If you use Arial 10 point in NSF proposals: Read This!

Note: if you use the new Research.gov portal to prepare and submit proposals, all documents must use Times New Roman, 11 point font, single spacing, 1 inch margins. You will need to create pdfs to upload. The system will automatically check for compliance.

If you use Fastlane, the PAPPG 18.1 allows alternate fonts. If you use Arial 10 point, please note grant writer, Donn Forbes experience:

The NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG, the rule book) allows 10-point Arial type and requires at least 6 lines of text per vertical inch. If you draft a page in 10-point Arial and print it and measure the number of lines per inch with a ruler, you’ll find exactly six. So, you would naturally expect that if you submit a proposal with 10-point Arial type, you’d be safe. Not so.

Conversion to pdf often shrinks the type. Printers can also shrink the type. There are cases in which reviewers or program managers printed the pdf files, measured the number of lines per inch with a ruler, found 5.9x lines per inch, and returned the proposal without review. 

If you’re going to submit an NSF proposal in Arial 10-point type, the best way to protect yourself from administrative disqualification is to select 1.15x line spacing instead of single spacing (Format > Paragraph  > Line Spacing > Multiple > 1.15). Then you’ll be safe.

-- Donn Forbes

Getting Started (OSRAA links, Forms, rates, Cover Page)

Quick links for rates: e.g. Fee book, motor pool, per diem, etc

Budget Line Item Calculation Information (salary, OPE, tuition, etc)


Inflate 1-3% in future years.

You can check published OSU salaries on the HR website or contact your departmental manager or the business center for actual salaries.

OPE/ Fringe Rates (FY18)

This represents, medical/dental insurance, pension, social security, medicare, unemployment and SAIF.

Inflate 1-3% in future years for faculty, staff and postdocs. Inflate 8% for GRAs.

Monthly Salary Annual Salary FY 18 FY 19
$6000 or more $72,000 or more 55% 57%
$5500 $66,000 57% 59%
$5000 $60,000 59% 61%
$4500 $54,000 62% 64%
$3750 $45,000 68% 70%
  • Postdoctoral Scholars: 24% (FY18)

    • OPE (fringe benefit costs) should be calculated at 14%.  10% covers social security, worker’s compensation, etc., and 4% covers the contributions to the retirement plan.  The retirement coverage (and deduction) begins after the first six month of their appointment.
    • For health insurance, coverage will be obtained through Student Health Services.  Depending on the coverage, the cost varies.  For a postdoctoral scholar and spouse/partner, an estimate of $500/month should be used. Note that this amount includes adding family, which is an optional expense the postdoc pays. According to PacificSource Plan Coordinator, the OSU contribution for health benefits for an individual is $385.83/month. 
    • The easy answer for FY18 is to use 24% to calculate OPE + insurance for postdoc scholars.
  • GRAs: $1814 per term (includes summer) = $5443/year for a 12 month GRA
    • Graduate Assistant health insurance is estimated by term. This includes one ninth monthly payment during AY for summer insurance coverage. If coverage does not include summer insurance, AY per term cost is slightly lower. (inflate in future years, vide infra)
    • Average annual increases in health insurance are estimated at 8% and increases for out-years should be budgeted. 
  • Hourly Students: 10%
Travel Estimates

Uniform Guidance regulations require proposals to submit as much detail about proposed travel as possible in the budget justification. This includes

  • number of people traveling 
  • where (city, if known)
  • why (name of conference, if known or give examples of conferences attended)
  • number of days
  • estimated costs for airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation

OSU Travel Per Diem Rates can be used to estimate lodging and meals. Since most conferences occur in high cost cities, you can usually use the high cost rate. Conference rates usually exceed this, which is allowable as long as the block rate is published.

  • High cost: Lodging: $216/day, Meals/day: $68
  • Low cost: Lodging: $134/day, Meals/day: $57
Tuition and Fees per term

Not subject to indirect costs. Inflate 4.5% in following years.

  • GRA Academic Year: Resident: 9+ credits: $4185 + $592 (fees) =  $4777/term
  • GRA Summer Session: Resident:
    • 3 credits (minimum, student will pay SSN taxes): $1371 + $409 (fees) = $1780
    • 5 credits (minimum, that a GRA doesn't have pay SSN): $2285 + $409 (fees) = $2694
    • 9+ credits: $4113 + $409 (fees) = $4522
Facilities and Administration rates

(See link for details): FY18 (modified direct costs (MTDC) 

Activity Comments On campus Off Campus
Organized Sponsored Research (OR) Federal and federal pass through grants, cooperative agreements and non DoD contracts 47.0% 26.0%
Organized Sponsored Research (OR) Broad Agency Announcment proposals and contracts from DOD agencies and DOD contract pass-through 47.7% 26.7%
OR - Industry Does not include Federal pass-through funds 53.5% 31.0%
All other sponsored activities (OSA)   35.0% 26.0%
OSA - Industry Does not include Federal pass-through funds. 40.0% 31.0%
State of Oregon Agency   26.0% 26.0%
Vessel Operations S&W 30.0% 30.0%
Federal Intergovernmental PersonnelAct (IPA) agreements     7.0%

Arts and Science Business Center

Budget Templates (avoid searching and download a template)

Homemade templates or links to templates or instructions

Budget Templates (in case you don't want to search for the information above)

  • NSF Fastlane style. This template has a worksheet tab that can be used to calculate OPE and tuition that auto-populates the budget tab. It's a line item sheet that can also be used for a generic budget. (last updated 8/2018)
  • NIH internal budget sheet (adapted from ASBC). Modular budget for OSRAA's review. (last updated 8/30/18)
Other templates or links



What should I write in a postdoctoral mentoring plan?

There are several online resoures to assist you with developing a postdoctoral mentoring plan. See the graduate school page on "Developing a Mentoring Plan for NSF proposals", "The Responsibilities of mentors of postdoctoral scholars and fellows" and the "Individual Development Plan" page


Data Management Plan (OSU Library)

Cost Share explained

According to Federal Uniform Guidance (Code of Federal Regulations) cost sharing or matching (e-CFR §200.306) is defined as that portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds. Cost sharing represents a legal obligation by OSU and can be in the form of cash or in-kind contribution. There are two types of cost share, voluntary and mandatory cost sharing.

Mandatory cost sharing is defined as cost share required by the agency and described by the specific funding announcement. Voluntary cost share is cost sharing not stated in proposal guidelines, but described as a quantifiable amount of resources contributed to the project. Voluntary cost share is not allowed except under extenuating circumstances.

e-CFR §200.306 states: "Under Federal research proposals, voluntary committed cost sharing is not expected. It cannot be used as a factor during the merit review of applications or proposals, but may be considered if it is both in accordance with Federal awarding agency regulations and specified in a notice of funding opportunity."

If you are working on a proposal that requires cost share, you'll need to discuss your needs with your department and/or college Dean. Documentation for cost share will be required in your Cayuse record.

For more information on cost share at OSU, check out these links:

Faculty as a consultant on another award

Let's say you want to consult on another grant at another University. Would this go through OSU?

Please refer to the OSU Faculty Handbook for more information on OSU's Conflict of Commitment Policy.

Before engaging in outside activities in your field, faculty must complete the Request for Approval of Outside Activities form to ensure there are no conflicts of commitment.  This form can be found here:  http://oregonstate.edu/admin/hristeam/outemp.pdf.   "With supervisor approval, a full-time professorial faculty member may engage in outside professional activities related to his or her University responsibilities one day in each work week during periods of full-time employment."

If a consultant role is appropriate then the other university would prepare a Personal Services Contract for the consulting services provided; this would not require a Cayuse proposal.

It is important that the PI consider his/her contribution and collaboration on the project; is it more appropriate for this to be an incoming subaward with a budget to include salary, fringe benefits as well as other items such as travel, materials/supplies, indirect costs, etc.?  Will he/she be responsible for contributing to future publications and/or deliverables (reports, etc.)?  This option would require a proposal in Cayuse SP and the resulting subaward and funding would be handled by OSRAA.

Research Office links (e.g. conflict of interest, IACUC, IRB, statistics, etc)

Useful information from the Research Office

Finding funding

College of Science
  • ECOS: events, funding opportunities posted for faculty or research associates (project investigators)
  • GP-ECOS: events, funding opportunities, fellowships, scholarships geared for graduate students or postdoctoral scholars
OSU listed funding opportunities
Agency links