Research & Sponsored Programs

Step 3 Proposal Preparation

After a research funding opportunity is identified, it’s time to develop your proposal. This section is designed to help you with that.

Proposal Routing Form

Attach an approved budget and project summary (see below for budget instructions) to the Proposal Routing Form, then route the form to your chair, the chair will then route it to your dean and then the dean will route it back to RSP. Also if you have special approvals it needs to get routed to those departments noted on the form. Proposal Routing Form

For NIH grants: an Additional NIH Assurance Form needs to be completed.


Budget Template:

Salaries: For multiple year budgets include a 3.5% increase for the PI & CoPI’s salary for the first year and 4% for the remaining years. This will cover any salary increase over the course of the project. For grads and undergrads 1%.

Tenure Track: If you think you will hit tenure track during the span of the grant, build that into the budget for those years.

Course Buyout: is when grant funds are used for a faculty member’s released time by paying for that portion of their salary so that the equivalent amount of effort can be spent working on the grant. If you are doing a course buyout then that needs to be indicated on the Proposal Routing Form and approved by the chair and dean.

The current per credit value is 1/36 of the faculty’s academic year salary. Below is an example of a 4 credit course buyout.

  • $72,000 AY Salary / 36 credits = $2,000 per credit
  • 4 credits @ $2,000 per credit = $8,000

Grad and Undergrad Employment

Student Job Current Wage Schedule

Graduate research assistants require tuition.

Fringe Benefits:

  • Faculty: 30%
  • Staff/Post Docs: 45%
  • Grads and Undergrads: 10%

Human Resources Benefits Calculator


Definitions provided by PAPPG

Equipment is defined as tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and $5,000 or under.
When anticipated, travel and its relation to the proposed activities must be specified, itemized and justified by destination and cost. Funds may be requested for field work, attendance at meetings and conferences, and other travel associated with the proposed work, including subsistence.
Participant Support Costs:
This budget category refers to direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with NSF-sponsored conferences or training projects.
When anticipated, the proposal budget justification must indicate the general types of expendable materials and supplies required. Supplies are defined as all tangible personal property other than those described in Equipment above over $5,000.
The proposal budget may request funds for the costs of documenting, preparing, publishing or otherwise making available to others the findings and products of the work conducted under the grant.
Consultant Services:
The proposal budget may request costs for professional and consultant services. Professional and consultant services are services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill, and who are not officers or employees of the proposing organization. Anticipated services must be justified and information furnished on each individual’s expertise, primary organizational affiliation, normal daily compensation rate, and number of days of expected service. Consultants’ travel costs, including subsistence, may be included.
Indirect Costs:
  WWU has two negotiated F & A rates with the Federal Government for projects that are conducted on-campus and off-campus. The current on-campus rate is 54.8% of salaries and wages (S & W). The off-campus rate is 14.4% of S & W. When writing the budget justification use the sentence: “Western Washington University has a federally negotiated rate of (insert correct rate) on salaries and wages.”
Unfunded Collaborations (NSF only)
Any substantial collaboration with individuals not included in the budget should be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal (see Chapter II.C.2.i in the PAPPG) and documented in a letter of collaboration from each collaborator. Such letters should be provided in the supplementary documentation section of the FastLane Proposal Preparation Module and follow the format instructions specified in Chapter II.C.2.j. Collaborative activities that are identified in the budget should follow the instructions in Chapter II.D.3.
Budget Justification
: The budget justification is the narrative in the proposal that substantiates the line items in your budget.