Personnel Effort

Budgeted effort for personnel on a project should be commensurate with the levels of effort required (per each individual’s specified duties) to perform the proposed work. Per the “Minimum Effort Threshold” section of the HMS/HSDM Policy for PI-eligible Faculty Effort on Sponsored Awards, all Principal Investigators (PIs) and other key personnel on awards must charge effort on grants. Effort below 1% is not allowed. If a sponsor does not allow for budgeting PI salary on the budget, please notify your ORA Pre-Award Officer to discuss options as soon as possible, prior to finalizing the proposal for review.


Use the individual’s full institutional base salary (IBS), multiplied by their effort, to calculate their requested salary on the proposal budget. The only exception to this is for sponsors who have published limits on requested salary levels, such as HHS federal agencies (see list below) and certain non-federal not-for-profit sponsors. Always check the sponsor’s or funding announcement’s guidelines.

The Health & Human Service (HHS) salary cap is based on the Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale and applies to applications to HHS agencies, including, but not limited to:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Other federal, non-HHS, agencies may also impose salary limits. Always check the sponsor’s or funding opportunity announcement (FOA) guidelines.


Use the HMS/HSDM fringe rates applicable to the period of performance. Or, in cases where the fringe rates have not yet been posted for the proposed award period, use the latest posted fringe rates. Fringe rates are posted on the OSP website and in our federal rate agreement.

Indirect Costs (IDC)

Apply the appropriate indirect cost (IDC) rate for the sponsor type and the IDC rate published in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), where applicable. See the HMS Low IDC Policy for nonfederal proposals. Rates for federal awards are set by our current rate agreement negotiated with the federal government. The applicable federal rate is based on a combination of the activity of the award and its location:

  • On-Campus Research
  • Off-Campus Research
  • Other Sponsored Activities

Calculate the indirect costs using the applicable IDC basis (TDC/MTDC). Federal awards always use an MTDC cost basis (see our rate agreement for exclusions).