Preparing a budget

The following are things you need to consider when preparing a budget for a funding application or proposal.

Indirect cost recovery

When preparing your budget is it important to take into consideration aspects of your project that will not be paid for under the terms of your grant. Such aspects are covered by the University's Indirect Cost Recovery policy.

Make sure you include Indirect Cost Recovery in your budget. This money must be paid regardless if they are originally included in your budget or not.

Employing staff

Current University academic and general salary rates & on-costs must be used in all budgets for research grant applications requesting staff,

Exception: salaries for Chief Investigators and Professional Research Personnel on NHMRC Project Grant applications which must use the NHMRC Personnel Support Packages (PSPs).

Salary scales

Typical duties of each staff level of appointment are detailed in the Classification Descriptors of the EA 2013-2017.


On-costs must be added to all salary rates, with the exception of NHMRC PSPs which are inclusive of on-costs. On-costs are mandatory legislative costs incurred by the University and, whether claimed from the granting body or not, will be charged to a successful grant employing personnel.

How to calculate on-costs

On-costs are calculated in two steps:

  • holiday loading of 1.35% must be added to all base rate salaries and
  • on-costs totalling 28.00% (inclusive of contributory superannuation) are then added to the rate derived after the inclusion of holiday loading.

The breakdown comprises 5.45% for payroll tax, 0.50% for workers' compensation, 17% for superannuation, 0.93% for payroll tax on Super, 1.07% for maternity leave provision, 2.86% for long service leave provision and 0.20% severance payment for fixed term staff.

Please note: at times a few granting bodies do not allow the full amount of the University on-costs to be included in the grant. In these cases, the excess cost will still have to be absorbed by the School/Department with the approval of the Head.

Severance payments

Under the University of Sydney Enterprise Agreement it may be necessary to make severance payments to staff employed on grants whose contracts are not renewed.

When calculating the salary budget for a grant, you will need to make allowances for any such payments.

Some granting bodies (ARC/NHMRC) do not permit severance payments to be charged to grant funds. These costs will need to be met by the School/Department with the approval of the Head.

Please contact HR Service Centre for further details.