Policy & Compliance

NIH Grants Policy Statement


Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards
Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities – File 5 of 11


13.1 General

Modular applications and awards employ a simplified process for developing and reviewing application budgets, documenting approved budgets, and making post-award budgetary changes.

13.2 Applicability

Modular procedures are required to be used for new, renewal, and resubmission applications as well as for revisions for the following grants and their cooperative agreement equivalents that request up to a total of $250,000 of direct costs per year (excluding consortium F&A costs), regardless of whether the application is an investigator-initiated application or is one submitted in response to a PA/RFA: Research Project Grants Program (R01/U01), Small Grant Program (R03), Exploratory/Development Research Grant Award (R21/UH2), Clinical Trial Planning Grant Program (R34/U34) and Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15/UA5). Modular procedures do not apply to SBIR and STTR Phase I grants (R43 and R41), and do not apply to foreign (non-U.S.) organizations.

Instructions for specific grant mechanisms other than the R01 and guidelines for IC programs may indicate a particular number or range of modules allowed.

Modular applications and awards may also be subject to other simplified procedures, specifically Just-in-Time requirements and SNAP.

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 Grants.gov. Sample modular application budget pages are available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm. 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.

13.4 Application Review and Award

SRGs evaluate the budget on the basis of a general, expert estimate of the total effort and resources required to carry out the proposed research. If the SRG recommends an adjustment in the project budget, the recommended adjustment will be in terms of an entire module.

Following peer review, for applications being considered for award, the IC will request information about "Other Support" and, as applicable, the use of human subjects or vertebrate animals, and education in the protection of human research participants. Additional budget information will be requested before award only under special circumstances.

NIH will attempt to make awards at or close to the level of total direct costs recommended by the SRG, taking other support into account. An IC may need to reduce the award amount to accommodate the IC's cost management plan.

The award budget will be a noncategorical budget specifying approved total direct costs and F&A costs, if applicable.

13.5 Post-Award Administration

Grantees have discretion in determining how to allocate and account for costs related to modular awards within their organizational accounting system. However, institutions are still required to ensure that all costs charged to modular awards are in accordance with applicable costs principles, the NIH GPS, and any legislatively imposed restrictions.

Modular awards are subject to the standard NIH Terms of Award and may be awarded under the SNAP authorities. However, since the award is issued without direct cost budget categories, the significant rebudgeting provision described as a potential change of scope indicator does not apply to modular grants.

Grantees may submit requests for administrative supplements to the CGMO of the NIH awarding IC, but must provide a detailed (non-modular) budget.

Competing Revisions should be submitted to the NIH using the modular budget component.

This page last updated on October 23, 2013 
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