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NIH and Cost of Living Increases

In 2012, NIH issued NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-12-036 which states NIH will no longer be providing cost-of-living/inflationary increases in awards.

Can applicants still request such increases in competing grants?

There is an important difference between what an applicant can request and what NIH will actually provide on an award.  In this case, application instructions have not changed.   Applications with a detailed budget can continue to request cost-of-living/inflationary increases in accordance with institutional policy.   [Note:  Vanderbilt’s institutional policy doesn’t require inflationary increases but Coeus defaults to a 3% increase which can be overridden by the department submitting the budget.]  NIH recognizes that institutions may desire to do this to document actual needs for budgeting and accounting purposes.  However, under the current budget climate, it is likely that requests associated solely with inflationary increases will be eliminated from the awarded budget.   Requests associated with special needs (e.g., equipment, added personnel or increased effort) will continue to be considered.

 When preparing an application using the modular budget format, existing NIH policy remains in place--the number of modules requested should be the same each year and variations must be justified.   Requests for an additional module solely to accommodate inflationary increases will not be considered.  Annual variations in the number of modules can be requested with sufficient programmatic justification.

NOTE TO GRANTS MANAGERS:  Please work closely with Principal Investigators to determine how to prepare detailed NIH budgets subject to this constraint.

Janiece Harrison, Assistant Provost of Research Operations



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