Budget and Budget Justification

When submitting an application and proposal for funding, the inclusion of a budget is a standard part of the process.  Creating a budget usually involves two major components:  1) the itemized budget; and 2) the budget justification.  Below you will find information to assist you in the development of both the budget and budget justification.


Before getting started, be sure to read the funder’s guidelines on the budget and eligible expenses.  Use the funder’s forms and spreadsheets to create the budget and budget justification, if provided.  Some funders, for example, some Tri-Agency grants, allow for flexibility in how the funding is spent following the receipt of the award.  Other funders expect expenditures to strictly adhere to the proposed budget.  It is important to understand the different funders’ guidelines and develop a budget that meets the needs of your project.


The budget should:

  • Be an itemized line-by-line list of each type of expense;
  • Be based on informed estimates and actual quotations;
  • Be realistic. If the budget is too high or too low, the reviewers may question the feasibility of the project;
  • Correspond to the proposal narrative; all major elements detailed in the budget should be addressed in the narrative. Follow the natural order of budget within the budget justification;
  • Be consistent in its presentation. For example, commas vs no commas, decimal points vs no decimal points, alignment, underlining, font, and bolding;
  • Round budget item totals up to the nearest dollar;
  • Be sufficient to perform the tasks described in the narrative;
  • Correspond to the granting agency’s guidelines with respect to content and detail;
  • Adhere to Brandon University’s policies and procedures; and
  • Include expenses incurred over the proposed duration of the research project/term of grant. Retroactive expenses are not normally eligible.


Many funders request an additional document often referred to as a budget justification.  The budget justification goes a step beyond the itemized budget to explain why each item is needed and its purpose, and how the dollar total was arrived at.  The budget justification should:

  • Provide a general description of the line item;
  • Explain how the line item relates to the activities outlined in the work plan;
  • Verify the cost of line items by describing how they were arithmetically determined. Provide enough information for reviewers to see how you arrived at the total; and
  • Reflect the itemized budget, presenting justifications in the same order.



When funds for travel are being requested, you should be familiar with the BU Travel and Business Expense Policy and Procedures and contact Accounts Payable with any questionsFrom the policy:   Travel should normally be done in the most economical way in consideration of all direct transportation costs, accommodation, and the time involved. Whenever possible, travelers should take advantage of discounts.   

Be aware that some funders request that travel costs to undertake the research be shown separately from the costs to attend research conferences to disseminate research results.

Travel and Per Diem Rates within and Outside of Manitoba

Travel and Per Diem Rates

 International Travel Per Diem Rates

National Joint Council of the Public Service Canada – Travel Directive (Appendix D) has per diem amounts by country.  Use the Commercial (C) meal rates.


Airport shuttle, airfare, vehicle rental, bus, taxi, subway transportation while at destination – the most economical means.


From the BU Travel and Business Expense Policy:  Travelers should stay in moderately priced accommodations providing reasonable comfort, security, and proximity to the event attended.

Conference Registration and Fees

Registration and fees are determined by conference organizers.


When your budget includes salaries for personnel, we suggest that you contact Human Resources to ensure the appropriate level of funding is requested for the skill set required for the position you anticipate hiring for.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 55601 Collective Agreement (CA)

Access the PSAC CA on the HR website for current wage categories and rates for research assistants.

Use the Payroll Estimator found on the HR website to estimate the cost of hiring a PSAC employee. The Estimator includes the percentages required for additional payroll costs and vacation pay.

Equipment and Computers

For research equipment and computers, be sure to consider other potential expenses such as warranties and extended warranties, exchange rates, shipping and installation charges, customs and duty charges, service agreements, operations and maintenance, and training to use equipment.

The Purchasing Office has information on and contacts for numerous vendors and can assist you in obtaining estimates for the costs of specific equipment, materials, goods, and services. You may access their Purchasing and Accounts Payable Manual for more information.


Office supplies include items such as paper and printing costs for dissemination, consumables, eligible books and periodicals not provided by the institution.


Publication charges, page charges for articles published, research manuscript preparation, translation fees, open access fees, website development and maintenance.

Administrative Fees and Overhead Rates

The University does not usually include administrative fees or overhead rates on research grant application budgets.  The exception is when the funder allows for the inclusion of such fees or rates.  Overhead should be included on all research contracts.  If you are preparing a budget for a research contract, be sure to include all costs in the budget.  Unlike research grants that include only the direct costs of research, contracts include all costs associated with conducting the research.  For example, space, utilities, material costs, labour costs, faculty time, and university support personnel time (IT, HR/Payroll, F&RS, Library, ORS).  See the Brandon University Research Contract and Overhead Policy for more details.


  • Contracted Services
  • Professional or consulting fees
  • Software


In most cases, funders require that cash and in-kind contributions to a potential research project be included in the budget.  Contributions are normally shown as a separate category in the budget and marked as either confirmed or not confirmed.

Please note:  The individual funder guidelines on what to include in the budget for cash and in-kind contributions will vary.  For example, some funders may want you to show both confirmed and not confirmed sources of funding and some may want only confirmed sources of funding.  Letters of Support are also often required from those making the contributions.

In-kind expenses are the non-monetary resources that partners or the University provide to support the project.  For example, donated or loaned new or used equipment, value of donated land for field trials, use of meeting and office space, and a research partner’s donation of its employee’s time to work on the project.  Cash contributions are actual dollars provided to the project to cover the direct expenses.

In situations where a grant has been awarded or applied for from another funding organization for the same research project, you may be required to include the other source of support in the proposed budget.  In this case, the budget should include information on the specifics of what each funder is covering separately and demonstrate clearly that there is no overlap of funding for specific expenses, i.e., a double ask.


  • The budget must follow Brandon University policies and procedures, including Payroll, Travel, and Purchasing policies. Please contact the appropriate office for the most accurate and up-to-date information and guidance.
  • Taxes
    • PST (Manitoba) – 7%
    • GST – 5%
      • BU GST Rebate – 67%
      • When calculating GST, include the rebate add 1.65% GST to the item
    • When calculating GST and PST add 8.65% (1.65% + 7%) to the item
  • Be aware of incremental changes, especially for multi-year grants, for example, annual wage increases.
  • For proposals that include costs associated with construction or renovations, contact our Physical Plant staff for technical advice and they are usually able to provide estimates for the planned work.