Modular Grant Applications

Modular Grant Applications

A modular application is required for the following types of federal grant applications:

  • New, competing continuation, revised (amended) applications, and competing supplements;
  • Applications that request up to a total of $250,000 direct costs;
  • Applications that fall under one of the following mechanisms: R01, R03, R15, R21, R34, and some RFA/PAs.

Please note: While the NIH requires a modular application for the grant mechanisms specified above, OHSU's Research Grants & Contracts (RGC) still requires you to submit a detailed budget with your grant application.  

What is a modular grant application?  

The term "modular" is used to describe the process of budgeting in increments of $25,000 up to the total direct cost. Applications that use the modular grant concept may request no more than $250,000 in direct costs in any one year. Applications requesting more than $250,000 in direct cost for any year will be required to follow the traditional application instructions and applicable NIH policies. Subaward indirect costs are excluded from the modular budget calculation and not counted against the direct costs cap of $250,000. 

What is the purpose of a budget justification?  

The purpose of a Budget Justification (narrative) is to provide a description of each budget item in terms of the proposed work. Typically, all expenses must be justified when requesting federal funds. For NIH Modular Budgets, justification is only required for personnel costs, consortium/contractual costs, and major equipment.

Will the number of modules ever vary from year to year? 

Typically there will be the same number of modules each year. An additional budget narrative is required if there is a variation in the number of modules from year to year. This might happen if, for example, a large piece of equipment is being purchased for the first year only. In this case, the equipment cost should be described in the Additional Narrative.

How will costs vary annually?

Inflationary increases have been discontinued by the NIH. Therefore, variations in annual costs should only occur if the cost of the project changes from year to year, and should not include any cost of living or inflationary increases. Investigators are advised to anticipate across the board funding cuts up to 10%.

Can the budget be changed after the grant is awarded?

Rebudgeting after the grant is awarded is not limited by the NIH. It can, however, be limited by institutional accounting standards and practices.

More questions? Visit the NIH Modular Grants website for more information.