Modular Grants SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To streamline budgets for R01, R03, R15, R21, and R34 applications from domestic institutions requesting $250,000 or less in annual direct costs (excluding F&A costs for a consortium).


In a modular budget, applicants request funding in increments of $25,000, provide few budget details, and budget for the entire funding period. For any of the awards listed above, NIH will return applications that do not use a modular budget. Read Create a Budget in Apply for a Grant for more information.

Applications responding to request for applications and program announcements also follow modular grant procedures, unless stated otherwise.

If requesting more than $250,000 or applying from a foreign institution, applicants must use a detailed budget. Go to Plan Your Budget and Personnel in the Apply for a Grant for more information.


  • Use a modular budget when applying for an R01, small grant (R03), Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15), exploratory or developmental grant phase I (R21), or a clinical trial planning grant (R34) requesting $250,000 or less in annual direct costs.
  • Request total direct costs in $25,000 increments. There will be no future year escalations.
  • Fill out the PHS 398 Modular Budget form in the grant application. See the SF 424 Application Guide for instructions.
  • Find and complete the attachments for three justifications: Personnel, Consortium, and Additional Narrative.
    • Personnel Justification Attachment
      • List all personnel (not just key personnel), their roles, and number of person months to be devoted to the project.
      • Briefly describe responsibilities in enough detail to justify a person's level of effort. Most research project grants (e.g., R01s) do not have effort requirements, but career development, training, and small business awards often do. Read more at NIH Modular Research Grant Applications.
      • Do not give salary information. Use the NIH salary limit for the PI and graduate students to estimate costs. Go to Salary Cap & Stipends.
      • Include key personnel even if you know they will be gone by the time the application is funded.
    • Consortium Justification Attachment
    • Additional Narrative Justification Attachment
      • If the number of modules requested varies from year to year, fill out the Additional Narrative Budget Justification attachment of the PHS 398 Modular Budget form 
  • Do not list individual budget items.
  • For help and advice, see Plan Your Budget.


See Grants Management Program Contacts for the appropriate GMP specialist.

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Appy for a Grant

Grant Application, Electronic SOP

NIH Policy Topic: Modular Research Grant Applications

NIAID Funding Policy and Process SOP

NIH Modular Research Grants page

Content last reviewed on June 22, 2018