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Commodity groups help move a particular good or service ahead within their industry. At MSU the majority of research being done with commodity groups is related to agriculture. The proposals/awards are typically for small amounts of money and they have limited terms and conditions.

Proposal Guidance

A list of Commodity Group RFP’s at MSU can be found at the following site:

Budget Guidelines

The guidelines listed here are generally applicable to this sponsor. Please refer to the solicitation for any deviation to standard guidelines or specific requirements for a program.


Salaries should be based on KR values unless a known increase/decrease is expected. Salaries are usually escalated anywhere from 2-4%
Fringe is based on Specific Identification (SI) rates, which are calculated in KR
Research Associate (Post Doc) Salary
Salaries must be based on KR values for current named employees.  The current minimum salary for a Post Doc can be found at this link.
Research Associate (Post Doc) Fringe
Fringe is based on Specific Identification (SI) rates.  Post Docs have a reduced SI rate due to a lower health care component.  They also typically do not become eligible for retirement until their 4th year of employment at MSU.
Graduate Student Stipend
Stipend amounts should be based on college/department or HR levels.
Graduate Student Fringe
Grad health is based on a flat rate.  The rate is calculated in KR, or can be found on the current Grad Fringe Chart on the SPA Fringe Benefit webpage.  For summer hourly work, 7.65% should be budgeted.
Undergraduate Labor
Usually based on hourly rates; see HR standard rates
Undergraduate Fringe
Fringe of 7.65% applied during the summer; fringe only applied during AY if student is not expected to be enrolled full time
Administrative Staff
Allowable per UG if justified and integral for the project, can be specifically identified with a project or activity, and are not also recovered as IDC. Salaries and fringes should be based on KR values.


Allowable items are typically limited to research equipment not already available for the conduct of the work; quotes should be provided to OSP or on file with the PI or administrator

Participant Support Costs

Allowable for participants or trainees (but not employees) in conferences or training projects, and should be excluded from IDC; refer to solicitation for specific requests


Includes U.S, Canada, Mexico, and U.S. possessions; justification should include the purpose of travel, destination, dates of travel (if known) or estimated number of days, and the number of individuals for each trip
Travel outside of the above Domestic locations; must enter names of countries and dates of visit on budget; additional detail and breakdown is preferred

Other Direct Costs

Generally allowable
Computer Services/ADP
Justification based on the established computer service rates (Financial Analysis approved); leasing computer equipment is allowed
Generally unallowable
Consultant Services
Generally allowable when reasonable in relation to the services rendered; must be outlined in justification and information furnished on each individual's expertise, organizational affiliation, normal daily rate of compensation, and number of days expected for the project; line item may also include consultant's travel, if applicable.
Equipment/Facility Rental
Generally allowable
Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Should match the graduate student tuition chart; tuition should be prorated based on project dates; KR will apply appropriate inflation
Generally unallowable
Materials & Supplies
Details and justification should be included for items requested to support the project; animal costs may be allowable, refer to the solicitation for guidance
Generally allowable
Service Charges/CORE Services
Should be based on Financial Analysis approved rates; quotes or other justification for how service rate was determined are helpful; if not provided to OSP at the time of budget review, quotes/justification should be kept on file by PI/research administrator for use at JIT
Subaward budget, justification, scope of work, and commitment form must be on file internally; subaward budget and justification will usually need to be submitted with proposal.  Generally not applicable for commodity proposals.


Generally unallowable


Applicable MSU NICRA rate should be used based on the activity type, unless limited by solicitation or sponsor IDC policy. AgBioResearch maintains a list of Commodity Groups granted a waiver of Indirect Costs, refer to list to confirm whether waiver granted for a specific sponsor.

Cost Share

Only recommend including if required by the sponsor solicitation


Human Subjects

If the project includes human subject’s research, IRB approval will be required prior to account set-up.

Animal Subjects

If the project includes animal subjects, IACUC approval will be required prior to account set-up.

Conflict of Interest

Project-based Conflict of Interest disclosures are required for all key personnel prior to account set-up.

Award Guidance

Commodity awards normally don’t contain any IP ownership or publication language, and those that do have been negotiated to include language acceptable to both the sponsor and MSU. Many commodities send only a check with no award. In these cases, the award set-up is handled by CGA, (the award is not processed by OSP). Many commodity awards are set-up in RG accounts. AgBioResearch logs all of the commodity funding received by MSU and then forwards the awards to OSP for signing and processing.


Generally, the research being conducted with commodity funding does not involve subawards. If others are involved, it’s normally on a consultant level where a PSC or PO would be most appropriate.

Prior Approvals

Refer to the agreement for modifications requiring agency prior approval.  If you need assistance or clarification, please contact CGA Awards Group at


Refer to the agreement for reporting requirements.  If you need assistance or clarification, please contact CGA Reports Group at

Effort Reporting / Cost Share

Effort reporting is not required for non-federal awards unless cost share is required. In cases where salaried cost share has been committed, MSU uses the effort reporting system for tracking and documentation. Non-salary cost share is documented through PI certified operating statements.

MSU effort reporting overview and FAQ’s can be found on the Sponsored Program Administration website at the following link:

Effort reporting instructions can also be located on the Sponsored Program Administration website:

For additional questions and information, please contact the CGA Effort Reporting inbox at

Record Retention

Sponsor Resources

Link to Commodity Group RFP’s:

Link to Commodity Group indirect cost waivers:

Forms and Templates



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