Proposal Budgets

Budget Development

Budget preparation is an important part of the proposal development process. The budget should be developed as you are developing the project itself, rather than an item that is prepared as an afterthought. This will help ensure that your budget items are specifically related to activities described in the proposal as well as ensure the project you are developing is something that can be performed within any budget limits or constraints outlined by the sponsor.

A budget accurately detailing the funds necessary to carry out the proposed project can strengthen the total proposal and increase the likelihood of funding. To ensure that an accurate budget is prepared and that current UNT institutional rates are being used, your budget should be prepared electronically using UNT’s GRAMS system. 

Many sponsors will provide specific guidance regarding budget limits, restrictions, or requirements, so become familiar with the sponsor guidance for your specific sponsor and funding opportunity.

Budget Development Resources

Cost Share/Matching Funds

If sponsor guidelines require cost sharing or matching funds, a separate budget must be prepared using UNT’s GRAMS system and appropriate electronic approvals must be obtained from the PI/department/unit/college that is committing the funding for the cost share identified. Cost Sharing is highly discouraged if it is not a requirement of the sponsor guidelines. Cost Shared funds are real costs and are subject to audit.

Budget Justifications

Budget Justifications/Narratives are a critical aspect of a proposal and demonstrate the importance and necessity of project costs in performing the proposed work. A budget justification should accompany the proposed budget and explain and justify the costs outlined in a proposal budget. A thoroughly written justification explains both the necessity and the basis for the proposed costs and allows a PI to emphasize the importance of essential project costs.

Tips for preparing a budget narrative/justification:

  • Organize your budget justification in the same order and format as the budget that is being presented to the sponsor
  • Only include budgeted items
  • Review guidelines for any page limitations, formatting requirements, specific content or breakdown of costs requirements, and for allowed, disallowed, or required expenses.
  • Figures and terminology in the budget justification should match the budget.
  • Provide sufficient detail to justify the rationale for acquiring the item for the proposed project. 
  • All costs must be reasonable, allowable, and allocable to carry out the proposed project. Justify as such where needed.