NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised October 2017. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2017.

13.3 Application Requirements

Modular applications must be submitted on the SF424 (R&R) forms. Paper-based applications that include modular budgets will no longer be accepted.

13.3.1 Budget

Modular applications request direct cost funding in modules of $25,000, for up to $250,000 each year for covered activity codes. F&A costs for subcontracts are not included in determining the direct cost modular amount or the total cost amount requested. The modules should be a reasonable estimate of allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs for the proposed project. In addition, F&A costs at the negotiated rate for the applicant institution are also allowable.

Since only limited budget information is required for submission of a modular application, the PHS 398 Modular Budget Component, which is included as part of the electronic SF424 (R&R) form set, must be submitted to NIH through Sample modular application budget pages are available at The standard SF 424 Research and Related Budget Component is not used for application using modular budgets.

The PHS 398 Modular Budget Component includes information on direct costs modules as well as F&A costs; budget justifications for all personnel by position, role, and level of effort (measured in person months); consultants; and 'to be appointed' positions. No individual salary information should be provided. Applicants must use the current legislatively imposed salary limitation when determining the number of modules to request (see Cost Considerations-Allowability of Costs/Activities-Selected Items of Cost-Salaries and Wages in IIA). Given the authority to rebudget and carry forward unobligated balances, funds generally should be available to cover modest increases in any statutorily imposed salary cap. NIH also limits the compensation for graduate students. Compensation includes salary or wages, fringe benefits, and tuition remission. These limits should be used when estimating the number of modules. See Cost Considerations-Allowability of Costs/Activities-Selected Items of Cost-Salaries and Wages in IIA for more information on compensation of graduate students.

When applicable, a separate budget justification must address consortium/contractual costs (including applicable F&A costs) rounded to the nearest $1,000. The narrative should list the individuals and organizations with whom consortium or contractual arrangements have been (or will be) made, the level of effort of senior/key personnel (measured in person months) and their role on the project, and indicate whether the collaborating organization is foreign or domestic.

A typical modular application will request the same number of modules for each year. However, well-justified modular increments (up to the $250,000 modular ceiling) or decrements in the total direct costs for any year of the project that reflect substantial changes in expected future activities may be requested at the outset. For example, a major equipment purchase in the first year may justify a higher overall budget in that year, but not necessarily in succeeding years. There is no provision for escalation in future years. NIH requires additional narrative budget justification if there is a variation in the number of modules requested from year to year. Further, when the pre-award review warrants such a request, NIH ICs may request a detailed budget as part of the Just-in-Time process.