NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-12-036 states NIH will no longer be providing cost-of-living/inflationary increases in awards. Can applicants still request such increases in competing grants?
There is an important difference between what an applicant can request and what NIH will actually provide on an award. In this case, application instructions have not changed. Applications with a detailed budget can continue to request cost-of-living/inflationary increases in accordance with institutional policy. We recognize that institutions may desire to do this to document actual needs for budgeting and accounting purposes. However, under the current budget climate, it is likely that requests associated solely with inflationary increases will be eliminated from the awarded budget. Requests associated with special needs (e.g., equipment, added personnel or increased effort) will continue to be considered.
When preparing an application using the modular budget format, existing policy remains in place--the number of modules requested should be the same each year and variations must be justified. Requests for an additional module solely to accommodate inflationary increases will not be considered.
See also FY2012 Salary Cap Question and Answer #18 for similar guidance concerning applications involving the legislatively mandated salary cap.
Once an award is issued, may grantees rebudget to accommodate an institutional-supported salary increase?
Yes. NIH rebudgeting policy remains unchanged. Grantees may rebudget to accommodate such an increase without NIH prior approval unless the action triggers a change in scope as described in section 188.8.131.52 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement. This assumes the cost is otherwise allowable under the applicable cost principals and NIH policy.
Related to Question #2, is such rebudgeting to accommodate a salary increase that exceeds the legislatively mandated salary cap allowed?
In FY2013 non-competing progress reports (Type-5’s), can grantees submit a budget at the committed level that shows an institution-approved and documented salary increase? If yes, will NIH remove these costs?
When budgets are part of a Type-5 progress reports, grantees should always request at the committed level and present a budget that represents the anticipated costs needed for the next budget period. NIH Grants Management staff will assess the request and determine if any of the rebudgeting reflects a change in scope. If no change in scope is indicated, then NIH will not adjust the award level based solely on the rebudgeting assessment. However, the overall fiscal climate in any particular year will continue to affect actual funding levels.