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Publication Costs/Documentation/Dissemination

Publication costs are those costs that make available the findings and products of the project and include activities such as documenting, preparing and publishing (e.g. reports, reprints, page charges or other journal costs (except costs for prior or early publication); necessary illustrations; cleanup, documentation, storage and indexing of data and databases; development, documentation and debugging of software; and storage, preservation, documentation, indexing, etc., of physical specimens, collections or fabricated items).

Supplies and Materials

Project-specific supplies are tangible items such as chemicals, lab notebooks, beakers, etc.  In the specific case of computing devices, charging as a direct cost is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated, to the performance of the project (See Equipment category when a stand-alone per-unit acquisition cost equals or exceeds $5,000 and has useful life of more than one year).  Cost breakdown should (sometimes required per the sponsor) be listed for items that represent a substantial amount of the budget category.  See the CGA Federal Cost Policy for more information.

Vendor Quotes for Purchasing Equipment and Supplies

  • Do not list a specific vendor in the proposal or the proposal budget/budget justification unless required by the solicitation or sponsor guidelines. This will help to ensure that the appropriate procurement method is followed once awarded.
  • Quotes for equipment or supplies can be obtained by processing a MSU Purchase Requisition with a note “for quote only” at the top.
  • If the proposal is awarded, please work with MSU Purchasing in advance to make sure the appropriate procurement method is used for equipment, supplies and contractual services.


Each consultant should (sometimes required per the sponsor) be justified in relationship to the project activities and information furnished on each individual’s expertise, primary organizational affiliation, normal daily rate of pay, and number of days of expected service.  The consultant can also budget their travel and subsistence costs within the consultant category.  If requested, the consultant must be able to justify that the proposed daily rate of pay is reasonable.   Consultant services are allowable when reasonable in relation to the independently rendered services by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill.

Computer Services

Computer services category may include items such as computer-based retrieval of scientific, technical and educational information following institutional rates, and leasing of computer equipment.  The budget justification should state that the budgeted amounts are based on the established computer service rates or documented computer leasing analysis.  General purpose (such as word processing, spreadsheets, communication) computer equipment should not be requested. 


If known at the time of proposal submission, the intent to enter into such arrangements should be disclosed in the proposal. A separate subaward budget, budget justification and signed MSU Subrecipient Commitment form should be provided for each subrecipient along with a description of the work to be performed.  The portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000 is usually excluded from the Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost calculation (exceptions apply).  See the Subaward and OSP’s Subcontract Q&A webpages for more information.


Tuition Remission

Graduate tuition remission is a contractual cost for a graduate assistant (GA) appointed on a project and is usually excluded from the Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost calculation.  See the published GA Fringe and Tuition chart located at the bottom of OSP’s Fringe Benefit page. The budgeted amount is prorated to stay within the project dates. It is the department’s responsibility to manage/support any tuition costs that are prorated outside of the project begin/end dates.


IRB fees are only budgeted on non-governmental sponsored projects. See MSU HRPP Manual for more detail.

Patient Care

NIH defines patient care costs as the costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals participating in research programs.  Few budgets contain patient care expenses, however if inpatient and/or outpatient costs are requested, the following information should be provided:

  • The names of any hospitals and/or clinics and the amounts requested for each.
  • If both inpatient and outpatient costs are requested, provide information for each separately.
  • Provide cost breakdown, number of days, number of patients, costs of tests/treatments.
  • Justify the costs associated with standard care or research care.

Additional information can be found on the following NIH website link.

Research Subject Incentives

Payments to volunteers participating in a grant-supported project or program (e.g. $50 compensation to run on a treadmill or $10 for completing a survey).  These costs are not considered Participant Support Costs, because they are not included as part of a workshop, conference or training.  When budgeting research subject incentives please keep in mind that compensation to subjects should never be so high as to constitute an undue influence to participate in research.  For additional information on the post award implications of research subject incentives please visit the MSU HRPP/IRB website, paying particular attention to the HRPP Manual, Section 6-5.

Meals and Coffee Breaks

MSU’s cost principles state that costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with these costs (such as tickets to shows, or sports events, meals, lodging rentals, transportation and gratuities) are generally unallowable*.  Meals for individuals not in travel-status could be considered entertainment or unallowable by auditors.  Due to the restrictions imposed by a sponsor, each case must be examined on its own merit.  In almost all cases, agency approval is predicated on explicitly budgeted meals and meeting costs or written agency approval within the specific terms and conditions of the award.

Facilities Rent

Leased space rental of an off-site facility is usually procured based on a standard published rate and is excluded from F&A when the basis is MTDC.  The budget narrative should provide a rate and amount breakdown (e.g. standard lease space rental cost of $1,000 per month based on quote provided by the facility).

This category should not include conference costs for space use.  All conference costs, including room rental, should be budgeted with the applicable F&A.

Data Management and Sharing

Budget requests may include the below costs, with the understanding that the costs are reasonable and allowable*.  Please note, effort by MSU employees to perform data management and sharing activities should continue to be budgeted in the Personnel/Salaries & Wages category of the budget.

  • Curating data
  • Developing supporting documentation
  • Formatting data to accepted community standards for transmission/storage at a selected repository
  • De-identifying data
  • Preparing metadata for interpretation and reuse
  • Costs for preserving and sharing data with established repositories (e.g., data deposit fee). May budget the cost for multiple repositories, if plan indicates you are sharing with multiple.

*For costs to be allowable they must be incurred during the performance period, even if the data is preserved/shared beyond the award period.

See the Forecasting Costs for Preserving, Archiving, and Promoting Access to Biomedical Data resource provided by the National Academies of Science, to help with budgeting for DMS plans.

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