See the Glossary for more terms.
Table of Contents
NIH caps the direct salary you can request using funds paid by a competing or noncompeting application, contract, or proposal.
When you prepare your budget, check the cap at PI Salary Cap and Stipends.
Find current levels at PI Salary Cap and Stipends.
No. If you're a PI on a grant or contract, you may not charge a higher salary than the current cap allows. If your institutional salary is higher than the NIH cap, you may use non-federal sources of funding to cover the difference.
Each year, NIH sets a maximum for PI salaries, though your institution can use its own money to pay beyond NIH's limit.
If the limit changes, you can rebudget funds to pay for a higher salary without prior approval, but you can't get more money from NIH.
When NIH announces the levels in its Guide, we notify you in the NIAID Funding News and post the salary levels at PI Salary Cap and Stipends.
Yes, but we expect you to budget for salary at a level that matches your level of effort, up to the salary cap.
Keep in mind that if increasing your effort will alter the scope of your research, you need NIAID's permission for the change in scope.
Read Putting Effort Into Your Application and Grant and What Constitutes a Change in Scope? in the Strategy for NIH Funding to learn more.
Yes. The only other salary cap is for graduate students. We award total support—which includes salary, fringe benefits, and tuition remission—at level zero for NRSA postdoctoral stipends. Though we use the NRSA stipend level, the cap applies to graduate students supported by NIH research grants and cooperative agreements, not to anyone supported by NRSA training grants and fellowships.
To find stipend levels, see PI Salary Cap and Stipends on our Paylines and Funding page. We use the cap level in effect at the time of the award.
Grantee institutions may continue to rebudget funds to charge more than the cap provided that OMB cost principles requiring reasonable compensation are observed. In general, graduate student compensation will not be considered reasonable if it exceeds the amount paid to a first-year postdoctoral scientist at the same institution performing comparable work.
Please consult with your institution's sponsored research office for guidance on your institution's policies.
As long as your salary does not exceed NIH's cap, all of your salary can come from your R01. See PI Salary Cap and Stipends on our Paylines and Funding page.
You should base your salary request on your actual salary, making sure it does not exceed the time and effort you are devoting to the research. Your effort cannot be more than 100 percent. Use the formulas on NIH's Usage of Person Months questions and answers.
The budget is for the entire grant, not each investigator. For advice and information, go to Plan Your Budget in Strategy to Prepare the Forms and Just-In-Time in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and read the Modular Grants SOP.
If you anticipate a budget of $500,000 or more for any year of the grant, you'll need our permission to apply. For more information, go to the Big Grants SOP.
Yes. For further details on caps, see the preceding questions.
Our site is correct for NIAID career development awards, but other institutes may have different caps. Get details on our awards at Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards, and use NIH's K Kiosk for information for NIH and other institutes.
Your institution's business office should have a pay scale for postdocs as well as information on fringe benefits.
NIH does not have a salary range for research associates; however, it does establish stipend levels for undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral trainees. Applicants often use these stipend ranges as a guide for corresponding salary ranges for research associates, based on years of training. See the PI Salary Cap and Stipends.
Each grantee organization has its own institutional definitions and position descriptions for job categories and should follow these unless a funding opportunity announcement gives specific instructions otherwise.
There is no specific cap on R01 postdocs or technicians as long as the salary is consistently applied based on the grantee institution’s organizational policy for those employee types. Many institutions try to align their R01-supported postdoctoral salaries with the salary rates paid by NIH fellowship awards, depending on the post-graduate year status of the postoc. Keep in mind, the overall salary cap applies as well. See PI Salary Cap and Stipends.
For more information, see Salaries and Wages and related entries in Section 7.9.1 Selected Items of Cost in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
See What's the difference between a supplement and compensation? in our Supplements to Grants Questions and Answers.
Yes, under some conditions. Here's the official policy from OMB Circular A-21—Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, Item #41, Scholarships and student aid costs.
Tuition remission and other forms of compensation paid as, or in lieu of, wages to students performing necessary work are allowed provided the following:
Yes, as long as your grantee institution sets the compensation, pays it or directs its payment, and includes your clinical practices in its payroll and effort reporting systems.
Yes. You don't need our permission to rebudget your grant monies for a salary increase up to the allowed salary cap.
Yes. If the award has automatic carryover, the grantee can carry over funds to the next year and use them for the additional summer salary. Without automatic carryover, the grantee would have to use current year funds. We would not award more money.
For more information, see our SOPs on Carryover Requests.
See Are increased costs covered after I change grantee institutions? in the Managing a Grant Questions and Answers.
In some cases they can. Read more in What's the difference between a supplement and compensation? in the Supplements to Grants—Administrative, Revision, and Research Questions and Answers.
Yes. Your institution may supplement stipends from non-federal funds as long as there isn't any additional obligation for the fellow.
Your institution determines the amount of stipend supplementation it will provide based on its own established policies. Contact your grants management specialist if you have questions.
Yes. List all staff even if you aren't planning to pay them from grant monies. See Emphasize Expertise in Biosketches in the Strategy for NIH Funding.
See How much salary can I request for a diversity supplement? in our Special Populations Questions and Answers.
Scroll to the "Salary and Budget" header in Reentry Supplements.
Scroll to the "Salary and Budget" header in Primary Caregiver Technical Assistance Supplements.
Go to Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards for stipend information. Funds for training-related expenses on training grant awards may be used to defray staff salaries of mentors.
Find salary levels at Understanding Award Specifics in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards or Quick Facts on Research Training and Career Development Awards.
Find salary levels at Understanding Award Specifics in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.
Person months is the metric for expressing the effort that PIs, faculty, and other senior personnel devote to a specific project.
To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your time associated with the project by the number of months of your appointment. See Percent of Time and Effort to Person Months Calculator for further instruction and examples.
Yes, but only if the career award is a non-mentored one. When you have a non-mentored career award, you may receive salary from an NIH-funded research grant that is scientifically different from your career award, e.g., another investigator's R01 grant.
For mentored career awards (K01, K08, K23, K22, and K25), you can obtain salary support from NIH or another federal agency's grant in the last two years. Read more at Career Development Awards.
No. You may rebudget salary dollars into other categories without prior approval.
That depends. See Can I apply for and receive an R01 after I receive a K01, K08, K23, or K25? May I then hold these awards simultaneously? What about salary? in Career Development Grants Questions and Answers.
Yes. Read more in Can I have my salary supplemented from other sources if I receive a career award? in Career Development Grants Questions and Answers.
No. You cannot receive two sources of funding for the same items. Since a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) award pays 100 percent of salary and fringe expenses, we must reduce your NIH award if you had previously requested funds for those same costs.
We don't have that information, but here are some Web sites that may help.
Stipends must be paid at the appropriate NRSA level; a lower or higher level than is appropriate may not be paid. Also, a portion may not be paid from the training grant and a portion paid from another source. Check with your PI on items such as health insurance, scientific travel, and research supplies.
No. Stipends are designed to defray living expenses during the research training experience.
NIAID provides separate funds for tuition, fees, books, and other training related expenses.
No. If you list Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as other support in your application and ask for salary and fringe benefits, we will reduce your award after contacting your business office to confirm your HHMI funding. We will reduce salary, fringe benefits, and associated F&A costs as appropriate.
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Last Updated September 29, 2015
Last Reviewed August 27, 2013