Getting Started

Finalized proposals must be submitted to Kelley Mahoney 10 business days before the sponsor deadline (be sure to take institute holidays into consideration). It is important to adhere to this policy, as proposals are due at OSP 5 days prior to sponsor deadline and it takes several days to prepare proposals for approval routing and submission.

If MIT is NOT the submitting institute but instead will receive a subcontract (if you will be Co-I and have been asked to submit a subcontract budget), the submitting university is the sponsor. Most other universities have the same routing/review requirements as MIT. Therefore, you can expect the deadline to be at least 15 business days prior to the prime sponsor’s deadline, but it might be even earlier (check with the submitting university).

Proposals that are submitted to Kelley less than 10 business days prior to the sponsor deadline are at risk of requiring a late waiver, per Vice President for Research policy. Late waivers will only be considered to be requested by MKI Director Rob Simcoe, and approved by the Dean of Science, under compelling circumstances.

As soon as you know that you will be submitting a proposal (or are considering it), contact Kelley ( or with the details (solicitation, deadline, budget request, etc.) and discuss proposal specific requirements/process.

All proposals are routed for approval by Kelley, via Kuali Coeus (KC). Please complete KC certifications promptly, as we are unable to route without all certifications having been completed. If answering “yes” to questions 2 through 13, provide an explanation to Kelley.


Typical budget items:

  • Salaries
  • Equipment
  • Travel (itemize domestic and international)*
  • M&S
  • Publications
  • Subcontracts

*For travel, provide specific amounts that will match your justification EXACTLY. Please do not ask Kelley to budget for “one trip to X” without providing amounts. Your justification MUST match the budgeted amounts (i.e., we cannot budget $3000 for a justified trip adding up to $2950).

Budget Justifications: all budgeted categories must be justified (ask Kelley for a solicitation-specific template, if available).

For budgeted travel, itemize Domestic and Foreign travel separately. Provide destination (even if it is to be determined, name a location “to be used for estimation purposes”), purpose of trip, number of persons, number of days, airfare, hotel and subsistence, and registration costs.



Purpose: Conference; “for estimating purposes, we use San Francisco”; 1 person, 5 days: Airfare $1000, Registration $500, Hotel and Subsistence $300 per day.

PI Status

Individuals who are not Faculty, Senior Research Scientist, or Principal Research Scientist must ask Rob Simcoe to request PI Status approval from the Dean of Science. Each proposal will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the Director of MKI and the Dean. Except for Chandra Proposals, the PI Status request must be sent to Rob with a cc: to Kelley. This should be done at least 15 business days prior to the sponsor deadline. Please provide Rob the program/solicitation, information, your proposal title, period of performance, summary of research, and budget estimate.

On approved proposals, Research Scientists will be PI with a faculty member as Mentor. Postdocs will be named as Co-I, with their supervisor/faculty sponsor named as Administrative PI.

Kelley will prepare the PI Status request for Chandra Proposals and any other Observing Programs. Notify Kelley at least 15 business days before the sponsor’s deadline.

Fellowship Proposals

Contact Kelley to discuss sponsor-specific information.


Loading Factors


MIT charges F & A (Facilities & Administrative, or Indirect) Costs on a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) base that excludes the following:

  • subawards above $25,000
  • items of equipment/furnishing above $5,000
  • equipment rental; graduate student tuition; and
  • certain MIT Facilities charges.

General ledger accounts that are excluded from the base are marked ‘not-MTDC’ on summary statements and detailed transaction reports.

Current MIT F&A, Employee Benefits, and Vacation Accrual rates are shown at the OSP website. However, MIT and federal sponsors often “fix” F&A rates for the life of an award, at the rate in effect when the award was made. If you have questions about the F&A rate on your grant, cooperative agreement, or contract, please contact Kara DeNutte.

In addition to MIT’s loading, the MIT Kavli Institute charges a Lab Allocation for the salaries of HQ staff and for supplies used by multiple projects. Jack Defandorf, MKI’s Administrative Officer, submits a detailed rate proposal to OSP every spring, who in turn submit it to the Office of Naval Research for approval. For MIT’s FY20 the rates will be 8.0% for allocated salaries and 1.1% for allocated M&S. MIT’s MTDC base (see above), with the further exclusion of Employee Benefits and Vacation Accrual on salaries charged directly to awards, is used as the Allocation base.

Clicking on the link below leads to a chart which shows the various loading factors on sponsored grants and contracts. If your F&A rate is different from the current rate of 50.6%, you can download the chart in Excel and recalculate by substituting the rate in the appropriate cell(s).

Graduate Research Assistant tuition costs are an important part of many budgets. MIT subsidizes 50% of RA tuition during the academic year, and during the summer subsidizes 100% for students who are enrolled in a research degree program and not taking courses. For FY20 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) full tuition is $53,450;  after the subsidy, the cost to a project will be $26,725* per student. Inflation is estimated to be 5%. There is no loading on graduate tuition.

*approximately $2,970 per month *9 months

FY21 Sponsored Research Loading.xlsx

Fund Cost Objects

Most MIT fund cost objects start with a 2 followed by six digits, although some are in the 3****** range. Loading calculations on these vary depending on the type of funding (e.g., Pool A endowment vs. discretionary gifts) and the cost categories involved. Jack Defandorf can answer questions about these calculations.

General Cost Objects

These begin with a 1 followed by six digits, and because we are in the School of Science they are usually in the 15***** series. There is no F&A or Vacation Accrual charged on these cost objects. Employee Benefits are charged as usual. Depending on whether the cost object is administered by the MIT Kavli Institute or an academic department, it may be charged Allocation.