Although appendices are permitted in most grant mechanisms, it is best to inquire if this is the case and if so, how many appendices and types of materials can be included. The materials included in an appendix should be helpful to understand the proposed study but not include critical study details to circumvent page limitations of the grant narrative. Appendices should be used only to offer supplemental information or information that supports the narrative. Appendices might include but are not limited to letters from stakeholders, screening and interview batteries, intervention manuals, intervention training agenda, fidelity measures, and recruitment brochures.
Developing a budget and a justification for each line item for an intervention study is not unlike budget development for any other type of study proposal. It takes time, careful thought, knowledge of technical budget terms, an understanding of the requirements of the targeted funding agency and one’s own institution, and, of course, the specific needs of the proposed study.
It is helpful to sketch out a budget early on when developing a proposal. As intervention studies can be costly, an initial determination of what it will cost to recruit and enroll, deliver the intervention, assure fidelity, and evaluate outcomes can indicate its feasibility early on in the grant writing process and whether the potential budget is in keeping with the targeted funding mechanism. If the funds required to carry out the proposed set of activities exceed the limits imposed by an agency or specific program announcement, then a different funding mechanism needs to be identified or the approach must be modified to conform to the budgetary constraints of the funding announcement.
Each funding agency has its own rules about allowable and nonallowable expenses and the level of F&A (facility and administrative costs, formerly known as “indirect costs”) permitted. This information should guide the development of a budget. Also, each institution has specific procedures for developing a grant budget including allowable yearly salary increases, fringe benefit rates, allowable in-kind contributions, and the F&A cost-recovery rate. Knowing these rules prior to developing a grant application will save considerable time and energy.
In developing a budget, it is important to be as realistic as possible and not to under- or overinflate budgetary needs. Budgets typically contain three sections: direct costs or the costs directly associated with specific grant activity (e.g., recruitment, interviewing, delivery of interventions, data capture, and analyses); F&A costs or the allowable indirect costs that are over and above direct costs to offset costs such as lighting, administrative financial oversight, and so forth; and institutional commitments. As to the latter, some agencies require or strongly encourage in-kind contributions whereas others do not. When an in-kind contribution is mandatory or encouraged, it is important to discuss this first with one’s institution (e.g., department chair, dean, research administrator) to determine what would be allowed from an institutional perspective. Not every institution will agree or be able to provide an in-kind contribution and thus a grant submission may or may not be encouraged.
To determine direct costs, consider the activities that will need to be carried out to address each proposed study aim. Considerations include personnel and their level of effort, supplies, equipment, travel, costs associated with the delivery of the intervention and the comparison group, costs associated with carrying out a fidelity plan and staff training, and costs associated with recruitment such as advertisement, travel costs, brochures and staff effort, study participant honorariums, and time for consultants. Oftentimes, the real costs associated with recruitment (see Chapter 10) are underestimated or overlooked in grant applications, but this is a critical activity in intervention studies that is very time consuming and that requires resources (staffing and funds to support advertisements, media announcements, etc.).