $5,000. General office supplies are generally not allowable (they are considered an indirect cost) unless they are identified as being dedicated solely to the funded project and their specific need is described.

E. Travel
Show the basis for all travel in the Budget Justification section (e.g., X trips at Y average cost for Z days). Include the destination, method of travel, estimated auto mileage/rate, duration, number of travelers, per diem rate for meals and lodging, etc. If actual trip details are not known, explain what the basis is for the proposed charges. Base per diem for travel on federal regulations and include it in the travel budget total. Domestic travel includes travel to all U.S. possessions or trusts, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Trust Territories, Guam and Samoa. All other travel anywhere outside the U.S. and its possessions, including Canada and Mexico, is considered as "foreign travel" and must be fully explained in the Budget Justification. Recipients of Sea Grant funding must comply with the Fly America Act.

F. Publication Costs
Publication costs are expenses resulting from the dissemination of information, including publication production, normal reprint page charges for journals, and special editorial needs.

G. Other Costs
List such items as computer time, reimbursement of outside participating organizations, equipment rental, consultants, etc. Note that facilities rental and other costs not allowable under the federal portion of the grant may be listed as "other costs" in the grantee share column. The use of consultants must be fully justified in the Budget Justification. Please note, payments for memberships and subscriptions are not allowed. In addition, computer costs, equipment rental, maintenance costs, and support services (includes project-related utilities such as phone, postage, photocopying, etc.) may only be included if they are clearly justified in the budget justification as being directly allocable to the project.

H. Tuition/Remission

The F&A rate is 0% for Tuition/Remission.

I. Ship Time
Check with your institution on applicable F&A rates.

K. Indirect CostsUse your approved on/off campus rates for federal funds.

M. Number of Sea Grant Research Trainees—Research trainees are full-time, registered graduate students who are working toward an advanced degree related to the marine or coastal sciences. They are expected to make “good progress” toward their degrees, to remain in good academic standing, and to participate in a research project that has been approved by Sea Grant. The project should be one that will either serve to provide material for a thesis or provide a training opportunity that will further the trainee’s education in the major field. A stipend is awarded for a 12-month period at 50% time. The traineeship stipend does not cover graduate student tuition and fees. These funds, if requested, must be outlined under "other costs" in the budget and justified under "other costs" in the budget justification. Indicate the number of research trainees requested for the project in line M. Requests for research trainee support must be justified in the Budget Justification in line M.

Trainee/ (fellowship) stipends are excluded from F&A per 15CFR917.11. UC campuses should use waiver 95R-062.

Administrative Contact - The administrative contact is the post-award administrator, i.e., the person who monitors grant expenditures.


A Sea Grant graduate student research traineeship stipend, if requested, must be included in project costs. A Sea Grant Research Trainee is a full-time registered graduate student who is working toward an advanced degree related to marine or coastal sciences. The traineeship stipend will be set to the amount paid a 12-month, 50%-time graduate stipend at the host university’s approved graduate student researcher rate, not to exceed $28,500 per year (FY2017-2018). The traineeship stipend does not cover graduate student tuition and fees. Tuition and fees, if requested, should be included in project costs. The traineeship stipend is not subject to indirect costs per Federal Regulation 15CFR917.11.


See Example

According to the 1976 legislation, the project leader is required to match each $2 received in NOAA/Sea Grant Funds with $1 from nonfederal sources. Should you not be able to obtain the full 50% match, please call California Sea Grant to discuss your situation.

To identify these funds, use the Proposed Source of Matching Funds form located on the California Sea Grant website. Letters from sources outside of your institution documenting the contribution of matching funds must be included in your proposal submission.

Examples of allowable items for matching funds include:

  1. Existing salaries and fringe benefits of investigators and others when paid from non-federal sources. However, the percentage of salary allowable must not exceed the percentage of time actually spent on the Sea Grant activity, and the salary rate must be that established by the institutions. Sea Grant funds may not be used to augment salary scales nor to pay consulting fees over and above the salaries of persons participating in the grant.
  2. Expendable supplies and equipment used in the Sea Grant activity when purchased with other than Federal funds.
  3. Equipment purchased with non-federal funds, when the equipment is to be used solely or primarily in the Sea Grant activity, and when the equipment is not included in calculations of indirect cost rates. The full initial cost of equipment may be used for matching during the life of the Sea Grant project if the equipment was purchased specifically for the Sea Grant project. In most cases, only a pro-rata portion of the depreciated value of the equipment is allowable. Please refer to 2 CFR Part 200.306 or OMB Circular A-110 (Subpart D - Post Federal Award Requirements) for matching funds criteria.
  4. Ship-time provided with non-federal funds.
  5. Industry, state agency, and other non-federal participation. Donated supplies, services, building space, or equipment may be included.

Costs for research, education and training, or advisory service activities entirely funded by non-federal sources, for which other than Sea Grant funds are requested, are allowable provided the activity is formally approved by Sea Grant. To obtain this approval, it must be part of and relevant to the program proposed and of a quality that would entitle it to Sea Grant support.

In calculating matching funds, care must be taken to avoid double use of a given time. For example, the legislation permits use of an amount equal to the reasonable value of facilities, but most facilities are included in calculations of the indirect cost rate and hence generally cannot be listed in matching funds as a separate item.