Your research budget is a central and important part of your proposal. You need to develop a budget that is comprehensive, realistic and in keeping with the granting agency's budget criteria and university and PHSA policies. Support and training are available to help you gain the skills and knowledge to develop a sound budget.
Granting agency requirements
The costs covered by the granting agency can vary across funders and funding announcements. Carefully read the granting agency's budget criteria or special instructions in their Request for Application (RFA) or Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Make sure not to exceed limits and/or spending caps on certain expenses, and overall funding limits.
Most funding agencies require a budget that estimates the total cost of the project (direct and indirect) with a breakdown of cost per year. Direct costs pay for project-specific expenses, such as salaries for researchers, equipment or materials. Indirect costs include overhead expenses that can't easily be billed to one project, such as institutional operating expenses, equipment shared among many researchers, or administrative research support.
As per UBC Policy #87 – Research, all budgets for research grants and contracts must include a 25% overhead (or indirect) rate. Similar policies exist at other universities affiliated with PHSA.
If you're applying for external research funding (excluding Tri-Council – SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), you must address your university's research overhead policy with your intended sponsor in advance of your proposal submission.
UBC's Vice-President Research & International maintains an Overhead Rates Table (requires CWL login) of external agencies, government departments, foundations and charities with which UBC has negotiated special overhead rates for research. Organizations not listed on this table assume the 25% rate. Please check this table to see if your sponsor is listed prior to developing your project budget.
UBC Office of Research Services (ORS) and the UBC University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) may allow flexibility in the standard 25% rate, if the sponsor publicly advertises a "no overhead" or alternate rate policy.
If you're in the process of applying for external research sponsorship, including approaching external partners (other than Canadian universities) for cash contributions to Tri-Council projects, please contact your university's Office of Research Services for advice on navigating the relevant overhead policy.
Research Project Budgeting Training
PHSA offers online courses and in-person workshops to help you gain the tools necessary for successful research project budgeting. Online courses cover the basics of budgeting; categorization of expenses and using budget templates. In-person training is also available for budgeting, project management, project team management, and leadership. Additionally, budgeting courses may be offered on your research site.
PHSA Online Courses (LearningHub)
- Introduction to Research Project Budgeting
After completing this course you will understand the purpose and significant elements of a research project as they pertain to budgeting and cost estimation. Common research project budgeting terms and concepts are covered, along with project cost estimation techniques.
- Research Project Budgeting I
Provides the tools necessary to categorize expenses when creating a research project budget.
- Research Project Budgeting II
Provides the tools necessary to create a research project budget using the budget templates.
PHSA In-Person Training Sessions
- Introduction to Project Management Workshop
3-hour workshop covers scope and time management concepts and tools, as well as communication and risk management basics. For those new to research or management or who are looking to learn or update their PM knowledge.
- Project Budgeting Basics Workshop
Workshop covers project budget development and goes into detail on expense categorization and some templates to get started in preparing a project budget.
- Project Team Management Workshop
Workshop covers project team development and people management. Topics include team building and development, team decision-making, conflict resolution, and workload management.
- Managing in All Directions
60-minute presentation covers issues and approaches to managing activities up, down, and all around, with an emphasis on effective use of delegation.
- Leadership Lessons
90-minute presentation covers leadership lessons that can be learned through a review of Earnest Shackleton's Endurance expedition. Learn about the leadership model of this great explorer, while exploring this exciting tale of adventure in Antarctica.