Other Than Personnel Services


As discussed in the Personnel Services page, consultants are individuals outside of the University whose expertise and skills will add value to the project. UVA faculty and staff should NOT be listed as paid or unpaid consultants on a project; their participation should be reflected in the Personal Services section. 

Consultant costs are generally expressed in terms of a per diem fee plus travel expenses, as appropriate.  Although most sponsors no longer stipulate a maximum daily consulting rate, consultant reimbursement is generally limited to $10,000/year by UVA/state procurement policy. Above that threshold it might be advisable to use a subcontractual agreement, but the nature of the services involved and the degree of involvement in your project by these non-UVA individuals will bear on what type of arrangement is appropriate.  It is always best to check the current procurement regulations concerning consultants before making a financial commitment. For information, visit UVA's Procurement Services Department's website with policies and procedures and the Goods and Services Procurement Guide. Scroll down to 'Consultants' on the Procurement Services website and you will find links to forms and further instructions.

Sponsors will sometimes require that biosketches/CV's for consultants and/or letters agreeing to consult be included in your proposal.  These letters should state the type of consulting services that will be rendered, the consultant's daily rate, and the number of days per year that will be committed to your project.


Travel is an allowable direct cost when it directly supports your project's goals and objectives and when it is conducted within the sponsor's and University/State guidelines.  The most common  travel costs included in grant budgets are for:

  • travel to/from your study or data collection site(s);
  • travel for your study subjects to/from your data collection site(s);
  • travel to/from meetings with the sponsor; and
  • travel to research-related conferences.

Domestic travel is considered to be travel within the United States and Canada; some sponsors have restrictions on foreign travel and in the past few years foreign travel has become somewhat problematic.  You should always check the sponsor's guidelines and/or the specific program to which you are submitting your proposal to see if there are restrictions on travel.  The University's website on travel basics is an excellent resource for everything you need to know about budgeting, arranging, and getting reimbursed for project-related travel.


Supplies are items with a unit cost less than $5,000 which are directly related to the objectives of the project.  Since the University became subject to federal Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), supplies are one of the more problematic items to include as a direct cost in grant budgets.  When you meet with the Research Administrator to formulate your budget s/he can let you know what kind of documentation or justification you might need in order to include the more sensitive type of supplies as a direct cost in your budget.

If you need to include technology-related items in your budget (computers, computer-related supplies, software, voice/data recorders, photographic equipment), you should work with Curry's ETO staff to ensure that you spec the right items and get accurate estimates.  The best way to ensure you will get the support you need from Curry ETO staff is to procure equipment or software that is compatible with our existing systems/platforms.


Equipment is considered to be any item with a unit cost in excess of $5,000.  This is an important distinction; although we typically think of computers or digital voice recorders as equipment, unless they cost over $5,000 each they should be budgeted as a supply item.  Computing equipment is also subject to CAS restrictions and requires additional justification at the time of proposal submission.  Just as with technology related supplies, if you must include technology-related equipment in your budget, work with Curry's ETO staff to ensure that you spec the right item and get an accurate estimate.


Although the terms 'subaward' and 'subcontract' are often used interchangeably, subcontract is the most accurate term to refer to a formal contractual agreement with another participating institution of higher education, outside organization, or individual for the procurement of research collaboration and/or technical services under a sponsored program or activity.  Sometimes proposals will include more than one subcontracting party, e.g., center grants and program project grants will be awarded to one lead institution which then issues subcontracts to multiple participating institutions.  Please see this page for procedures to follow if you have been asked to act as a subcontractor in someone else's proposal.

Frequently there is confusion about subcontracts and how they affect indirect costs.  If the sponsor allows the inclusion of indirect costs in your budget, and you also budget for subcontracts, your subcontractors will most likely also have indirect costs.  The indirect costs of subcontractors are actually *direct* costs to the lead institution.  However, the lead institution only applies its indirect cost rate to the first $25,000 of an individual subcontract, regardless of the subcontract's term, not to the entire cost of any individual subcontract.

The Office of Sponsored Programs has prepared answers to several questions relating to subcontracts, and for further information view 'External Subcontracting Forms Directory Under Sponsored Awards and Contracts.'

Other Direct Costs

Other direct costs is a very broad catch-all for anything that doesn't fit well into one of the more specific categories listed above.  Sometimes a sponsor will use subcategories of 'other', e.g., budgets submitted via grants.gov using the SF424R&R forms use these subcategories of 'other direct costs':

  1. Materials and Supplies
  2. Publication Costs
  3. Consultant Services
  4. ADP/Computer Services
  5. Subawards/Consortium/Contractual Costs
  6. Equipment or Facility Rental/User Fee
  7. Alterations and Renovations
  8. Other
  9. Other
  10. Other

These last three 'other' categories can be used for expenses that do not obviously fit into any other category, such as:

  • assessment materials;
  • costs for lab tests or assays;
  • long distance telephone charges;
  • printing and/or shipping of project-related materials;
  • participation incentives;
  • tuition remission or health insurance subsidies for GRA's;
  • rent of off-grounds office space