NIH budgets for some grants can be either “modular” or “detailed”. For the R01 mechanism, modular budgets (one “module” = 25,000) cannot exceed 250,000 in direct costs/yr. As has been discussed endlessly on Twitter and other blog posts, the modular budget cap is not realistic for running a lab on a single R01. However, a detailed budget has a cap of $500,000 (w/o special NIH approval). I am under (the maybe false) assumption that most people are submitting modular grants, maybe because they are easier to prepare. I submitted a multi-PI, multi-institution grant last round, and we had to submit a detailed budget in order to do the work proposed. I was talking to a colleague about this, and he always submits detailed budgets in the 400K+ range. His logic: even if they cut my budget 25%, I am still ahead of the modular limit. So, why doesn’t everyone submit detailed budgets?
(Disclaimer: Non-IRB approved poll)